You’re OK, I’m not so great.
categories: unquiet things
As I may have alluded to in the past, and well, if you’ve been paying attention or if you know me, like, at all – you know that I’ve got some Issues. Of course, who doesn’t, right? But your issues aren’t my problem, and I can only work on me. Sorry about that.
And so the time has come for me to actually put in that work. I am nearly 40 years old and that’s a long time to be hauling so many hurts and anxieties and problems around. I don’t want to continue into the next decade of my life without at least having tried to address some of these things.
A local therapist was recommended to me by a friend and I have already been to two sessions. Hooray for follow-through! Normally that’s a problem for me, too. The office is located -literally- about three minutes from my house, in a small plaza with ample parking. She’ll see me after work in the evenings. So many things that might make me anxious about the act and process of simply being there are already resolved! I feel good about this.
Our first visit was more or less a “getting to know you session”; she asked a lot of questions about the issues I am facing now, my history of certain things, my family and my family’s history. She told me a bit about herself, how she got started, and what she focuses on now; when she mentioned her background in addiction and substance abuse, as well as trauma, I knew this was probably a good fit.
I spent most of my second visit biting my lip and desperately trying not to sob as I found myself going on and on for nearly 40 minutes about my mother. I couldn’t cry. I wanted to, but I am not there yet. And it’s not really a sad cry; it’s more an anger thing. I can’t seem to properly express my fury, it usually ends in a deluge of tears. But I am not there yet with this lady, and I don’t cry in front of strangers. My sister points out that your therapist is the one person you definitely shouldn’t worry about crying in front of.
Maybe I’ll get there in time.
My initial reason for being there was my constant anxiety, however, she believes that I suffer from dysthymia – a low-level, persistent form of depression – and seems to want to focus on that. I’ll go along with that for now. I don’t think she’s wrong, and who knows, maybe my anxieties are a symptom of that. Maybe it stems from something else altogether.
I’m open to exploring different possibilities, and I am not so naive as to think that there’s an immediate fix to be found. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
She shared with me this article, written last year by Therese Borchard: 10 Things I Do Everyday To Beat Depression. I expected it to be kind of cheesy, but in attempting to keep an open mind I gave it a read and I think there are some really helpful things to be found in the items that the author lists, and I would definitely recommend this as a worthwhile read.
The first thing Borchard talks about is how she swims early every morning, noting that “exercise is the most powerful weapon [she uses] everyday to beat the demons”, and that all aerobic workouts release endorphins,which,”while helping to block stress hormones and produce serotonin”, also can relieve depression.
I haven’t got a pool and I am not going to schlep down to the Y every morning, but I have begun taking a half hour walk every morning around 5:30am, just after I get out of bed. Once you are actually out of bed, there is something so wonderful about that time of morning. Though people may be just waking up, the world is mostly still and silent. No cars on the road, no children playing in the yard, and most importantly – no one is ringing me on the phone at that time of day. It’s glorious. I wish it could be 5:30am all day long.
I have found, in the past few days I have got much more energy and I am probably twice as productive. Is this sustainable? Can I keep it up? That I don’t know. But I did it today, so that is what I am trying to focus on for now.
I may slowly begin implementing some other suggestions from that list; for example, I like the idea of taking a minute or two to record the little joys of the day. It is the little things, so often, that provide unsuspecting moments of delight when one is fraught with anxiety and sadness. Taking time to collect these moments and appreciate them seems like a nice thing to slow your racing heart and still your crazy thoughts for time.
Power smoothies, however, can fuck off. Not in my house.
*The Skeletor Is Love image has been created exclusively for this post. We are not making a comeback.
You are so brave. Thank you for this. Always rooting for you. And I *am* going to read that 10 Things / Borchard piece. I need it.
