Superhero Anti-Depression Gene: Free At Jane’s Blog. All Qualified Sufferers Apply Within.

I was born with a sunny disposition. Just ask my mother. She always marveled to anyone who’d listen that “Jane was such a happy baby. She never cried. Ever. We took her to the doctor when she was 6 months old because we were worried she might be retarded or something.”

Yep. That’s my mom.

But I am. Happy, that is. Most all of the time. I’ve had my share of down moments but they rarely last long. And that is such a blessing. It truly is. My extended family is riddled with mental illness so I’ve seen the consequences first hand. I don’t want any part of it.

As I mentioned Wednesday, December was a &%!#$. Really. Awful. Struggles in all areas of my life. Financial. Marriage. Friends. Family. Even kids. Things so personal I would never, ever mention them here. You’ll have to let your imagination run wild. And quite honestly, my real life friends and family have no clue either. Only my therapist knows the deepest, darkest. I’m, believe it or not, a private person. (That sounds so funny from someone who blogs their life to the masses, doesn’t it?)

I am private about the deepest, darkest. I think because I don’t want to seem like someone who wallows in self-pity. I know it’s because I don’t want to be perceived as weak. Strong was always valued by my father. Letting things roll right off your back. Pick yourself up and move forward. “You’ll get over it,” was his common refrain. We used to joke that would be his epitaph — “They’ll get over it.”

Back to this past December.

I’ve heard, over and over, how tough the holidays are for some. The pressure. The strain. The in-laws and dysfunctional family get togethers. The financial pressure to measure up. To buy, buy, buy. The social obligations. Forced “Happy Holiday” greetings through gritted teeth.

The logical side of my brain got it. The emotional side of my brain didn’t.

That delicious time (and I do mean delicious) between Thanksgiving and New Years is my hands-down favorite time of the year. I live for it. I hum Christmas carols all year round. I start buying for next year (mostly out of necessity but that doesn’t make it any less fun) as soon as January hits.

And thank goodness, especially this year, that I enjoy December so much.

I said to my therapist, that if it weren’t for the fact that I love the holidays, I just might have slit my wrists. I’m not being flippant. I’m not trying to minimize anyone else’s pain out there. I’m trying to say the emotional part of my brain finally got it this year.

Now before you start worrying your pretty little heads – no one has cancer. Our home is not in foreclosure. It was just (Ha! Just. As if.) a bombardment of yucky, crappy things. A new one each day. For a little over three weeks. Every. Single. Day. From the vacuum cleaner breaking (a ridiculously expensive central vac system) to friendships crumbling to burst water pipes and …… well, I mentioned I’m private. I’m stopping there.

Every day it was something new. It got to the point that I’d wake up and say, “So God (or is it the devil?), what are you going to throw at me today?”

I’d start mumbling mantras: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

But that got old.

I’d start preparing and imagining for the worst every time the phone rang or we’d step into the car (Did I mention my husband’s car getting smashed in a parking lot? That was an eventful day.)

But that just put my stomach into knots.

Truly. If it weren’t for the joyous Christmas season – joyous for me, anyway – I never would have made it out. And there’s this little inkling in me, right this very minute, that is trying to strip away all the holiday spirit and really try to comprehend all that happened. But then there is this Superhero force that stops myself and doesn’t let me go there.

Thank goodness. Time to just forget it all and move forward.

Thank you, happy Christmas gene.

I am feeling so grateful that I lucked out with a happy Christmas gene that got me through. There are a small handful of you out there (you know who you are and to protect your privacy I’m not naming/linking here — I’m sure you understand) that  suffer during this time of year or also had a particularly difficult December. I’m sending a Superhero strength anti-depression gene to anyone who needs it.

He looks a little like this:

Cute, huh? He sits snug as a …..well, penguin in your nucleus accumbens and will travel to your prefrontal cortex, your amygdala. Wherever he is needed. He doesn’t look like much. Certainly not like a Superhero (I think his tux is cleverly hiding his cape). But he’s plenty powerful, believe you me.

I had to rely on him much this holiday season. And afterwards, too.

But I’m done with him now.

Thank goodness.

(Ahhhh, if only it were that simple. Hugs to ALL of you out there. Superhero hugs from me.)

