Last week was not a good week around here. Actually, all of January has been a bit of an ordeal. And I mean ordeal in the literal sense.

In addition to feeling nauseated and exhausted all the time, I am still doing battle with the lack of appetite that goes along with one of the drugs I’m taking.

Also, the T1 internet line that I pay a truly insane amount of money for every month has been down since 12/27 and I have spent actual days on the phone with both customer and tech support trying to get it fixed. I spoke with more than –wait for it — 70 human beings in the course trying to get the em effing internet turned back on, to no avail.

Then the hard drive on my computer crash while I was in the middle of editing the 4000 pictures I shot last weekend for our Spring/Summer photo shoot.

I got at flat tire after leaving Amy’s house at nearly midnight in middle of a rainstorm.

Oh, and did I mention that I came home to find that the house was suffering from an infestation of field mice and that rats had taken over the barn?

Like I said, not a great month.

To say that I was feeling sorry for myself would be an exercise in understatement. I felt like a black cloud have settle over my life. I was overwhelmed. I was drowning in a sea of misery and despair.

I was a wreck.

And then a couple of things happened. First of all, my mother, who has always been the person I call first when things go wrong, pointed out that I was spending an awful lot of time and energy feeling sorry for myself. She didn’t exactly tell me to knock it off, but she pointed out that I might feel better if I cut that shit out.

I’m not going to say that I turned my frown upside down and that suddenly the sun came out and the mice took their leave. But I did stop wasting energy on being miserable. When I felt a wave of self-pity coming on, I took a nap or worked on editing the photographs for our forthcoming collections. When I felt any overwhelming bout of brooding about to overtake me, I took Amy and Paul up on their standing invitation to come over and use their internet.

The nice thing about being with people who care about you when you are miserable, is that you really can’t just spend hours on end openly weeping. Plus, Amy and Paul’s house is always kind of a circus. Their daughters change outfits five or six times a day to suit their moods. The chaos is hilarious and infectious, and I always leave their house feeling better than I arrived.

My friends Saint Tanya, Kris and Shirra also helped me tremendously by checking in with me from time to time via text and emails.

I started taking itty-bitty baby steps to get things back under control. I fired the internet company and found an alternative. I ordered a couple of humane (but deadly) mouse and rat traps (they’re called Raticator Max Rodent Traps, in case you’re interested) and successfully evicted my uninvited guests. I cleaned out my pantry, bagging up everything I can’t eat and am sending it over to Amy’s house so that I don’t have to fight my gag reflex every time I need a snack. I found a few more things that I can eat fairly successfully and stocked up on them.

And then I did something completely out of character for me- I turned the heat up to 70 degrees in the house. (I figure with all the money I’m saving on food and wine, I can afford to be warm this year.)

The greatness of man lies in the decision to be stronger than his condition.” Albert Camus wrote that and I think it’s so important that I’m going to write it again. “The greatness of man lies in the decision to be stronger than his condition.” That is powerful stuff, y’all.

Next week, I am going to take more baby steps. I’ve got to go to Texas for some some medical tests and an adjustment in my medication, but while I’m there I am going to continue to my forward progress. I’m going to make some difficult but necessary decisions about the future that will make things easier going forward. I’m going to try very hard to be stronger than my condition from here on out. That’s the first decision, and I have made it.

Why am I sharing all of this with you, my lovely readers? For a couple of reasons. First of all, because I think we are all fighting our own battles, struggling with our own demons, nursing our own wounds. I want you to know that you are not alone. That whatever you are dealing with right now, there are other people who are going through the same thing. And there are other people who have been through it and come out on the other side.

I’m also telling you this because I want to encourage you to spend this upcoming weekend getting all that self-pity out of your system. Take naps. Cry into your pillow. Take long hot bathes.

Cause, come Monday, I want you to make a decision to be stronger than your condition, too.