This time last year I was really depressed and not taking care of myself. My job was trash, my mood was horrendous, and if I wasn’t sobbing, then I was mean to everyone. I kept turning down the suggestions to start antidepressants, even though both my therapist and primary doctor wanted me to try them, and instead I just fought my sadness with nothing positive. My therapist had me tracking my mood at the time and the only time it was anything higher than midrange (like no feelings at all) was the day we got a christmas tree. It was my first one as an adult, which is weird because the holiday was such a large part of my childhood and I was about to turn 40. It was also our first tree as a couple. It made me happy.
My therapist pointed out the spike in my mood per the tracker and I joked that it meant that we had to get a tree every day. Instead, she pointed out that it was the only time I had gone outside that was not work related. Every hour I had to write what activity I was doing and rate my mood on a scale of 0-100. The scale is basically like 0 is the most depressed I could be and 100 is like PUMPED AS FUCK TO BE ALIVE. And every hour that I tracked, I was either in my apartment or at my horrible job, and my mood was always less than 50. And it was in that session that the tracker proved what she had been saying all along: activity and being outdoors causes our moods to elevate.
This year is different. I started the meds back in March and began to do things for myself. I feel like I have made a lot of progress – I have put a lot of work into bettering my mental health and have been continuing to change and grow. I think it has been much easier after leaving that trash job. I saw my therapist before starting my new job and she said we could stop our sessions. I was nervous, but agreed. And I have been doing okay. I write more. I am outdoors more. I take walks and try to meditate. I am focusing on fat positivity and rewiring the parts of my brain that were formed by the societal mess that has told us that we are not worthy of anything unless our body is a certain size. I don’t hate my job. I try to do better every day.
But something happened. Or maybe didn’t happen.
I have been fighting a bad mood for a few months now. I have been attributing it to the Plan B that I took back in September. I bled for almost two weeks. Now we are at December 17 and I have yet to have a normal period. I have taken several pregnancy tests and they have all been negative. I had to get my IUD removed last year for a concern of it causing IIH. The thing is, we were never sure what happened, but I was either misdiagnosed, or it was the IUD, and my medical chart has it listed as a pseudo diagnosis. That being said, I had been off of all hormonal-based meds for over a year and then had to take the Plan B. I recently went in for my yearly pap and told him about the amenorrhea (no period) and he thinks that it has been too long for it to be from the Plan B. I guess that means I cannot blame my mood on it anymore either.
Every day I feel like I am dealing with a generalized annoyance at everything and everyone and if I don’t take the time to breathe and go outside, it turns into a sometimes rage-filled constant grumpy state. I am able to do things, it is not a depressive state. I am not hiding under the covers, but now that I say that, I have been sleeping more than usual. And I have cried recently, quite a few times, which I had not done in a while. Mostly, I am fucking grumpy and want to be alone, but at the same time I wish certain people would reach out more. If I was maybe 10 years older, I would assume this is menopause.
I will go back to the gynecologist in January if I haven’t had a period – he said he would check my hormone levels and do an ultrasound. And yesterday I reached out to my therapist. She doesn’t take my new job’s insurance, but she offered me a discounted session, which I may have to take. I know that the holidays can be difficult for everyone. And maybe this is some resurgence of grief over my mother that is no longer here, or my father that no longer remembers my name, but I can’t set aside the fact that this has been brewing for a few months.
We put up our tree last weekend. It didn’t do the same thing as last year. It didn’t make things magically better for a day.