25 Comments

Filed under Deep Thoughts, Holiday, Observations

25 responses to “Superhero Anti-Depression Gene: Free At Jane’s Blog. All Qualified Sufferers Apply Within.

  1. And hugs back to you. May January be filled with nothing but good surprises for you and your family!

  2. He’s very cute. Hugs to you!

  3. Ack! Look at you being all positive and shiz after a crummy December. How very Jane of you (you are lucky you are lovable or I’d have to come crush your groove).

    I think I’d get along okay with your mom–she’s right: you optimists are warped. 😉

    I’m taking that little penguin dude and putting him in my pocket for safekeeping. I hope he’s got mad skills.

  4. I love so many things about this post. Not that you have had a crappy December, obviously. But you are able to convey the spectrum of your pain and the depth of perseverance without revealing, as you say, “the deepest, darkest.” I respect that immensely. And what really makes my smile? Somehow, and beautifully, your sunny disposition shines through even this less than ra-ra post. I love it. Hope this month is leagues better than your last 🙂

  5. That penguin is awesome! I’m happy now, but I’m going to save him for later.

  6. Thanks for sharing your magical penguin. I might have taken you up on the offer in November, but now I’ll leave him here for someone who really needs a boost.

    Here’s hoping that your 2011 sun has dawned more brightly than your 2010 one set. I truly admire your resilience – your ability to channel the positive even when things were clearly so difficult. This is a trait I could stand to work on in myself.

  7. Good on you, Jane. You found a way to shovel through the cr@p and maintain some Christmas spirit. I admit, I love Christmas too. But this year I really struggled. I got the spirit going for my son… and kept it through until Christmas afternoon. And then on Christmas night I had the almost-ugly cry. And actually, since my Christmas spirit wasn’t overly high this year and I made sure I had NO expectations, there wasn’t as much of a crash afterwards. Still, disappointments and rough going. I related entirely to the part about the phone calls, only it was the mailbox with me. *sigh* So glad it’s over.
    But for me, (and please excuse this novel I’m writing here) I’m feeling indifferent about the new year… as though not only have I inured myself to disappointments and bad news, but also even good feelings. Probably why I’ve been so absent from my own blog lately. Don’t want to depress anyone. 😉
    Thanks for writing this today.

  8. I’ll take a dose of your little antidepressant penguin, too. I’m not sure exactly where you told me to stick him, but I’ll figure something out.

    Hugs to you. Cyberhugs, so you won’t catch The Crud from me.

    Isn’t blogging a good OUTlet?!!! We’re here and we care.

  9. Carol

    I am glad your skies have cleared now. It’s so hard when every day is cloudy and the rain starts pouring down on your head. Maybe everything bad that’s meant to happen in 2011 has happened already? Won’t that make this a wonderful year?

  10. From one Christmas Crazy to another, I see no reason not to rely on the Christmas spirit any time of year. I know it’s more *festive* in December, but why not celebrate it (even if it’s just all in my head) all the time? As for being 1,000% transparent, I see not need in that either. You say you struggled, that’s enough for me to kick in and send you positive energy to make it through. I don’t need to know the details. I do sincerely hope things are looking up and this year will be blessed with all good things. xoxo

  11. Hugs to you, Jane! We’re all pulling for you!

    Wendy

  12. He is a cute little fellow. I think I’ll take him. I might even tell him my deepest, darkest. Plus, he looks like he can keep a secret, and our insurance doesn’t cover therapy. 🙂

    Hope the freshness of January brings relative peace and calm for you. Maybe call up that Valentine’s Day cheerful gene, just in case??

  13. unabridgedgirl

    * HUGS *

  14. The bright side is that you got it all out of your system and everyone else’s from the sounds of it. Blessings to you in 2011!

