Tag: depression

Pieces

Bill and I recently attended a funeral for the daughter of one of his co-workers. During the service, the minister invited everyone in the audience to let go of the dark things they think and feel inside, and to give them up to God. He asked this in the memory of the girl who had died – she’d suffered from mental illness her whole life and succumbed to the hopelessness she experienced every day. She decided to end her life.

It was heartbreaking.

We were given pieces of paper that dissolve in water. Write one or two or three things, the minister said, that you’d like to give up to God. Then walk up to the front, place them in the water-filled vase, and watch them disappear.

I’m not an overly religious person. I have faith, I believe in God, I think we go somewhere when we die, and I try to be a good person. I don’t ask God for things and I don’t lean. But I was touched by this little ceremony, and as I watched more and more people file up front, I grabbed a pen.

Thoughts came out that I didn’t really realize were pieces of darkness inside me, until I wrote them down. Well, more like I knew they were there, but didn’t acknowledge them for fear of giving them teeth and roots and claws. Don’t look them in the eye, and they don’t exist. You can’t see me you can’t see me you can’t see me…

I’m not worthy of love.
I will be alone.
I’m not genuine.

I sat there and blinked at the paper for a moment, then walked up front and dropped it in the vase. I stirred and watched it dissolve and wondered where the hell that came from.

That experience has been on my mind ever since. I think the exercise itself was worthwhile – it caused me to pause and reflect and look inward. We tend to acknowledge what irritates us more than what we fear. We tend to “improve” ourselves by giving up a bad habit or getting into a good one, rather than address fundamental, foundational stuff. Stuff that has nothing whatsoever to do with anything other than what is inside of us. Stuff that nobody else can affect. Stuff that nobody else causes.

The whole “not worthy of love” and “alone” thing I kind of get. I mean, I get where those feelings came from. It doesn’t take a PhD to connect the dots between those feelings and my childhood, the deaths I’ve experienced among family members and friends, the religious claptrap that lead to the awfulness of my first marriage, and all that jazz.

But why am I afraid that I’m not genuine? What does that even mean? Wouldn’t I know? I’m honest, I’m loyal, I care, I have great friends. I’m not fake by any means.

I’m just spitballing here, but I wonder if it’s connected to one of my mantras: “Fake it ’til you make it.” I’m not confident in my abilities, so I try hard and I fake confidence and LOOKEE THERE, I’m successful and the confidence becomes real. I’m depressed, but I engage and I smile and un-hermit myself and WELL NOW, I feel better. I try not to impact other peoples’ moods with my own, so I coast along pretending to be whatever the situation calls for, until I’m no longer pretending.

I don’t think any of these things are bad. I don’t think they make me dishonest.

I want to absorb more ripples than I cause, and I kind of like that about myself. I think other people have come to expect that trait from me. I don’t think I resent it.

I would know, wouldn’t I?

What a strange thing, to find a corner of my mind I didn’t know I had.

Bangles from the Renaissance Festival.
Bangles from the Renaissance Festival.

I am the ruler of my mood

I have a baseline mood. It’s happy, or reasonably good.

Bill has a baseline mood. I wouldn’t call it happy. Neutral, I guess.

I pretty much need a reason to be in a bad mood. Bill needs a reason to be in a good mood. I’m not saying that I’m giddy all the time, or that Bill is crabby all the time. I’m saying that way we experience our days, the lens through which we view life, is fundamentally different. And sometimes that’s darned frustrating.

Today, Bill is in a bad mood. Yesterday, too. And he has a reason to be, which I’m not going to into right now. I have the same reason to be in a bad mood, but since there’s nothing I can do about the circumstance that has turned our weekend negative, I have chosen to not allow it to rule my mood. I wrote an article for Beyond Megapixels. I made potato salad. I took the dogs for a walk. Later I’m going to lift heavy things repeatedly, do some laundry, cook some more, and hang out with Amanda and her boyfriend. Then, we’ll watch the season finale of The Walking Dead.

This what I do, to turn a negative mood around. I stay active, do some productive stuff, and otherwise entertain myself. I can’t even tell you the last time I was bored.

Bill is bored ALL THE TIME. It drives me crazy.

Am I wrong in thinking that anyone can choose the mood that they want to be in? Is it possible for anyone to decide to be in a good mood, even when there is reason to be otherwise? Or is it a skill that I just happen to possess? Is the ability to rule your own mood something that is just inherent in your psyche, or something that can be learned?

This one is about ME.

I scrolled through my recent posts and realized that they’ve pretty much all had to do with photography, and Beyond Megapixels. While I know you LOVE my photo-heavy entries (yes you do), and you’re all enthusiastic patrons of Beyond Megapixels (yes you are), I thought a State of the Tiff Address was in order.

