New Years Blues, the Saga

Picture unrelated but iconic as fuck. This woman’s legacy is immortal.

I was about to start my “New Years Blues” post, when I realized that the title sounded familiar. I went through my old posts and, sure enough, I wrote one with that title last year. It is possible that I suffer from some level of seasonal depression.

As I mentioned in last year’s entry, I remember dreading Winter every year in high school. I knew it would get dark and cold and grey and sad. I knew I wouldn’t really be happy again for months. But I was never really happy, so didn’t give this too much thought.

The earliest January I remember clearly is January 2014. My mood had been declining in the Fall, but it got much worse over the break. And when the new term started, I was severely depressed. I frequently slept through the day, missing my lectures and neglecting my homework. If I remember correctly, I still made it out of the house to go to gymnastics and to engage in eating disorder behaviours. It was a riot and a half. I do not remember suspecting any seasonal component for my depressive episode, as this was the first time I felt that terrible. Anyways, my depression continued until a traumatic incident created a new set of problems, one of which was a worsening of my eating disorder.

I spent January 2015 in a Day Hospital Program for eating disorders, as I had entered treatment on December 8th. I was officially discharged on the 31st, intending to return to school in February. I was fairly depressed during this time, but I brushed this off as an emotional reaction to my weight gain. I began to relapse almost immediately after discharge, and while I remember feeling better initially, I was soon extremely depressed again. I then assumed my low mood was an effect of malnourishment (which it certainly was, to some extent). I began feeling better around the time I was re-admitted to Day Hospital mid-April.

I thought I was about to write the paragraph for this year, then I remembered that it has now been 2 years since my first stay in Day Hospital. Shit.

January 2016 was different than previous years, because on paper, I should have been happy. My relationship, which had begun the previous November, was still going reasonably well, and I was finally able to take a term of only math courses. But as soon as the break ended, I remember getting unreasonably anxious. Eventually, my depression worsened too, but again I found reasons to brush this off. I was having trouble adjusting to my girlfriend being on her coop term. I felt worthless for quitting my job in October, and was anxious about telling my parents. I don’t really remember when I began feeling better. It was 2016, after all. My relationship became a soul-sucking burden without me even noticing. I stressed about Summer employment from March to June. I briefly moved back home in May, as my new place wasn’t available until July 1st. Then I was working, and having existential crises about my future being a pointless 9-5 office job. And on my last day of work, my girlfriend broke up with me. Anyways, now I’m just listing shitty things that happened last year, which wasn’t the point of this post.

Cue January 2017. I am still healing from my breakup, while anticipating the inauguration of Donald Fucking Trump. But I’m pretty sure I felt a bit better in November and December, when both these wounds were more acute than they are now. And this week, I have taken Ativan nearly every day, while beginning to restrict my food intake. For no reason. I am so excited for my courses this term. I am planning to take dance classes, which I am also looking forward to. WHYYYYYYYY.

I believe the answer to that question is one of 3 options:

  1. My life happens to be especially shitty every January
  2. I am always sad, but am currently especially concerned with January sad
  3. I have Seasonal Affective Disorder

Yeah, I don’t really know what the purpose of this post was. But I hope somebody enjoyed it. I will likely be back soon, as I hate hate many people and things, and love expressing this fact in detail.

Until then, Bernie would have won.

Sarah

Bye, 2016. See you never.

I felt like posting an update tonight, and then I realized that it’s about the right time to start reflecting on the giant pile of shit that was 2016, so here I am.

Before I begin, I would like to contextualize this year in my life by briefly summarizing 2014 and 2015, which weren’t too great for me either.

I began 2014 in my first Severe Major Depressive episode and was bingeing and purging almost daily. Around March, I began dating a guy I didn’t like at all because I was desperate to not be alone. That relationship ended in July with a traumatic event, and my eating disorder worsened and became mainly restrictive. I was unable to function, and did not return to school in the Fall. I began a Day Hospital Eating Disorders program in December.

