Love the color, hate the mood

I love the color blue. I love my blue eyes, and if I have a choice when it comes to wardrobe, I usually choose the blue option. There are few shades of blue that I don’t like, actually.

That being said, the mood known as “blue” sucks ass.

I’ve been blue for a while. It comes and goes in varying degrees, but it’s almost always somewhere in my head, tainting my outlook on life with a cyan haze. Whether it’s from the decreased sunlight of the winter season, from the bipolar disorder, from life stress, from weight gain, or from all of the above, feeling blue blows.

My most recent depression has led me down some bumpy thought-roads lately. I’ve been thinking about what I enjoy doing now, comparing it to what I used to enjoy doing, debating if the loss of joy in some things is depression-related or something else … and I’ve come to the conclusion that some things can stay, some things should probably go, and some things need to be pared down to an emotionally-manageable level.

Whether it’s through food or shopping, I’ve been futilely chasing a much-needed serotonin high. No matter what I eat or how much I buy, though, whatever satisfaction I get from it is fleeting. Sometimes I’m depressed again before I even finish my snack or before my order gets in.

Before you ask, yes, I’m taking my meds. Here’s a shocker for you: Meds aren’t always a permanent, 100% “fix” for this. Science tries, but sometimes life kicks science’s ass.

Here’s just a taste of what life has thrown at me during this blue time:

  • Lackluster book sales (though hiring a cover designer to revamp some of my covers has helped).
  • Frustration over feeling inadequate compared to my more successful author friends who can afford ads and PAs and fancy covers, etc.
  • My “pro bono” personal assistant (who refused to take any payment from me) quit doing her job for most of her clients, including the paid ones–including me–and is now ghosting me. Since I had “hired” her already, I can’t get another PA to take me on until I can talk to her and break our informal agreement.
  • Severe depression over my weight. I tried keto for about two years, and I grew increasingly depressed the longer I did the diet, lamenting that I couldn’t eat foods I liked and that the limited foods I could eat had become boring … not to mention that I had started regaining weight while still on keto. I am trying to get in with a bariatric surgeon for a consult.
  • Sudden increase in introversion/social anxiety. I hate going out anymore, unless it’s an extremely small gathering. I dread the next few SCA events, which I’m obligated to go to. I even dread spending time with immediate family.
  • Embroidery’s no fun anymore, at least not the hand work. I have a great new sewing/embroidery machine that I have yet to try out, but just the thought of the aching fingers from holding the hoop and the needle stalls me every time I try to start one of the projects I have lined up for others.
  • I’ve lost all interest in becoming a Laurel in the SCA. It went from a mild disinterest to a “maybe someday, maybe not” kind of vibe to a sudden “hell, I just want to make pretty things in my own way without worrying about historical accuracy/documentation/research.”
  • Impostor syndrome–BIG TIME. I feel like everyone who’s ever said anything good about my writing has been lying to be nice, even though part of me knows that’s not true.
  • “Mascne” (mask + acne) from the damn two-year-long pandemic. Add in the stress of the above, and yeah … my face, my chin especially, is suffering.
  • Worry over friends that are clear across the country who are sick with COVID or have lost loved ones to the virus, and I can’t do Jack shit to help.
  • A laundry list of other things, including the lack of any kind of motivation to do even basic household chores. Like laundry.

I’ve even prepared a visual aid for this emotional muck:

The picture on the right is me, unfiltered. Breakout on the chin (partly hidden by the angle of the shot–trust me, there’s more), ruddy complexion, blah. The top left picture is me with filters and touch-ups and all that jazz. Maybe I made the eyes too dark of a blue and the skin a bit too pale, but otherwise looking smooth and bright. This is the “outer face” I try to put on when I’m dealing with others. I try to hide the mental and emotional “blemishes,” so I don’t get a dozen people a day asking me what’s wrong.

The bottom left picture is how I often feel lately. Dull, broken out, washed out, dim, dark.

I’ll get through this. I always do. But life might be a little different after. I need to do some hard thinking about what I want to do with my time and how I want to proceed with my daily schedule. Some things may need to be dropped, while I may need to spend more time on others that actually bring some semblance of joy to my life.

Well, it’s time to get off the computer and finish getting ready for work. Oddly enough, that’s the least of my stressors right now!