22 November 2006

A Conspiracy Theory

I'm convinced it is a conspiracy.

I'm not just a groovy old (make that almost, but not quite, middle-aged) lady, I am a SANGUINE groovy old (ditto) lady. Sanguine means "cheerfully optimistic, buoyant, hopeful, upbeat". Ask anyone who knows me and they'll say, "Groovy? She's as sanguine as they come. Why, if she was any more chipper she'd be annoying. In fact, sometimes she IS annoying!"

Then came the week from Hell.

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Conspirator #1: S.A.D.

Here in Maine those initials can signify one of two things. One is "school administrative district". I have no current battles going with our local S.A.D. (though it wouldn't surprise me at all if one cropped up some time soon!), so that's not the issue. What I'm talking about here is... (dramatic music please) ...Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, a most appropriate acronym!

Living so far above the equator makes for incredible dearth of daylight in the winter. The sun starts lighting the sky around 6:30-am and it has set by 4:30-pm. Yes, it is worse in the northern part of the state, and I can't even fathom how folks in Canada or Alaska survive, but the scarcity of sunlight in central Maine has begun to have a HUGE impact on my moods. All I want to do is sleep, eat carbs, hibernate, and alternately cry or hit people. And those are all the clinical symptoms of S.A.D.!

So what's the cure? Well, St. John's Wort has worked quite well for me the past 2 years. I now buy it the beginning of October and don't stop taking it until late March. And I'm sure it would be working quite well for me this year too except for:

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Conspirator #2: A Lazy Spell.

I was exercising like a model for Prevention Magazine from last spring right up until Funsocksgirl and the J-man got hitched. I was constantly facing the prospect of looking fat and bulgy in a tight strapless dress at my beautiful daughter's wedding. There were going to be cameras there, LOTS of cameras! In an all out effort to avoid embarrassing her, I walked, ran, lifted weights and stretched quite regularly. I lost weight. I looked good. I felt good.

Then it was all over and my schedule went down to Jamaica for a vacation while the rest of me stayed home and started cooking comfort foods and avoiding any excess exertion while I recovered from all that happy (very happy!) wedding stress. The problem is, I'm STILL recovering...at least, that's my story. Truth is, I've barely done anything that could even remotely be considered exercise since mid-August.

Exercise raises seratonin levels. Laziness causes those levels to shrivel up and disappear. And, as the flab begins to surface and jiggle, sanguinity begins to take a back seat to depression and disgust.

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Conspirator #3: Bad News

I know that at least one of my readers will think I'm referring to my favorite British mockumentary, but that is not so. In fact, seeing that video again would probably send me into a happy state of mania. Too bad it costs so darned much!

No, I'm talking about good (bad?) old-fashioned bad news. The kind that makes you fell like you've been sucker punched or that makes you slowly melt into a pool of teary hopelessness. My son and daughter-in-law and grandkids have been going through some very deep waters resulting in our being pummeled by irregular tidal waves.

In my younger days, I was relatively unfazed by difficulties. I would get upset for a short while, then bounce right back into my normal, happy outlook. This used to drive Mm crazy. He was a moody, broody sort who would worry each situation into the dust. The only explanation he had for my unbelievable and consistent lack of angst was that I was shallow. He was partly right, but more-so was that one of the marks of sanguinity is the ability to lay aside deep, troubling matters and live in the joyful moment.

It isn't quite so easy to bounce anymore. In fact, just this past week when I experienced a sudden onset of bad news related sorrow, he paid me the ultimate compliment, "You know, you're not as shallow as you used to be."

I'm Ok for a while - my usual chipper self with plans and energy and a ready laugh - then another wave slams me off my feet and and I find myself cold and numb, sputtering and suffocating with anger or sorrow or pity or, too often, a confusing whirlpool of all three.

And so we pray - Mulletman prays with me every day - and read God's Word and get counseling and give advice and I divert myself so I don't lose my mind and so I can be attentive to the girlies. I know God is in control, and I'd probably be able to maintain a semblance of an even keel during the storm if it wasn't compounded by:

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Conspirator #4: A Week of Really Lousy Weather


A solid week of rainy days which were dark from dawn to dusk. This meant NO sunlight to bolster my seratonin levels. None at all.

So much for St. John's Wort! I was a basket case. (Just what does the mean? I'm too big to fit in a basket and I don't want a case of baskets. Hmmmm.) I was irritable, moody, sad, depressed, teary, pessimistic, hopeless, fatigued...you get the picture. It was AWFUL!

I found myself lurking by the windows or hanging out the door to look for a break in the clouds, for even a GLIMPSE of the sun. There was none.
Then to top it all off:

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Conspirator #5: The Prospect of Change

This one may not be a true conspirator. I think it just got sucked into the mire by timing.

We are seriously considering ditching this house and this life and hitting the mission field in some capacity. We have inquiries out and now we're just sitting and waiting and praying. Just think of us as a groovy Abram and Sarah who have definitely received a call, but have no clue where we're going or what we'll be doing. We're looking at having a plan in place by next summer.

This is good stress, but it is stress nonetheless. It will entail hard decisions regarding aging parents and growing children and the above-mentioned family storm.


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Conspirator #6: Haywire Hormones

I am perched precariously on the cusp of menopause. Mulletman and I have a standing joke now. I snarl out, "Mood Swing!" and he ducks. Enough said.

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The Result:

I probably could have dealt with any one of these situations singly. But they all joined forces together and I was overwhelmed. That's why I haven't blogged.

I was drowning in depression!

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The Remedy:

But then, joy of jubilant joys, the sun came out, and I came out with it!

The past few days I have spent as much time soaking up sunbeams as I could - and my mood has risen accordingly. I've also starting working-out again and planning on a big salad or serving of raw veggies every day at lunch time. I'm still taking my St. John's Wort. I've been focusing on fun crafts to make with the girlies and playing silly games with them. All these things help boost seratonin levels.

I can't lengthen the days or stop the rain or calm the tidal waves or rush the missions org, but I can read the Word, and pray, and play in the sunshine and rejoice in my Savior.

I'm back! Life is good. And when the next wave comes (probably sooner, instead of later) I'll be a little better prepared.

But give me lots of dark chocolate...just in case!

1 comment:

PEA said...

Don't you just love weeks like that?? NOT! Believe me, I've had them too and sometimes wonder why everything happens all at once...why not in little bits and pieces so that it doesn't overwhelm a poor soul like us! lol I'll have to remember yelling out "mood swing" next time...hehe! I'm glad the sun came out for you, though, and that you're feeling better...hang in there, you're not alone:-)