Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Talking to Myself

It's hot. Humid. Gross.
Weather that belongs to July, appearing in June.
I grew up in this state, but I get worse with it every year, and every year it gets worse.

Combine that with depression, and me=mess.

After a blow of financial news about things we have to do with the house and things we want to do, I found myself, yep, frozen this afternoon: cranky, overwhelmed, unable to function. This morning I read and tweeted about a useful kind of broken; this kind isn't. Lock down.

Dylan called to talk about the financial stuff, and I found myself unable to explain where I was. "I am super hot, and humid, worn out. I think I haven't gotten enough sleep but can't nap. I've just felt so shitty physically the last few days," I started. Typical to this state, I kept coming up with plausible-sounding reasons: "I wrote about my family this morning in class and had some sad revelations. I'm overwhelmed about the financial stuff. I really want a day off." Dylan, ever-vigilant and slowly becoming as aware of my bound-up habits as I am of his, said "Didn't you figure out something last month (I suffer from PMDD, which comes about monthly, a very severe form of PMS)? I swear you had a revelation. Why don't you look back in your journal?"

I couldn't seem to find anything at first. But then I went back to the blog post I cited above in the word "frozen" and it hit me - yoga. This thing I am doing now, 30 Days of Yoga with Marianne Elliot, came out of the understanding I had on the phone with birdfarm that doing basic yoga, every single day, making it a priority, helps keep me out of the ditch to begin with. I wrote "Do YOGA FIRST" on a sheet of paper on my wall, and took down notes talking to her about how doing it really helps send a clear message to my sad self that I am an adult now and will take care of everything. I didn't date any of those notes, so I missed that they happened in the gap between my notebooks - the last time I was depressed, a month ago.

Oh yeah. Yoga. Right.
I immediately began making excuses - it's too hot, I'll do it later (I was not doing anything at the moment). It's not really what I need. I should go see a movie in a dark air-conditioned theater (one of my favorite summer activities). And then, a tiny, barely perceptible voice said to me
"Hey - is it that you don't want to feel better?"

What? What do you mean? OF COURSE I WANT TO...uh. I guess not.

Part of me wanted to be depressed - wanted me to shut down. A big part of me, with regular loud channels, able to jack up the sound above any smaller voices that wanted to quietly insert their own independent view.

This isn't about sadness. All parts want me to have my feelings, which is a big change from back in the day. Depression, shut down, is a different issue. The rambunctious bit of me that wants the depression doesn't trust that when I am feeling healthy and ok I will take care of myself. It thinks the only time I pay attention to my feelings is when I am frozen, which is kind of ironic, since when I am frozen I can't access my feelings.

I hopped on the yoga mat, and Drala, our Burmese silver point cat, lugged himself out of his under-the-love-seat spot, where he has been all day, and stretched out under me as I pulled into Down Dog. Cats do so love yoga - another 30 dayer tweeted that earlier this week and I smiled. Within ten minutes I felt better - less like I have to cancel class tonight to survive, and more like I can take care of myself with conscious choices.

Nothing is fixed - I mean that in both meanings: nothing is permanent and nothing is remedied.
But I am finding - and reminding myself - that a little bit of space goes a LONG way.

Class is on, feelings are clearing up and the heat? Well, can't fix that. But as of next week we'll have Central Air. That will help make the summer not worse, not harder than the rest of the beginnings of months when I struggle with struggling until I let go for an instant and remember that it is better to go soft when drowning, instead of thrashing.


  1. Congratulations and keep it up! BTW, can any of this can be blamed on antihistamines :)?

  2. As another 30 days of yoga participant, I'm right there with you, making the choice! Hang in there--I hope you keep choosing to feel better when it's a choice you can make.

  3. Miriam,
    This is un-freezing and potent. I also suffer from PMDD and from depression, which I have recently decided to change my mind about how to treat, and I have drawn strength from you (without you knowing) and from two other close friends in their relationship to depression, and from Courtney who, like Dylan has that loving “vigilance about my habits”.
    I have shared your blog with one of them.
    Recall: rambunctious bit of me that wants the depression doesn't trust that when I am feeling healthy and ok I will take care of myself.
    Nothing is fixed - I mean that in both meanings: nothing is permanent and nothing is remedied.
    Love to you—