I don’t know why I am feeling so down of late- not sure if its a cyclical thing, or if its just the dreadful winter we’ve been having. I’ve been feeling a little more myself of late now that the sun has been rising and melting the snow, and I’ve been able to change from a sedate couch potato, to a more actively moving person. But also, I’ve been doing more things that make me content inside, which seems to help me get back up and get moving.
Last night, I wrote letters with my quills and ink in the Library. While the room is dimly lit, has dark green walls and dark mahogany stained bookcases, it is so warm and welcoming, that it soothed my soul and allowed me to feel very relaxed and at ease. The stress of the week just seemed to fade away, and I was able to relax and feel very soothed. I wrote 3 letters, listening to music and just writing. The greyhound just slept on her pillow on the floor, and suddenly my desire to reenact was back, and ideas for events and fun things to do going forward throughout the year began to assault my brain. I was suddenly happy and excited to be doing what I’m doing, and where I’m going. Its great. I don’t know if that means I need to spend lots of time hiding in the library to find my center and who I am again, but I’m definitely going to do a little bit of it, because it works.
I went to the psychiatrist yesterday, and I’m getting new meds, and am going to see a therapist again soon. I think this will be good to getting me back to where I need to be cognitively. I want to be awesome me again. Just need some help getting there, it seems.
I used to wake up early, greet the day with a smile and go for a run. I used to have my menus together, my time management down to an art form. I sent out letters, 5-6 a day to people all over the world. I kept the house semi clean. I did my dishes. I didn’t get takeout all the time.
Now, getting out of bed is a chore. Going to bed is a welcome comfort, even if I do have to take sleeping pills to get there. I want to hide from everyone and everything, except that I also want company, and I want to feel better. I want the person who is chipper and happy on the phone to her clients, to actually be chipper and happy. Because I’m not. I am miserable, and I hate myself.
I used to be awesome. What happened?
So many people, so many sites say this same phrase. ”You are not alone,” they emblazon in large letters on their web pages, offering help. They say it in blog posts, they say it in politics. Yet, when it comes down to it, we are alone. Here I sit, alone, in my house. Typing to a world that doesn’t even know that I’m writing this, or, in the greater majority, that I even exist. We are only not alone when we choose to not be alone- when we reach out to someone for companionship, or company, or just a hand to hold. Except that today, we choose to do that over the internet, or through text messaging. We don’t actually reach out and hold someone’s hand through the dark moment, offer a physical shoulder to cry upon. We offer them an instant message window or a HUG on a Facebook comment.
I used to love the internet for the connections that it gave me. Through it I made friends around the world, and learned about how routers and networks worked, about college life, and about the Beatles Yellow Submarine album. Those were the days that you truly did feel connected to those people, because you talked to them every night from 9-12, shared stories and moments, and felt like you were really there with them. Today, I put something up on facebook, and hope that someone likes the post or comments. Surrounded by people in a virtual world, yet completely alone and screaming in real life.
I feel truly alone now. The cars drive by my house and I watch them through the window, everyone scurrying off to whatever destination awaits them. I sit in my pajamas, watching work on another screen while writing this, wondering the same question that I wonder a lot. If I were gone, would anyone notice? Truly, I don’t think anyone but my pets would notice. I mean, how long would it conceivably take for people to notice me missing. And this is what I mean when I say that I am totally alone. I would predict it would take at least 2 weeks, and perhaps, even a month, for someone to notice my abscence. My phone never rings, and I never get personal emails from people. My letterwriting, though I’m trying to improve upon it, is woefully lacking, so that the majority of people who write to me don’t expect a response for months. So then, how do you get over this feeling of aloneness?
Even in a group of people, I feel isolated. I recently went to an evening out with friends, and truly spent the majority of the time wishing I could return to the solitude of my home- the sanctity of my warm bed and comfortable blankets. A place where I didn’t have to smile or be jovial or anything. Yet, what I want, is for someone to reach out and show me that I’m not alone. Even when I want to be. Yet here I sit. Whining about it on a blog.
