In The Eye Of The Storm

By Kimberly Zapata
Today, I am anxious and worried. I am unsettled and “on edge,” and I am terrified because I feel “it” coming. I am on the cusp of another depressive episode.
I am about to weather another depressive storm.

Ironically, today I feel quite good. In fact, I am better than good: I am present and engaged, focused, determined, and happy. “Nothing can mess up my day” sorta happy. But it isn’t the sadness that gets to me, it is the mania: the intense, productive burst I have just before a cold, dark, and dismal storm.

I work from 5 or 6 in the morning until 11 or 12 at night. I run six, seven, even eight miles at a time, and while I sometimes forget to do the dishes or dry the laundry — while I forget to eat and sleep — I have managed to purge my wardrobe, rearrange the kitchen pantry, and balance a 6-month budget all during nap time.

I launched a new website before dinner.

It’s like I’m prepping and nesting.

I’m preemptively taking care of myself.

But I know I can’t keep up this frantic pace. I can’t outrun it and I cannot stop it and, the truth is, that scares me. I scare me.

Especially now.

Especially during this season.

Because don’t get me wrong, there are things I love about winter and fall: Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love costumes, candy, both orange and black, and pumpkins. Anything pumpkin. As a parent, Christmas is nothing short of magical. (I mean, who doesn’t like watching a child’s eyes light up when they see a proverbial sea of presents beneath a blue spruce, Douglas fir, or even stacked on the coffee table.) But with the season comes the stress of expectations, the dread of having to “perform” — of having to slap on a smile when I want to slip inside, when I really want to slip away — and the anxiety of get-togethers I simply cannot get out of.

I find myself struggling to catch my breath.

I feel numb and lonely.

I stay in bed more, but sleep less.

I question my faith, my value, my worth.

I cry over stupid shit, like burnt out lightbulbs and unanswered texts.

I cry over important shit, like love and money.

And I cry because I am crying. I become reclusive because this season makes it easy to isolate myself. Bad weather gives me the excuses I need — the excuses I long for — to cancel plans and hide beneath covers. Throw into the mix that November is the month in which most of my family members have passed and, well, I am a chemically and emotionally imbalanced mess.

But what can I do to stop it?

How can I save myself?

Well, I can’t. I can run and work and take my medication, but I cannot do one damn thing to stop this storm, nor can I avoid it. All I can do is hold on and wait for “it” to hit. All I can do is hold on and try: try to brace myself and trudge through, try to keep myself accountable and afloat. All I can do is breathe and try.

Just try.

This post originally appeared on Facebook.

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