November is the pearl-grey month, the changeling between warm crimson October and cold white December, the month when the leaves fall in slow drifting whirls, and the shapes of the trees are revealed, when the earth imperceptibly wakes, and stretches her bare limbs and displays her stubborn unconquerable strength before she settles uneasily into winter. November is secret and silent.Alison Uttley
Daylight savings today, and thus begins the slow decline into seasonal depression on top of my regular anxiety and depression. It’s somewhat hard to believe that November is already here – it feels like October was such a blur and, yet, dragged on.
This was, in part, because I spent the month of October dealing with some things I had been ignoring. Diet was the first thing to come up thanks to what I’m pretty sure was food poisoning, and, since the beginning of the month, I’ve basically been eating vegan-ish and avoiding animal products where I can. Life is busy and stressful and it isn’t something I am aiming to go 100% on (not yet, at least). I don’t want to be out with friends and refuse to eat something because it isn’t vegan. I’ll eat some chicken if/when I want it. But I’m aiming to have the bulk of my food intake be plant-based, with a heavier focus on lots of green veggies, and it seems to have really helped over these last few weeks.
The second thing, which was really the biggest and most difficult, was that I decided to quit drinking alcohol for the month. Quitting drinking was something I’ve off-and-on tried (and failed). It isn’t so much something I want to do so much as something I know I need to do along with the rest of my self-care. Over the last few years – since having Declan, actually – my relationship with alcohol has become poorly managed and, probably not coincidentally, hasn’t helped my anxiety and depression any.
I’m not going to pretend this month has been easy because it hasn’t. At all. I’ve always been the type of person to feel things deeply and intensely. I’ve never really been taught how to deal with that, however. I’ve never learned how to acknowledge those feelings and then let them go instead of wallowing in them. I don’t like feelings. I don’t like to feel like I do. Alcohol became the perfect tool to numb that – an escape to dull the intensity. It provided a temporary bliss that made the world tolerable. And, then, it became a problem.
Quitting drinking isn’t just hard because of the cravings and the desire to run away from my feelings. It is hard because of having to face those feelings. To sit alone at home, night after night, and feel how lonely I am. How frustrated or sad or angry I am. I don’t have any answers, still, about how to even manage this. I have spent a good portion of the month just kind of surviving. Trying to take each day as it comes and push through.
I’m pretty sure Buttercup can sense all of this because he’s been close by my side more than usual these last few weeks. Also, we have achieved belly rubs! He likes flop down next to me at night while I’m reading and let me rub his belly. Silver linings, I suppose.
November is National Knit a Sweater Month, so I decided to cast on for a Throwback cardigan to give myself something to turn my attention to. With my annual knitting weekend coming up, I figured it would be perfect timing to try to knock out a sweater and feel some sense of accomplishment. So far, two days in, I’ve managed to almost complete the yoke. As quick as this is going, I’m going to guess that I will be able to knit the bulk of this in the upcoming weekend. Hopefully, at least.