It has begun. I felt it today, that shadow that lurks just over my shoulder, just beyond my peripheral vision. I could feel it riding my shoulder, whispering of cold, grey days ahead. Taunting me with the looming Winter. It is odd how it manifests, a queer kind of stir-crazy. A restlessness that will not settle. An itch deep in my skull that cannot be scratched. I reach the point where tension in my chest feels as if all my insides are pressing to get outside. As if the squishy bits won't stay in the skin. Brain becomes scrambled and unfocused. Body becomes twitchy and hyper-sensitive. I knew that if I did not burn off the manic energy that was building in response to the melancholy manifesting in my soul I would pace the house like a caged beast, snapping at anything that came too near, devouring everything in my path including pets and small children. I fled to the gym, the safest recourse under these circumstances. Not my normal Sunday afternoon routine, but it may need to be added to the arsenal. I headed directly for the weight room and lifted hard for a solid 45 minutes, focusing strictly on upper-body. I realized I am still sore from the punishment I meted out on Thursday. After the quick and brutal strength training I headed for the pool, which was my main destination. I do love the soothing caress of the cool water. I knew I would swim hard, needed to swim hard. I did a tough but smooth warmup; 20 laps with hand paddles and pull buoy. Then I kicked it up a few gears and did 30 non-stop laps of strength/speed work, which jacked my cardio up higher than I normally go when I swim. It felt great, heart pounding, breathing deep and fast, shoulders burning. I actually had to pause for a minute, only a minute, then swam a mellow lap of breast stroke, letting the water cool my face. I finished with 20 laps at my "I-can-do-this-for-miles" race pace to cool down. Then I slipped into the hot tub, floating on my back, hot water covering everything but my face, and let the tension drain out of Body and Brain. It was what had to happen, what was needed to fend off the demons for another day.
This winter has the potential to be devastating, knowing that my job is ending in a few short weeks, and my future is not nearly as secure as I would wish. But at the same time, I am excited for the coming changes, even though they are being forced upon me. Forced upon me, yes, but how I choose to deal with them is all on me. I can curl into a sniveling, whining ball and rage against the unfairness of the world, or I can stand up to it and decide that now is my chance to step forward into new opportunity. I have plans. Honestly, I have "A Plan." But it is alarming, daring, challenging, frightening. I am on a rollercoaster that that is hurtling me from elated to scared shitless, often in a matter of minutes. This is part of the energy behind today's episode of melancholic mania. I will have to be ever vigilant, catch it before it catches me, sweat it out of my system before it can turn toxic in my heart. It will be a tough winter.