Leaving my job plus a few other recent brain breaks triggered signs of the descent into depression again, a danceathon with minor madness that accompanies major life change.
Even good change can be strange and mood-altering, in spite of reserves, support systems, whatever it takes to get through from day to day. It still sucks, it isn't good at all, and it's such a pain in the ass to write this down again. It feels so predictable, yet every time I'm shocked that it's back, that I can feel so at loose ends with myself, that the pieces scoot into old, unhelpful patterns, managed by old, invisible ouija board hands.
At least the anxiety is over now. It was so bad in May that I felt like the top of my head was going to fly off, frequently. Sleeping was a nice plan, because that offers some kind of physical break in that action, but that wasn't working so well either, and when I finally did it, it was the drugged sleep of the mood-altered damned, with dreams about people I don't even like anymore much less have any desire to see naked.
My mind is not my friend sometimes.
Meanwhile I waste energy I don't have burning up over the unfairness of it all, with just enough self-loathing to keep me stuck, and isolated enough from people who care about me that I grind those relationships down, too. So, you know, nameless faceless sadness and solitude. That's helpful for an extrovert. Some people who have walked this path may relate when I say that feeling a certain way, the downward pull of down, while yanking upwards mentally on the unequal yet opposite rope for several hours a day is exhausting. It makes my body tired and my mind cranky, strangles intentions and conversation and just the sheer joy of sitting still with nothing to do and nowhere to go, unless I plan it.
But I know these steps, and I take them pretty well -- walk around the muddy puddles, every single well-worn crack in the mental pavement, head down against the third steep city block on whatever-this-is street.
That is a picture of a roasted lemon that is here because it's the first one in my Flickr stream that I came across that I really enjoy. I would make a lemonade joke, but, nah.
I've been thinking a lot about happiness, too, conversely, for a few different reasons, wondering why it's so upsetting to some people that some people aren't, or why it's not easy always to maybe most of the time will ourselves to joy. For a culture dosed in tragedy, actually, we love to talk about happiness. When you think about what we recognize as a collective -- wars, dead (a few murdered, think about that. That's insane.) presidents, the horror of 9.11, any of the things we were forced into dealing with as citizens of a place, or the other, less consistent things, like deaths of celebrities or the day they fall from grace and beat a car with an umbrella -- I don't think we have any room to talk. If we're not celebrating, we're watching, obsessively marking downfalls -- some of us for the sake and hope of rising again, yes, but not everybody.
I'm as complicit in this as anyone. I have to assume we're just programmed.
We are also each of us comprised of thousands of tiny griefs, (except maybe for you it's 500. I hope so. Maybe. Lucky you.)Maybe five big griefs, if we're lucky? Hopefully not ten. (Maybe three, for you.) We are generally accustomed to slights and sadness. I can sit with you in that, help you cope, not with my eyes closed but almost, I have done it so many times, imprinted by ancestors who walked through times of war and famine, poor dental hygiene, fighting the land for a basic meal. Happiness, at times, even now, is unfortunately suspect, particularly for certain brains. We are not supposed to chase it. It does not come when it is called. It's so hard to trust that, especially when another human being or two or three is involved. How can we mesh our highs and lows when it's hard sometimes to decide on a restaurant? It's pure magic if it happens, even for a minute. But we know it then, or at least I do.
And I don't know about you, but I act out around it. I get nervous and giddy--happy, this is happy -- and I try not to crowd it and especially not to send it away. I work hard at understanding happiness these days, because I want to, although I don't believe what works for one person has any impact at all on another. I ust want to know what in me can make it so elusive, and what I can do to change that. I want it to stay longer. I don't want to go back to where I was before.
At the same time I reject the idea of a tendency towards sadness as a failing, because I've known it involuntarily too many times to think I'd ever have asked for it on purpose. I understand clicks on telephones and tears in parking lots, rejection letters and feelings of exclusion and unwanted inferiority. I understand death and loss and the daily grind of a job that steals serenity. It requires a certain kind of armor to survive the daily ebb and flow of trying and stumbling and getting back up and maybe just maybe getting back to good, to look around the next bend for a sliver of light, so this is not the done deal after all. Grand gestures can be great, joy when it hits is a godsend, but it's rough as a study in contrast, an addict's hit that you can't buy.
Recently, a good thing happened for me. Someone who loves me was so happy for me, I felt the feelings being felt along with me -- pride, recognition, celebration. It made me shy. I wasn't sure if I should take it in or minimize it, and it had nothing to do with her. You're not used to someone being happy for you, are you? she said. And I would have thought that wasn't true, but it was. And in a way that minute was the beginning of some small trust, a fragile agreement between myself and me, that that could actually be, for the first time since I lost it.
Lately , in the face of the big things that are changing, most of them by my own hand and with my own intentioned action, I'm trying to settle in to the every day. Walking. Sitting. Teaching myself to be without grasping because I'm afraid I've already lost what I'm not sure I even wanted in the first place. Waiting for someone else to speak without yapping over them, wanting to use their input to draw conclusions I normally trust to my own occasionally incorrect brain,
I'm not sure I'll ever get it. I may be on some other frequency that won't allow it. Maybe the government should get me one of those foil hats to see if I can channel these strange currencies for good, because when they're really working I'm pretty sure the force could power something pretty big, and I'd like for it to not be my mouth or my brain for a change.
I'm living life in strange vignettes, in fits and starts, really. The ogre comes back and he is chatty and deceptive. He says leavable, unlovable, incapable of understanding or focusing or doing anything the right way. He says that was the wrong choice, the bad idea, that the way you feel in this moment, this unmanageable sense of free-falling into despair is how it has always been since you could remember, so welcome back.
But the point of all of this was to find me, again, or maybe ever, to be funny again because I feel that way and not because I am performing, to find the space where I want to be -- the space that allows for the unthinkable concept of happiness -- and the whoms and the whatsits.
And in spite of the recent increase in daily management of worn grooves and patterned moods that can be overwhelming at times and keep me from the things that I want so badly, I honestly don't think that I believe him anymore. The trick is to act like I don't, I think, and maybe that will come true.