Life After Winston

Winston is still MIA.

The jubilant giddiness has been wearing off.  My mind is still clear and free of Winston’s weight, pulling me down, always threatening to drag me under.  This reprieve feels more permanent; the mental shift feels solidified, more tangible, as if a door has been literally thrown open in my mind, minus the fear of it slamming shut again.

The world is my oyster, as they say.  Now I can get on with life.

Well, not exactly.  I’m left with all the behaviors and defense mechanisms created to cope with Winston that protected my psyche against him, while enabling him to maintain paradoxically the reassuring presence I knew; the old friend I loved to hate.  His bed is here; all his toys are still here, as it were.  I still seen the after-image of his presence.  I want to scoop up all his things and toss them out the door behind him, but something stops me.  What feels the void Winston leaves behind?  If I clean house of all traces of Winston, and stop the escapist napping, chronic procrastination, self-imposed isolation, and learned mindlessness, does a skill set I never had morph into its place?

What to do, I asked Dr. G.  She replied that I have to take it slow and allow myself the time needed to transition to the New Judiang.

Ah, transition.

It sounds similar to being like recovering addicts.  Only they have half-way houses and programs to ease them back into mainstream life.  There are websites and videos galore dispensing information concerning Life After.  But what do you do after depression?  I googled and discovered precious few.  On one depression forum, a poster asked that very question.  One respondent asked the OP if s/he was mocking the forum because she didn’t understand the question.  She couldn’t fathom the idea of Life After.  I came away with the sense that depression forums primarily exist for the sufferers only.  If you made it through to the other side, then don’t rub it in here.  Not very helpful.  While forums dedicated to survivors might be more empowering, a tiny lazy part of myself knew there was no quick start blueprint to follow.

So this is where I am.  I’m in the process of reexamining everything about me and life, feeling my way, taking it one day at a time.  I’m doing a total overhaul of my mental house.  Things are in flux.

This has been a long-winded way of saying, Dear Reader, there will be blog changes too.  I recently complained to a friend, “I didn’t know what to blog about”.   That’s not an accurate statement.  What I really meant was, “I don’t know what my blog is about anymore.”  In my last post, I mentioned returning to regular programming, before realizing the programming has changed.  To what, I don’t know.  It’s questions, questions, questions.  What is my place in RA fandom?  Is there more for me to say? Will readers be interested if things change too much?   Has the blog served its purpose?

So, this is where I am – in transition.  Please excuse the dust.



15 thoughts on “Life After Winston

  1. Never feel any need to apologize to us, Judi…it’s your blog and should go where you want it to go…when you figure that out!    🙂    I’m a great one to comment about “figuring it out”…I’m still not sure what I’m going to be when I grow up…and I’m 65  😉

    • I agree Judiang. It’s your blog, you are free to do want you want and you don’t need to apologize. 😉

      I wish you all the best for the future.

      Take care,


        • You’re welcome Judiang. 😉

          I’m sorry that my comments are not very original or more developed (I don’t know the exact term 😉 ), because my English is not good enough to do that…

  2. Your blog has given me hope.  I have fibromyalgia and sometimes depression kicks in when you have chronic illnesses that no one knows how to fix.  In a way, I’m fortunate that I feel more frustrated than depressed most of the time  🙂

    But what you said on an earlier post about medications has set me thinking that I should speak to my doctor again about more recent medical thinking.  While Cymbalta has helped somewhat since I started taking it about a year ago,  I still have no relief from my sleep disorder nor from the chronic fatigue side of things.  Having a long-term illness (around 20 years for me) is a real bummer, isn’t it?  Most people have absolutely no idea how such things interfere with living life as we’d like to do.

    Keep your chin up, kid…….you’re an inspiration   🙂

    • So sorry to hear about your medical problems Kathryn. Chronic illness really do wear you down. But the upside is new medications and approaches are being developed all the time. Do have a frank discussion with your doctor about new innovations. Google your disorders and look for news. It’s important to be a dedicated and informed participant in your own care.

