What It’s Like to Live Here

9 Jan

You feel like Miss Havisham, trailing around in your shredded, filthy wedding dress, pacing through the same rooms over and over, past the mouldering wedding cake and the long-dead flowers. And as much as you want to blame someone else, you know that you’ve only yourself to blame – not for the fact that he jilted you (although of course you wonder), but because you can’t seem to move past this one defining point in time. Your whole life will be the moment you realized that he was never coming.

When you cross the street, safely, at the crosswalk, you think about what it would be like if the cars didn’t stop. You wonder what would happen if you were hit, what that point of contact would feel like. You don’t take any risks, because you don’t want to get hurt, and you certainly don’t want to die, but still you wonder. And the wondering scares you.

You lie down to take a nap and spend an hour trying to find the cool spot on your pillow.

You start to think that reincarnation might exist, because you don’t understand how you could have done enough in just one lifetime – half a lifetime, really – to make your synapses misfire this badly. You decide that you must have been a terrible person in a past life.

You pick up the phone. You pick up the phone. You pick up the phone.

You don’t call anyone after all.

People ask how you’re feeling, and you try to explain it, but you can’t. Everything you say seems totally unrelated to you the moment it leaves your lips. You wrestle with words, trying to figure out how to describe this place to someone who’s never been there, but all the petty little nouns and adjectives you’ve collected over the course of a lifetime choose this exact moment to fail you. You feel so frustrated that you want to break something.

You pick up the phone and dial the doctor’s number but there’s no answer. It’s just as well, because you had no idea what you were going to say anyway.

You feel like you’re in limbo, somewhere between the ledge you just jumped off of and the place where you’ll hit rock bottom. You wonder if there’s anything you can do other than flail your arms helplessly, or if you should just try to enjoy the free-fall.

Friends offer help, but you feel too embarrassed to accept it. You realize how ironic it is that that embarrasses you, but vomiting your feelings all over the internet somehow doesn’t.

You finally get angry because none of this is fair, even though you know that fair has nothing to do with it. And somehow anger is easier than anything else you’ve been feeling lately.

Your anger quickly burns out, and then you’re right back to where you started.

You repeat all of the above, ad nauseam, for what seems like forever.

In case you were wondering, that’s what it’s like to live here.

butterfly 2

(I am getting help, I promise – it’s just taking some time)

7 Responses to “What It’s Like to Live Here”

  1. wildcowsofboont January 9, 2013 at 4:12 am #

    In response to your earlier posts re: winter and blues, I had thought of saying, ever had a full spectrum light bulb in your home? I’m a fan and proponent, as a New Englander who struggled through many a cold, grey winter. (I heard once that all of the lamps in the libraries at the Universities of Maine are equipped with these…) But that is very likely totally inadequate to this situation, I realize, though I wanted to mention it anyway because I think they can be somewhat helpful. I know it’s not a full on solution to depression (if only it were so easy! How cool would that be?), or anything quite panacea-like, although at least it can sometimes help a little to brighten up northeasterly winters, which I personally found very difficult and such an intense melancholy magnifier. Beautiful yes, but challenging on so many levels. Part of why I chose to move to the Rocky Mountains for a few years: cold, snowy winters, yes, but blue skies! I’m unapologetically solar powered. And then here I am in northern California, though I moved here for different reasons, the weather isn’t bad either. Of course, we also have grey, rainy winters, but then it’s often sunny, warm, and green too, so it helps me to be less sad this time of year.

    But weather is not all of this, I realize. I’m sorry to hear you are struggling, and I also think that reaching out in whatever way feels comfortable is a positive in itself, even if it’s to internet strangers, and (glad to hear it) eventual more personal, profound, constructive in-person help than we virtual strangers can provide. I am a fan of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, btw. Mostly because I find it is empowering, ie change your behaviors and your thoughts… you can control how you see life, even if you can’t control everything in your life. That sort of thing. At the very least, I see it as a sort of Zen-like take on the world, that helps foster that ever important lesson of being gentle with ourselves, and recognizing where our power lies (and where it doesn’t, too). And realizing that sometimes it’s ok to be overwhelmed and unsure of what to do about it or why, and yes, asking for help is so necessary. I think it’s what we’re here on earth to do, personally: to learn how to be human, to ourselves and one another. It sounds like you have a lot of things on your plate (parenthood is hard! I haven’t been one but, I can see that from watching my friends), and maybe you aren’t always sure how to fit that all with your sense of self and place within it all, and shit, sometimes life is just overwhelming and we don’t always feel prepared to cope and feel adult-like all of the time. Whatever that means, anyway.

    I also hear that the first five years of a child’s life can be the hardest on parents, since it’s a huge readjustment and redefining of one’s person and relationship to each other and to the world.

    I hope that you find ways to mitigate the guilt in relying on friends. I think so long as we balance this out with our friends when they need it, we should also be able to expect the same from them, and thus need not feel guilty or apologetic for trusting them to be there for us in the way we expect them to be for us. So, if nothing else, I offer this virtual hug and support from one virtual stranger to another.

    • wildcowsofboont January 9, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

      Woops, I meant for that last bit to say “[we] need not feel guilty or apologetic for trusting them to be there for us in the way we in turn would be there for them.”

      • eden January 10, 2013 at 1:27 am #

        I agree with this so hard. I was helped tremendously by friends in the first few years of my daughter’s life, and I actively WANT to pay that forward or whatever. WHY IS THERE NOT A LESS STUPID PHRASE FOR THAT CONCEPT.

  2. Whit January 9, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

    Way to hit the nail right on the head. And so beautifully :). I’ve definitely been to that place.

    Also, wrt the last comment, I’ve noticed that sun make a HUGE difference for me as well. Because I also have some skin issues aided by it, I choose to get my sun in the form of 10 mins in the tanning bed, once or twice a week. Yes, health risks, obviously, so it’s not for everyone, but I only do it November-March, and it makes a tremendous difference. It’s like a mini beach vacation, mentally and physically. Therapy and meds help me a lot too though.

    Anyway, hang in there, sister. You’re an inspiration for the rest of us to do the same.

  3. Kylie January 9, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

    When somebody asks me what depression feels like, this is what I’ll have them read.

    Thank you for putting it into words.

    • shannon January 11, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

      Yes. What Kylie said.

      Loving you hard, Anne. xo

  4. Ilene (BinkyBecky) January 11, 2013 at 5:36 am #

    Thanks for your candid post. Your writing is honest and beautiful. I’ve nominated you for a Reality Blog Award. Go to my blog for all the pertinent information. Keep writing – Ilene

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