Monday, October 16, 2006

Invitation to the Blues

Following Thursday's meltdown, I spent the next few days recovering. Hell, I'm still recovering. However, it does look like the fog has lifted a bit.

Seeing one of my favorite bands live over the weekend helped a lot. It took every bit of my energy and will to get it together, leave Mom's place, and trek into the city--after some serious consideration about skipping the show altogether. It's silly when you have to force yourself to go out and have a good time, but that's what it was like. I was perfectly content to stay on the couch in my pajamas for... well, forever. Except that I needed to stop moping and return to the outside world for a while. Also, I had a feeling the concert would lift my spirits.

I was right. Sometimes there's nothing more therapeutic than good music. The concert was one of those shows a fan dreams about: great set list, perfect sound, fun sets and lighting, incredible performances. I felt happier during those few hours than I did in the last month.

It was a strange kind of happiness, though. I'd feel these moments of elation, but they were edged with darkness. An inner voice whispered that this good feeling, it wouldn't last long; the depression would still be there once the show was over, tapping a foot impatiently, waiting to pull me under. I pushed those thoughts aside, refused to let them affect my enjoyment of the music. I was grateful for the respite, however temporary.

The dread started building in the taxi home. That familiar exhaustion, the black anesthesia that seeps in and blurs the edges but doesn't allow for proper oblivion. I tried to hold on to the good mood as long as I could.

Being depressed is like having walking pneumonia. You're healthy enough to get around and go about your daily tasks, but you know you're not functioning at optimal performance. Everything takes so much effort. Every minor accomplishment feels like a big deal.

I woke up yesterday and forced myself to sleep another hour. I still didn't want to get up, so I read in bed for yet another hour. I could have spent all day in the cocoon of my blanket-- especially since the heat hasn't turned on in my building and the apartment was frigid--but I would have hated myself for it. Miraculously, I put on some workout clothes and took a long walk in the park. It was warmer outside than in my room, and sunny. A beautiful, crisp day, and I wouldn't take it for granted.

It's funny, the little pep talks and goofy random phrases that float through your head when you try to cheer yourself up. "Just keep swimming." One foot in front of the other. Through the park and beyond, after a couple of miles it got easier and the momentum took me around the neighborhood. I rented a video, purchased a book, bought a few groceries. Such small tasks, but they helped make me feel more... capable. I can do this. All this work just to function, though it gets rewarded in the form of a tasty dinner, a good read, an entertaining DVD, a dose of endorphins coursing through my body.

A quiet evening. Finished editing my sample chapter while listening to Tom Waits. Better than any medicine.

I still feel like somebody has turned the dimmer switch on the world. Nothing is bright, nothing glows. It's less dark now, though. I can start to make out some outlines and shapes.

5 comments:

Jamy said...

I think it's a real service to write about how you are feeling. Depression is insidious because you look fine, but you really aren't fine.

Thanks for sharing with us even when you're feeling poorly.

Auntie Mom said...

I'm sorry you're blue, Dolly. I wish there were something I could do. Call me if you want to get out of Dodge. If you manage to make it here, I'll treat you to a pedicure. :)

NotCarrie said...

Music is what I would use, too. Keep up with it. Put on some music that makes you happy!

I know it's not that easy, but it's something, right?

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Anonymous said...

Maybe you ought to go to talk to someone professionally about how you are feeling, especially if you are prone to slip into these moods sometimes. There's a good chance that all of this is just due to a build-up of events- your recent break-up, bad work stuff, the change of seasons.

But having someone around, a trained professional, who can help you talk through this can really make you feel better. It's very self-indulgent and it helps get rid of the feeling of being so utterly alone.

I've been in the well of depression myself and seeing a therapist for about a year. I'm feeling much better and much able to deal with things that life throws at me because I know I have someone to listen and help me work through things.