  3. Judiang, you are playing the game right. Because Life in all its morphs is a game, isn’t it? Sometimes one gets that card that says ‘Do not pass go, do not collect $200.’ And one has to toss the dice again and again. You obviously have a therapist and she and she alone is the only one qualified to give you specialist advice on how to approach life now that Winston has left home.

    Re your blog, Kathryn’s right … it’s your blog and you can do anything you like and you will find a readership. Even above and beyond RA. It’s sounds to me as if you have so much more to give us than RA-centric posts. I for one look forward to seeing what eventuates.

    And if I could just speak to Kathryn for a minute:

    Kathryn, my daughter has fybro too (7 years!) with everything that goes with it. Cymbalta failed for her. So did the powerful anti-pain drugs that her rheumatologist put her on. Brave, brave girl took herself off all the meds and apart from a light little anti-d, is managing to deal far better than before. She likens all the meds to putting her in a coma for 3 years.  She’s 31. I’m so proud of her spirit and it sounds as though you and Judiang have that same soul!

    Cheers and best to you both!

    • Thanks Prue. Yes, life is a game and a perpetual learning experience. I’m happy to be able to take a more proactive part now.

  4. It’s always amazing – you finally succeed in one battle, but then there’s the next one to be won. I, for one, am pleased that you’re on the other side of depression and will do whatever I can to help you with your lifestyle changes. (Unless one of those changes is “dump that weird friend of yours from Ohio.” Oddly enough, I would fight that one. 😉 )

    But thinking about your lifestyle changes, they somewhat resemble the changes one needs to make if one is to lose weight. Although I’m getting more exercise into my routine, if I don’t change my other bad behaviors, the weight isn’t gonna fall off. 🙁

    • *Checks To Do List* Nope, you’re safe, Trinalin 😀

      Lifestyle changes is an elegant of saying break the habits. They love to stick around.

  5. Having been implicated in the beginning of this blog makes me more than curious to see how it continues. I think to some extent you’d be in this situation anyway at this point, though. The average shelf life of a single author / single topic blog (one that successful surmounts all the obstacles in beginning, and finds an audience) in my anecdotal experience is probably around eighteen months. So you might be fishing for a new topic at this point anyway — and thus while you may feel a bit at sea this is also a great opportunity. Write whatever comes to mind — your supporters are still here.

    • I’m afraid the blog is going to read like the Rorschach ink blot test for awhile. Freedom of thought from depression feels a bit overwhelming at the moment. (I would say it’s like being a kid in a candy store, except I never cared for candy). 😉

  6. Judiang, it is wonderful to know of the current utterly “recovering” situation. Who knows, at some point, there might be your blog focusing on the transition period – there must be others out there, who are in the same phase. Already, you have been describing it vividly. It is amazing what can be accomplished against many odds, and I keep recalling your London odyssey of last year :D.  A niece of mine has had asthma from birth. She embarked on a 6-month trip through China and S.E. Asia, local transport (motor-cycle taxis were involved) couch-surfing etc. and is now in graduate school.

    @Trina – CHEERS! The weight will fall to your optimum and healthy level.


  7. Judiang – everything you’re going through now is absolutely normal!  You talk of a survivor’s club … I’ve absolutely shown up here to your blog and to Servetus’s blog as a survivor.  I didn’t have the benefit of a mature blogging community 15 years ago when I went through my own private mental prison… one where I was both all-powerful prison warden and prisoner to my own punishing thoughts every single day.

    I did make a promise to myself in those dark years, however, that if I were to ever find my way out (and this took years, with constant hospitalizations – as the body does not seem to function so well when access to its energy is blocked by its mind) – that I would absolutely show up to give love and support to those who were caught in similar mental prisons of self punishment and judgment.  (It also took me a few years to ‘unlearn what I had learned’).  But if I recall correctly, those first few weeks out of the prison are indeed disorienting!  What are we supposed to do now?  We’ve lived so long in that prison!  Are we sure and certain we won’t be sent back?

    I’m just glad to see you writing.  And feeling.  And focused.  And dreaming.  🙂

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