My aunt recently posted a picture of a letter written by my (patenal) grandmother 36 years ago. In it, she says she’s been “like a big fat frog sitting on a lilypad letting everything swirl around me.”
That’s me, right now. I have been feeling very stuck, very “less than,” watching things happen and not making much of anything happen for myself.
I’ve committed to writing something here once a week, no matter how vapid and/or disorganized it is. I go to the gym three times a week. I go hang out with other drunks and talk about not being drunk. I make a concerted effort to put on makeup and look “professional” every day. But it’s all by rote, almost. I’m going through the motions, but there is very little joy in Mudville.
I realize that this is depression. And what I am doing is staving it off somewhat. These things at least distract me to the degree where I’m not spending ALL of my time weeping on the couch and believing the terrible stories my brain is telling me:
My husband is going to leave me for his cute perky coworker.
My new boss is going to see right through me for the fraud that I am and fire me.
I’m not going to lose the 15 pounds my doctor told me I needed to lose last summer.
I’m going to wind up living in a refrigerator box, or at least in a terrible apartment with three other roommates who are at least 20 years younger than me.
I’m going to be a bitter, lonely old woman and my nieces and nephews are going to resent having to buy me Jean Nate gift sets at Christmas.
And on and on. And the thing that people who don’t have chronic depression and anxiety don’t understand is that I absolutely, 100% BELIEVE that all these things are going to happen. I’m going to be jettisoned for the perky coworker, and be unemployed, 15 pounds overweight, and living in a refrigerator box with 18 Jean Nate gift sets. This is going to happen, and I am helpless to stop it.
When I write it all out, it of course sounds fucking ridiculous. I need healthy distractions, but since I spent the last 6 years distracting myself from the reality of being a caregiver by engaging in UN-healthy things (the one thing I can say for myself here is that I never once thought of drinking in the midst of that horror show), it has proven incredibly difficult to break away from the “comfort” of bad food and bad television.
A thing I was taught in early sobriety is to act “as if.” This is actually hard for me, even with a B.A. in Theatre. I want to act as if I’m a confident Woman Of A Certain Age who is absolutely not threatened by my husband’s cute coworker, the new dynamic in my office, or the stubborn blubbery ring around my middle. I want to act as if I have faith in something bigger than myself and that this something has my best interests at heart. But that’s really difficult sometimes. Actually, that’s difficult MOST of the time. But yet I get up three mornings a week at Stupid Fucking O’Clock and I work out. I put on makeup and try to look like an adult. And here I am writing something and posting it, knowing it’s whiny and gross.
But oh well. Guess I should start making room in this box for this Christmas’s Jean Nate gift sets.