A few weeks ago, I fell into a massive black hole of suck. I’ve had down days here and there, but this was the first time in really long time that I was scraping the bottom of the emotional barrel for no discernible reason. It was the kind of bad that made me bribe myself with take away coffee and overpriced pastries in order to get myself to go work. And once I got home, I could not pry myself off the couch.
I couldn’t even summon the energy to look at my phone (but I could summon all the energy to take every single slight against me as direct criticism and excuse to pick a fight and ohhhh, did I). I had all the time in the world to obsessively clean the house (my go to coping mechanism) and I just couldn’t do it. Not even my trash TV could bring me out of the slump.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, but it was the first time I thought “this is happening. I can’t stop it, so let’s minimise the impact.” And so, I leaned into the skid. I accepted that I wasn’t going to do anything. So I gave myself permission to let everything fuck off –except for one thing. I decided I had to do just one thing, everyday. Just something actual, like a chore or shower or text someone back. It didn’t matter how badly I didn’t want to do that one thing, I had to do it in order to not do anything else for the rest of the evening. And since Joel was working really late for most of that week, the one thing I forced myself to do was make real dinner (when I’m left to my own devices I usually just eat cereal or ice cream or an entire cake).
In addition to not succumbing to diabetic coma or dairy bloat, having one thing to do – and actually doing it – made me feel better. Instead of feeling 900% sloth, I only felt 899%. I needed that 1%. That 1% kept me from drowning. I dog paddled (badly) through a week of Feels, and I made it out to the other side.
What happened next came as a shock. I spent the next two weeks almost, kinda sorta, very nearly thriving. I did chores when I got home from work. I messaged people back. I read an actual book. I showered regularly. I put effort into my work clothes, instead of just rolling out of bed and putting on 2 week old “work” pants and a big wooly sweater. I didn’t blow off my doctor’s appointments. I confronted (instead of avoiding) disgruntled people at work. On the weekend I got cranky because I wanted to get out of the apartment and do stuff instead of staying home — I wanted sunshine and fresh air. I was *this* close to getting in the car and having an adventure without even CARING about parallel parking*. WHO DID I BECOME.
And this past week, I was even closer to almost, kinda sorta, very nearly thriving: I did all the above, plus worked out my budget, made social plans, went out into the world twice on the weekend, and I had two writing sessions in one week. Considering I didn’t write a single (non-blog) word since late April when I had a mild breakdown (more on that later), this felt monumental. And I very nearly made it to my writer’s group for the first time in a year (I’m keeping a migraine at bay and sitting in a loud pub with bad lighting didn’t sound like a good idea).
SO yeah, I don’t know what the base of this turn around is – whether it’s that I’m slowly getting back into the habits of living the way I want to live; or the external factors — my day job is now 1000% less stressful and hectic, I’m finally no longer in almost daily pain, or foggy/tired/moody from pain management, and that emotional resilience that I’ve been building up, brick by brick, since starting intensive therapy this year is starting to take hold — but I honestly feel better than I have in last three years. And yes, I know I should start a category on this blog for entries that include “wow, I think I’ve had a turning point in my depression this year!”
But hey, I’ll take it. For as long as it lasts.
Here’s to leaning into the skid, folks.
*lol, I haven’t driven in 5 months. When I checked on my car last weekend, it wouldn’t even pretend to start. Whoops.