January 23, 2006

No News Could Sometimes Be S.A.D.D. News

A little imagination can go a long way sometimes.

Join me for another little session of psychotherapy with my pretend analyst. If not for this type of imaginary interaction, the post you’re now reading would be tabula rasa (a blank slate).

Pretend Therapist: Well good morning Hag. Long time no pretend!

WH: No kidding. I’ve had a couple of busy months. I came to you because it’s happening again and I could just scream. I vow to myself every single year that I will not allow this to consume me again, yet it continues to do so. I’m at my wit’s end.

PT: Wait, wait. You need to start at the beginning. I’m losing you already and that’s not going to be good for either of us.
WH: Oh, right. A number of years ago, I noticed an obvious change in my mindset following the holidays. It seems I go to this place – this dank head-place where my thoughts become jumbled and my fingers refuse to do what they want to do most, which is to write. It never affected me in such a way that I couldn’t function, yet lately it seems to have really grabbed hold.

PT: Hm. Sounds like you might be experiencing a touch of S.A.D.D. Are you familiar with this term?
WH: I’ve looked it up. Seasonal Affective something something, right? Yeah, I denied it for a long time … but now it’s become quite apparent. Last year I thought I had a pretty good grasp on it … but this year, even with all my celebrations and changes, it gotten the better of me. Cripes I hate this shit.

PT: You’re fortunate. For some, it’s quite debilitating.
WH: So what are you saying? For me, it’s nothing?
PT: Hold onto your hat, I never said that. I just mean that you are aware of it and you seem to take an active stand in combating it; a step in the right direction. Have you considered medication therapy?
WH: Keep your pills oh mighty sage. I take enough of those already. That’s all I need to do is add another PILL to my daily routine. Pull-eeze.

PT: Okay, then you’re here just to complain about it? I can listen to your complaints … it’s just that in my line of work, I’m accustomed to offering advice. You do understand this, yes?
WH: You can advise all you want, but I’ve probably tried it already. I guess I am here just to complain and to reaffirm that I’m not losing my little mind.
PT: Oh, you’re not losing your mind. You stand among many others who suffer from this seasonal disorder.

WH: Well it sucks. This year, I went through more than a couple of major changes and thought for certain I would escape its clutches, but no. That in itself is depressing.
PT: You know you can’t wish it away though, right? I mean, perhaps if you just embrace it … accept it … you might be better off.
WH: You know what I want to say about that, right?
PT: Yes … “Embrace this.” I know you too well. So talk to me about all these changes you’ve gone through.

WH: Well, I got married – now some may not think of this as a major change since we’ve lived together for six years already, but it is. I have an all-new status. I’m somebody’s wife for cripes sake. Big responsibility.
PT: Oh yes … and how’s that working for you?
WH: I’ve never been happier. I feel like I’ve got it all … everything is good and right and healthy in this marriage and I know how lucky I am.
PT: Wonderful. More changes?

WH: I cut my hair. I cannot remember the last time it was this short. I guess it’s been about 10 years. Maybe it’s the Samson-effect [chuckles out loud] … you know, lost my hair, lost my ability to write. Egad! You don’t think …
PT: STOP YOURSELF RIGHT NOW. You know better. Keep it in perspective. It’s a haircut.
WH: Right, right. Well I miss my hair. It was down to my ass you know. There was so much I could do with it … I could …
PT: Yes and you complained about it every single moment of every day there toward the end. It tangled when the wind blew and it pained you to brush it! It weighed so much that there was no body left in it. This was a good thing to do, Hag. Trust me.

WH: Speaking of weight, that’s another change. Well, a change-in-progress. I’ve joined a gym. Yuck. I’m willing to give this an honest-to-goodness try. I’ve needed to drop some weight for a long time now and I thought - what better motivation than to want to look and feel my best for Ed.
PT: WONDERFUL! Good for you. This will bring you even more satisfaction than anticipated! Besides, it was high time you got off the couch and computer chair. How often do you go?
WH: I’m starting out slowly. I go three days per week, and I’ve found that I really had to push myself on one occasion so far. BUT … after the workout, I felt like I could take on the world … at least for a short while. I guess I do enjoy it. I’ll like it even more if I start to see results.
PT: Keep at it. Nothing happens overnight. This is a good change … a very good change indeed. So what else is there?

