Depression.  PMS.  Chemical imbalance.  Mood swings.  Whatever you decide to call it, whatever it is in your personal life, it’s a pain.  I don’t often talk about my inner demons.  If you know me, you know I try to focus on what’s positive as much as possible.  But some days I find myself just ripped to shreds.

After a long visit to the States, I am thrilled to be back in the sunshine and warmth of the tropics and away from the cold, shut-in state of life in a wet winter.  Three days after the plane landed here I got sick, apparently having brought the flu back with me.  Yuck… but I got better.  I’m still rebuilding my energy and working out the congestion, but I’m right-as-rain otherwise.

Except I’m not.  I confess.

Sometimes even the sunniest days feel cloudy.

I’ve struggled with bouts of depression, some worse than others, for most of my life.  When I was an adolescent it was debilitating.  I didn’t know what was ‘normal’ and what wasn’t yet, and I didn’t know how to combat the misery I often felt.  I was a yo-yo, internally and with those closest to me (my poor mother!).  In my early 20’s I blamed it on the stress of college, my dad, my terrible marriage, a chemical malady, etc.  Anything to make the problem ‘not my fault.’  Now, in my early 30’s I’ve learned to take charge.

Mostly.

Sometimes it sneaks up on me slowly and it’s days before I see the monster; sometimes I catch it quickly.  But either way I can now eventually tell that the emotions are chemical and not related to real life problems.  I can check the calendar and say, “Hmm, PMS anybody?” and laugh at myself.  I know that getting some sunshine, getting exercise, sleeping enough at night, occupying myself with something valuable during the day, and keeping an eye on my blood sugar levels are the best ways to either stave off or turn around those periods of deep blues.  I’m smart enough to be able to say, “This will not last.  Nothing is really wrong,” and then keep a close eye on the choices I make so that I don’t regret some impulsive act.  I’ve learned that getting through those terrible jags is, for me at least, mostly an active choice to do the things that I know work for me, or a choice to wallow.

But it still sucks.

I still find myself  occasionally finishing my daily walk (taken to help beat back the blues) with tears streaming down my face as emotion overwhelms me.  I still long for some distant, nameless thing at times.  I still have a hard time getting out of bed and putting myself in order some mornings.  I still face irrational fears or hurts that I have to fight to overcome.

That doesn’t make this journey, so far away from all that was once friendly and familiar to me, any easier.  But I also know that it doesn’t make it impossible.  It just makes me one of the millions of people worldwide who fight not only outside circumstances but inner beasts as well.

So I pull myself up, put on my shoes, and walk, tears and all, reminding myself that I am where I should be and I’ll be just fine.

Here’s to all of you out there who’ve been there too and understand the irrational Jabberwock of depression.

Nothing is wrong that cannot be fixed.

We are in good hands.

All is well.

We’ll be just fine.

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