27 September 2013
Autumning (and trying to look up)
Usually when I feel low, I walk through my life absent - just about responding to the people around me but feeling so disconnected and empty. The depression creeps back not in misery, but in not-bothered-ness. For all I get better at avoiding anxiety triggers, for all I get better at carrying on with the daily care-of-self and care-of-others, I still don't have any answer, any magic fix for avoiding the slide into depression.
It helps to look to the small perfect moments of beauty in the ordinary. Experience true wonder, look at the awesome world. It helps to remember to take deep breaths, eat good food, drink plenty of water. It helps sometimes to honour the tiredness, the sadness, the grey fog, and write it down, and just *not* go out, and *not* care if the kitchen is a mess, because that's what you need right now.
It helps, sometimes, to fake it - to do happy things and fun things and creative things even though I don't feel it, to push through the fog to do the things that usually lift me. It's not magic, though.
It isn't like you can tell yourself, "today I will be positive, and the black pit of despair will take the hint and go away, because I don't have any *reason* to feel this way and I know that my life is really actually precious and amazing, so I will just DETERMINE not to feel like crap!" Well, you can. But honestly, if you can wish yourself out of depression, you weren't depressed. Positive thinking is a great thing, and so is going through the motions because other people don't stop needing you, the children don't stop needing me to be mummy (and more than that, to be their resource, their facilitator, their bringer-in-of-interesting-things).
My life is amazing and beautiful and I have every reason to be thankful. My children are bright and healthy and precious, and they need me. If it were possible to beat depression by sheer force of will, anyone who has ever argued with me would tell you it would have no chance. It doesn't work like that. But believe me, I'm fighting anyway, with everything I've got. I don't have time to sink back there again, my children don't have an infinite childhood, and I'd much much rather we spent these precious years dancing around the living room and cutting butterfly shapes out of the turning Autumn leaves and colouring in fractal patterns.
So yesterday, we danced. We played music LOUDLY and raced toy cars and ate biscuits with chocolate spread. I didn't want to, but I made myself. And for a while, that was enough. It will be enough today, too.