I’m not saying that I am going to go away. That’s not my goal or my intent. All in all, my life is pretty idyllic for what it is. All I’m saying is that if I were to pull up stakes, sell my house, and move away tomorrow, few people would notice. And fewer still would miss me.
So to all the people (who don’t read this but whatever) who say “you are not alone.” Shut it. I am totally alone. As is everyone else.
I’ve been watching a lot of QI lately- a show where Stephen Fry gets to talk about all sorts of trivia bits, do cool experiments, and play with knicknacks and the like. And while yes, that is totally awesome, there’s nothing to say I can’t do any of that in my regular life, so that definitely isn’t why I consider him awesome. It is pretty fabulous that he makes a living at it, sure, but to be able to make a living at that , while suffering through depression and anxiety, well that’s something even more amazing.
These days I struggle. Struggle with getting out of bed, struggle with being social. I keep trying, and I do the things that I should do with my life to keep my life in motion, but it really is going through the motions. I don’t feel alive right now. I feel empty- hollow. I feel isolated, but intentionally isolated. Nothing I do seems good enough, and I just wait for the days, the hours, the minutes to pass where someone’s going to confirm this for me- by getting fired, by someone outright telling me I’m a horrible person, or just by one day magically getting on facebook and seeing that I have no friends anymore. Its a scary place to be when just months ago, I felt secure and happy and focused.
I know the majority of this is all in my head. I take my vitamin D. I try to eat healthy and workout (though both have taken a turn for crap since work has gotten busy and I haven’t been able to run because of my back and then COLDMAGEDDON.) But then I look at Stephen Fry, and I’m like, how does he do it? How, with depression looming over his head as it does, does he get out of bed and be that fabulous person who hosts that show, and giggles and smiles and tells us all to “Be Good to each other.” Some days I don’t even know how I can be cheery when I answer a phonecall from the office.
I know I have improved from my past moments of depression, in that this one hasn’t culminated with me thinking that my life is completely worthless. Instead, I’m writing this post, to try to acknowledge the depression and see if that trips it off to start moving out again. Maybe that’s what Stephen Fry does. Maybe by his writing about it a few months ago, it helped kick it for him. Maybe he writes about it a lot. I don’t know. But I want to be like him. I want to know that I’m awesome, and be awesome, and be good to each other, and everything else. I just need the darkness to step away a few steps.
I have always loved the movie Pollyanna. Not just for the fabulous Victorian clothing, or because I want to win a doll at a carnival, or the general sense of community that’s built throughout the movie (or even Haley Mills and her adorableness.) Part of it is because I think Karl Malden is an incredible actor, but its really more about the idea of looking for the good. Not just in people, but in everything. Finding joy and goodness, even in the face of horrible situations, or crankiness, or really any adversity. I mean seriously- she falls from the roof of a Victorian Mansion, to be paralyzed, and can still smile and pet puppies and stuff at the end. Hardcore joy right there.
Unfortunately, I don’t have that continuously happy demeanor, or even a brain that can always look “on the bright side of life.” But there are moments when I have good days, and I can see this. I feel joy and all that stuff. Today is one of those days, where I can look at the bright sun, see the beauty in the sunrise, and the adorableness in my cats. Even when they’re coughing up hairballs. so I’m going to take this opportunity to start something new in my life. I’m going to try to find joy every day. Even when it feels like there’s no joy to be had. Even when I’m sick, or depressed, or freaking out about the horrible things going on today. I’m going to try to find at least 3 things to be “glad” for.
These aren’t things that make me happy, per se, but things that could just give me a little joy, or a way to be glad. I mean there really can’t be a reason to be happy for the flu if I were to get it again, but there are many things to be glad for (like clean sheets, or warm blankets when I have a fever for example.) So I’m going to start today with posting 3 things that bring me joy today.
