Kinda Sorta a Year of Sadness……

Cactus Fountain

Cactus Fountain

One of the most restful places in Tucson for me is the Tucson Botanical Gardens. There is this metal sculptural fountain of various kinds of cacti that is so spectacular. I don’t know how many times I have snapped pictures of it; I never tire of the photos, and it is fun to manipulate them on the computer. Surprisingly I’ve only been there twice this year, both times in the spring when most of the gardens are in bloom. It was also a time of severe depression and sadness. I think the family deaths from last year began to finally catch up with me…anger primarily, and then sadness.

The depression stuck around for a long time, and I realized I needed to get a different kind of medication. I would sit and play solitaire for hours on end, not doing any sewing or anything beyond the basics. One of the side effects – on the good side – was the fact that I completely slowed down. I spent most of the winter and spring in first gear, and sometimes it felt like reverse. Vacation was wonderful, but coming back to a long siege with pneumonia derailed me again. I had a couple weeks before Thanksgiving I felt like I was at least in fourth gear, getting a great amount done, but then the sadness struck again with Thanksgiving, as it always does at this time, commemorating my dad’s sudden death 39 years ago. It was harder to get over things this year, but I am slowly working my way back into fourth gear.

It has also helped to have an endocrinologist who actually felt my thyroid, determined there were problems just from my symptoms, and then had tests and an ultrasound done to confirm everything. It will take a while to get better, but at least, after nearly two decades, I have a doctor who is willing to listen and try alternative approaches.

Overall this year I have not felt productive, not like the last two years of retirement have been. And yet I have made deadlines, the business has had the best year ever, and my own skills continue to improve. So I have to look at that and ignore the fact that some days nothing got accomplished except getting dressed. As is my usual self, I am looking forward to the new year and new projects, finishing some old one, enjoying the 60s (turning out to be a pretty good decade), navigating Medicare and health care, and not feeling guilty when a day passes and all I have done is read a book – or write on the novel.

Last January I only had 200 blog entries to go till I hit 1000, and then I basically stopped writing. I’ve done very few entries this year, and I’ve also read very few blogs this year. Part of me feels guilty, and the other part of me is lashing me with a wet noodle and saying “stop it – no need to feel guilty.” So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it……

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One Response to “Kinda Sorta a Year of Sadness……”

  • I’m sorry you had such a tough year, Linda. Reading this, I thought, “Hmmmm…. Linda needs to listen to her own advice!” You tell others not to feel guilty, to embrace the positive, etc. Well? :)

    There are two things that I see: One, there is a health issue that you are addressing and that is super important. If your thyroid is not working properly, it is going to affect what you can do. Two, you ARE retired! You’ve earned the right to relax, to read a book all day if you want to, to slow down. Yes, you have a business, too, but with it comes some freedom in structuring your time and your goals. Blogs and other social media sites are all tools that are yours to use when you need them. I think many of us get sucked into feeling like slaves to what we do instead of owning what we do.

    It’s not easy to deal with sadness, illness and depression and our culture often preaches that we have to always be on top of things, smiling and happy, the American dream. It’s healthy to feel these emotions, just so they don’t suck you into a dark hole that you can’t get out of. I’ve found that “naming the pain” is part of the healing process and that once that sadness is identified, it can change into something else. Making art about it has always helped me.

    At any rate, I hope that you feel better soon and that 2014 is a joyous year for you!

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