Posts Tagged ‘depression’

Winter blues

January 11, 2011

"Beyond Repair"

Day two of severe mood flop. January dragging on too long…Need a distraction…Drowning in my own boredom….Help!

I’m not sure if this is the winter blues or the fact that I’m coming down from a one-month coffee high. Whatever the case, I’m miserable around this time of year. Any new and exciting stimuli is a ray of sunlight. Trouble is, I’m usually too depressed or unmotivated to actually go out and look for stuff to stimulate me. When I’m really withdrawn (hours of watching Cold Case Files and Dr. Phil) I tend to wait for someone to knock on the front door. That’s about the only thing I’ve got going for me from January until late March. Well, hello UPS guy! That package for me? No? Wrong address? But, I’m sure I ordered something online. Wait…come back..!

Of course there’s my perfect guy, and the kids, and a couple events coming up, and if I’m really in the mood, there’s always planning for a summer vacation. But I suppose it’s just my circadian hibernation rhythms taking over making all that seem, well, a little, dare I say it, bland. So while the seasonal affective disorder makes its yearly round, I’ve come up with a plan. Only read happy websites. Instead of letting the brain atrophy and the heart sink, I’ve found some interesting websites to help draw me back into the world of the living. Let’s hope these do the trick. If not, there’s always shopping online.

  • Jason Shen’s blog is, well, fun. Even though it’s a little media/corporate driven he’s come up with really inspiring blogs. One in particular is something called a “Rejection Challenge,” which, if I were single, might be a huge motivation for me to get off my arse and go ask someone out on a date. I’m a sucker for challenges, and for taking calculated risks.
  • The Happiness Project: “Happiness, many people assume, is boring – a complacent state of mind for self-absorbed, uninteresting people,” says Gretchen Rubin on her highly acclaimed website. And yet we all want it. Well, if this site doesn’t offer a nugget of how to be happy, I don’t know what else will. Peruse the site. See if you can’t find a dozen uplifting concepts. Either that, or be happy you don’t have to visit that site every day. Even for me, Gretchen can be a little too much.
  • Global Good News: This is one of my favorite sites, especially the Maharishi’s funkadelic fashion. And while it’s an India-based religious website, the designers have done a great job collecting positive news around the world.
  • TED: I was surprised to learn that not many people know about “TED,” (“Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world”), so I’m posting it here as one of the greatest resources for learning ANYTHING. I could spend all day here.
  • Horse Pig Cow: Powerful woman, uplifting, inspiring, funny, brave. Subscribe. I did.
  • My Marrakesh: Simply beautiful website on Moroccan design and living. I waste time here every winter, dreaming about the desert.
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Nothing will make me feel better

June 3, 2009

I am sick. I slept maybe one hour last night. My son was up all night vomiting with a high fever that I couldn’t lower because he couldn’t keep down any advil. The image of Mr. Brass blowing his brains out kept playing over and over in my head. I feel blackened by all this. And it’s not quite over. There is a tarp hanging in Mr. Brass’ window to cover up the spot where he shot himself and the window he blew out. It’s falling down. I’m the only one on the block that has his spare key and a haz mat crew is due to come over today to clean up the mess. I’m supposed to let them in. Hello! I can’t remove a dead mouse from my house let alone witness the scene of a crime. 

So, this is all quite difficult for me to manage and keep in perspective. And yet, my Buddhist training teaches me to accept it all. DOn’t deny it. Let it in. Feel it. It’s the process of living in the moment. It’s an ugly, dark, hopeless feeling, but it’s mine and I need to own it. What calms me slightly is knowing that it will pass, as all things do. It’s only a matter of time. 

I wanted to put this out there for anyone else feeling hopeless, sad, dark, depressed. No matter what your circumstances, know that these are the feelings and traumas that make you human. We are fools to believe that there is such a thing as constant happiness, constant success. As if our lives were as simple as walking up a ladder to achieve some lofty goal at the top. We have been lied to by therapists and doctors and Hollywood and the media and made to believe that there is a place free of pain and suffering if we only have the right combination of thoughts or have chosen the right road. 

Bullshit. 

Embracing the idea that suffering is inevitable and a part of this life allows us to forgive ourselves for not being able to achieve happiness. It accepts the notion that suffering is intrinsic to life and no one is spared. It’s not a question of personal failure. It’s merely a fact of nature. And this acceptance keeps us from feeling as though we have been singled out, or hand picked by the gods to suffer unduly. 

Today I am being called to carry the weight of my suffering, my children’s suffering, my financial issues, the ugly concept of suicide, my neighbors’ pain, uncertainty and doubt. I cannot carry this alone. The weight is crushing me. Nothing will make me feel better. So, the only defense mechanism that is kicking in at the moment is rocking back and forth like a crazy person and eating bad food. So be it. This too shall pass. It’s just a matter of time. 

Suggested reading:

Radical Acceptance, Tara Brach

Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl

THE DIVING BELL

January 3, 2009

Tonight I watched THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY, the autobiographical story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, Editor-in-Chief of the French ELLE magazine who had a stroke at the age of 43 which paralyzed him. He was only able to communicate by blinking one eyelid and by doing so, dictated a book that was published a few days before his death in 1997. 

