My eyes are opening about a bunch of different things lately. First, I had a huge realization at work, in which my privilege – both being white and from a Christian background in the United States – had been clouding my vision about a certain matter. Things are moving there, and I’m glad I had the ‘aha’ moment, even if it felt embarrassingly (to me) late in the game.
And I have moments – moments which feel like eons/swathes of Time/months/years even – in my Life, in which I am walking around with my eyes closed to Myself. How and why do my body and brain do this to me? How can it happen every single time? It’s sort of funny, like, ‘Oh, body, you got me again!’ Cue studio audience laugh. And at the same time, so frustrating because I can’t see it sooner. Hrm. Does anyone else experience this kind of muckety-muck in this way?
First, the lesser realization, though still quite major, is that I am and have been Depressed….. Significantly Depressed since about November of last year. All of the crapola at work and my health just struck me down. I have been chugging along, and doing my Life, but nothing has felt good or right. Nothing makes me happy, which is awful to say…. And maybe not entirely true. There are definitely moments of happiness – like holding my niece for the first time, and getting to know her and her sweet nature and her awesome communication skills. Seriously. Brilliant baby. (Good job on that one, Sister.) But other things which are supposed to make me happy – time with my kids and family, sewing, theatre, baking, Summer Vacation for crying out loud!!! (I’m a teacher) – Nothing really filled my void. Lifted me up. Not all the way.
I feel like I am forever searching and searching for that thing to fill me up and make me feel good. …. Which tells me I am prone to looooonnnnnnnnnggggggg periods of Depression. Because when I’m good, I’m great. But those times feel rather like wee little windows of time. And especially in the perspective of this past year, the windows have all been shut. (How many metaphors can I use in one blog post, do you think? *smile*)
So, yep. Depression. Solid, sun-blocking Depression.
But? I’m not a quitter. Fuck that.
One good thing about a new med I am trying (to help me with the bi-polar, while also not making my heart condition worse), is that it doesn’t knock me out for days at a time. I have been getting up on the reg and exercising. In the past 3.5 weeks, I have exercised 22 times. Holy shit, who am I? *smile* That feels good, even when it doesn’t. And even though it doesn’t change my whole day necessarily, I feel good when I’m doing it, so good. I like that.
I’m also moving along at work and doing good things, even with my first above-mentioned realization. Administration feels supportive. I’m confident in my job. I Love my classroom time. I feel like a Good Teacher, which is one of the best feelings.
I gave up coffee in early July, which was necessary for my ol’ ticker. Going to see how things improve at my upcoming appointment this month. Fingers crossed, but not feeling Certain things will be better. TBD. … But that to say, it’s another thing I tackled despite the Depression.
I’m trying out my mantra on occasion, when I remember. “I’m okay.” It just popped into my head shortly after my last session with my therapist. She said I need something to combat the self-talk which is just knocking me backwards and down repeatedly, and it just popped up. It’s not like the ‘I’m fine’ thing we’ve almost all been programmed to say when someone asks us in the hallway or on the sidewalk, ‘How are you?’ Nope. It’s like I’m okay because I’m like other people. I’m okay and I don’t need to be Wonder Woman right now (even though I am enjoying herbal tea from my WW coffee mug at this mo). I’m okay and this work can wait a day. I’m okay and what I got done, I got done, what I didn’t, I didn’t. I’m okay to not have energy right now and just be with my babes and husband. …. There is this magical version of Me which calls out to me to be the best and be amazing and be incredible all of the time, which usually makes me shut down, call myself names, worry about all the other amazing women doing amazing things in their amazing lives, and just stop and not do anything – all while hating myself because I’m not doing anything right. Saying ‘I’m okay’ helps me remember there is probably someone else in the world with some piles of papers needing to go through, or dishes to be done. I’m okay. Seriously. I am. Right now. I’m okay. …. And that is so healing when I remember to use it. It’s a lovely pivot point to move from.
Last eyes-suddenly-open realization hit me last night around dinner time. Not sure why it took me a few years to see it. I was getting dinner ready and kind of kicking myself and reaching for that magical-wish-I-was version of myself (i.e. thin, in this particular instance) in my head, because of all the exercise I’ve been doing, but still am so Fluffy. Like a marshmallow. Just fluffy. And I can’t shed it. And as I was wishing and reaching for my 10th pre-meal bite of whatever it was I was making, it dawned on me that it was dinner time. Witching hour. My old drinking/stomping grounds. Familiar territory, in other words. All too familiar.
I saw myself reach for the food. I heard myself use the words ‘Treat’ and ‘I deserve.’ …. All in hopes of filling a hole.
What the fuck does that Hole want anyway, and why can’t I fill it up?
I do the work, or at least remind myself to get going and do the work. I chug along.
But now, I find I have a food addiction. Probably a minor one in comparison, but the same exact pattern and mindset. And it’s not even an addiction to a certain type of food. Nope. It’s just any and all food. And it’s all about deserving. And treating. And trying to make myself feel better.
Which is probably all wrapped up into this gigantic Depression-monster I have hovering around me. And perhaps as I work to lift that, the hole will feel smaller? Maybe? Question mark? Hopeful eyebrow-raise.
I have a feeling it all has to do with balance and decreasing the pressure and hate for myself. ….. That felt awful to write. ….. I don’t know why the hate-voice is there, but I think it must have to do with all of the perfect, magical lives I imagine everyone else is leading. And I used to feel magical, or at least, I thought I was being magical when I led a life that emulated what I saw on TV. I’m so prone to suggestion, it’s ridiculous. Now when I think of leading those magical lives – and I want to – I just feel old and tired and resentful that it’s too hard to lead lives like those, and how the hell is everyone else even doing it?
Other people aren’t leading those lives. They’re leading normal, regular lives that aren’t perfect, nor do they look nor feel perfect. They’re messy and not great at everything. They’re good at some things, but not everything. They’re okay.
Just like me. I’m okay.
Maybe the hole I’m trying to fill has actually swallowed me up. I’ve got work to do – depression, balance, food, exercise. And I know, eventually, I will be able to pull myself out of here. I’ve done it before.
Day 1,181. Looking up from the bottom.