Wishing you well with this. I know for myself it wasn't easy. It took a bit to meet the right person that I gelled with who understood my magical mix of self deprecation and sarcasm when dealing with stuff ;p and was able to offer tools that really helped me. Walking and listening to music for me was really powerful and helpful, a feeling that at least you're physically moving forward with each step and that you're not stuck. And your sister is right, cry, let it out, rage. Tears need to stop being viewed as a sign of weakness (I hate crying in front of strangers too, totally get it), it's a needed release, though it can be a bit terrifying to just let it out. Anyway! Not implying you think that, and just that I hope this is of help for you. Power Smoothie's be damned xx
great post. i am certain that i've suffered from depression on and off my whole life, and i understand the need to figure it all out. it's awesome that you've taken that step. 5:30 really is the best time of day, and a brisk walk in the morning always gets me out of my head too!
and i'll accept power smoothies in my house as long as i don't have to cut down on sugar and grains, mm....
Thank you for this. My daily anxiety is getting out of control, and I'm realizing it's not normal to feel this way all the time. Hopefully I will try out some of the suggestions from that article. I can attest to the power of the "power smoothie", which is just fresh juice, as making me feel so much better...diet plays such a huge part in how we feel that I am determined to get back into juicing. Your early morning walks sound heavenly, I may need to start doing that since I am already up early. Thank you for sharing your experiences and for showing there is hope. <3
Thank you for the link to that article. I'm glad you've sought out a therapist and feel like you've got a good fit. That's vital. I can attest to the fact that, after my initial getting-to-know-you session, most of the time I spent with my own therapist (who helped me so tremendously, I can hardly verbalize it) was spent in the center of an ever-growing pile of used tissues. A fresh pile each time, mind you, but still, the amount of crying and weeping and sniffling and so on would've been funny if there hadn't been so much pain to work through.
I can also attest to the benefits of exercise. It drives me nuts that it works, because so often when I'm feeling crappy it's the very last thing I want to do, but it always helps. Damn it. Just saying it I resent it, because it seems so...sensible? Bah. But I've learned that it's a consistent source of relief and I do it, even if I'm quietly giving the exercise stink-eye all the while. :)
Thank you for sharing your experiences here. While in therapy that's the one thing I didn't do with anyone but a couple very close friends. However reading your posts I can project back and see what an enormous help it would've been to find someone else to whom I relate well working to sort out their psychological and emotional ghosts. Who am I kidding, it is still helpful.
Also, I agree about the magic of the wee morning hours. I am decidedly not a morning person, but when I happen to be up around then (as you said, once out of bed), it's a time of day unlike any other and I love it. I love the relative quiet and hearing the birds waking up.
Earnestly taking care of ourselves beyond daily necessities takes a lot of courage and I'm really glad you're working on it. Thank you for confiding in us as you do so.
thank you so much for sharing all of this. i know for me, and certainly for others, it really helps to know that we're not alone in fighting the good fight, just trying to find our way in this crazy fucked up world.
Ample parking! That would so be a reason I might not do something...if it were hard to park. Is it normal to think this much about those kinds of things?
I'm curious about your journey because I feel right there with you. I feel like a lot of my problems are situational but that doesn't make it easy. And I definitely avoid opportunities to fail...why would I want any more reminders about how deeply flawed I am? I feel like there is a thin veneer over everything like the top scrim of ice on a murky lake. Most of the time I can hold it all together but then I find myself sobbing in front of my family doctor because I realize it is the first time in ages anyone has been listening to me, even if I am paying the person to do so. There are no easy solutions I guess, but we are all here for the journey.
HEY there lovely woman, I often travel so my place is vacant if you find yourself without a place to stay.. always welcome here .. Australia, I totallally love my man and that's half my problem, trying to constantly be in his world and having my own integrity as a person.Chur we all have our complex issue and it's hard to drop that bag of dead cats at the gate...
Good luck! It's a constant struggle upwards, but it's worth there when you reach a point that things are...somehow much easier to handle than they were before. You're making a great first step.