Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Same book, different chapter.

Okay, so it has been a looooong time since my last post.  I think if you’ve read my blog in the past, you’ll have noticed that it’s not just about books, but it’s also (to some extent) about me.  So, in order to honour that tradition and explain why I’ve been so quite for the last few months, here’s a quick run down of what’s been going on.

Over  Christmas, I started reading a series of 12 books (the Flashman Papers, which I’ve since blogged about); it was a big series, and it was all I was reading and since I only like to write about series once I’m finished with them (and not book by book), I was waiting to finish them before writing.  But then, a couple of days into the New Year, I got the flu – I never get the flu.  It’s much more common for me to get colds, so when I got sick, it completely floored me.  The week after that, I had to travel for business, and so seeing as how I was still trying to recover, and I was clocking 10-12 hour days, I didn’t get a chance to relax enough to read.  Once I got back home and to my regular work, I had to prepare for a massive meeting – again, not conducive to being relaxed enough to read.  Once I was able to get back into reading, I was still working my way through the Flashman Papers, so still wasn’t ready to blog about anything.

Then, I fell.  And I mean literally – I fell flat on my ass, hard.  I was heading to work one morning, but my landlord hadn’t salted or sanded the front walk-way to the building, and as I was walking, I started to fall and tried to save myself from going down; I did this by planting my left leg, but as the right leg slipped, I sell backwards and to my side, and all while the left leg didn’t move.  We still don’t know for sure what damage I did (I have an MRI scheduled for this week), but I felt my knee joint pop out of place, and when I tried to put weight on it, the knee collapsed and it felt like the bones were rubbing together.  One ambulance ride to the ER later, and I was sent home in a splint and with crutches.

In the months leading up to my fall, I was dealing with a lot of stress and pressure at work and at home.  I have a history of depressing in my family, and I experienced a serious bout of it about five years ago, at which time my family doctor put me on a mild anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication.  Before my fall, I was physically able to get through my days, even though I was mental/emotionally fragile.  When I fell, though, I lost the energy to keep fighting – it was as if every cheque I had cashed against my physical and mental health got called in all at once, and I spent the first week after I got hurt in tears; I felt like I was deserting my coworkers, like I was deserting my self, and like I had failed.  It was hard to work through, and I’m still working through it.

I’ve been off work since I fell.  If we didn’t live in a society that was willing to take care of its injured and damaged, I guess I could have forced myself to go back to work after the first month; my knee still bothers me, I’m going to a lot of appointments, and I’m not sleeping well, but if we didn’t have a social safety net, I could have done further damage to my mental health my going back to work.  But, as it is, we do live in a country that values the health of its citizens; while I can walk, my knee aches by the end of the day (and if there’s rain in the forecast), though I’m spending my time rehabbing and consulting with specialists, they never seem to be available during reasonable hours, and even with the aid of over-the-counter medications, I’m having a hard time falling asleep, staying asleep, and then waking up at a reasonable time.  All in all, after a month and a half off, I’m still a mess – both physically and emotionally.

What I am able to do now (finally!) is read.  I’ve been reading less than usual for when I have time off, but I’m still reading a couple of hours everyday.  The result is a pile of books sitting on my desk, just waiting for their write-up.  While I’m able to read, what I’ve not been able to do is muster the energy to write.  And all that, beginning with mitigating factors in December, is why I haven’t posted to this blog in ages.  

Once of the resources I read as part of my desire to better understand the depression I’m going through and to find ways to aid my recovery, suggested that I think of activities I liked doing before the depression really hit, and make appointments with myself to do them.  So, that’s what I’ve done.  I used to love blogging – it gave me a creative outlet, and put me in touch with a lot of interesting people.  I may not have the energy to be interested in doing it right now, but I have to get back into good habits, and stop allowing myself to wallow in the bad.  Another tip the resource I read suggested was to set reasonable goals; as my pile of books to review grew, I became less and less inclined to try writing – it seemed like a daunting task.  So, my new goal is this: every three days (I have a reminder set in my phone), I’ve made an appointment with myself to sit down and review one or two books.  This way, I hope to rediscover the enjoyment of blogging without putting a lot of pressure on myself.

So, why am I telling you all this?  Well, I’m partly telling myself.  I have no clue who actually reads this blog, but I know that I do.  Eight Bookcases has always been a way for me to record my life through what I read, to trace where I’ve been and where I’m going, and it made sense to let my personal experiences colour my reviews of them.  But another part of why I’m publicly posting about this is to engender understanding; I still think to myself that I should snap out of this, and I know that’s what a lot of people think about depression, but the more I fight with it, the more I realize that’s not possible.  I don’t want to feel like this – I don’t like feeling like this – but it’s my current reality, so why not own it?  Why not talk about it?  Because what is a blog, but a place to share?

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