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Posts Tagged ‘depression’

Friendship

I’ve never been as depressed as I’ve been these past few weeks. But I told myself that at the end of this week, that would be over, that I’d get up and get on with my life. And lo and behold, I woke up Thursday morning not happy, per se, but not depressed anymore. The big hole of emptiness was gone.

Of course, life is never that easy…I woke up Friday morning with a horrible cold, so getting back to live (exercise, etc.) will have to wait a little longer. Blah.

We (me, dad, and mom’s brother) woke up in time for the sunrise on Wednesday, October 17th. Mom’s brother said a prayer of thanksgiving for mom’s life, and then we all went out onto the deck to scatter mom’s ashes. Dad wanted to keep some in the urn, and I still have some in a small metal heart here at home, so we didn’t scatter them all, but most are there off the side of the deck. It was a gorgeous sunrise. It’s a good place for mom’s ashes to be. It’s a good place for us to remember her being, even if she isn’t really there anymore.

And I took some pictures of the site before I left. Turns out there are some green beans growing there. Who knew? 🙂

It was so funny, when mom’s brother got into town and met us for dinner, he came into the bar where dad and I were waiting and sat down, then started talking…and then he looked at me and said, “And here I am, talking, when I’m just lookin’ at you and thinkin’ about how much you look like your mother.”

“Funny,” I said, “because that’s exactly what I was thinking about you.”

I’m sad that when my mom’s brother is gone, my mom’s stories are gone, too. No one will ever know her like he did. No one will ever know her like I did, either, sure, but he knew her as she was growing up. No one can replace that.

I have an old friend from writing class who has recently begun writing me letters. I always looked up to him as a sort of mentor. I mentioned in one of my responses that I’d been having trouble writing about mom, that it was still too soon for me. He said his mother passed away five years ago, and it was still too soon for him, too. That made me feel a little better. I wish I could write about everything that’s happened. So many of us have experienced loss, and I know that the only thing that can make any of us feel better is the understanding that we’re not alone. If I could write everything down, maybe I could help someone else like my friends have helped me.

And speaking of friends, and the title of this post, I have to say that my ex has been instrumental in getting me through the past few weeks. He was there for me in ways I never expected. If I ever had any doubts about whether or not he cared for me, or about how much he cared for me, they’ve all been erased. He let me take all of my sorrow, grief, and anger out on him, and he was nothing but supportive. I’m both amazed and grateful.

I switched therapists (not sure if I’ve said)…my most recent therapist always made me feel like I was just there as a paying client, like she didn’t really care about me, and that just wouldn’t do. I switched to an RPCV whom I met at a pot luck about a month ago. She’s an older lady, and she’s extremely kind. She’s also the first person who didn’t immediately say that my ex is a selfish asshole and that I should cease all contact with him. She actually helped me see that our relationship wasn’t as one-sided as both of us had thought, but that we gave in different ways: me, more of my material goods, and him, more of his quality time and attention. Neither is worth more. If anything, really, time and attention means more, right? But I’m glad there was finally a different perspective.

Life is a funny place. I think that I’m in a good position to move on and figure out new ways to make a difference in the world. Once this cold is gone, anyway. I’m lucky that my depression didn’t last any longer than it did. I know that not everyone is as lucky. I feel for those people, I honestly do. Real depression is no joke. But no one can save you from it but yourself.

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Confession

Okay.

I’ll admit it.

I’m depressed.

I thought I was depressed once when I was a teenager. I had this blinding moment of clarity wherein I realized that all of my “friends” were fake and that no one really knew who I was. I then immediately lost my faith (I happened to be at a church camp at the time) and did nothing but say I was depressed and cry for a couple of months.

I don’t think I was depressed then, though. This is different.

The best way I’ve been able to explain how I feel now is to say that it’s like there’s this inner core of me that is dead. It has no feelings, no motivation, no purpose, no esteem. It’s just dead weight. It’s like The Nothing in The Neverending Story. And then there’s this outer bit of me that knows I have to go on with life: get outside, exercise, go to work, see people, eat. I just don’t want to.

For the past three weeks, it’s been extremely difficult to get out of bed. I like my bed. It’s comfortable. I don’t have to smile at my bed. I don’t have to answer my bed’s questions. I don’t have to pretend to my bed that I’m a functioning human being. I can just curl up with my body pillow, huddle for warmth under my blanket, and stay safe and unmolested by the world outside my front door.

I’ve been working from home a lot. I’m super lucky to have such a flexible job. I have been making myself go to the gym, where I get a hug from my trainer before she kicks my ass. And I’m being very open about it and telling all of my friends that I’m depressed. I’m not keeping it a secret.

I don’t need to be comforted. I don’t need anyone to tell me it’s going to be okay or that it will pass. I just need to be allowed to be. And I’d prefer to do that being in my wonderful, marvelous bed.

I mentioned some of this to dad tonight, and he told me we didn’t have to go through with our plans for next week (to take mom’s ashes to the beach). I think he missed the point. I need to go to the beach and be with my mother. I need to go through with the ritual of letting her go, which means nothing to her at this point, but a lot to me. I know that after next week, things will pick up again and I’ll get back to some kind of normal routine.

The most unexpected side-effect of this depression is that I understand my ex-boyfriend in a way that I never have before. He deals with this type of feeling all the time. He has his whole life. I am lucky in that I understand what’s going on and that these feelings are temporary. People have been telling him that “it will pass” and “everything will be okay” his entire life, but it hasn’t and they aren’t. I understand things better now…for example, I’ve gotten upset with him before when I’ve reached out for reassurance or comfort and he wasn’t able to provide it. But now I get it: you can’t provide comfort to someone when you aren’t comforted yourself. I tried to explain this to him, and here’s how he paraphrased it:

you used to get upset because I couldn’t or didn’t know what to say to make you feel better when shit was shitty, but since now you’re feeling shitty you know that it’s hard to make others not feel shitty when they’re feeling shitty

And that’s pretty much it. But there’s a bit more…like sometimes the best thing you can do to help someone is to let them know that they are understood and that they are not alone. And I think that’s what he always tried to do. I interpreted that as him not caring and not trying, but empathy might just be the best way he can care for someone else, the most that he can do for someone.

Misery loves company, eh?

So here it is: I’m depressed. That’s not a bad thing or a good thing, it’s just a thing. I know why I feel this way. I also know it will end at some point. And I think I have enough strength left in me to pretend that I’m okay until I am actually okay again, though I’d really rather just stay in bed.

I have a very nice bed.

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