I don’t know if I have to put any sort of warning up, but if you’re also not in a great place at the moment it may not help you to read about someone else being low. I don’t know. Use your discretion. Maybe it will help you to know you’re not alone, which is why I write these things – I recently posted in a FB freelancers’ group that I was at a low ebb because of depression, and someone said thanked me for being honest, which seemed funny to me because it didn’t seem like a major revelation. But maybe it is. Hmm. I figure if I’m not honest about this, what’s the point? How can we learn to care for each other if we don’t know what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes because they keep up appearances? Keeping up appearances is too tiring.
Foggy foggy. Ugh. My brain is not being helpful at the moment. Thankfully whatever has been ailing my body seems to be on its way out, though energy is still non existent and motivation even…less existent than that. I am actively having to fight the negative self talk that is shouting “you are worthless” at me from the moment I wake up to whenever I can sink into sleep, and that is really tiring. I know this is not true. I know I have worth and I am useful and creative and productive and all of that. I honestly do know it! But it doesn’t feel that way.
I try to find fragments of joy, because I know that life is good even if I don’t feel it. I get joy out of watching my pets. Watching the chickens scratch around in the dirt and excitedly slurp up worms. Watching the cat jump into a recently unpacked box. That’s about all I am capable of at the moment. I get joy out of the sun streaming into the yard that is finally greening up again after recent rain. I get joy out of the few late strawberries turning red. I get joy out of the verse or two of scripture I can manage to read. I get joy out of the bees hopefully checking out the lavender for any remaining pollen. I get joy out of seeing the blanket I’m crocheting gradually growing. I get joy out of the delicious food my mum cooks for me. I hang onto these fragments of joy, gathering them up.
I just want to eat comfort food. Like a massive piece of cheesecake. And then I think “but my diabetesssss arg I’m going to die”. So I don’t go in search of cheesecake. But I somehow convince myself that cheesecake is the only thing that can help me, all the same.
I have been able to push myself to do some things, but it’s not always pretty. I took a music rehearsal at church last night and not only was I running late, but hadn’t checked that everyone had printed out music, etc, so it felt quite disorganised. And then I think I alarmed everyone by just apologising and being self-deprecating for the whole rehearsal. I could hear myself doing it but just couldn’t stop until T said, “really, don’t worry! It’s not that bad!” And actually the rehearsal was fine. It was good to be with other people and sing together, it really was. But oh it was hard work.
I keep replying to work emails and trying to make sure I’ve got work coming in so that when this period passes, I won’t be struggling. But it’s very tempting just to hide. I really want to hide.
And it’s my birthday on Saturday, but I’m finding it hard to muster up my usual enthusiasm for it. I love birthdays. But this one feels…sort of lonely somehow. I’ve also been dreaming lately of people in my recent and distant past, and that has been unsettling and annoying. Perhaps it’s just that annual reassessment of where you’re at and what have you done in the past year and all of that, bringing unhelpful thoughts to the fore. Turning 42, huh? Still bad with money, single and childless, huh? How’s that going for you? Looks like that’s how it’s going to be forever, baby! Everyone else has managed to make it work except you.
(Okay, don’t worry – I know that I am not defined by my bank balance or marital status. I know that I am fine – more than fine! – because my life is hid with Christ and regardless of whatever happens in my life I can rest assured of that. I also know that everyone has their own stuff going on, and marriage or parenthood isn’t some mystical golden ticket – even people who are well off, married and have children can have terrible lives (not that that’s a comfort!). I know that NOBODY has managed to make it work, really, because none of us will ever live up to the standards of worldly perfection that we set for ourselves.)
Anyway. It will be fine. This will pass eventually. I’ll get some momentum back and stop my wheels spinning in this mud puddle. On my birthday we’re going to go to a restaurant I’ve wanted to check out for ages, which looks so lovely (Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory at Sassafras, which is a place name I always have to say out loud because it sounds fun). Then we’re keeping it low key, buying yummy Ashgrove cheese on the way home and getting a movie to watch. I really hope the clouds clear before then so we can enjoy the day. Either way it’ll be good to be out of the house, driving around the countryside and enjoying tasty food.
If you’re the praying type, though, please pray that I would get out of this black-dog-dug-hole. I don’t like it in here.
Header image is from my comic Eating the Blues, published in the anthology Kinds of Blue, a book that gives some extremely helpful insights into what it’s like being someone with depression, or someone caring for a depressed person.