It’s spring. Which means I’m depressed. Which is probably counter-intuitive to most of you unless you’ve been reading this blog for a while (Jaysus, I wrote practically the SAME EXACT ENTRY five years ago almost to the day). Temps are in the high 80’s to low 90’s this week (that’s Fahrenheit, my metric friends – which is probably obvious because if those numbers were Celsius everyone in Arizona would be dead). Hints of the HOLY FUCKING HELL IT’S HOT temperatures to come have been wafting in the warmer-than-comfortable breezes as of late.

Have I mentioned how much I DON’T like summer ’round these here parts?

The birds are tweeting their fool heads off, in perfect oblivion to my mood. It’s hard to get grumpy at a bunch of happily singing birds, but they’re SO happy that it’s just kind of pissing me off. And then there’s the metalpecker (the woodpecker that hammers on our metal chimney and annoys the bejeezus out of us… but with the added benefit that metalpecker is just fun to say), who will not be long for this world if Bill has anything to say about the matter.

So. Yeah. My mood hasn’t been all that great lately, for more reasons than the birds, but let’s just blame it on them, okay?

My neck and shoulder have been jacked up for months. So much so that I had my work desk rearranged by the AcronymCo ergonomist, have been visiting the occupational health folks weekly, and have been receiving weekly physical therapy treatments (never let it be said that AcronymCo doesn’t take good care of their employees). Things don’t seem to be getting much better, so they sent me off to have an MRI of my thoracic and cervical spine. THAT was a jolly hour stuck in a claustrophobic tube, LET ME TELL YOU. What the HELL is it about MRI’s that they have to be so friggin’ LOUD? In a day and age when you can let your baby take a nap on top of a running dishwasher, you’d think they’d update that shit.

I’m not particularly afraid of small spaces, but that MRI really made me uncomfortable. There’s something about being TOLD that I have to stay still that just makes me want to TWITCH. I really had to focus on my breathing, since this reflex that I’ve had all my life suddenly seemed to require my utmost concentration. Closing my eyes made it worse, so I kept my eyes open but there was nothing to look at. Just beige. You’d think they’d put some butterfly stickers or an “Hang In There!” poster at head level, or something. There was one tiny little spot – a scratch or smudge – that I ended up staring at (for an HOUR, did I mention?). Then I got to wondering about how that got there. Did someone panic, try to sit up, and bash their head? Did someone SNEEZE and ohgodohgodohgod is that their SNOT that’s an inch and a half from my nose??? And, hey, was that an odd smell? What if this thing catches on FIRE while I’m in here? Could I wiggle my way out or would I just cook?

Yes. Well. You can see the downward spiral my thoughts started taking. When the test was finally over and the technician slid me out of there, I sat up so fast I got light headed. I meet with the doctor again on May 4th for the results, which I’M BETTING RIGHT NOW will show nothing out of the ordinary. Because that’s just how I roll. Completely inexplicable pain caused by nothing whatsoever.

That’s enough of that. I’m sure you all think I’m a little old lady talking about my aches and pains and depression and misery and WOE IS ME. I’m starting to feel like one, truth be told.

Let’s see, what else?

I got a Kindle, specifically for my upcoming trip(s) but generally because I wanted one. It’s cool and it’s wee. And though he hasn’t said anything about it, I can just tell that Bill is THRILLED that I have a new and exciting way to READ MORE BOOKS (“Books is stupid.”)

I’m a fan of Avon products and typically place an order every six months. The stuff lasts so long that it’s almost cost-effective. My next batch is in the mail and I’m hoping it’ll do something for my haggard appearance, but I’m not holding my breath. I have quite the regime going on which kind of makes me laugh at myself because it seems like I’m doing everything in my power to STAY YOUNG, when in fact I’m perfectly fine with the thought that I’ll be 37 in July. What a weird number 37 is. What a weird, nothing special, should-I-freak-out-nah-maybe-I’ll-wait-three-years age.

Bill is working all day on Saturday, so I am too. I have ten assignments I need to complete between Saturday and Sunday (plus four on Monday and two on Tuesday… I have a bit of wiggle room and really have until the end of the month for a lot of this, but I want to get as much done over the weekend as possible). The kids are coming over for Easter dinner on Sunday (roast, mashed potatoes, deviled eggs, some sort of vegetable, and HELLO CARROT CAKE) which pretty much forces me to clean the pig sty that this house has become.

I’m leaving on a jet plan three weeks from today, so of COURSE I’ve started thinking about packing, and gear, and transport, and list-making. I’m getting my hair did on the 29th, going clothes shopping on the 7th, and somebody remind me that I need a new suitcase or the FAA is gonna get a good look at my unmentionables when they toss my luggage onto the carousel.

So. That’s pretty much it. All the crap that’s been occupying my time and my thoughts as of late. Bill’s mood has coincided with mine such that we’re both a BLAST to be around lately. So, really, you’re not missing much.

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