Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Blue Period


I feel funny about writing this so soon after many posts about being grateful and optimistic, but the truth is, sometimes I get really down.

I think the word "depression" is overused, so I won't refer to it to describe this feeling, as there is a big difference between being clinically depressed and getting a bit sad from time to time.

I'm generally a positive person, so these blue periods often catch me unawares. Since I'm analytical, I will spend much time and energy trying to figure out why I'm feeling this way...is it a lack of exercise? Too little meaningful connection with family or friends? Not enough vitamins? Who knows? All I know is that, most of the time, the sadness will leave as swiftly as it came on, giving me no further ammunition to fight it the next time.

Being sensitive is great for creativity and expression, but it can also bring on the blues. I will shed tears over stories of animal abuse or environmental woes. Sometimes it doesn't take much to make me sad: a missed opportunity, a harsh word from someone I thought was a friend, an inability to do something I've been successful at in the past, a cruel comment on this blog, or simply making a mistake. As much as I try not to "sweat the small stuff", sometimes I just do, and I've had to accept that. On the flip side, I'm incredibly strong when a genuine crisis comes along. Go figure.

It's difficult to enjoy the journey when you feel like you've been running in place for years. Yes, I'm out of debt, but because of our ambitious plan to save everything we can for a move, travel, and long-term savings, I still have to watch every penny. My rewrites are finally progressing nicely, but let's face it--that road to publication is so long that I can't begin to glimpse the end of it yet. I've been freelancing for almost 20 years, but I'm still paid peanuts for the work that I do. The list goes on...there is always a positive and a negative way of looking at things, and I'm very good at both. And knowing there are many people who have it much worse than I do doesn't snap me out of a funk...it just adds guilt to the mix. I hope that one day, I will look back and be able to see a purpose and a positive result for how hard I've worked to make things happen, but when you're the hamster on the wheel, it's difficult to have that perspective.

Sometimes it just helps to talk about it. Thanks for listening.

Do you ever encounter the blues? How do you battle them? Do you think it's just the price we pay for being creative, and therefore sensitive?

11 comments:

  1. The blues "are like a season" (tony Robbins motivational speaker) It will pass.

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  2. Thanks, Anonymous. That's the only good thing about them, I guess...they leave fairly quickly. I'm sure they have some purpose. Just wish I could figure out what that is!

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  3. I don't totally understand why I get the blues from time to time, but it might be a biological/environmental thing. Seasonal Affective Disorder explains the winter blues but not when it hits you any other time of the year. When it does hit me, though, I usually grab my camera and take a long walk by myself. Walking is calming for me, and taking photos is a soothing distraction that helps to take my mind off of what was troubling me.

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  4. Thanks for your comment, Mark. Most people have a difficult time admitting that they get the blues. I'm not sure why...maybe it's seen as a "weakness" not to be able to snap out of it. I'm not sure why this stigma exists.

    I do think SAD could be the culprit with me as well. Thanks for your solution. Mine turned out to be a good talk with Chris, a bubble bath, and a book.

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  5. When I'm feeling down I like to "purge on the page," as I call it. I start writing, anything and everything that comes to mind, every sad miserable thought. I get it all out. I don't stop until my writing has turned from negative to positive. Usually it doesn't take all that long for me to have a change of heart.

    Often what makes us feel down are our own miserable and negative thoughts. We're disappointed or discouraged. You might try thinking
    from the end. Placing an "I Am" in front of some of the things you'd like to take place in your life.

    "I am a gifted writer," "I am happy," "I am healthy," etc... It's difficult to feel sad when you've got all those things going for you. :)

    I hope you're soon feeling better, Holli. :)

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  6. I am so glad that I stumbled into your post and overall blog tonight - I too have come home from work today and have been in one of those "blue moods" and similar to you, I wonder what brings on these feelings. Is it hormones? The snow that's falling outside my window? Is it my personality - do I put myself out there only to be hurt in the end?

    I think for me I get in a funk because I have set such high standards for myself and when I do not achieve them, I perceive myself as not being strong - it's during this time that I try to stop and remind myself that life is a journey and not a destination and while that doesn't instantly make me warm and sunny, it helps me to stay grounded and open up the blinders I have set on my eyes so that I can enjoy what is going on around me.

    Ok - things didn't work out in this relationship; I made a mistake today at work; I didn't achieve the goal I set quite yet. Time to remember what I have learned from all these things, as well as all the great people I have met along the way.

    Thanks for the post as it reminded me to "stop and smell the roses"

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  7. Thank you so much for your comments. It is so nice to know that I'm not alone in this experience.

    @ Laura - Thanks, as always, for your kind words. They mean so much, and you had a great suggestion. Writing has always been a form of healing for me as well, and I noticed that after I wrote this blog post, I feel a lot better...better still once I had talked to Chris. Sometimes, it just helps to share. Thanks for being there. You're such a kind person.

    @ K88 - You just made my day! That is exactly why I bare my soul to write this stuff...in the hopes that someone else might be going through the same thing and need to know they're not alone.

    I am sorry for your own case of the blues. Being a perfectionist is tough, and while I think it's important to dream big and set goals, you're right...the day-to-day grind to achieve them can wear us down.

    Welcome to the blog. I hope you return and share your insight again. Thank you for your heartfelt comment.

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  8. Holli your post caught me in a blue period, I just wish I was painting in blue instead of just feeling blue. It could be the month, March always seems to be the hardest for me - winter this year isn't to blame because it was so easy.

    I think that when we are gifted, creative, sensitive or any of the above in combination we have to accept the emotions that go with it. We also have to accept that people won't accept that - ha ha how's that for irony?

    Love your post though, and I think it is very real that you shared that even though you are optimistic and grateful that you still feel the blues. A welcome freshness in a world of pasted on smiles and glassy eyes!

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  9. Thanks for your comment, MM, and I'm so sorry that I've yet to get to that link you left for me. It's been a crazy month, with no relief on the horizon.

    I'm sorry to hear that you also suffer from the blues, but since you're such a happy, positive person, it gives me hope to know that even the most cheerful can get down from time to time. Could it be--gasp!--"normal"?

    Even though this winter has been easy, it still resulted in a lack of sun and plunging vitamin D levels...which could be part of the problem.

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  10. I think highs and, sigh, lows are normal in life (and that it's good and helpful in the discussion that you separate them from actual depression). I used to get really worried when mine would hit, because there are a lot of mental health issues in my family--but now I don't stress about them. Rather I take them as a sign to be a bit kinder to myself, have a "lazy" day where I sleep more, go for long walks, eat extra nutritiously--and have some dark chocolate. :)

    Melody Beattie, in her book of daily meditations, Journey to the Heart, has an amazing piece called "See All the Landscape" that talks about the natural valleys and peaks in life. It's truly wonderful. Well worth seeking out.

    Hope you're feeling better soon!

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  11. Thanks for your comment, Ev. I am feeling better, but now I have a bad cold--go figure!

    I do agree with you--the blues are a natural part of life, as frustrating as they may be. Sometimes I just need to cry/talk it out with Chris or a good friend, and Laura's idea of writing is great, too. Last night I was worried about a few things, so I wrote down everything that was bugging me, and it really helped.

    Add it to your dark chocolate routine and see what you think. :) Of course, sometimes it's the writing life that gets us down in the first place.

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