WH: I quit smoking.
PT: OH MY GOD! I never thought I’d hear you say those words! How lovely for you!
WH: Well, I went back again. I only quit for about an hour the other day, but hey, it was a serious attempt. That has to count for something, right?
PT: (look of disgust) No. It counts for nothing.
WH: Well I say it does.
PT: Well you’re fooling yourself. You know it’s all or nothing with the smokes, baby. Either you stop or you don’t. And by “stop” I don’t mean for an hour or a day. You have to make up your mind to just do it, then get it done.
WH: I didn’t come here for a lecture.
PT: YOU brought it up!
WH: Oh.

PT: Okay so let’s take a look at this situation, because our time is almost up.
WH: Blah, blah, blah.
PT: Stop that. You know the rules. Nobody says you have to like them, just know them and follow them.
WH: Must be nice to have such power.
PT: [looking up to the sky] Can we continue?
WH: Sure.

PT: So you’ve gotten married, changed your name, changed your look and have “considered” giving up your smokes. Nothing earth shattering there, really.
WH: So you’re minimizing everything I’ve put on the table today. Great.
PT: Here we go again … every time we’re about to close the session you start to become irritable and argumentative.
WH: There’s much to be said for consistency.
PT: (audible sigh)

WH: Look, I’m just saying … I’m in the throes of this ucky Seasonal Asinine Dreaded Disorder thing and I can’t seem to focus on anything. I can’t seem to drag myself up to the computer to write or even to read. I can’t even enjoy the newspaper! My thoughts seem tangled and my writing has been a mass of disjointed words.
PT: Yet, you’re here today. You’re writing today. This could be a very good sign. I might suggest to take it slowly … one day at a time.
WH: That’s for alcoholics.
PT: No. That’s for anyone who is facing a huge challenge. I know it isn’t easy… but if you apply yourself using tiny steps, it just might come around for you.

WH: [taps finger on edge of chair … contemplates … looks around]
I’m impatient. I want things to happen immediately.
PT: That’s something else you need to work on. How about you begin with exercising a bit of patience within your own self?
WH: Then I have to admit that I just can’t cut it the way others do.
PT: Others?
WH: Other bloggers. They’re all out there. They write almost daily, they visit about and leave their footprint on others’ blogs, they all have so much to say and they’re all doing it… and I can’t. Not right now. I hate this about me. It’s only January. It could be months before I straighten up and fly right again. [lowers head into hands] I’m inferior.
PT: Stop it. You’re not inferior. You just have stuff going on; on the inside … stuff that perhaps some of them cannot relate to… which is a good thing, for them. Small steps. Don’t fight it … embrace it and carry on with your days like you’re in control, even if you’re not. Don’t think “It’s only January” … think “It’s January already!” Try this. It can be most motivating.

WH: [scrunching nose at this suggestion] … Okay, I’ll give it my best shot. But for now, I need to go get some tea. It appears my cup is half empty.


Blogger Steve said...

Mmmm, tea. I like Insamcha (Korean Ginseng tea).

Don't worry about how often you post, WH. It's not the quantity that matters. Your friends know that you're there for them. Take your time and enjoy being you.

And quitting for an hour counts for something. Next time quit for two hours.

8:46 AM  
Blogger Wicked H said...

An hour! That is HUGE. Baby steps Hag.

We are happy to see you no matter how often.

9:42 AM  
Blogger sands of time said...

You've just had some major changes there.You got married,changed your appearance it no wonder your poor brain can't think of words to write.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Alisa said...

I seem to be suffering the same malady.

I'd fire your therapist!

1:18 PM  
Blogger oregoncelticlady said...

The GYM?!?!?!? Oh, my goddess!
*bows to Hag* You are wonderful and we will always be here! Take a break and check out the "fairy" at my site. It is sweet and goes well with a cup of tea!

3:51 PM  
Anonymous John said...

Good grief Hag - your writing is NOT impacted! Great as always! Glad your back and hope that you and Ed are getting on well. Congrats! :)

Have an excellent week - unaffected by the grey skies of winter...

4:18 PM  
Blogger Floridacracker said...

Glad you are back!

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's the Staten Island Syndrome. You're not like normal folk, you have to do it all at once. Big city folk! Tsk! Carol, attempting too much all at once is moiderous! Take it easy.

You suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder? Ditto. That explains a lot. I once had an efriend who changed from sweetness and light to darkness, all rather quickly. Of course, it didn't help that I suffer in the same way too. But it has made me think - it was an interersting interaction. Roll on Spring.

