My head was spinning itself into a panicked mess today…yesterday…whenever. When I get like that, all harried and freaking out, just drive me to the gym, shove me out the car door, hand me a book, and make me work out until I’ve finished the book. Or hand me my sketchbook and a pen and put me in a locked room and don’t let me come out for a few hours. There should be an emergency meditation program for days like this…you press a red button on the meditation app that says Emergency and it runs and runs until you come up for calm air and the panic is gone (21 Ways to Stop a Panic Attack). I did the first one, the gym and a book. And meditation. I only had time for 26 minutes of ironing tonight, but the exercise helped numb the crazy and push it down into some hole, shove it in a drawer, wrap it up in a box and hide it on a shelf. Whatever. I’m numb now…not comfortably…just pushed everything back over THERE. It’ll come out again, but maybe by then I’ll have some distance, some ability to deal. Some strength that I am lacking at the moment.
I ironed lungs and a cat (21 Objects You Can Find in Kathy’s Quilts). It’s all I had time to do.
I was so numb after everything that I just full on gave up on removing the cat from the ironing board (21 Ways to Remove a Cat from an Ironing Board).
She’s expecting me to pull her off, but I just don’t have the mental energy. I just dehaired the board when I was ready to iron (21 Uses for Tape).
Are you noticing a theme? I actually had a rant in my head the other day about all the posts with numbered lists and how they were driving me nuts…Ten Ways to Use up Turkey, Fourteen Ways to Wear a Scarf, Twelve Ways to Screw Up Your Life…but then I ran into one where I didn’t care that it was a numbered list, because it was actually a well-written and useful list.
I shared this link on Facebook, but it got deleted and then reappeared (FB Gremlins beware)…21 Tips to Keep Your Shit Together When You’re Depressed…by Rosalind Robertson, in response to all those happy lists about how to be freakin’ happy, like it’s something I can buy in a spray bottle at the grocery store and just never got around to using. I liked what she said about creatives and depression: “we ARE the ‘creative’ types around you. We feel more, we see more, and for that we suffer.” I don’t think being depressed made me creative or being creative made me depressed, but being creative gives me a better path OUT of the depression…so maybe I’m the more obvious depressiod in your circles…the rest are hiding in bed and not telling you what they’re feeling or thinking, because they may not even know. I’m out there in your face about it. I’m actually paying attention to how I feel instead of running away or hiding from it. Dammit, I’m going to write my way out of this depression…
It is thoroughly annoying to have people tell you that you make a choice to be depressed when you are doing all the things on that list, like you’re an even bigger failure than you already thought you were…or putting a time limit on your depression. “Well, it’s been X months now, so you really should be moving on.” Rightio. Getting on with that right now. Now get the fuck away from me.
Robertson refers to an article about the upside of depression from the New York Times in 2010, which you can read here (yes, it’s a lot of words…they are interesting words, though, and there’s lots of science in them, and science is often good).
“He cites as evidence a recent study that found ‘expressive writing’ — asking depressed subjects to write essays about their feelings — led to significantly shorter depressive episodes. The reason, Thomson suggests, is that writing is a form of thinking, which enhances our natural problem-solving abilities. ‘This doesn’t mean there’s some miracle cure,’ he says. ‘In most cases, the recovery period is going to be long and difficult.’” Great. Well, that’s what my blog has been since mid-July…expressive writing about how I’m feeling and a little bit about what I’m getting done. I wish it were more “getting done” and less “having to feel shitty,” but there does seem to be a purpose to my madness.
What I find really interesting is that I am already doing most of the things on the list…that I have some inherent ability to know what will pull me out of depression, a toolbox, as it were, and I employ the tools in it as needed to get out of that damn hole. It’s not just up and out, though…it’s up a bit and fall back in. Sometimes you make it further up the muddy wall, just to fall further back into the hole, but up the wall you continue. Slowly. Bleeding fingers, nails pulled back and ripped from trying to hold on, covered in mud from the repeated falls…but up the wall you go. I would argue for me that my natural state is not in the hole. I know what “normal” for me feels like, and it’s not this constant melancholy, as Robertson calls her natural state. I know I don’t belong in the hole, that I’ve spent most of my life out of it. I’m hoping that with increased iron in my diet and an adjustment to my thyroid meds that I’ll see some improvement in moods…I’m not expecting miracles, but some more sleep would be good. I can’t do anything about the hormonal stuff except survive it…the wonder of perimenopause. Fuck those who don’t understand that transition. It’s so easy to be someone who doesn’t have to deal with the hormonal fuckitude.
In positive news, the girlchild finally passed her driving test today and has her license, thus freeing me from spending every night sitting in the high-school parking lot to pick her up. Just to clarify, she didn’t ever fail…her dad’s CAR failed to start and then the second time, his registration hadn’t been renewed, so this was the third try to actually GET to the DMV with paperwork in hand, and she was finally successful. Life will change as we know it. Tomorrow, we go to the orthopedic doctor to talk about back surgery…it will be a difficult conversation, since all three of us are on different pages…should be interesting.
Anyway. Definitely a numb night. From the book I’m reading, “A dreadful array of feelings yawned. Which should I elect to overcome me first? I could not decide. The dog came and put his head in my lap and we sat there until I realized that one of the reactions I could have was numbness.” Louise Erdrich, The Round House. I’m going to let Louise take me and my numbness to bed now…tomorrow is a long day and I really need more resources to survive it than I had today. Sleep might help with that…I read that in a list somewhere.