I remained in the Day Hospital program for the entirely of January, getting discharged on the 31st. I returned to school in February, but maintaining recovery on my own was harder than I had expected, and I relapsed almost instantly. I was re-admitted to Day Hospital mid-April and was discharged 9 weeks later. I began to relapse in June and July, but was able to turn things around, and have essentially stayed well since, aside from the occasional  bad week or two. I was fired from a job after disclosing my mental health disability (which is definitely illegal), and later quit a job that caused more anxiety than I could handle. I moved out and returned to school again in September, and in November, I began dating my ex. Ugh, fucking Jennifer. 2015 concluded with the one good month of that relationship.

Enter 2016. The New Year brought a lot of anxiety, as I hadn’t yet told my parents I wasn’t working and I knew they wouldn’t be happy about it. My ex was being dramatic as fuck about her co op term, and was unbearable to be around. She also stopped giving a single shit about me. In May and June, I had to live at home, as my landlord sold our student house and the new place I wanted wouldn’t be open until July. I also had a hard time finding a job, which caused a lot of self-hatred and finance-related anxiety. The job I eventually found was pretty good, but working really triggers my social anxiety. And of course, on my last day of work, my ex broke up with me in the shittiest way imaginable. I suffered my second Severe Major Depressive episode, which brought on 3 overdoses, a relapse into self-harm, a brief eating disorder relapse after unintentional weight loss, and just overall misery. And then a fascist, sexist, reality TV star became leader of the free world.

So here we are, in December 2016. The past three years have been one very long shit-show, but maybe things are gradually improving? My hospital stays lasted days instead of months, I held down a full-time job for most of the Summer, and I spent most of the year out of the toxic environments at my parents’ houses. I learned a lot about myself and became much stronger. I loved and I lost (it should have been you, Bernie), but mostly I survived. And maybe 2017 will fuck me all over again. But maybe it won’t?

I’m generally pretty cynical, and it’s not like I expect the new year to bring me fairy dust and a pet unicorn. But the bar has been set low, so 2017 will likely be an A+ year on the bell-curve of my life. I guess I just need to do what I can to make that happen.

Sarah

New Year Blues- A Real Update

Hey, everybody.

It is probably about time that I post an actual update, so here I am. As I mentioned in my previous (alcohol-fuelled) post, I intended to blog a lot over the Winter holidays, but I did not. I am two weeks in to a new school term and am getting busier by the day, but I hope to prioritize this blog a little bit more in the coming months.

Over the past two weeks, I have suffered from worse-than-usual depression. My life is incredible right now, so it is very confusing to feel this way. I just have days when nothing, not interesting classes, not social events, not even my incredible girlfriend, seems to bring me joy. On these days, I am convinced that I am a burden to everyone around me, and that I will never achieve a truly happy life. My doctor has increased my dose of Effexor, so the hope is that this medication change will help.

I have started to wonder whether this depression is seasonal. I was incredibly depressed at this time last year, but I was also experiencing a relapse into my eating disorder, so I assumed that this was merely a side-effect of malnourishment and of watching my life crumble around me again. My first severe Major Depressive episode, which left me sleeping past noon everyday and failing/nearly failing all my classes, occurred at this time two years ago. I remember dreading Winter every year in high school, because while I was not aware that I suffered from Depression, I knew that the dark, cold days from December to March left me feeling really down.

Fortunately, I am still feeling well enough to fight my Depression by attending social events, signing up for therapy groups, and going to class. I consider this to be immeasurably important.

Unfortunately, restriction has started to creep in as my insecurities about my body become harder to cope with, and the “high” I experience when I lose weight seems increasingly attractive. I am not restricting enough at this point to damage my health, but I do need to turn this around before it gets worse.

So this is my update. I hope it doesn’t seem too pessimistic, because I hold a lot of hope that my mood will improve and that I will remain on track with my recovery. I hope everyone is well, and I will try to write again really soon.

Sarah