Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Don't be a Ninny

I am such a ninny. I've written about depression here before but so long ago that I forgot that I suffered. Yes, I said that. I plain gone and forgot. So, as you do, I stopped taking my meds about three months ago, and about six weeks ago I said to my doctor friend Sue, who I ride with, "I stopped taking my meds, and I feel fine! And it was only a tiny dose. I don't think I need them. I'm so happy. I live in a beautiful place. I walk every day. I have a gorgeous man who loves me..." She looks at me and she says, plainly "Wait till the three month mark." And here I am. Tiny anxious thoughts starting trickling in to my head last week, just silly things, and I thought I hadn't had enough sleep. And yesterday, full on "I suck" mode. Not fun. Even now, I'm still ahead of it, still looking down on, can still see it as a thing, so it hasn't fully taken over, but I know it's there. It's harder to lose myself in the beech trees and the bracken. It's harder to enjoy food. It's harder to see the comedy in situations. It's harder to feel lighthearted. It's harder to not assign (malicious) intent to other people's actions. Harder not to take things personally. Harder to Be The Lighthouse (Yogi Bhajan).

Don't be a ninny: take your meds. Don't believe that you're above them.

My friend who runs a recovery center for depression, addiction, anxiety and so on, says that one of the things he does with the young people he helps is that he takes them out on the street in London and says, "help someone." And he will point them towards a tourist with a map, and say "Go and see if you can point them in the right direction. He probably wants to get to Harrods." And it works. The person feels better because he has reached out to someone else, and he's thought about someone other than himself.

Depression makes the world smaller, shrinks it down, and doesn't allow you to see the huge bountifulness of it all. It lowers the sky. It makes things feel disjointed, not connected. Happiness feels transcendent, big, optimistic, magnanimous, light.  Depression feels little, mean even, dark. You don't have enough to give anyone else.

Earlier today I asked my lovely man to go to London. It's not that I don't want him here. He's amazing with me. For example, on Sunday night, when I was lying in bed staring at the ceiling and not really sure what to do with myself, he lay by me, with his book, and unselfconsciously reached out his hand for mine. It made me cry. I thought "Here am I feeling useless and crap and this lovely man is just lying next to me, supporting me." I didn't feel worthy. But sometimes I can't imagine anyone would want to be with someone who is in this state. It's prickly, a little mean, not particularly loveable.

The opposite of this is the way you feel when you've been plucking up the courage to go in the sea and you decide that you must go, but the sea is cold, and yet you go in anyway, and it's cold but refreshing and you swim, and you keep swimming and it begins to feel warmer. And when you come out, you feel so good that you don't care that your hair is a mess or your tummy is sticking out or your nose is running. Your skin is shimmering and salty, you just feel yourself, your true essence.

That's the piece that's missing. So I will speak with the lovely Dr Joe on the phone tonight and we'll try to get this taken care of.  I don't want to miss a thing.

(For more on feeling crap and dealing with sadness and depression,  please do read the lovely Tania Kindersley's blog, especially this piece. She inspires me every day.)

Mine is a minor ailment in comparison to many. And I thank you for allowing me to express it here, because even this downloading (and I do it better in writing than I do in person) helps. Knowing that it can be shared and knowing that other people experience similar things (like Tania) makes everything much much much more deal-able. I don't like myself when I am this way but I know that that in itself is a symptom, and that I need to embrace it. I encourage everyone to reach out and share these things with friends, or keep a diary. The mere fact that we can crack it open and let it out helps it see some sunlight, helps it heal.


Tania Kindersley said...

This is very moving and very beautifully written. I love the idea of reaching out hands across the wide prairies of the internet so we can remind ourselves we are not alone. Sending love. xx

tedsmum said...

look after yourself Bumble xxx

LPC said...

Everything you write is always beautiful but today I care more that you get yourself back on the meds and even your boat out on the seas.


Katherine C. James said...

Thank you for the link to Tania's piece. It made me feel less alone. Tania described my last two years since my mother died. The second anniversary of her death is 28 August; I have been dreading it. I have been mad at myself for the falling apart parts, the not being organized parts, the not staying connected parts Tania describes. Strength and organization and caring for other people are usually things I do well, and they are not presently there for me. I know I am not alone, but I have felt alone. Time keeps rushing past, and I am behind the place where I intended to be. The other day I was thinking of you, and how much you mean to me even though we have not yet met in real life. I am astonished to find there is so much love in the world, that there are people we love for years and then meet, and it is surprising to remember we are not already old friends. You are one of those people for me. As I was thinking of you, I remembered my first contact with you, which was through LPC who commented above. Lisa had posted a link to a piece you wrote that I remember as a reminiscence about your maternal grandparents and summer in Norway. I had no idea who you were, but I loved that piece and told you so. We connected after that over writing and books, poetry and life, art and food, loss and love, the humor and the pain of existing. You are one of the women in my life who inspires me, who makes me look at some certain thing in a slightly different way, who introduces me to a new poet or artist or thought. Because we are social media friends, I sometimes see the facade and forget the person who may be struggling underneath. Medications do not work for me. I use therapy, exercise, friends, sleep, and eating the right foods. At my low times, I have gotten out of my loop of things that steady me. That is where I am now. It is all so delicate, the work to stay even, and to include not just existing but feeling joy. If there is a medication that helps you, take it again. I will say to you, though I know from experience that this will not necessarily matter to you right now, that your mind will reject it, but I will tell you anyway, there are many people, including me, who admire you, who love you, and who want you to be out of this sadness. Tania and you sharing your pain is a gift to those around you who are feeling as you feel, but thinking they are the only one. We don't expect to heal a physical break alone, a broken bone for example, but we seem to think we should heal mental breaks alone. They are the same. They both require aid. Sending you love, understanding, and support. xo.


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