Thursday, December 24, 2015
Personally: Choosing Joy
For most of 2015 I was unable to feel joy. With things going wrong in the workplace, things like this on my mind, and 17 iron infusions in front of me, I was a seething ball of fury. I was short with my family. I was a raging harpy online. Every day was just another routine. Everything was dull. I just wasn't myself.
It wasn't until I started down a long road of insomnia, had a couple of my first-ever panic attacks, and began to have dull chest pain that I realized stress and anxiety were running away with me...carrying me further away from my family and myself than I ever wanted to be.
I'm generally a pretty happy, if snarky, person, so finding no joy day after day was disturbing. I've always enjoyed time with my family, the book community, and writing, but nothing was touching me deep down inside. I felt numb.
Once the physical symptoms started piling up, I decided to go ahead and talk with my doctor about medication for anxiety and depression. I've fought depression fairly often over the years, and I have a long family history, but since my mid-twenties I've largely been able to take my symptoms in stride by keeping crazy busy. That's just the way I've done it...not that it's advisable. But it wasn't working anymore.
For the second time in my life (the first stint being around 2004), I decided to go on Zoloft. My doctor also suggested "as needed" Xanax for the overwhelming days when Zoloft doesn't cut it.
Do I feel ashamed? Hell no. The title of this post is "choosing joy" not because depression and anxiety can be overcome by choosing to be happy. Not at all. But I chose to get the help I needed in order to feel joy again. It's a glorious feeling not to be angry or overwhelmed all the time. To want to commune with friends. To be kinder to the people closest to me.
Is every day a win? No. A few days ago I had an absolute crap day at work, Greyson was still newly out-of-state with his dad, and I was in the doldrums, but a glass of scotch with my husband, a back rub, and a good night's sleep were enough to put me back in a good mood the next day. No physical symptoms. No fighting to keep my head above water.
I hope you're healthy and happy this holiday season. I hope you feel joy right down to your toenails, but if you don't, know that plenty of others have been there or are there now. I wish you hope. I wish you the help you need.