Fall

September is quickly speeding towards us. With it comes pretty leaves, cooler weather, football, pumpkins, Halloween, and all the things I love. I love fall and winter and spring too. Summer isn’t really my thing, though, so I am always eager for fall especially. I lived in the Southeast for a long time and fall wasn’t really a big thing there. Leaves don’t turn pretty colors, sometimes it was still close to 90 degrees on Thanksgiving and the mornings weren’t cool like I love until November, sometimes October.

I need to live where I can see and feel all the things about fall. That was the first thing I noticed when I moved away from the Southeast the fall I was on leave before I officially retired. It was instant joy when I woke up one morning and it was cold. It was comfortably cold for me. I love the smells of fall too. Apples, pumpkins, fallen leaves, less pollen all smell amazing to me. I’m not really into pumpkin spice anything, but that too reminds me of fall.

I also love winter. Being outside in the cold feels so good to me. It’s like I don’t even get cold. I used to love winter sports when I was growing up. I am hoping to get into skiing and snowboarding this winter. I think it would really help my seasonal depression and keep me upbeat when I would normally get sad. I have a light for it but it’s hard for me to remember to turn it on sometimes. It’s like my entire soul retreats and I have no motivation to do anything. I think about things to do but I have no energy to do them. And then the days get longer and the sun is out for more hours and suddenly I am fine again. I made sure to tell my new therapist that I do start to struggle when the days get shorter. She understands that I may slump and suddenly have a harder time. I hope she can help with that. My last therapist was great, but I found myself not being very…real with her. I was always trying to stay who she thought I was.

One example was when I was meeting with a psychologist virtually to talk about PTSD and how it affects me for the VA. That psychologist didn’t force me to talk about the things that happened to me, just about how I was struggling throughout the day. I saw my therapist the following week and when I told her about it, she seemed shocked that I was having any trouble with any aspects of PTSD. I had been telling her about the nightmares but I didn’t want to tell her that I was scared of everything and sometimes I had terrifying, frightening experiences. She seemed to think those had gone away because I wasn’t talking about them anymore. She didn’t understand that I was still stuck in my head all the time. She thought because we were making so progress on the things we had been working on that I was doing better with everything. I don’t work that way. I can compartmentalize very easily. Disassociate. That ‘s the proper term for what I do. I disassociate like a professional.

I feel it happening lately with some of this PTSD stuff. Put it out of my mind, hide it from myself, and function for now. The bathroom renovation is taking a lot out of me. We are going into week 3 of that. I haven’t had time for my recharging activities in two weeks now. We’ve gotten the kids back and they’ve started school in that time. I’ve been unusually social for me with the contractor and his partner, talking to them every day for at least a few minutes. I am not recharging at all and I can feel it. I’m not empty…yet, but I need this project to get done soon. I feel myself disassociating and just doing what I have to do. I feel my motivation slipping. I see that I am struggling to finish basic tasks and get things done completely…again. This means I appear to be healthy but lazy and forgetful. But it’s deeper than that. It like a phone that is being used often but never charging. The battery runs lower and lower and the phone still works, for now.

I feel that I don’t want to talk too seriously with my therapist, that I am avoiding the hard things. I can’t even think of what the hard things are anymore. I am fine, everything is fine, there’s nothing to see here. And for now, I can fool myself. But one day soon, that will all blow open and I will be sitting in the mess of all these things I’ve managed to forget for now. The break from all that weighs heavily on me will be over and I will have to start dealing with things again. I will be completely non-functional for a short period of time, but then I will put it all back together and continue on my healing journey without hiding from all those things that are just a little too hard to deal with right now.

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