I cried throughout the entire film, fearing for my own life, my own sense of freedom and expression. What would I say if I knew I were about to go into a coma? If I were about to be paralyzed? Trapped in my own expressionless, motionless body. How would I feel human, alive, real? Would my children know I loved them? Would I be able to make peace with how far I have come, with how I have lived my life and what I have produced? The thought occurred to me that I can no longer take from the world. It is time to give back. It is time for my own voice. It is time to say something. To make a mark. To help. To heal. To work. It is time for my children to know, without a doubt that they are loved. It is time to produce something other than whiny, dramatic journal entries about my miserable life. 

It is no longer right of me to question my existence. It is no longer right of me to be unhappy or worse, ungrateful. To seek answers. There are no answers. That is the answer. Life is about giving. Caring. Loving. Sacrificing. 

I thought of being alive but unable to communicate. Unable to travel. Unable to love physically. Three things which are so important to me as a woman. Who would I be then? What might my existence mean? I would have hours for thinking. Wondering. Hating myself for all that I did not achieve. I would be faced with the realization that I was done. I didn’t have a second chance. I could not change anything anymore. I could no longer be a productive member of society. I could no longer hug my children. I could no longer tell them I loved them. I could no longer tie their shoes or pack their lunches or lie in bed and read with them. I could no longer scratch their heads or tickle their toes. Oh. I am miserably sad thinking like this. 

God! I do not want this to be my fate. 

I don’t normally suggest watching something so depressing. Believe me, this film is DEPRESSING. But it’s an amazingly beautiful film and worth watching if you are strong enough to sink for a while. 


rock bottom

November 15, 2008

You have never, ever contemplated suicide. But today, the thought occurred to you that something has to be done to get rid of yourself–  there’s no option. It has to be done. But how? You don’t own a gun. You don’t even have aspirin in the cabinet. Most important, you love life! Screw, death, you say. You’ll leave the country. Problem solved.  With your kids, of course. Marrakesh, maybe. The south of France. You’ll leave word with close friends. Send for family. Cash in what little savings you have left and simply abscond. Traceless. You’re on your way to exotic lands…

But before you go, take inventory. You are currently “under the terrible burden of destiny…”

The moment you’d been waiting for arrived, or so you thought.  About a month ago. You dropped to your knees and held your hands up in surrender to the light and said, “I am finally here, Lord. Finally at the bottom!” What a relief. You thought for sure you had done it. Fatefully and systematically  arrived at the bottom. “Rock” bottom, that is. You were thrilled. You craved the bottom for a change. It was time to get spiritual. Time to raise the dead. This would be your chance to show the world that you were a survivor. You’d been so high on the hog for years that it was inevitable, simply a matter of numbers. And your number was up. You crashed right along with the economy.

  • Your lovely boy friend dumped you
  • Your favorite Uncle died
  • You had to pay twentyfivethousands dollars in taxes on money you earned but never saw.
  • You took a 75% cut in pay
  • Your fifth-grader started to suck big time in math
  • your ex husband refused to pay child support and wanted to make sandwiches every day for the boys instead.
  • You had a bad cold that lasted weeks

Could it get any worse than that? Surely not. 

But it did. Unbeknownst to you the very nature of “rock bottom” is that it’s an illusion. Just when you think you’ve hit, the ground turns Alice in Wonderland on you and falls out from underneath you. Surprise! You’ve got farther to go.

  • Oops, you forgot to calculate the oil bill into your expenses.
  • The IRS says you still owe EIGHTY grand in taxes.
  • G pulls his typical disappearing act, just when you thought it was safe to trust him again. 
  • The phone doesn’t ring
  • There’s a leak in the roof
  • Firewood is wet from the rain and it’s cold inside
  • Your kids are screaming for attention and ripping the house to shreds
  • You can’t afford your cleaning lady anymore
  • You didn’t tell the ex you were going away on business. You’ve ruined his plans. He calls you a selfish bitch and says, you’ll never change.
  • Your favorite person in the whole world doesn’t have the guts or perhaps the desire to email you
  • The prozac isn’t working
  • You gained five pounds eating left-over Halloween candy.

And if all that weren’t bad enough, you haven’t been able to rub one off in months…

When you’re at the bottom you begin to dream.

You need an escape of startling adventure. The Island of Santori perhaps. No, too touristy. The IRS would find you. What about Cozumel?  Same thing. Your only option is to live life like a bedouin lost in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. It’s a little colder than you expected, but you get to paint henna tattoos on your hands and feet and wear black. Your children can run around naked. And you don’t have to use toilet paper. Eating couscous all day could be a problem. But there’s always the bus to Tangiers or Casablanca where you can pick up American provisions. Peanut butter. Pancake mix. Spaghetti O’s. Advil.

Sure. You’re having a blast. Sure. You’ve managed to pick up the pieces of your shitty life. But occasional, dirty sex with nomadic tribesmen has stripped you of your dignity. You miss home. You miss your people. You miss spaghetti and meatballs on Sunday. You miss humidity. And the king-size, pillow top BeautyRest you slept on and loved even in your darkest days.

So you and the kids  pack up your bags, kiss the desert goodbye and go back to Jersey. Back to the turnpike and the mini-van and the crappy American bullshit and the bills and the ex. And you pay your dues to the IRS and feel a little better about yourself. You love life, remember? And so, rock bottom doesn’t seem so bad after all. Especially once you’ve have sex with men that smell like camels.