  15. i have worked to live beyond depression most of my life, as it started when i was 10. i don’t say “fight” or “overcome” or “struggle-with” or “beat” because i prefer not to see it as an insurmountable enemy that i must defeat ~ that was my way for years and i found the energy required to “fight” something in opposition threatened to take me down with it. in 2006, after having suicidal thoughts when coming off prozac, i decided that my depression had been around so long it had become a habit ~ one that it was time to break. not part of me ~ but an ingrained mindset that maybe could be altered. altering became my method: writing, yoga, meditation, and being honest with myself, to start. the real me surfaced and flourished, until a very close friend died by suicide several months ago. now i’m learning that the “habit” can always return, harder than before, and that if you want to get out of the hole, along with your methods, you have to seek out those who will support, listen, show compassion, and understand. i have to be willing to remember this is not who i am. so it struck me hard today, after reading your post, when i went into my spare closet for a much needed cleaning, and found on the floor something that resembled long forgotten cat poop. turned it over and guess what? its a tiny little penguin in a red bow tie. if i could i’d post a picture of him here, but dang, you may have inspired me to touch that blog i haven’t felt like visiting in 9 months.

  16. My mother-in -law adores penguins, and I’m sure she’d love this one, but she’s not having him, he’s all mine. Well of course I have to share him with your other readers…but.

    The Christmas holidays are a double edged sword for many of us, bringing both joy and great sadness. Glad you made it through.

  17. Your superhero is very mighty–is inner strength shines brightly! So happy he helped you over the bridge to the lighter side of life.

  18. These things happen to all of us….junk just starts happening…all lined up and shooting at us like we are targets. We know it isn’t so much what happens as it is how we react to what is happening that gets us. Controlling our reactions — sounds so simple. But as you did, we plug on ahead…for there simply is no alternative.

    Keep that delicious smile and that effervescent disposition…and you will become our therapist.

  19. There are certainly days, weeks, sometimes months when life just seems to pile up on us. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, throw up your arms, and say, “Okay what ELSE can happen?” Yeah, don’t ever ask that question because the ‘what else’ gods will definitely rain down upon you. Sounds totally dorky, but I make a list of all the issues I have to deal with. Then one by one I go down the list and prioritize. What needs attention most? Is there anything I can do to change the situation? Is it really MY problem? Like anything, breaking life down into small, manageable chunks seems to help when the going gets tough.

    Wishing all of you a smooth January!

  20. suzicate

    My friend, Karal, directed me over to read this post (unfortunately I don’t get around to all the blogs I’d like to). Jane, I understand how depression can hit out of nowhere for no reason, no explanation…and I KNOW the depth of the moment is very real. Only those who have esperienced it (lived through it) can truly understand the extent. I am so glad you found your sunshine. I wish you not only a 2011 but a lifetime of sunshine. nBut in case I ever need him (I pray I won’t) I’ll remember your penguin!

  21. Happy New Year to you Jane! May 2011 be everything you hope for and more.

    Life sometimes sucks and thank goodness it is mostly cyclical. Here is hoping that things are looking up-

    I think I am going to take your little penguin. I could use him often.

    Cheers.
    Velva

  22. I am a bit bipolar… I do not wallow in spilled milk or self pity; I am just angry and ranty when I am on my downward slope. Wrath brings a lot of energy, just sayin’. 😉 Thankfully I find ranting on my blog helps with the sunny side of my personality. I will take your penguin to counterbalance the cranksauras on the other side of the seesaw. Thank you m’lady and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    p.s. Don’t tell anybody: I LOVE Christmas too and I am not even Christian! 🙂

  23. Here’s to 2011 and some much needed goodness for you Jane. I’ve always believed everything is temporary, the bad, the ugly and the good. In my darkest gloom and doom, I always whispher to myself that this too shall pass.

  24. You know what’s funny–I have always had a sunny disposition until I reached college. At that point, the overwhelming anxiety that started in high school intensified to the point that I went to the hospital a couple of times worried that a monster was growing inside my stomach. (This is only a slight exaggeration.)

    After being pushed to see a therapist, I felt that monster shrink until I became that sunny person everyone remembered. I believe that’s what I’ve had to learn–when I am not sunny it means I need to look at that monster and see if he’s threatening to overwhelm me again. Maybe this penguin will fight that monster for me. ; )

    That being said, December wasn’t any different from the rest of the year. I enjoyed spending time with my husband and that’s about it. But, I am so sorry you had such a difficult time. I am glad your holiday spirit did save you!

  25. *hugs* The last half of ’10 was killer for me, and now I wait for the sentencing of the first half of ’11 like a condemn prisoner because all the crap that I dealt with in ’10 is lingering over. So I know how you feel. So I really need a Superhero Anti-Depression Gene. And email me any time you need to talk. I mean that.

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