The November Diaries (TND) – Day 7 – seasonal and other triggers for depression symptoms

By Bel;

Though this post is labeled as Day 7 of TND, today is actually Thursday, November 18, 2021. I completely fell off the momentum of TND and skipped nearly two weeks of blogging! For shame, Bel! Lots to catch you up on, so I won’t even try, for this post. But there have been many recent developments in my life that I’m excited to share at a later date.

Anyway, it’s 10:16pm right now and approaching my bedtime. Aiming for before 11pm, these days… I know, you can call me Grandma Bel. So gonna keep this post short, sweet, and real.

Today and yesterday were both meh, mood-wise. I think this recent dip in mental state might be attributed to winter weather, shorter days, less sunlight. Seasonal depression is the technical term, and I’m beginning to think I have it (like many others). Another potential cause of my low moods is that I was triggered after watching the sports documentary, Over the Limit, yesterday. The film follows Russian rhythmic gymnast, Margarita Mamun, in the months leading up to the 2016 Olympic Games, which she ended up winning. It’s a film about Rita’s journey, and what stands out is the abuse she faces– verbal, emotional, psychological– at the hands of her coaches. Watching what she was subjected to brought me back to my own gymnastics days; my 10 years in the sport left me emotionally and psychologically traumatized. Nearly a decade after retirement, I’m still dealing with the fallout of my gymnastics days, battling what I call my “gymnastics demons”, and working through these demons with extensive therapy and journaling and meditation. Some days are better than others, and the past couple days were mere low points in the never-ending up-down cycle of my mental states.

So the past couple days were tough. My tendency when headed towards depression is to isolate myself from others. Past two days, I didn’t want to answer any phone calls or see anyone at the dance studio or gym. My social anxiety came was turned on blast. I had planned on visiting my grandma at her apartment, but bailed on that as well, as all I wanted after a long day was to retreat to my room, crawl into bed, and watch Netflix. What is sometimes tough for me is the highly public and performative nature of my job as a dance fitness instructor. If I’m feeling depressed, I can’t show it in my class, because people don’t pay to watch Depressed Bel dance. That’s, well, depressing. And not to mention, unprofessional. So I suppress whatever personal shit I have going on at the moment, and put on a brave face for the duration of my 50-minute class. The remarkable thing is, I always end up feeling better after teaching! I’m teaching another class tomorrow morning at 9:15am, so I’d better get to sleep soon.

I guess I’ll conclude with a thought I had today. Lately, I’ve been receiving a lot of positive remarks and compliments from my students, which has boosted my self-confidence. I hear the words “special”, “gifted”, and “talented” used often to describe me. For the first time in my life, I believe it. What I also believe is that unless I get my mental health under control, none of that talent will materialize into success. It just won’t. This is evidenced by my last depressive episode that forced me to drop two of my three grad school classes at San Jose State. And now, as I hit yet another low point in my sinusoidal mood cycle, I’m doubting whether I should bother dreaming big at all. Why bother with ambition, if it will just leave you disappointed and embittered when your goals are inevitably left unaccomplished? **victim mentality much?

I told my mom tonight, “Maybe I should just live with you guys and work as a dance teacher/tutor until I get married and only then will I move out of the house.” Lol. Definitely the depression talking. But my thoughts, erroneous and misguided as they are during this time, feel so real. Hopelessness shrouds my soul, causing me to retreat into the shadows and recesses of my dark-and-twisty mind. That is depression in a nutshell. (Don’t mind my terrible poetic lingo– I am not a poet, though I aspire to be).

Well, what comes around goes around, and depression for me is no different. It shall pass, and an upswing is just around the bend. A highlight of my day is that I was invited by my former contortion teacher, Serchmaa, to help choreograph and participate in her annual contortion show in January 2022! I’ve really been getting my feet wet with choreography, and I can see this as a potential money-making avenue to monetize my talents. Now is all about building experience, and I’m super excited Serchmaa gave me this amazing opportunity to not only choreograph, but perform in her show!

10:39pm– time for my night routine! Brush teeth, skin routine, journal/meditate (I’ll consider this blog to be today’s journal), light reading if there’s time (but most likely not, tonight), and finally, lights out by 11pm. Hopefully tomorrow will be a little bit better.



18 Nov, 2021

Author: Workers' Archive

Covering sensitivity at work and beyond on my website:

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