Monday, January 27, 2014


First Bunch of Critters:  Viruses.  There is some sort of cold/flu virus going around our area.  The symptoms aren’t particularly horrible but it leaves you feeling completely exhausted.  I was sick for at least 2 weeks, home from work for one of those weeks, and I’m still feeling pretty wimpy.  It thawed enough on Sunday for me to at least try to do some trail running, but it was more of a hike interspersed with a bit of jogging.  Baby steps.  Yuck.

Second Bunch of Critters:  Brain Chemicals.  Part of being sick and exhausted was an inability to ignore my seasonal depression.  My favorite technique for dealing with SAD is to simply be completely unaware of the depression.  I cruise along like a blindfolded tightrope walker, getting things done in spite of the yawning abyss below.  “Don’t look down” is my motto from January until May.  However, any real drain on my energy (see First Bunch of Critters above) makes it tough to maintain my forward momentum.  I’ve had a few really unpleasant days lately, but at least I got a decent poem out of it:

Just Before the Dawn
Lying awake
With a mouthful of the unsaid.
No tears, just a grey heart
And a vague wish for sleep
In the deep charcoal
Of 0dark:30

Yeesh.  Hey, don’t let that get you down—it’s just the winter blues, okay?  C’mon Spring!!

Third Bunch of Critters:  Adoptable Dogs and Cats.  In December, I started volunteering at a local no-kill shelter.  I had to skip a couple of weekends because of the bleeping virus, but I’m back on track now.  So far, the cats I have most wished to adopt have been adopted by someone else.  Bella is always relieved to hear that bit of news.  Since she is “allergic” to dogs, I won’t even consider adopting any of them.  I managed to talk a couple of friends into walking dogs with me on Sundays, just to get the poor critters out of the kennels (and some of them need real help learning to walk on a leash).  It’s not always fun or convenient, but I love playing/cuddling/giving treats after the work is over.  Doing this distracts me from my own whining.  It’s so comforting to see the cats settling down to happy naps once the cages are clean and fresh or to watch a dog relax into the back seat of the car after a good walk in the woods.

In looking for a poem that I’ve always used as inspiration for getting out of my own head, I found this blog post.  Go read it—it’s pretty short so I’m sure you have time.  It includes the poem as well as a couple of very good ideas:

  • PTSD and depression can be tackled without medication, but not without reaching out to others...
  • Happiness always follows a good deed, if only for a moment, but that's how we live anyway--moment to moment one day at a time.

“Do something for somebody, quick!”

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