Thursday, December 22, 2011

Not Your Usual Christmas Greeting

Yesterday was my 59th birthday. For me it’s a milestone. While most people fret about turning 30, or 40 or 50, I always focused on 29, 39, and 49. The last year in a decade is like standing on the precipice of a cliff, wondering if I’ll jump or be pushed into the next chapter of my life.

Let me be frank, this has been a rough year for me, starting with last December. The last 12 months have been fraught with annoying physical ailments, some of which were serious scares, but which, much to my relief, turned out to be of a more minor nature. In February, I had my first bad fall, something all people worry about as they get older. It was my body letting me know it needs better care as it ages.

I know many folks have had a much worse year than I have, and I don’t want to sound like a whine-ass. I’m just saying last year can leave any time now, the sooner , the better.

This last year the IRS and I had a battle royal. They seem to think I make a lot more income than I do and for months they bullied and beleaguered me, even though I was cooperating fully. Finally, I was able to get help from the good folks from Taxpayers Advocate. I won’t go into details, but the IRS seemed determined to either see me living on the street or on a slab in the morgue. We settled for somewhere in between. (When I start screaming and swearing about corporate greed and financial injustice supported by our government, trust me, I mean it!) It took nearly 8 months for me and the IRS to come to an agreement. 8 freaking months of government incompetence and bullying.

As many of you who follow this blog have caught on, I suffer from depression from time to time. Sometimes it’s mild, sometimes it’s severe, but it’s never continuous. It’s more like spots of red wine on a white table cloth.

For the most part, I’m a pretty happy and stable person, and very productive. But for about 5 months in 2011, my depression was so severe, I couldn’t write, could barely work, barely could get out of bed. So severe, I thought seriously about finding a slab on which to rest my head. I was crying all the time – at work, at home, at my computer. I even had to take some time off work because of it. My close friends were horrified by how deep I’d plunged. Much of this long bout was predicated on my IRS problems and the feeling that I was being torn apart by hungry pit bulls. When you see no resolution to a severe problem, depression raises its head like a poked vicious dog.

Not to worry. I came out of the blackness about two months ago, and I look forward to the books and stories I need to write and contracts for new books with great anticipation. And I’m not writing this blog post for sympathy. I’m writing it in the hope of bringing awareness to a serious problem. I’ve suffered from some form of depression since I was a teenager, and I know I’m not alone. And neither are you. And you know if I’m talking to you.

I love Christmas! It’s a time when I come out of myself and celebrate and connect with others. The holidays and the promise of a New Year always bring me out of my doldrums. But statistics tell us that the holidays are the most serious time for depression for most people. That there are more suicides this time of year than at other times. Add to that the current financial climate, unemployment, and increase in alcohol consumption, and it becomes a ticking bomb big enough to take out half a city.

If you suffer from depression, know you are not alone. Get the help you need and keep fighting the good fight. Take it from me, there is always light at the end of the tunnel, even if you're wearing a blindfold.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to gleefully jump into my 60th year! Yeee Haaa!

Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Healthy and Bright New Year!!


CPA Mom said...

"And you know if I’m talking to you."

Sue Ann, you are talking to me. I'm at the end of my rope.

gregkshipman said...

What a wonderful world it would be...IF ...always 'IF'. We are the 'soldiers' of ourselves. Both individually and collectively. Some of us have major life battles... a lucky few have none... the rest manageable battles. My mom suffered from depression throughout her life as I knew it. I was blessed not to inherit that 'gene' but life still throws the Lallapoluzas at me. Mostly I just throw 'em back 'cause if I keep them I just gotta pay storage somewhere (I have no room in my house). Stay strong in faith-in-yourself. Recognize your abilities and capabilities... Here's to a better 2012... a basketful of friends... and thanks for sharing the 'intimates'... may it reach those you're talking to and may it give them strength to go on.

Lynne DeVenny said...

Sue Ann, I knew you'd had a tough year, but not how tough. Bless your heart! I'm so glad to hear that you're feeling better and that you've got that tax issue resolved. It is especially generous of you to be so transparent about your depression, because knowing you're not alone is a big part of admitting you need help. I know this blog post will be a big help to others. You are such an amazing and talented person, I'm in awe of you. Here's hoping that 2012 is much more peaceful :)

Tammy Bleck said...

Sue Ann, certainly NOT your usual Christmas greeting but powerful and personal. I think most of us deal with a dash of depression now and then. Clearly some more than others. But you throw those bastards from the IRS into the mix and well, that just makes it a ton worse. So very happy for you that it has been resolved. I've been there and it's not pretty. Good to read that you are back on track. Looking forward to getting to know you. Lovely read, thanks for sharing.

Ms.Elaine-ious said...

Sue Ann, Happy Belated Birthday! Welcome to the 60's, they're grand.

So glad to hear you are feeling better. Didn't realize what a burden you were under when we talked months ago; incredibly glad you got it resolved.

I'm the one that, unknowingly, raised your anxiety level when I called or emailed (I don't remember which) asking if you would speak to our credit managers group. No wonder your first question was "how did you find me?"! Sorry that the gig didn't pan out.

I've been down the depression road. Not fun, there were times I just wanted to hibernate in my cave and avoid everyone and everything. You have my best wishes for you, for what it's worth.

Keep writing. I need the escape ;)
Thanks, take care, be well!
And Happy Holidays

Susan said...

Well, dear you are a strong, amazing woman. Congratulations on surviving your own "annus horriblis" (to quote her Hinney the Queen). All you have to worry about in 2012 is how to write even more fab-u-lous books ... and what to do when the world ends on your birthday! LOL
Love you ... Sueky