XOMU: Why is my mental health so good?
A two-part exploration
Every year, going back as far as I can remember, I’ve experienced seasonal depression. I get depression-depression too—it doesn’t show up on a schedule—but historically by late fall, it reliably slams into me with the force of somewhere between a gale wind and a hurricane.
Since my concussion, my mental health has been even more touch-and-go. My brain injury at the end of 2018 brought on anxiety and panic attacks for the first time since rehab, and a flavor of depression that felt both deeply emotional and physiological. (An inflamed brain is not a happy brain.) I had vision symptoms, balance symptoms, headaches, energy issues, and nervous system dysregulation. And, I couldn’t work out or hike, travel or socialize, write, work, or even take my kid to the museum. It was crippling.
I stayed in that funk, slogging through physical therapy and a number of doctors and treatments, for the next 3 years. The last year has been much better, though, and summer 2022 was pretty solid—low-stress once my book went to print, lots of outdoor time, and few concussion symptoms to speak of.
The perfect storm
As we headed into fall, though, I found myself in the most stressful work period of my life. I was heading out on The Book of Boundaries tour, recording a ton of podcasts and about to hit the road for six weeks—an event that has historically always left me sick, run down, and concussion-y. Launching any book is hard work, but this was my first non-Whole30 book with a new publisher, and the stakes felt even higher.