In the last week or so I've been grumpy and restless with an epic lack of motivation.
I mean epic. My top two favorite things to do have been sleeping, and thinking about when I can get my next nap in. This is obviously problematic with three kids and a husband busy working weird shifts. So, instead of napping I found myself irritable and grumpy scrolling through my phone for a welcome diversion as I go about the necessary tasks of my life.
As a lifelong hypochondriac, of course I self-diagnosed myself with depression. Seasonal, obviously, as up until mid-January, I felt ok.
Since then, there has not been enough yoga, coffee or wine to make me feel a little like my old self. (And I’ve tried.. oh I’ve tried. One thing I don’t recommend is lunch with friends, a few beers, followed by a hot yoga class. This ended in me finding little to no energy to do anything but Savasana. Thankfully my social anxiety kicked in and I at least kept up with the class so as not to embarrass myself.)
It wasn’t until yesterday, when dear friends stopped by, that I realized I may simply have fallen prey to a sweeping epidemic.
A beautiful, and normally chipper teenager ,was a grump who thought basically everything and anything was stupid. To which her mother, a constant ray of sunshine in my life, replied back that she too, thought most things were stupid and annoying these days as well.
The commiserating hit an all-time high when suddenly a term came to mind and I blurted it out, which I have the propensity to do in most situations. (Appropriately or not.)
We all kind of know what that means, right?
I think a lot of us that live in these frozen parts use it a lot. But, as I like to do, I decided to actually research what the hell that meant, if it was a real thing, and what the signs and symptoms of such an illness could be. Since, to be perfectly honest, the thought of sitting in a remote cabin would be pretty awesome right now.
Google, the answer to all my earthly questions, defined it as :
“an idiomatic term, first recorded in 1838, for a claustrophobic reaction that takes place when a person or group is isolated and/or shut in a small space, with nothing to do for an extended period. Cabin fever describes the extreme irritability and restlessness a person may feel in these situations.”
Guys, shit just got real, because then it went on to describe ME!!:
“A person may experience cabin fever in a situation such as being in a simple country vacation cottage. When experiencing cabin fever, a person may tend to sleep, have distrust of anyone they are with, and an urge to go outside even in the rain, snow, dark or hail. The phrase is also used humorously to indicate simple boredom from being home alone.”
My name is Brittany, and I have Cabin Feveritis and I will no longer stay silent. I am taking a stand for my fellow Feveritis Sufferers. My particular strain is of the Equine variety, but I know that Angling, Hunting, and Boating strains also exist. (Those are some obviously made up terms. But it sounded more professional).
Cabin Fever is a thing, and it’s terrible.
There is only one known cure for myself, and those like me.
And not furry, winterized horses. I need the smooth bodied, soft muzzled ones that won’t leave tufts of hair in the girth. I need an orangey horse nickering to me as I walk down the aisle to get her, and I need to hear those sacred, sacred words to any rider, as I buzz down the rail and my ponytail swings like a toddler let loose in the backyard with a bat,
"Yes.. keep her right there. Perfect. Great! WOOOOO look at that show horse go"
Because most of all, I need to be riding towards a goal. Not just for giggles and fun only. Nope, I’m ready for the fun that comes from working harder than I have at anything else to attain my next goal.
And I need all the things on the periphery that come with this.
I need Starbucks, and an early morning drive to the barn on a warm spring day.
I need red wine in a red solo cup sitting on a mounting block in the middle of the arena watching horses work, and riders sweat, on a beautiful spring evening when my phone has conveniently lost service, and I swore I was going to be home an hour ago already.
I need to feel the nerves of getting on, or staying on, when things have suddenly gone sideways… literally. I need the bruises back on the inside of my knees, my legs to feel like jello (almost giving out when I jump off, stumbling super gracefully away as my trainer laughs and laughs at me), my hair to smell like horses, my hands to be dirty, and to laugh as shavings fall out of my bra when I go to change when I get home. (But really.. how do shavings get everywhere??)
I need the camaraderie of the barn and the people and the animals that populate it. I need the “You gotta see this horse work” and the “Wanna try him out?”s that ensure I will never, ever, ever be on time getting home from the barn.
It’s in my blood, and anytime something permeates the very essence of you, it starts to become more than just a pastime. Passion is thrown around often whenever someone talks about horses. But to me, passion is something that can fade. Yes, passion it is, but more so it’s a need that comes from a place you can’t even name.
It’s what got me out of bed at 7am in high school and University, when I would do the Sunday chores at the barn to work off board.
It’s using my one ‘kid and husband free’ week a year, to go to a show where I work longer hours and feel more drained than when I left, in the most beautifully, contentedly, exhausted way.
It’s what fuels the drive to keep trying and keeping saddling up when you’re feeling defeated, or scared, or maybe a little of both.
It’s what I saw in my Grandpa, who could barely bend over without losing his breath or passing out, as he still hauled himself atop his horse right up until the end of his life.
So yes, I’m feeling Cabin Fever, no doubt. But upon further contemplation, a strange realization came upon me.
To feel this void, this utter lack of motivation reminds me of what I have the privilege of possessing in my self and in my life.
Because you can't miss the adrenaline, the sanctity, the joy, and the sheer insanity of something you've never had the privilege of knowing.
So instead of the grey days of February beating me further into an abysmal state, I’ll grab a coffee, head out to the barn, and hug my horse, and eagerly await those moments of bliss that are sure to await me this spring.
Well, bliss and sore legs.
And shavings. Always shavings.
And shavings. Always shavings.