Saturday, July 12, 2014
You can't fall apart when things go wrong. And when I say "go wrong" I mean badly wrong, way wrong. The loss of a job, the death of a loved one, a diagnosed illness: that kind of wrong. You can't fall apart.
It's difficult not to fall apart. We don't control our emotions. Grief, despair, depression, are creatures with wills of their own and they seem to take over the daily habits that normally sustain us. How do I NOT fall apart? How do I fight back and regain my dignity after chucking it into the trash, after curling into a fetal position and going "waaaah?!"
The answer is "ANY WAY YOU CAN!" I thought to do some writing, and I ended up writing this. Which will take about five minutes. I wanted to work on my novel in progress and I sat staring at the page feeling waves of anxiety streaking through my innards. It's difficult to write through waves of anxiety. I'll make it.
I'll get there.
Last year a man died suddenly. He was the man who provided me with three quarters of my contracting work. Three quarters of my income vanished overnight. Then I had a health scare. Things began going to pieces, one little piece at a time. It works that way, sometimes. It isn't one big thing; more like a lot of little things until it seems that nothing will ever go right again.
That's the voice of depression speaking, saying "It's done, you're finished, nothing good is going to happen to you." As a grizzled veteran of the fight against depression I understand the feeling that a low emotional state is permanent. It isn't. But you can't fall apart. You have to fight back.
If you've got any energy, go clean something. That often works well to lighten the mood. Or, better, go help someone who is in trouble. Service is one of the great anti-depressants in our tool box. The effort of getting up may seem like fighting through the eye-wall of a hurricane, but once beyond that obstacle there's a world of hurt out there. It puts our personal pain into perspective.
Just don't give up. You may fall apart for a while; but you can get back up to renew the effort to heal yourself. You can. Just do it.