This is all in helping to remind myself also when I think its ok to be a passive participant of my life, that I really do want to experience life in all its forms, a la Mr. Rupert said today in his blog. Scuffed knees and all, I want to live life, not watch life.
So today’s joys-
1- the first taste of coffee when its made
2- knowing that I’ve grown alot in my personal and professional life
3-the calluses on my fingers from quilting.
What brings you joy today?
So for the National Suicide Prevention week, To Write Love on Her Arms has published this PDF : http://www.tiredchildren.com/twloha/nspw2013splash/WSPD2013PDF.pdf
You’re supposed to write on it why you cannot be replaced. I sat and looked at it repeatedly, but right now, I honestly cannot see how I cannot be replaced. Every day we’re reminded in our jobs that we are replaceable, people come and go from our lives, and so on and so forth. While everyone is supposed to be a beautiful, unique snowflake, are we really?
I’ve been dealing with a lot of transition in the past few months, and struggling with my own sense of self and self esteem in some ways. Its well known that I don’t deal well with change, and because of some events that happened earlier in this year, and things happening in my own head, I’m struggling a little more than I have been previously. A couple of things have also triggered some previously trained out bad habits in my brain, so that has been affecting me as well. However, this specific thing really does bug me because I can’t see how I am not replaceable. Sure, I do very unique things, and I have many talents. I know that I am a great person, and that I have many friends and many people who are happy that I’m a part of their lives. But I am replaceable. At least that’s how I see it.
So why can I not be replaced?
Why can you not be replaced?
As summer quickly runs into fall, i seem to be slowing down on a lot of things personally. I’m sleeping more, exercising less, and enjoying more comfort foods than I really should be. Last year, this wasn’t a problem. I think partially it was because I was still running on the endorphin high of buying my new house, and getting settled, but this year I just don’t seem to have the oomph that I used to. But I want that oomph. I need to keep running. I need to keep my personal momentum going. I’m not sure what’s wrong to keep me from doing that. I’m growing complacent- content to spend the extra 20 minutes in bed instead of getting up with the first alarm and going out to run. I’m content with old eating habits of less veg and more carbs. I’m content with hiding in my house instead of aiming to balance my social and alone time.
Maybe its just growing up and growing old. I keep trying to pinpoint what it could be, but I’m unsure. Other than the fact that ruts are comfortable. These things I have done in the past feel good. And its true- eating comfort foods makes you feel better – for a time. But then you feel tired and unmotivated and bloaty. Sleeping in past when your body is comfortable sleeping just makes you more tired as the day progresses.
I have mental goals that I want to achieve. I want to keep myself motivated and moving. I need to find that motivation again. I need to remind myself that the little bit of pain I feel during/after big runs is normal. I need to remind myself that my body will thank me more if I eat salmon instead of steak, and rice instead of potatoes. I also need to keep reminding myself that I don’t need anyone to give me that motivation. I shouldn’t need it, at least. I should work to find the motivation in me. If I try for motivation from others, it will make me not want to do it. The motivation to make myself happier and healthier has to be within me.
Now to go about finding it.
My Great Aunt Vesta died on Friday. I suppose for most people, their “great” relatives, other than perhaps a Great-Grandmother, but I have had the good fortune to have “great” relatives in abundance in my life. Vesta was the last of my given name line. I still have a Great Uncle in Pennsylvania on my Grandmother’s side, and two Great Aunts on my mother’s side. But for me, Aunt Vesta’s death means a great deal more than just the loss of a loved one. In some ways its the loss of an ideal for me.
