The journal of 1,000 entries begins with a single thought

I remember so clearly back in the first week of April, 2003 when I started this journal. I was single, hopeless, and closeted in my little house with a small, uninspired life, and I didn't know how to get from there to...somewhere, ANYwhere else. It took months before I received my first comment and, thanks to having switched comment systems like eight times since then, I can't tell you who it was that commented first. I will tell you that Lori was the first one to give me the excellent advice that I needed to comment on other people's blogs if I wanted to gain new readers for my own. There were others along the way, too, kind people who took time out of their lives to help me begin to live mine. Truly, that's what this blog has done: helped me step out of my head and into the world.

In the nearly six years since I started writing here, my life has changed drastically in some ways (met and married a wonderful - albeit absentee! - man, joined the Junior League and learned that I have a voice and should use it, and became a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for a (then) 13-year-old foster child) and hardly at all in others, including:

  1. I'm at the same weight I was when I started this journal (260ish) after having lost as much as 60 pounds at one time. I'm not necessarily upset about the weight because I've stopped hating my big stomach and we're trying to be friends, but it's still not much progress for quite a bit of effort
  2. In the nearly 20 months since TCB* left, I've cut myself off from most of the world, shrinking my world down to first my condo and now our lovely new townhouse. Doesn't matter how lovely it is, no friend is going to continue to make the effort to do things with you after the 10th refusal, Denise!
* Stands for The Cute Boy, a nickname I gave my (now) husband after we met...just in case there might be new visitors who weren't around way back then

Much/most of the backsliding can be put down to the fact that I suffer from depression. Actually, make that Depression with a capital D because it's not, "Oh, wow, I feel sad today," it's like, "Oh my gosh, getting out of bed today is more than I can handle but I have to get up and go to work anyway, so let me just throw some clothes on and shlep myself through the minimum day's activities until I can come home and zone out with food and mindless TV." Seriously, I don't know that I will ever be able to adequately convey what Depression feels like from the inside. I know that it closely resembles Laziness from the outside and that I sometimes berate myself for it, too, but it's an illness and I wouldn't beat myself up for not being able to use my arm if I'd broken it, so why is mental illness any different?

Anyway, I'd considered medication to deal with the Depression and have decided it's not for me. I'm the type of girl who doesn't take cold medicine and rarely takes anything for a headache because, if it's not going to cure whatever ails me, I won't put some foreign substance in my body to mask the symptoms. Depression is going to be with me for the rest of my life in some way or another, so I need to understand that and work with it.

It also probably wasn't the best planning to change my life radically through getting married and then send him off to live and work 5,000 miles away for two years, either. To make myself vulnerable to someone else after many years of living independently was no easy feat for me, and then we decided to buy a house and move - then merge - two households, all while he was gone. The resultant upheaval left me wondering where my life was and who this weak-willed woman who can't even get the boxes in the garage unpacked after nearly a year was.

Enough. I've had enough. Enough tears, enough emptiness, enough loneliness, enough grief. Life is meant to be lived, to be savored like a fine wine, to be ENJOYED...and that's what I intend to do again. I said at New Year's that my Un-Resolution for this year was to cry less and enjoy life more in 2009, so, to that end...
  • I've signed up for a Project Management course at UCSD Extension. It's 9 weeks, will help my career, and will allow me to take the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification exam, making me far more marketable. It will also be a great networking opportunity!
  • I've signed up for several volunteer shifts with Junior League projects that sound fun and will let me get out and do things with my friends, many of whom are members, too
  • I've registered to walk 60 miles in Washington, DC over my birthday weekend to raise money and awareness for breast cancer, of which my mother and grandmother are both survivors. (Shameless Plug: Have you clicked on the little widget to the right to make a donation?) This will not only help me feel as though I'm doing something to fight breast cancer, it will also make me more physically active which should help restore my energy and general sense of well-being
  • I'm volunteering with Just In Time, an organization dedicated to helping newly-emancipated foster youth thrive as they go out on their own into the world. This is a cause that I am passionate about and something that gives me great satisfaction
So, as I end my 1,000th entry, I am imbued with a new sense of hope, of drive, and an expectation that 2009 and beyond hold much promise and even greater joy for me. Cry less and enjoy life more, friends! The journey continues.


The Peanut said…
Congratulations, Denise! Rooting for you and a wonderful 2009 for you.
Unknown said…
Life is what you make out of it. Live with no regrets no matter how you do things. Everyone suffers from a little depression and they don't even know it.

I am still a dad to four cats.

Love you like always.
ampersand said…

your beginning words in this post scared me...I will admit to a panicky feeling in my stomach and scrolling straight down to the bottom to read the end first, to make sure you weren't closing your blog. You have inspired me in so many ways and you continue to do so. I am so proud of you for your continued efforts, whether it's battling weight, depression, or just trying to make a difference in the world. Remember this: courage isn't always Courage with a Capital C. Sometimes courage is just waking up in the morning and saying, "I am going to try again today."

suze said…
it's not, "Oh, wow, I feel sad today," it's like, "Oh my gosh, getting out of bed today is more than I can handle but I have to get up and go to work anyway, so let me just throw some clothes on and shlep myself through the minimum day's activities until I can come home and zone out with food and mindless TV."

This is how I've been feeling and acting for a while. I'm sorry that you're feeling it too.

I also understand the resistance to meds. I've avoided them for years.

I think your plans for 2009 sounds fantastic!
Minniepins said…
I haven't read from the beginning and have always thought that TCB stood for "the current boyfriend"!! And that it just stuck, even after marriage (sense it would still apply afterall in its own way).

My weight has been sneaking up and my daughter calls me chubby mc chubb and says I have a "menopot" but, until recently at least, have always been blessed with a somewhat overactive metabolism. It's just lately that my middle section has started expanding somewhat. So I don't have personal experience with your weight situation. I love Geena Roth's (sp?) articles in Oprah, though. Have you ever read them? They always seem so compassionate to me, and to make so much sense.

It seems to me like you're on a really positive road and I'm glad for you.

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