You know its not true that all the other bloggers are out there, merrily doing their thing. This is Swifty here, remember me, the worlds worst? Once again, I don't have a Blog.

Take care and take it easy.


4:39 PM  
Blogger Tabor said...

Lets see, you got married, joined a gym, tried to stop smoking...sounds like your plate is pretty full already. I have read about a full spectrum light that people use when they have SADD. I cannot say whether it works or not, and it is not cheap, but, if you are really suffering, it doesn't cost as much as smoking will cost you this year.

5:06 PM  
Blogger brooksba said...


Don't worry about how often you post. Yes, I'm excited when I find a new post on your site, but I will always be excited, no matter the quanity of posts. And you know, other Bloggers do take days and weeks and months off.

I think this is a great post, as always. Let blogging be something you enjoy and not something you feel obligated to do. When you want to enjoy it, enjoy it.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Carol you need to move down under! No attack of the SADDS here, it's way too bloody hot!
Good for you having a crack at the smokes....2 hours next time :)

6:54 PM  
Blogger Carly said...

Seriously... go tanning every 3 or 4 days. Not enough to get tan, just enough to get a hint of color. You will be amazed at the difference it makes.

7:08 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

Hmmm.....no photo of the haircut? I'd love to see it! SADD: use the lights. Gym: 3x per week is sufficient, and you will see results in 30 days. Smoking: I quit, so I know you can too, but you really have to want to quit.
Posting: I'd like it more often, but I will take what I can get.

Feel better soon!

11:00 PM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

I love orange spice tea. The best I ever found was Market Spice which was orange/lemon zest with some other spices. Yum. And I loved your last line.

Please do not compare yourself to other bloggers. We should never compare ourselves to others but only strive to be the best person we can be (oh, blech, can't believe I'm saying this).

My point is, you're great. We all adore you. Read/post when you can.

And my former therapist used to tell me that I should pretend that all the negative thoughts were demons and I was Xena the Warrior Princess and kick some demon ass. Oddly enough, it does work on occasion.

12:00 AM  
Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

About freggin' time you updated.

1:51 AM  
Blogger Pallavi said...

hahah its ok.. I guess.. I have not been able to write much either.. :) gives for a good break... LOL..

3:14 AM  
Blogger the Monk said...

you'll get it back...the quality sure hasn't come down...

6:01 AM  
Blogger Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) said...

So that's the reason I did't post to my blog for 2 wks, nor visit hardly anyone else's! My hair wasn't as long as yours, but I let my older daughter cut it much shorter, the shortest I've had it in years.No wonder I clutched some tresses and stroked those curls in my hands as she gleefully hacked away. (I even saved some in a ziplock. Yup: weird GEL.)

Note: This was the *first* time she ever cut my hair! Hers had been as long as yours. She cut her own after being at college one month and it looks terrific, but I have the willies even at a professional hair stylist.

For some still unknown reason, I decided to be adventurous and this was the night before I was to see a friend I hadn't seen in 10 years.

I miss my hair, too. I should write a post about attachment. I barely eked out a post last night.

I don't have SADD, but I feel for you. It's FAR more serious than many realize. Do you use those full spectrum lights in addition to natural sunlight exposure?

Brilliant twist on words from affective to assanine. Creative use of the pretend therapist. Good luck with all of your goals! One hour sure DOES count!

2:59 PM  
Blogger Rainypete said...

I thought I may have been experiencing a bit of this myself. Then I realized I only felt bad near the mailbox and determined that what I had was C.S.F.S.(Credit Statement Fear Syndrome). Nothing some heavy drinking can't alleviate.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Dave Morris said...

I sure wish I didn't know what you are talking about. This winter has been really hard because I've been looking back on the worst year of my life and wondering how I got here.

I remember one particular post I wrote on my lowest day of 2005, and how much your comment lifted me. Don't underestimate the impact you, your words and your blog have on others - I should think that would be a really uplifting thing for you to remember right now.

3:57 PM  
Blogger frustratedwriter said...

I'm just happy to see you post something because I know everything is cool in the world of Carol. You could even post, "Hey, a good day here, loving life...thanks!" and I would be happy. Hope SADD passes soon.

9:37 PM  
Blogger Spinning Girl said...

Once again, I printed your post and read it in bed.

You need a light box!!! They work, I hear.

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually have reverse SAD. I get depressed in the summer- the heat freaks me out.

8:29 AM  
Blogger happyandblue2 said...

