I was looking forward to Christmas this year, but, like most years in my adult life, it seemed to come and go relatively quickly. Last year was worse, to be honest; something about finishing work on the Friday and Christmas Eve being on Monday meant there was very little breathing room between the two. Kinda rushing from one finish line in one race to another finish line in another race.
I have very few friends in Christchurch, and I have no family other than my husband Noel. So Christmas can be difficult sometimes. I should add a little side note here: more difficult sometimes. In my adult life, when I was living back in the States, and with having high-functioning depression, Christmas was still difficult. Sometimes it was very hard to connect to the holiday in that odd stage between childhood and adulthood. But at least I had my family and close friends around me.
This year was going to be different. We had friends coming down to Christchurch to spend Christmas with us, and, even more fun, to surprise their daughter and son-in-law, who are also our friends. That built up a lot of excitement (and a fair bit of anxiety too) in me, because it was a chance to share in the joy of the season through a surprise for a friend.
(Our friend here in Christchurch, the daughter, was extremely happy to see her mother and step-father, and that alone made my Christmas. I’m super-glad they are able to spend the holidays together.)
Our friends who came into town had other people to see — fair enough, I totally understand that, especially as we have multiple people to visit every year we are in the States — and they left a few days after Christmas. It kinda felt like what I imagine empty-nesters must feel like after their last kid goes to college.
I loved Christmas day, please don’t get me wrong. But after all that, after the surprise was over and after our friends left, I kinda fell flat again.
Nothing seemed to hold my interest for long.
Netflix or YouTube? No, and no.
Nothing big, nothing small, nothing in-between was holding my interest.
So, it feels like I’ve gone back several steps recovery-wise, and I just want to barricade myself in the bedroom and have my own space to… Well, to what? Sulk? Breathe? Recover? Re-energize? I’m not sure. Maybe all of that. Maybe all of that in stages, or maybe all of that at one time.
I’ve been bobbing between happy and anxious and sad and depressed since my feelings have come back more roundly. They aren’t in sharp bursts like they used to be, but they still are very strong at times. Overwhelming. The word is overwhelming.
And then some sort of switch within me sometimes flicks, and the numbness comes back to shut down any sort of feeling whatsoever.
So, the last few days, I’ve felt like I didn’t want to do anything except vege out.
Except, well, I kinda didn’t in one aspect of my life.
These are kinda the “fuck this year and fuck this decade” moments of today leading up to that one aspect I decided to focus on today.
We were invited to a New Year’s Eve party via text last night, and honestly, the last thing I feel like doing right now is socializing, or talking, or trying to appear in any way, shape, or form as a functional human being. And, one thing I have learned in counselling about this is, that I have that right to not put a mask on and be the “happy Scott” I feel that everyone expects me to be all the time.
Please note the words I feel. That is my perception of what I feel others want, not the reality of what others want.
I told Noel about it and said I wasn’t feeling to up to it all, but I told him I would sleep on it. The decision, he said, was mine because if I’m not feeling well, I’m not feeling well, and he doesn’t want to force me to do something if I’m not feeling well.
Before bed, I took some pain killers. The nerve pain from the rotator cuff injuries I got in the February 2011 quake sometimes stops me from having a comfortable sleep, and the last few weeks (after putting the trees up, incidentally) have been bad. But some of my medication contraindicates me from taking ibuprofen for long periods of time, so I have been not doing anything for the pain but stretching a lot.
Long story short, I slept moderately better, but still woke up feeling unwell. So, this morning, first thing I did as I ate my Corn Flakes was text my friend to thank her for the invite but we wouldn’t be coming because I felt unwell. I honestly needed time and space to be in my own space and get better. (I didn’t tell her that part.)
After I ate breakfast, I checked my Messenger messages and found a long (rather lecturing) message about something someone else said, and implying that I should somehow fix it. And part of me thought: You know, this isn’t my circus and these aren’t my monkeys. I’m not cleaning up the elephant poo steaming in the middle of the ring. Someone else can clean up the elephant poo steaming in the middle of the ring. And, for one of the first times in my life, I pointed out the elephant poo steaming in the middle of the ring to the person responsible and said, “Your mess. You clean it up.”
Then I thought I’d spend some time on my application for a mentor through the New Zealand Society of Authors. I started the application on their Web site a few weeks ago, but they were undergoing some maintenance, and with work and graduation and all that, I hadn’t had time to go back in. (I did, in the meantime, get a blanket email to say that the database had been updated, and we could save documents and other information now.)
So, I tried to access the application. Gone.
I tried to sign in. I couldn’t. Password invalid.
And I’m a stupid shit who didn’t print, or cut and paste my answers into a Word document just in case. You know, the stuff I always tell everyone else to do? The one time I don’t do it, days’ worth of work is gone.
It’s only 10 AM on the last day of 2019 and the last day of the 2010s, I’ve only been awake for about an hour, I feel like I can barely function, and it feels like everything that can go wrong and will go wrong is going wrong today, and I get to the point of:
I’m over earthquakes, more earthquakes, even more earthquakes, knowing anything remotely about liquefaction and peak ground acceleration, fires, terrorists, house explosions, depersonalization, being bullied, colonoscopies, gaslighting, and so on and so forth.
Seriously. This year and this decade can fuck right off.
Posting some vague message on Facebook to say, “Everyone have a great new year” (but basically, I’m not humaning right now, so I’ll talk to you all in 2020), I decided to step away from social media and messages and all that jazz and work on my application.
Working on it made me feel a bit better.
I have all the answers completed again and saved on a Word document on a OneDrive in the cloud so it doesn’t matter if it goes missing again.
I finished the first draft of my biological summary with information about my writing, and I completed the first draft of my goals through the mentorship programme.
I even combed through them all to make corrections a few times.
This is me focussing on the future. This is me clamping a goal down for 2020, and starting on that now, in the last day of 2019.
As the last sentence in my biological summary with information about my writing stated:
“2020, I hope, will be the year of my creative writing: finish my first novel, revise it to near perfection, and work towards publishing it.”
Let’s hope that momentum continues next year.
And happy new year to you and your loved ones, whoever you are or wherever you may be.