I am struggling with my chemistry, a lot. A lot a lot. It hasn't been this bad in a long time.
I had been feeling frustrated for a season of time, processing hurts and worry and assorted garbage. I think all of the transition -- the job change alone, plus the deep fears that my high blood pressure episode brought up in me, when I honestly thought I was going to die or be so impaired my life would never be the same -- got to be too much. I got snappish and pissy and overworked, angry again. I took on too many things after my job ended, piling on commitment after commitment in a panic, instead of stepping back, breathing, figuring out the logical and strategic way to manage this huge life change.
I can tell you the exact tipping point.
When I got out of the cab at Penn Station on my way to the train last week after BlogHer, I rolled my unnecessarily gigantic suitcase up and over my ankle, ripped the skin off the side of it, and crunched my foot. It was a feat of totally involuntary and ridiculous clumsiness. Then the gate agent wouldn't take my e-ticket, yanked me out of line to go handle that, quite rudely. I was afraid that I would miss my train, and at that point, I needed to be home so badly that I freaked.
By the time I got on the train, I was done. My energy and adrenaline, all of the raw material I'd poured into the past three months, were gone.
I came home, tried to sleep, and somewhere around day three, some familiar patterns emerged in my brain. And I got sad.
(Are you bored yet? I am. This whole thing is a colossal pain in the ass.)
This descent is not new to me, but it is always jarring, frightening, and an inconvenient life and work killer. I am working my way through it every day, to try to make a plan, to take specific steps to accomplish the things I must do, to try to talk to my friends and family as I am always, still, entirely embarrassed and irritated to do.
"No, I don't feel so good. No, I'm not going to do that. Yes, I have called, yes. I know."
It is such a drag not to have good news. I want so badly to have good news. I'm surrounded by love but this is when it has trouble really touching me. I have angels on my phone and in my gchat, making me promise things and setting things up so I won't fall through this hole again. I can't tell you how hard it is for me to reach out and ask for help. I can't adequately explain the paralysis that hits me. The last time it was this bad was, honestly, 2005, which is when I started blogging, so I guess that's reasonable for what I know is a big transition year in terms of where the story goes from here.
I'm making myself postpone radical decisions until I run them through my brain a few times, which means that I may take this trip I so badly want, yes, but in September, not tomorrow. Today I should send in three queries, but no, I will probably in fact send one. Today I will.
It is a bitch to know how to be a case manager when it's my brain. It feels like the most astoundingly reductive thing to do to myself, when in terms of clients all I've ever thought about (except for the occasional super mean one, full disclosure) is how to build up.
But yes, I'm sitting with discomfort rather than racing around trying to make it go away. I am crying when I need to in hopes that the tear supply will run out and it will process my excess physical energy in a good way. (Apparently my eyes like to cry right now. It is incredibly inconvenient and I also have a chronic headache for the first time in months.) I am dragging my ass to yoga and om'ing as I'm told, adjusting the poses for hypertension, like a middle-aged boss.
But the truth is that I would like a new Instagram filter for my life.
I would like to trade in these cards for some better ones right now.
I would like to avoid the parts that I know trip me up. I would like to push through the tangles of my neurons and synapses and just feel better.
I am also trying to stay task-focused, because honestly I have a lot of stuff to do. So I was scrolling through pictures tonight, trying to get up my urge to post my images from the summer, none of them satisfying me at all in the way that they usually do. I came across this one.
(Yes, these are pictures of me. It's a case study, kind of, if a lazy one.)
This was Mom2 New Orleans, a couple of years ago.
I'm sad I lost that ring on my right hand, but I know that I was happy. That night was so much fun. That was a great trip. I learned things. I spoke. I made great connections and some new friends who are still in my life. My dad bloggers let me tag along in the Quarter, and it was the best of that place too, in spite of the craziness and gross puddles of God knows what (Sue me, I love it, even though I probably shouldn't.) I felt comfortable and secure in where I was and what I was doing.
Last year, I came home from San Diego and I looked like this:
So tired. Kind of ridiculous. Still happy. Best trip, really, and there? I worked really hard, too. It was different, though. It made sense. I felt good about it. I came home strengthened in friendships and love, in my sense of myself in the work I was doing.
I do not like how I look now enough to share it. This is no commentary on my physical appearance, honestly, but there's just an expression, you know? I don't know what it is, but I don't like it.
One of the most challenging things about depression is actually the moments when the clouds break, when I start to feel better. It can be terrifying, striking a psychological chord much like "Oh, have you lost weight? I thought your face looked a little thinner."
And then I might freak out because what did I look like before? What happens if you try to grasp onto this feeling of rare chemical normalcy, try to make friends with it, and then it leaves again? It's the classic taste of honey/none at all conundrum.
It's worth it, though. It is. It just doesn't feel like it in the moment, even if it feels like it in the end.
I know that the only way out is through, and that I can commit to the "through" so much. I know that this -- whatever this is -- is temporary, and that it maybe can even lead to something better. I know that I am lucky to have friends who will check up to see if I'm writing for my own sake, if I'm going to post, if I'm going to go to the doctor, if I'm going to leave my house, if I need a place to stay if I do decide to just start driving. Lucky lucky lucky.
It's just hard to feel the lucky sometimes, when it feels so bad, and finding it hard to feel lucky even when you know you are is a particular kind of guilt barn-burner, so screw that noise. It's just really important to get through it, to get through all of this. It's really important to make something better out of this stretch of days until they're over.
It can just feel so, so bad. And that is when hope is the most important thing.