Wednesday, December 27, 2006

post holiday reflections and a brutally honest admission

first thing's first: i love christmas. i always will. from the time i was little my mom has made it perfect for us. and it's weird, i'm 25 now, my brother almost 29, and we still feel the magic. i'd say we're pretty lucky. and not just because of the fact that this is our tree and presents, but because we have a family like that. i realize that's rare these days. i realize feeling the magic of christmas as an adult is something that should be appreciated.

we were reading a letter on the fridge from my dad's aunt lynne... and she included one of those holiday newslettters--only hers was so poetic. she used the seasons as a metaphor for life, explaining that her and her husband were in the "autumn" of their life, while the grand kids were an everlasting "spring." etc. it really inspired me. it's rare that my parents will tell me to read one of those letters, but they told me to read that one. and after doing so, he told me something like... "this is my one tip on writing amy, it should contain a lot less of the i." and i immediately went upstairs and got on my computer because i was inspired to write something of my own to the people in my life, on christmas day. so, i composed an email, and just for saving sake, i'll post it here... so here's what i sent out this year:

"I don't know if this happens in everyone's family, but it certainly happens in ours--those inserts that come inside the Christmas cards, usually about a page or two full of updates on the past year's activities for every family--our kids are doing this... here's what happened with our jobs... we bought a house... etc.

Well, my dad always says that his general rule about writing something like that is that it should contain a lot less of the

He's right, and not only that, but he says that, and feels that way, because of something people love most about him--he's incredibly selfless. And for that reason, and the fact that I look up to those traits in both of my parents, I'm going to follow his rule about writing Christmas reflections... (How about that, Dad? Me following YOUR writing rules!! Who would have thought? :) )

Anyway, I'll skip the updates, the yearly review of what's occured in Amy's life... because that is not what Christmas is about, is it?

It's a reflection point, one day a year where you're really truly surrounded by people who love each other and have a much needed break from work, but more importantly, from life. And it's a lot more than ribbons and bows, than santa claus and reindeer, than the pine tree you spent hours perfecting... it's about love and faith and believing and appreciating how truly lucky we are to have each other and to be alive.

And so for that reason, I just wanted to drop you all a note on Christmas Day and let you know how thankful I am to have you in my life. I don't know what point it happens when all of the sudden opening presents becomes less, and having each other becomes more, but I'm certainly glad that it does.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and enjoy your time with your family and friends. It's easy to forget what's important sometimes in the daily grind of life... but thank goodness for Christmas Day.

Love Always,

i got a lot of nice replies from family and friends, and so for that reason, i was really glad that i did it. expression is always a powerful thing, and i'm glad i'm able to piece together what i want to say sometimes. i'm lucky in that aspect. i brought a printed copy down to my dad and made him read it on christmas morning... i could tell he was choked up a little, but the good kind of choked up, you know? i guess i can't emphasize how much happiness it brings me to tell someone directly what they mean to you... and what better time for something like that, than christmas time?

so, the holidays were good. more than good. i have a strong family and i'm very lucky for that.

okay, now the brutally honest admission. i was hesitant to write about this publically... just because sometimes i don't know if i am too honest. but just now as i was laying in bed i thought to myself... what is it about writing that helps me? the fact that other people read it. what is it that people love about postsecret? the fact that other people read it. that they're getting something off their chest... so what am i so worried about when i have problems that i want to write about? that people will think differently of me? well, if they do, i don't care about that.

so anyway i think i've encountered some form of clinical depression. it's really scary, because a) it's really new and b) people whom i haven't said a word about it to (i.e. work, parents, friends) have noticed a change in me. in other words, i know it's not just me. as for what it's from, i don't totally know. my parents and i are trying to seek out my health history from my biological parents, i think that's the first step. i probably should have done that when i started having panic attacks, but i guess i thought it would stop there. and it did, for a year and a half, but now this. i work with psychiatrists, so they basically told me they have noticed a change in me, and in a friendly polite way, let me know they were worried. so, that was kind of my wake up call. it's weird, when i notice a change in myself, i'm always like - eh, it's just mental... i'll be fine. but when someone else says it, it really puts you in your place.

i was put on medicine like a year and a half ago for panic attacks. looking back, i still can't trace it as to why those happened... i mean, i was stressed in school and stuff, but nothing abnormal. i have no choice but to assume it's genetics. i can't help but wonder if i've gained a tolerance to an SSRI and that's why i'm suddenly feeling "imbalanced" or whatever. but it could be a lot more too. i guess in many ways i've taken on a lot in the past year--grad school, my job's increasing difficulty, and a lot tighter financial situation than when i was living at home. so i have added stresses as well... who knows what i can attribute this change to? i don't. but i do know this: i'm so thankful that i'm able to see that something's up, and that i have the support i need to get over this roadblock. i will, and i will get back to being myself. i've been down this road before with the anxiety, so, i can handle this too, whatever it is.

but for the record, i still keep things in perspective. i do know how lucky i am, even if i'm a little down right now. i still know that i have a good life, and i'm going to get my optimism back.

i feel a little better now. hopefully i can sleep.

i hope everyone had a merry christmas...