I find myself shying away from writing about what I am feeling now that many people I know in offline life read this blog. It was one thing telling my truth to strangers who were attracted to my words because they felt the way I did or who were curious to see what I wrote. It’s something completely different to worry those I encounter every day. Sometimes it takes more courage than I have to put myself out here in the blogosphere, especially if it shows me in a bad light, but not doing so hurts only me. For many years now, writing this blog has helped me find my way through the trials and trails of my life, and I need this now as much as I ever did. So here’s the truth, as far as I know.
When I was in Crescent City, wandering through the Redwood Forest and meandering along the beach, I couldn’t imagine ever being unhappy again. And yet, here I am, slowly sliding into . . . Grief? Sorrow? Loneliness? Emptiness? Depression? Not really sure. I do know I am prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder, where the closing in of the darkness makes me SAD. (Which is why I always celebrate the end of the creeping darkness.) And allergies affect my mood more than they affect my sinuses. (Never have figured that out. In fact, my severe allergy reactions have sometimes been mistaken for mono or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.) It’s also possible the balance of life is kicking in — what goes up must come down, and I was “up” when I was up north. And now I am down in the southern part of the state.
Even worse than feeling down, I am finding people’s shenanigans hard to tolerate. Find their constant prattle . . . dare I say it? . . . boring. But I also find my time alone empty. (Come to think of it, this could be just plain old fashioned grief. I miss Jeff, still and always.)
I have never particularly liked this town where I find myself. I did love being close to the desert, but ever since my father’s house was sold, I’ve been city-bound when I’m here, trapped not just by miles of surrounding houses and businesses, but by first the heat and currently the chill winds. Now that I have my car back, I could drive to the desert to walk, but the desert doesn’t speak to me as it once did. Still, I will have to do something to catapult myself out of this particular phase. (Those of you who have been in this sort of situation understand the vicious circle. You know you need to walk off the exhaustion and sadness, but you are too sad and exhausted to get out there to do it.)
I sound as if I’m whining, and maybe I am. I know I sound self-centered, and that I definitely am. (It’s hard not to sound self-centered when you are writing about yourself.) Still, I am keeping busy in the hopes that busyness will stave off some of the sadness. Tomorrow I have ballet class, then a visit to a home show, and finally a movie and birthday party.
And in less than five weeks I leave on an extended road/camping/hiking trip. I worry about heading out in winter, but I know if I don’t do something, I will slowly fold in on myself, and I can’t allow that to happen. Won’t allow it to happen.
And guess what? It’s only 38 days, 19 hours, and 18 minutes until the end of the creeping darkness!!!
(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, andDaughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)
November 13, 2015 at 6:31 am
Blessings and best wishes to you, Pat. You’re always in my thoughts and prayers.
November 13, 2015 at 7:16 am
Thank you, Shirley.
November 13, 2015 at 9:28 am
Pat, I know exactly what you are saying. I find myself there too! I must figure this out soon or it will just be the end of ME! And I don’t want that. Prayers and good thoughts coming for you!!
November 13, 2015 at 2:53 pm
Oh my goodness, Pat, I think I’m feeling the same way – about everything! It was easier and more fulfilling to share my stories with strangers. But when I post a blog link to FB, I start to feel uncomfortable about people I know knowing my story – especially if they have a different POV or opinion of my story. So I’m trying to take refuge and rediscover the fulfillment of blogging and writing and reading in place of so much social media. Am so on overload but it’s a real challenge to go back.
November 13, 2015 at 7:13 pm
My dance class story is evolving away from the actual people for this very reason. It makes me uncomfortable to think of them knowing how and what I think about them, even the good. Apparently writing really is for me and a mythical audience, not necessarily a real one. I imagine we will both find our way …
November 13, 2015 at 5:10 pm
Is it perhaps the lack of close intimacy Pat? Missing Jeff is a given but now as time has passed perhaps the hard thing to deal with is missing that intimacy of someone you can be with who knows you, who you can be comfortably silent with, who you don’t have to explain yourself too because they know you etc. Even your dad fulfilled this role in some ways. Personally I find the trivial chatter of ‘friends (even when I love them to bits) really annoying and yet when I cut myself off for awhile I get lonely, seek their company again, get sick of them again. This doing life as a single person is fairly new to you.
And on the challenge of writing your truth when you may come face to face more with your readers…please continue Pat…the good the bad the ugly, because emotional truth is rarely shared yet to me it is the most important of sharings.
November 13, 2015 at 6:42 pm
I think you’re right – it is the lack of intimacy, the lack of someone to care about the nothings of my life. People do care about the somethings, but we don’t live with the big things. We live with the little things, the things that aren’t important to others.
I realized today that a lot of my current state is due to the unsettledness of my life. I figured it would be hard to deal with being completely untethered when I set off into the unknown, but I didn’t see that my current living situation is all part of the letting go. Hence the “gloom” as one friend called it. I am detaching from what I knew and there’s nothing to attach to. This is the end/beginning of something and emotional turmoil seems to be the means by which I take new steps.
Thank you for your wise comments and your astute perception. You always help me see that my feelings aren’t trivial or foolish, and I appreciate that more than you know.
November 13, 2015 at 9:16 pm
The more I think about it, the more I think you’re right. It’s the lack of intimacy, but also the almost total aloneness. Almost everyone has someone even if not an intimate companion, such as a child or a parent. I don’t know how to do this.
November 13, 2015 at 5:44 pm
I know where you are coming from as you know. Chronic depression is a never ending balancing act between falling into the black hole and crawling back up over the ledge. My plan now is to be aware that the episode will end and not push myself too hard or to give in to the despair. I know each approach is different, as it should be for each of us is different, our triggers are different..
You know you’re welcome to be back up here anytime you need a battery re-charge. Of course our weather doesn’t help those with SAD. But maybe that won’t be so important.
Take care dear. All our love.
bill and wanda
November 13, 2015 at 7:10 pm
Ah, Wanda. You and Bill are so kind. I’m hoping my trip across southern USA will help. I will get back up there some day. You made me feel so very welcome.