Thursday, July 26, 2007

Defense Against the Dark Arts

I can't sleep.

The fog in my head is winning tonight, and I can't sleep. I can cry, but that's not really helping; it doesn't feel like a "just get it all out and you'll feel better" kind of cry. More like, if I start, I won't ever be able to stop.

What can I do? I refuse to let it win, what can I do?

Get up and write, a voice in my head said. Again and again.

So, here I am. Score 1 for me.

Thanks to tngirl's gracious loan of Harry Potter 2 & 3 (remember, I'd only read #1), I've been getting caught up on the books. HP2 went quickly, and now I'm well into HP3, making it my reward for getting through my summer school class readings.

HP3 is where we meet the dementors, the bony, robed creatures that suck all the joy out of life, and maybe even your soul as well. Even though they are guards, ultimately they are safe for no one.

Certainly it is not original with me, the observation that the dementors are one of the most accurate depictions of depression that many of us have read. Makes me wonder about Rowling and what her struggles have been in life, because she nails it bang on, what it feels like.

Except.

I can't just conjure up a happy thought and hurl it at the beast to make it go away. Believe me, I'm trying.

Also, as much as it chagrins to me to say so, chocolate doesn't quite seem to have the restorative powers as it does in the book. Again, believe me, I'm trying! ;-)

Of course, it certainly doesn't hurt. So there's that.

I had my appointment with the counselor yesterday. I think she's terrific. She thinks we can get me back to my self fairly quickly, since I'm being so proactive about it. I hope she's right (well, yesterday, when I felt, uh, not like this, I actually believed she was right).

I know you're wondering, so: Yes, I'm depressed. Not in a big, horrid, incapacitating way. Just enough to be noticeable and therefore worrying. I have just enough symptoms, for just long enough, and we need to take action. I suspect the combination of stress, anxiety, and exhaustion (see here) have weakened my defenses...hence the leaking out of symptoms. Kinda like when you have a cold that never quite goes away on it's own, and you end up with bronchitis and need amoxicillin. (No, I'm not going on meds, it's just a metaphor).

Tonight feels particularly bad...I'm obsessing on questions that betray a deep insecurity -- which at least I'm smart enough to know now means I shouldn't ask them of the people they seem to be about. Because it's not about them, it's about me. Really it's just 2 questions, and I hurl them at the universe so that maybe they'll stop their oily spinning inside my head --

Do you love me? And if so, why in the world would you?

Tonight the fog sits like a scrim over my senses. That's what it felt like to me before, driving through a fog in the broad daylight. You become ever so tentative, ever so fearful of what's around the corner.

It scares me. It scares me because in moments like this it feels almost like it felt before. It scares me that maybe it's back, maybe I can't fix it, maybe once again it will feel like life will always be this way from now on.

But here's the good news.

I got up. Instead of just lying there, crying in despair until I fell asleep, I got up. I got some cold water, wrapped around me the quilt my abuelita -- my adopted grandma -- made me for before, the one that has sewn into a corner, "When things seem dark, wrap yourself in this quilt and know you are loved very much," and listened to the insistent voice that said "Get up and write."

That did not happen before -- that insistent voice was almost too quiet to be heard, and when I heard it, I couldn't do it. But today, here I am. I won't let it win. I refuse. I'll do whatever it takes -- listening to the insistent voice, better self-care, "homework" from the counselor, whatever.

Because I love my life. I have worked my ass off to get here, and I am not giving it up.

I love my life. I love Iliff. I love getting lost in texts. I love my favorite professor. I love CoolPastor, and TheologyBabe, and SisterWendy, and HappyChurch, and my family. I love my cielo, so so much. I love the green of the cottonwood trees against the blue of the clear sky. I love the clouds rolling over the mountains that shade the hard afternoon sun. I love the smell of rain at twilight. I love that I'm going to a ballgame on Saturday and will get to see one of my favorite players. I love that all of you show up to look in the window that is my strange little brain. I love God, who has gifted me with all of this, and so much more.

I love my life. I am not giving it up. So there.

Huh. I conjured up a whole bunch of happy thoughts, and what do you know, I feel better. A little achy in the head, but better.

Expecto patronum, indeed. I think that's just a fancy way of saying (pardon the language): Fuck off, dementors, you can't have me.

Suddenly there are new tears, but this time, of gratitude.

But If You Break Down
I'll Drive Out And Find You
If You Forget My Love
I'll Try To Remind You
And Stay By You
When It Don't Come Easy
(Patty Griffin, from "When It Don't Come Easy")

I think it's time for bed, don't you?

5 comments:

  1. Do you love me? And if so, why in the world would you?
    "Let me count the ways" (Although I think I don't have enough room here to write all the ways!)

    I love you because you were created to be loved, and God and life has given me the privilege to see the beauty and grace that you are in the world.

    I love you because of your deep compasionate heart
    your loving spirit
    your kind soul
    your generous heart
    I love you because you try hard
    to live your life with integrity
    I love you because of the genuine love and light that you are in the world
    I love you because you always try to be true to yourself
    I love you because you want so bad to heal the brokenness of the world

    I love you because you have an incredible mind, heart, and soul that has given so much to the world,

    Ilove you because you are my chosen one!

    You are divine love to me.

    Your cielo

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  2. (((Towanda)))

    I, too, was struck by the image of the Dementors as an apt description of depression. Over the years I've taken to calling my depression "The Beast."

    In the books, sometimes someone else's patronus can help you out. It seems like you are surrounded by patronuses (patroni? One in the form of a warm, cozy quilt.

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  3. and I love you because you are steady in friendship. I love you because you dare to take a different view. I love you because you teach me things. I love you because your heart is open. I love you because you the courage to live in the face of darkness and I know that darkness and I love you in it, as you trudge through the muck, and you claw your way out toward light. I love you because you are honorable, pure in your intention, willing to be vulnerable. You are sagacious and supportive and you have loved me through my darkness. I send you light and messengers of warrior strength while you face the demons and find your way in the dark. The pain is overwhelming, but you can survive it. Breathe from both ends!!

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  4. Remember, towanda, love cannot be defeated , , ,

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  5. Many hugs and prayers. This will pass. If you didn't feel bad sometimes, the times of joy wouldn't be as sweet. You are a thinking, caring, intelligent person, and that is not only exhausting, it causes you to be brave enough to ask hard questions of others and of yourself. It will ease. Have faith...

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