What a weird year, eh! For everyone!

I think many of us will have similar stories about how 2020 has been for us. For me it was frustrating not just because of the pandemic (and the responses or non-responses by governments), but because the aim to social distance as much as possible meant that I paused my psychotherapy (counseling for my anxiety and depression) from March until now. I’ve still had regular appointments with my psychiatrist to get medication and talk a bit, but the main ‘talking therapy’ has been put on hold. It hit just at the wrong time as we were making progress there and, although the type of therapy I’m having doesn’t aim to uncover childhood experiences, we’d actually just got to a point where those experiences seemed to be haunting me a little and so we were going to ‘go there’ and talk about them. Ah well, hopefully sometime next year I can restart, but it has meant that my progress in recovery has stalled. It hasn’t got particularly worse—although I did have a bad period in November—but it hasn’t got much better either.

So, 2020 was spent off work on sick leave (my time is running out on that front), and like many people, spent mainly at home.

January and February were uneventful. Looking at my personal journal I can see that mostly I was recording small ‘achievements’, which in some cases were simply things like managing to do some laundry or wash the dishes.

In March, just as the pandemic was hitting, I had my ears re-pierced. I had pierced ears since I was a teen, but in line with having a professional persona I let them heal after moving to Japan. I realized during the beginning months of the year that I’d been putting a lot of pressure on myself to be outwardly the sort of person who I thought I ‘should’ be and this in itself was just an additional pressure. So getting my ears pierced again was an act that in some way was saying, ‘this is me’ and I won’t hide it.

I continued teaching myself to draw through March and April, but as the year went on I stopped. This is something that I plan on picking up again next year as it was something that enjoyed. I’d found that I was being overly critical of myself (a symptom of depression) and it took the joy out of drawing. So I intend on getting back to that in 2021.

As spring turned into summer I gained quite a lot of weight, which can be put down to less exercise (more time spent at home) and some changes in medication—antidepressants—that frequently have a side effect of weight gain. I used to weigh about 85kg and now I’m around 100kg. I definitely want to lose a bit next year, not because I’m vain (OK, I am a bit), but because I only have a few pairs of trousers that still fit me!

I continued reading tarot during the summer. I haven’t yet written about tarot on this blog but it’s something that I find quite meditative and relaxing. I will write about it in future.

The summer months were on the one hand good, as the sun and warmth raised my spirits, but I found I was unstable and had panic attacks that plagued me some days and deep suicidal depression on other days. This became worse as summer turned to autumn and the temperature dropped. I’ve realized that I can be quite strongly affected by the weather.

Like many of us who have tried their best to #stayhome during the pandemic, I’ve been watching a lot of TV. And my greatest pleasure has been from watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When it was first broadcast I’d seen occasional episodes but this time I bought the DVD Box Set and I’ve been watching from the beginning. My Halloween night in October was an enjoyable one, spent at home, but with a nice relaxing bath and some Buffy. These small pleasures have been getting me through the year. I’m now up to Season 4, which is really great so far!

Other than this, this year I’ve continued to be active on Twitter (I don’t use Facebook), open about my sexuality, which, rather like having pierced ears, has been liberating—I no longer feel a pressure to hide part of myself. One thing I do desire is a sense of physical community, and once the pandemic is controlled and it’s safe to do so, I’d like to get together with several of the people I know on twitter and chat in person. Oh, how nice it will be to be able to travel without fearing infection. I will still have my Panic Disorder to deal with, but the additional fear of the pandemic should eventually subside as people are vaccinated. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like that will happen quickly in Japan, so next year could be much like this one. Let’s see.

Anyway, I hope your 2020 has been as good as it could be, and best wishes for the beginning of 2021!