The thing is. The THING. IS.
Sometimes I am so, so tired of the effort required simply to survive myself.
This morning was the third morning in a row that I woke up, rolled onto my back, and stared at the ceiling while tears just sort of ran down my face into my ears. Ooh, sexy.
I hate most what everyone, I think, hates most about depression: it’s so unreasonable. But of course it is! It’s literally a chemical imbalance, a series of crossed mental wires, a depletion of things that are necessary to function. You can’t reason with it any more than you can diabetes, or high blood pressure.
Not that that stops us from trying. And that’s what makes us so very tired. That fruitless, hopeless struggle to convince your brain that everything really is okay and none of the annoying or upsetting things that happen in life are world-enders.
I am doing my best. I don’t have a doctor at the moment – mine left her practice, and was not always the most effective and helpful physician as regards my mental health anyway – and I really sort of underestimated just how absolutely horrifying 2017 was going to be, so I kept putting off finding a new one. I figured I would be okay until it was time for The Annual Rummaging Belowstairs next spring, you know? But I’m kind of not, and now I don’t have the energy to go on the hunt for one. I have a couple bookmarked on my insurance health portal, but I mean, I just found a new dentist after two years. Taking a while to locate new health care providers is kind of precedented for me.
So. I’m drawing on my deep wells of coping skills to hang tight until I get my energy back enough to call the offices and make an appointment and then take deep breaths when I have to go in and advocate for myself. As follows:
- I am very goal oriented – I am trying to not think of how this makes me sound like an incarcerated dolphin doing backflips for herring at Sea World – so I’ve lassoed my normally holistic world view and forced myself to kaleidoscope my focus down to one thing: my trip to Norway. I have so many lists for this trip, and I have revised these lists so many times, you wouldn’t believe it. I think I have my week’s worth of clothing and supplies down to a backpack, a roll-on suitcase, and the voluminous pockets of my winter raincoat. For a December trip to Norway. I am possibly a goddess and should be worshiped. We’ll see.
- I got a new bottle of valerian root. I have no idea if it is a placebo or actually effective, but in either case, I absolutely notice a difference when I run out of a bottle and put off buying more. So this is me trying to hold myself accountable for when this new bottle runs out. Also sometimes it amuses me to refer to it as Valyrian Root. I am supported by unbreakable, dragon-forged steel!
- I am practicing self-care in the form of going outside when there’s sunlight and chilling on the balcony with my plants and a cup of tea. I have kept those plants alive, I can keep myself alive.
- I am not judging myself for all the soup, applesauce, pudding, yogurt, and sugar-free Jell-O I am eating. Delicious convenience with some actual nutritional and digestive value. Also I am drinking tons of water. The occasional bag of salt and vinegar chips is also being forgiven by my generous self. Whatever. I am eating some kind of food and I am just going to go with it.
- I can’t really get out and walk as much as I want (stupid, stupid, STUPID injuries ugh so tired of getting hurt every time I aim for self-improvement) so I am using a resistance band, my portable barre, and hand weights to do some light stretching and movement. It’s not high-impact cardio, but I am off my ass at various points in the day so why don’t we go with it.
- Listening to the same music and reading the same books over and over is a very fine thing to do.
- Nightly long, hot baths with epsom salts, a cup of tea, and some chill Spotify action, also a very fine thing.
- Keeping up with my Duolingo streak. I cannot miss a day and just do a streak repair anymore because I turned off my in-app purchases (My Pokemon Go purchases were getting out of hand). I’m at 323 days of Norwegian language learning now, with a few weeks of Danish on the side. Did I mention being goal oriented? Right.
- Going out when friends invite me to, I am on it. Jessica sort of sweetened the pot for tomorrow’s excursion with the mention of spanakopita, I am not ashamed to say that while I am fairly certain I would have gone to whatever she suggested, the spanakopita really did push the chances into the “yup, absolutely, for sure” zone.
I’m just…I’m trying. And yeah, I am sleeping and weeping a lot, lots of time spent in bed, but I am also trying, really, actually trying, even though a very great deal of the time, it is so exhausting. One foot in front of the other.
Is writing on that list of things? No. But you know what?
10. I am not going to feel guilty about not writing.
In fact, I have decided to not take my laptop with me to Norway. I had originally planned to, so I could work on my next project while I was there. But you know what? I can do that without a laptop. I am taking one of my glittery notebooks with me and if the muse strikes, I’ll write longhand. Until then, though, I am allowing myself to take time off of writing. I want to get back to a point where I am writing because I have a story I want to tell. I want to write without consciously trying to Write Something Important That Will Matter. I want to write because I want to write, period.
My hopes and expectations (and the subsequent crashes and burns) are hamstringing me. And I cannot stop comparing myself to my peers and seeing how short I come up in every possible way. I have to somehow get back to writing with care, but also writing freely for the sake of writing. I used to know how to do that, I think.
But my self-esteem struggles are another topic, maybe for another day. Or maybe not ever. In any case, today is for surviving myself. Today is today. So that I can get through to tomorrow. And so on, and so forth.
Because no matter what my brain wants to tell me – and oh, it is insidious, and it says so many things in dark little whispers, and the loudest is you wouldn’t be missed – no matter what, I want to be here. I am exhausted and needlessly sad, and I still want to be here, so I am just going to do what I need to do to accomplish that.