Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Favorite Time of Year

I get really psyched when the calendar hits October 31st, because that begins the period for my favorite time of year.

Yep, Kittens, I am a sucker for the holiday season.

I'm not so much into the shop, shop, shopping or the overcommercialism of the whole shindig. I cringe whenever I see Christmas decorations up in Target at the beginning of October. But I really, really love this time of year because I get to spend time with the people I care about most: my friends and family. I know that sounds tres corny, but that is why I love it so.

I especially love December. I love Christmas carols, decorations, hot cider, fluffy snowflakes, and all of the joy and spirit that goes along with the holiday season. There's just such a tangible love in the air, and it really makes me feel alive.

I can say this now, because last year, I didn't feel alive at all. In fact, I felt like I only existed.

Last year, at this time, my life hit rock bottom. I won't divulge too many details publicly, but I will say that I entered the deepest depression I ever had. It was a challenge for me to even get out of bed sometimes. I really hated myself, and just felt awful, awful, awful.

You see, Kittens, I was addicted to the two most available substances we have: food and money. I spent too much, I ate too much, and at this time last year, it all came to a head, and I had to seek help. I started by contacting my minister, who then got me in touch with two twelve-step programs: Debtors Anonymous and Overeaters Anonymous, and I started to attend meetings. Two months later, I found, through a friend, a wonderful therapist whom I see to this day. I started to get help, and work on my problems from the inside out.

I have battled anxiety and depression for almost my entire life. Previously I was on antidepressants, and those really helped for a while, but they didn't address the core problems that were making me depressed and anxious. I also didn't like the physical side effects they had on my body. I slowly, slowly weaned myself off them, and physically, I feel a lot better. These drugs were partically to blame for my weight gain, and I lost 20 pounds just by going off of them.

NOW, I recognize that there are those who need to use antidepressants for the long-term, and I respect that as a part of their treatment. Antidepressants, however, did not really benefit my OWN case in the long run. Please do not take my situation as a substitute for medical advice, PLEASE! I am not a doctor!

Addressing my problems head on has helped me a lot. Slowly, I started coming out of my fog. It didn't happen overnight, not at all. I had many, many setbacks. I shed a lot of tears, and used a lot of Kleenex. It's not easy for me to write this right now, even though I'm writing under a pseudonym and most of you don't know my real identity (except for the handful of friends who know of this blog's existance). I've seen many of you blog articulately, thoughtfully, and openly, and I admire you all for that. It's really hard for me to be unguarded, except with my family and my closest friends. (My best friend, who gets frequent press time here, is especially good at getting me to let my guard down).

The tagline on this blog, as you have seen, is "Reflections on life's journey and the peaks, valleys, and amusements along the way." I have learned to seek the joy out of life's simplest things, whether it be a walk along the Brooklyn Bridge or picking apples on a crisp autumn day. I've blogged a lot about the diversions and peaks, but not too much on the valleys. I really don't want to dwell on the valleys, but rather, would acknowledge their existance, for they are a part of life.

But I don't want to concentrate on the valleys now. Right now is a peak time--and hopefully, if Barack Obama gets elected, will stay that way. I want to focus on the holidays, and rather, the joys, scents, sounds, and togetherness of the season. I especially want to focus on my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, where you don't have to worry about buying anyone anything and you can eat to your heart's content and not feel guilty. Oh yeah, and spend a lot of time with the ones you love.

I'm aware that there are those who can't spend the holidays with their loved ones.

But I am lucky that I can.

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