Great Grandmother Sevilla died in the early 1930′s (I haven’t been able to find actual death year for her.) The story is that she died of Scarlet Fever, but again, I haven’t been able to confirm that either. Great Grandpa Edward, at that point in time, couldn’t take care of the 4 children, and so they were spread out into foster homes throughout the area. Vesta, Joe, and Edith all ended up in Virginia, and my Grandfather and his sister Francis were sent to Frederick. Pap was under the care of Mom Houff, who I would consider my Great Grandmother for many years, until I learned the story. After he returned from World War 2, Pap ended up tracking down his brothers and sisters, and they remained close. They would each come to visit each other regularly, and I can remember a trip down to visit Uncle Joe and Aunt June in Charlottesville, Aunt Vesta and Uncle George in Timberville, and Edith in West Virginia. Mom Houff and her son Sonny would come visit the house regularly- and I can remember hanging out in Sonny’s van because it had a sink and shag carpeting in it. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. Vesta, George, Joe and June would be up to my grandparents house several times throughout the summer. Aunt June taught me how to tie shoelaces. Aunt Vesta called me “Pepper pot” and “Motor mouth.” Uncle Joe could always make me laugh, and sadly, I can’t quite remember how. But this was family. We sat around tables and had meals together, we sat on the porch and relaxed, we had butcherings, and random Saturdays of just being with each other and that was amazing.
After my Grandmother died, that all ceased, really. Other relatives were getting sick and couldn’t make the trip anymore, Mom Houff went into a nursing home; we stopped the annual butcherings, and things changed. Family stopped being family. We had the “obligatory” Christmas visits with my Uncle David (in a hospital for invalids- which is another story entirely.), Pap was still close, but the rest of the family we didn’t really see. There was the annual Christmas Party on my mom’s side, but even that faded into a glimmer of what it once was. Family then became just my neighbors. The people who lived around my parents. I can tell you as a fact I know less about my Aunts and Uncles than I do about my new neighbors where I live now. And that’s a damn shame.
And so we move on, and we make our own families. We choose people in our lives who fill that role of family. And I do love my chosen family, but as life goes on, we grow more distant in miles, even if we dont’ grow distant in heart. Life moves everyone in different directions, and soon we’re all keeping up with each other by holiday cards and facebook postings. How do you build connections from those? How do you have a sense of how someone’s doing, or feeling, or how their life really is if you aren’t talking to them regularly, or visiting with them?
I suppose that’s really the question I’m wondering- how in the digital age are we supposed to truly connect with people? I can empathize, and I can smile and laugh along or cry along to words on the page, but that doesn’t allow me to physically hug the person. I don’t hear the pain in their voice, or the happiness. We are connected, but there’s no connection. How do we connect?
I see friends having big get togethers with their families for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I admit to being a little jealous. I miss the times when the kitchen table was overflowing with foods, seats, laughter, and love. I want that. I want my house to be full of those things. I want my house to be where people come to spend the weekend and enjoy the company, or go antiquing, or just sit on the patio and relax. I want that family again. I want the connections. Now I suppose its time to figure out how to have that again.
So over the past few weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Not that I am not in a constant state of deep thought most of the time, but there has been more of them, and deeper thoughts than previously. One of those thoughts was to get my thoughts out of my head, onto paper. While paper is fantastic, some of the thoughts I have I want to share with people. I want people to know what I’m thinking and how. Not everything, of course, because some things people just don’t need to know. But there are actual paper journals for those thoughts, which I’m sure someone will find hundreds of years from now, and laugh at.
This is going to be my place to pontificate. To muse upon events in my life. To brag about my quilting, or moments in life that are my triumphs. It will be my place to enumerate my sadness, my happiness, my anger. But sharing these I think helps other people share in those moments as well. To connect somewhere on the random cables and copper wires that connect us all these days. Because that’s really one of the only ways we connect anymore, isn’t it? But I digress- that’s another note for another day.
Life seems to move faster as each year passes, and I want to make sure that I’m also remembering the good times as well as the bad, so I can look back on both in times where I need to remember that it does get better from here, and that I can survive anything. And that even in dark moments, there are bright spots that are brighter than any star in the sky.
So once more into the fray we go, and we’ll see how it goes.