I've been going through the same thing. Well the not feeling like writing or commenting part anyway. In fact I'm thinking of taking time off. Like a blog vacation.
Glad you wrote something to explain. I was feeling even more depressed thinking you may have just quit..

12:56 PM  
Blogger michele said...

Hi carol, i wish bald headed women
would come in style...but that will
never be.Then we wouldn't have to worry about a nice hair style.
Good luck at giving up smoking.
I guess i'm weak..i can't for now.
Especially dealing with blogger and other publishing sites.One time my blog just dissapeared.It can happen....but i went on google and got it back myself.See that's why i can't stop smoking.Plus trying to be witty everyday on my blog...the pressure is just too much.

4:33 PM  
Anonymous colleen said...

the light is growing longer every day...and so is your hair!

Love the way you ended the piece! I've been thinking about you.

10:58 PM  
Anonymous Simply Coll said...

January is always a tough month for me. The days are short.. there is nothing but cold and snow out there. I do understand how you feel. But wait.. in one week January is history (at least for one more year). I CAN DO THIS.. and so can you. Hang in there.
And don't worry too much about the writer's block. It will return when you least expect it.

Good luck with the quitting smoking. I quit 4 years ago. It was the hardest and BEST thing I ever did.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Justine said...

That was the best post! You are SO funny. Your cup is definitely looking half full to replete and overflowing from where I sit.

If its any consolation, its very hot and sunny here where I am, and I've been feeling... well... pretty darn sad and whacked out.

Most of us Aussie bloggers haven't been posting either - we're too darn hot, miserable, uncomfortable in the heat. There's no escaping it.

At least when its cold you can get warm, light pretty candles, and use the oven to make ... oooh roast vegetables! Yum! without fainting from heat exhaustion.

7:33 PM  
Blogger lilly05 said...

No worries Carol, I'm not posting very often either. Got too much on my plate right now. Good to read your post though. Chin up, it'll get better! :)

1:03 AM  
Anonymous dulciana said...

Hey, sounds like you're doing lots of things that will help in time. Post when you want, and take some time to enjoy your new life! BTW, I've moved to a new blog home.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:34 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Holy hell! You have gone through a gazillion changes - no wonder you are experiencing some stress!

Good for you for taking all of this on. I will now stop bitching about my relatively minor changes! :) (oh, and get off my ass and get to the gym. tomorrow.)

7:35 PM  
Blogger MYSTIC said...

Go fishing for Pete's sake! It is still warm enough down here to do that...Spring is coming soon, so no more stress...get out on the pond. "We don't need no stinkin stress" Who cleans the fish now that your married...?

12:29 PM  
Blogger I am a Milliner's Dream, a woman of many "hats"... said...

Joined a gym.
Quitting smoking.

An overdose of change, though all good.

Hang in there. I am proud of you.

12:41 PM  
Blogger J said...

I loved this entry.

I got a case of "finally have everything, can't manage to enjoy it" this year. I think it was a useful perspective though. If happiness does NOT follow from having a nice job, nice apartment, nice social life, well. If it's that little tied to reason, then theoretically I could be ecstatic about just this sandwich I'm eating. I don't know how, but perhaps it will come to me.

It's funny the things we feel inferior about. I am happy to keep posting only once a month, knowing I am contributing to your well-being.

You should get a kayak, then we can get exercise together. I can teach you how to roll it!

2:54 PM  
Blogger PBS said...

Well, you certainly wrote a lot and well for having blogger's block! Those are a lot of big changes for you to cope with.

I need a pretend therapist too, that's a great idea!

9:42 PM  
Blogger Pete B said...

Like Lilly, I can hardly criticise at the moment! On the plus side I'm feeling quite stable, but on the minus this is because I've got stuff to do and my mind is full of work. Ho hum.

Tea is good :-)

Take care.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Kathy said...

Good to see you posting again Carol, and good for me for finally checking in again. Some friend!

Consider the work of John Ott for a way to make some easy changes. During the winter months, the indoor light source is just not enough. Lack of sun; i.e. lack of full spectrum light is debilitating for all of us...for some, SADD is the result. It's nothing to be ashamed of.
Do an internet search on John Ott. He discovered and wrote about the value of full spectrum light. Also look into the work of Jabob Lieberman (I think I'll post on this soon). They sell full spectrum light bulbs...pricey but maybe worth it.
You'd really be suffering from writer's block if you had given up smoking. Puff puff - write write.

2:55 PM  
Blogger sidcruise said...

hey Long time whens the next post?

11:30 AM  
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