Sometimes You Need a Full Stop


This time of year always seems to get me down. And 2015 isn’t proving to be any different. This time it started a little bit early, September instead of October, and it has lasted longer. Despite all of the good things that are happening in my life, I have been depressed and anxious, with some PTSD junk thrown in – just for some added fun. The funny thing is, intellectually, I am grateful and I realize that I really have nothing to be sad or down about. But it’s autumn, and my emotions seem to be winning the battle against my intellect.

In the past, when I have felt like this, I have done one of two things:  I either trudged on, suffering silently, with a smile on my face, until I had some sort of meltdown, or I got drunk. This time, in the interest of avoiding self-destruction, I decided to do things differently. I am choosing honesty, sobriety, and self-care. Imagine that! It sounds so healthy!

It’s really easy for me to say I’m fine, or I’m just peachy, when someone asks me how I am. So easy. Now though, when someone who I know cares about me (not the grocery store clerk or mere acquaintances) asks how I’m doing, I’m being honest. If my anxiety is up, I tell them. If I’m feeling depressed, I say it. And it works! Just getting the truth out of my head and acknowledged by someone else, takes some of the power away from what I’m feeling. I was also honest when I went to see my doctor a couple of weeks ago, which resulted in an adjustment to my medicine. In the past, I don’t think I would’ve done that. I think I would’ve opted to believe that the problem was with me, and that I had to figure out how to navigate it without any help.

Surprisingly, and oh so thankfully, my sobriety hasn’t been challenged at all this time. I am coming up on three years sober, and I am so grateful that I haven’t felt like drinking would make things better. It’s a miracle if you ask me! Knowing that I can make it through tough times without drinking is truly a blessing that comes from God. It’s grace, pure and simple.

The biggest part of me getting through this period of depression and anxiety is self-care.  This is something that I am still learning to do in recovery, but I recognized this time that it is essential. There are times that I need a full stop from outside stressors, and this is one of them. The difference is that in the past, I would never have admitted stop-sign-2that I needed it. I would’ve carried on, hoping the negative feelings would pass. What I did this time is take a month off of my job to work on myself. A leave of absence to take care of my mental health! I’m over a week in, and I still can’t believe that I put my well-being ahead of my job. This is huge!  My husband, my sponsor, and several friends have commented on how big of a change this is for me, and how great it is that I am doing this for myself. I was undecided about it for the first few days, but I realize now that they’re right. It’s what I need right now, and it is already helping me.

So, I am spending my time doing the things that feed my soul, and take care of my mind. I’m reading, writing, taking walks, talking to friends, baking, crafting, and napping. I’m listening to my body and my brain, and doing what I need to keep them healthy and sane. And you know what? It feels good!

I know that this cycle of depression will pass, it always has in the past. The difference this time is I’m doing what I can to help it go away. Honesty, sobriety, and self-care…and, just for now, a full stop.



9 thoughts on “Sometimes You Need a Full Stop

  1. Hi Jami,

    First, it’s been a while, hope you are well! I’m not sure if it’s that you haven’t written in a while, or I’m not as diligent in keeping up with my reader as I used to be, but I feel like I haven’t read your inspiring words for a long time. Since I know we are like-minded, I know you will appreciate this: I have been under the weather for a while now, and experiencing guilt (check my last post for details). I finally opened up to my husband about it this morning, felt better for having done so, came in to the home office to reply to comments, and found this post at the top of my reader. To say it was as if you were writing this post directly to me… well that would be an understatement! Thank you, thank you, thank you, for taking the time to write this. Know that there is one person in this world whose life you made better by doing so! I tweeted this out as well, not sure if you have a twitter account, but wanted you to know I want others to read your brilliance!

    Hope you feel better soon, I do, just having read this 🙂

    • Josie,
      it has been a while! I haven’t been blogging as much on Sober Grace. I’ve actually gotten a couple of paid writing gigs and that takes a lot of my time. I am so glad that this post was meaningful to you. I know that I have to remember to slow down, and even stop sometimes. It’s often hard for me to do that. As women, I think it’s our nature to do, do, do, for everyone else and taking care of ourselves comes last.
      I’m still out there reading posts and trying to find time to write for me. See? There I go again, do, do, do….Ugh. Work in progress, right?

  2. Dear Jami,
    One time my doctor wanted me to take a leave from teaching for awhile, when my depression was really bad. At the time, I trudged on, too.
    I am so glad you are seeing things differently, from a place of love and care.
    I hope you are feeling better too.

    • Thank you, Wendy. It’s so easy for us to get caught up in the mindset that we have to go on otherwise we feel weak. I am trying really hard to change that mindset in myself, and to take better care of myself. My sponsor said something really great to me the other day. She said, “If your child was hungry you would feed her, if your child was hurt you would comfort her, if your child was tired you would let her sleep. Why don’t you do the same for yourself?” Why, indeed.
      I am feeling better, and I’m learning how to be nicer to myself. I hope you are too!

  3. Goodness, I just wrote a very similary, yet less articulate post about the exact same thing. This time of year always is a killer for me.. shorter days, cold weather… they don’t agree with me. I plan on sticking around on WP this time, so I enjoy reading about your journey. 🙂

    • Thank you so much! Yeah, I really dislike this time of year. I am trying to enjoy the cooler days and be grateful that the summer heat is gone, but it’s still hard. I know that spring will come again though. 🙂

  4. Today was a gray, dull day. Rain tomorrow or the next, but the clouds have moved in early. I felt it in my soul. So I reached out and started texting friends. A couple got back to me, which was nice. This time of year is hard on me too.

    • I never realized how many people have a hard time during this time of year. I live in Tucson, Arizona so most people here are thankful for the cooler days because our summers are brutal. I’m glad that you reached out to friends. I am getting better about that, but it’s still hard for me to reach out when I am feeling down. Silly, I know. That’s the exact time that I need to reach out!
      Thank you for your comment. I hope that you keep taking care of yourself and that spring comes quickly.

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