Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Who's upstairs?

You know, the trouble with feelings is they are just not dependable. A good one shows up and then doesn't stick around. Takes off in the middle of the night and someone else moves in. The new guy claims squatter's rights. Those pesky feelings must control the optic nerve because the world sure looks different depending on what's living in my head. They also control the "Hey, It's okay to be the judge" switch. I'm thankful I get control of the words that come out of my mouth and out of my finger tips. Being moody makes it a bit more challenging to do the right thing. Unfortunately, it still becomes painfully obvious to those close to me that I am struggling. Mostly by the lack of conversation.

I need to write about a word I've been loath to mention. I've struggled with depression since a teenager and probably before then. It's a lonely place, with a bodily heaviness that's hard to push through. I can visualize it as a warm, viscous sea, hard to swim through, easy just to sink and float in the middle, to let myself be trapped. I was on anti-depressants for years, not gaining much benefit from the one I was on. I went off it about a few months before I went to treatment for addiction.

While I was in treatment, I woke one morning feeling very dark. I made a commitment to myself at that time that I would do all the right things to stay sober and clean no matter what feeling showed up. As I lived in that day, sharing my feelings, talking, being, the darkness that had enveloped me seem to evaporate and did not return for a few years. However, these last few months my internal landscape is becoming full of self-pity and sadness.

I think that the hardest part of being down is that it's hard to find an interest in others. To keep the focus off of what I am feeling and to focus on someone else. It is hard work that keeps me sober and out of my head. The trouble with self-pity is that I become quiet, floating and listening, ending up as a morose observer, I become separated from you. My quietness and sadness builds a wall. Nobody wants to spend time with someone who is constantly down or sad. Self-pity is particularly unattractive and repulsive. It is also frustrating to those trying to help because there isn't much that can be done.

God will not wave a magic want and make this all go away. Wishes cure nothing. I am responsible for doing the right things, no matter what feelings are enveloping me. The most deadly thing is giving up, not taking action. I've turned my blog into a way to map these feelings, to be able to chart where I am. It is a part of my journey through my recovery.

I miss that part of treatment, where you can sit in a group and talk about feelings and experiences and there is cross talk allowed. Exploration in that kind of setting was a settling experience .

Wow, to many words this morning. Better get ready for work.

Bill W. stayed sober through many years of depression, so, if I'm depressed, so can I. I am not alone.

Photo Credit: Patries71


Susan Deborah said...

I am glad that your words have got the right medium to be expressed.

Dear distinct, don't you have friends/family who are with you, no matter what.

Would like to listen more.

Joy always,

Garnet said...

No, we are not alone. Thinking of you. Enjoy your blog. Hang tight :)

Lou said...

I'm on the fence about people taking medication for depression (not that you said that). I don't have depression so I can't say what anyone else feels. But when I hear of someone taking their own life from depression, I think if only they had gotten the right medicine. Treatment options have gotten much better in the last decade.
But, I digress. You obviously get benefit from blogging, and it is therapeutic. Writing about your emotions and owning them, has to be helpful in managing them.

Kathy M. said...

Hello. I'm a new reader. This post is courageous. I'll be following, and wishing you the best.

Syd said...

I understand the isolation. Fortunately, I don't have severe depression as my mother did. She had many ECT treatments over 20 years. It is so positive that you write about your feelings and look at where you are. Some days for me are light and bright while others are difficult. I now chalk that up to life.