Sunny Sunday Blahs

I still feeling rather crap-tastic today. The weather yesterday was nice and I managed to make myself go for a run. I felt more in control after that. So I guess I’m not feeling as bad as I was. I know it will pass eventually, it just sucks having to wait it out. I wish I had a trigger, something that I knew set me off so I’d have something to work against. I’m been trying to figure it out since I was diagnosed in 2006, but I got nothing. I think it’s just bad genes and chemical imbalances for me though.

So it’s Sunday. I’m going to ignore reality (work) and just focus on existing today. I’ve been told many time that I need to stop and smell the roses more often. So this morning, I sat on the balcony with a coffee in the morning sun. It was rather nice. Ewok came out too. It was entertaining to watch her play with the bugs on the balcony. The rest of today will be spent out at the in-law’s (for the third weekend in a row). It’s not so bad I guess. They have a big property away from the city with a pool. It’ll be nice for a day like today. My mother in-law is the epitome of bubbly though. I admire bubbly people, but sometimes it’s too much, especially with the high pitched voice and my current mood. On top of that, she doesn’t like people with mental health problems. I have to put on a bit of a show and pretend I’m a happy ordinary person.

My parents will be joining us all later for dinner. It’s completely different with my folks. I can be myself, which is a big relief. I try not to be a total downer because that’s no fun for them, but if all I can manage on a given day is breathing, that’s ok with them. I’m hoping them being there for dinner tonight will take some of the pressure off. I can take a break from acting and just listen to them have conversation. I’ll be eternally grateful for their understanding and patience.

I didn’t get very much sleep last night, so I ended up doodling in my Art Doodle Love book again. The page I worked on asked me to doodle/collage any emotions I feel about myself today. I opted to skip the collage part. It was the middle of the night and all my scrapbook junk was in the bedroom where hubby was sleeping. So I just doodled.

artdoodlelove feeling low

It turned out rather colourful considering how dull and empty I’m feeling. I think maybe I want to be vibrant and colourful. That’s why I always use colour as opposed to darker monotones. Also, my lack of expertise in shading makes it really hard to do anything without the colour variation. I must take a drawing class some day.

Sugaring Off

In Canada, you know spring has arrived when you see smoke rising from the maple wood forests. No, we aren’t burning the trees down. We’re collecting sap and boiling it to make maple syrup. It’s sugaring off season! Have you ever had real maple syrup? I don’t mean corn syrup or Aunt Jemima. I mean the real stuff… straight out of a maple tree and boiled to perfection. Once you’ve had it, there’s no going back.

Sugaring off entails going to one of the maple syrup making establishments. They aren’t factories. They are little wooden shacks in the middle of the woods. A horse and wagon ride is usually required to get you into the woods. You get a demonstration on how the sap is collected and made into syrup and the associated maple products (taffy, maple sugar, maple butter, fudge etc.) There is usually a bonfire, some folk entertainment and activities for the kids. Of course there’s lunch too….Canadian specialties accompanied by maple syrup and sugar pie for dessert. Sugar pie is basically maple fudge on a pie crust, except the fudge is the same consistency as the goo in pecan pie.You can only get sugar pie in Quebec. I’ve lived in Ontario, it’s just not the same.

This past weekend was my first sugaring off experience in a really long time. I was feeling fine when I agreed to go, but as the date approached, I began my descent into doom and gloom. I was dreading the sugaring off experience for all the usual reasons depressed people dread outings, but on top of that, an extra worry. I was going with the in-laws.

I’m very lucky. I get along quite well with my in-laws. They don’t know about my depression and anxiety problems though. My husband told me one time that his mother didn’t believe in mental illnesses like depression, so I thought it best to keep the in-laws in the dark. This can be a bit of a burden sometimes. When you are feeling this low, the last thing you want to do is put energy into hiding it. I was relieved when I awoke on the day of to find a blizzard. Maybe it would be cancelled and I could stay home. I don’t know why I thought that. This is Quebec, we don’t call in the army when it snows. We shrug and start digging!

So as I put on my blizzard gear, I went through my acting check list to make sure I was ready. I like lists, can you tell? Here’s my strategy for faking it when I need to.

  1. I smile. I hide behind a smile when I don’t want people to know how I am really feeling. I usually don’t feel like smiling. I try to have a joke or something in my head that I can’t help but smile a little. Lately I’ve been singing the Lego Movie song, it works well for me. “Everything is awesome…” I didn’t have to sing in the end, I was so bundled up that you couldn’t tell if I was smiling or not! Score!
  2. I redirect the conversation. If someone asks how I am, I say fine and then switch the conversation to something about them. Something more than how are you. I ask about their work or their kids for example. People like to talk about themselves. They never notice that I’ve redirected the conversation.
  3. I try to look healthy. I slap on a little tinted moisturizer and some foundation to cover the darkness under my eyes and I’m good to go. There is nothing like a pale face or bags under your eyes to make people ask questions. I imagine doing this would be easier for women. For guys, or at least the ones that don’t wear make-up, there is a little more preparation involved. I would make sure to get a good night’s sleep the night before and stay hydrated. This keeps you looking fresh.
  4. I like to have support. I told my husband how I was feeling. Having someone know was a relief on its own. Throughout the day he would send me little smiles and put his arm around me. It made it easier knowing he was there to back me up.
  5. I don’t give details. I say I’m just not feeling right if someone asks why I am quieter than usual or something. Giving details leads to thinking, which usually leads to tears. Never a good thing when you are trying to hide it.
  6. I give myself a break. It’s okay not to be the life of the party or hide it perfectly. I’m participating, I didn’t flake despite really wanting to. I have to give myself a little pat on the back for that.

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