I posted here a few days ago something I’d started writing a week earlier. The descent.
On my table, next to my desktop PC that I use when I telework, sat my documents for my tax return. They stayed there as the deadline loomed.
For me, life isn’t a bleak and unrewarding path through Time. I am generally upbeat and energetic. Life is an opportunity to laugh or make someone laugh. It doesn’t matter whether it’s having brunch with a friend, doing some DIY, or reading a book on a mobile device, there are always things to enjoy.
Not so much recently.
First, work had to go. More specifically, I stopped going. I stayed home. I did nothing. Not the kind of nothing you sometimes choose to do on vacation. Not a relaxing nothing, but a tiring weary nothing. I didn’t even check my e-mail.
Second, kids…what kids? Fortunately, the two youngest girls living with me at the moment are teenagers. Parental interaction can be interesting, but it’s not always necessary. Having a little space from dad is OK. They didn’t get worried that I was out of their way and letting them get on with homework on their own. Honestly, I’m not even sure they noticed I was doing nothing at all. Is that a bad thing?
Third, sleep didn’t come. I went to bed early or late, but couldn’t get to sleep. Or I woke early, feeling exhausted, but couldn’t get back to sleep. Dizzy with tiredness, I lay there, wondering what I’d not be doing today.
One of the days off work was a telework day. I didn’t have to clean up and drive downtown, so I tried to do some work. Normally these are my most fun working days ever. No shaving! Or shower! Clothing is optional! I did four hours and gave up. And lay down for the rest of the day.
It took me some time to write my last post, which is why it was broken into two parts. I was so ‘busy’ lying around. Or looking in the kitchen and not seeing anything interesting to eat. Or putting off a shower because it seemed a lot of effort. Or watching some TV on the iPad and then realizing I’d missed minutes because I’d spaced out.
After some days of feeling down, I accepted the counsel of a friend, who you know as That Precarious Gait. I rested my mind. I didn’t fight back. I looked for a mental ‘fluffy blanket’ in the familiar things that are comfortable. Her list included: watching favorite feel-good movies, reading favorite books, getting enough sleep, long walks, drinking plenty of water and tea, and many other useful ideas.
My experience with dark times is limited. Had I started my own list, I’d have included some of these ideas, but I found more than I’d have come up with alone. I guess we all have our own kinds of comfort that take the edge off the dark days. There was one other item that should have been obvious: Checking in with friends. Reaching out to friends, even when the instinct is to withdraw further, provides support that makes a tangible difference.
— ooOoo —
(My ’emoticon’ for “some days have passed” appears again.)
I started to get better.
The sun no longer glared at me; it shone yellow. The kids appeared curiously ‘interesting’; not just there eating my food. I could concentrate; I wanted to get up and get dressed and be outside. I had an itch that couldn’t be scratched by doing nothing at all.
For me, my nature is not somber. I can be felled, but I don’t stay down for very long. I am wired like that. It’s not some inner strength. It’s not courage. It’s not something that I knowingly control. For you, it might be very different. I think my kind of depression is tied to pressures and life’s turmoil. Not just the daily kind, but the extraordinary kind of confluence of events that happens rarely. Your kind of depression may be partly contingent on Life, but it may have a hormonal or biochemical element as well. Had I stayed depressed, I’d have asked my doctor for pills.
I feel deeply for those whom Life has dealt poor cards. In the most general terms, I’ve led a very lucky life. From the great people I’ve met in so many places to the opportunities to work anywhere I wanted for so long. I’ve got wonderful kids who will one day grow from being teenagers (*sigh*) into adults that I am proud of (exactly how long can be they be “teens”??). I’ve been blessed with a quirky mind that’s not too slow and a sense of humor that slices and dices Life to expose the funny underbelly (if my analogy isn’t getting too messy). So many people — most people — don’t get the same chances, or have them and more but are crippled by addiction or emotional issues.
I end this diversion off normal programming with the thought that we should all pass on a little support to those that need it. We owe it.