Friday, March 29, 2019

On a Personal Note

I've been doing so many product reviews that it's been a long while since I shared anything else here. With spring peeking into the windows of my apartment, my depression is easing and I thought I could talk about that struggle.

It's a serious business, dealing with depression and anxiety. It's even more serious (for me at least) as you age. When I was in my 30's, I could ward off "the blues" by focusing on family and friends. We always had a gaggle of babies and toddlers around and my mother and sister were still here with me. Now, I feel quite alone. Here's the contradiction: I am a loner by nature. I like being alone. My best friend is the same way. We once lived together for 5 months and were perfectly happy spending at max about 20 minutes a day together. She says that we are able to entertain ourselves with our own thoughts and imaginations. Blessing and curse.

The other day, I found myself wanting to get on a plane and get to Arizona as fast as possible. I have some family here, but Arizona is where the babies are. The smile and trust of a baby is a magical, mysterious kind of medicine. Babies don't care about your past. They don't ask you tough questions about the mistakes you made. Babies don't know that you've ruined marriages and relationships. Even older children - the ones who have only ever seen the you that you are now - don't want to talk about what you did wrong to be alone. They just want to be your friend. They want you to be their protection. They want your hugs and bedtime stories and attention.

Of course, I didn't run off to Arizona. Instead, I locked myself in with my plants and the radio and books. I prayed and cried and apologized to my past. I cooked food that I wasn't hungry for. I made bread and cakes that I gave away to my neighbors. I lay in bed and ached with a craving for I know not what. I scolded myself and I talked to God, making promises and asking questions and listening for answers,

When I get really deep down in the darkest blue of these moods, I will aim my pity outwards - but in a mean and backhanded way. I will talk to the muted screen of the TV, preaching to the seemingly morals-free and happy living people I see there. To the girls with their asses hanging out of shorts and lips twisted up for duck-faced selfies: "You life-wasting piece of ignorance." To the celebrities parading their wealth and extravagance: "Really? You needed a diamond that large when there are hungry children in the world?" To the product spokespeople: "Keep your iPhones and Androids and your supplements for a flat tummy. Sell me some peace, some quiet, some hope in mankind."

At some point, I found myself asking some actress in an old black and white movie about my theory of sadness. "Why is it that our laughter is so much louder than our tears?" (By the way, she didn't have an answer. She got killed by the man she was in love with but who was in love with another woman.)

I usually come out of the worst of this mood after talking to the TV. There's nothing like talking aloud in empty rooms to make you look down and realize how close to the edge of madness you are. When pieces of your sanity start to break off and crumble down the mountain, you begin to remember how you cherish the safety of the steady ground. That's when I will stop talking to myself and start playing music.

Music is powerful - either powerfully good or powerfully bad. When David played for Saul it was to soothe. David - loved by and in love with the Lord - had that holy blessing that Saul no longer did. The music was his sharing of a balm.

I never listen to certain music when I am in my blues. No Bird York reminding me of the 'deep' or Otis Redding crying on the dock. Good stuff but stuff that tempts me back to the gravelly edge of sanity. When I need healing, I listen to Dora Pickett singing the James Cleveland penned "God Is" or Big Daddy Weave singing "Redeemed". These are people loved by and in love with God. They have a blessing in their songs. I, too, am loved by and in love with God, but in my dark hours, I need that holy balm. Music is like the laying on of hands - God's or Satan's.

So, I am coming out of the dark. This time. Like I said, spring has been leaking in between the slats of my window blinds. Sun and hope. Warmth.

Spring is my favorite time of year. It's the dawn that comes after the night of winter.

In another few weeks, I will have more plants and herbs to calm myself with. I will be able to walk down to the lake and breathe in air that's not biting me with icy teeth.

Once again, I have come through the struggle and I have regained the ability to hope. Maybe this will be the season that I will fall in love, or in like. Maybe this is the season that I will be able to finish working on the book. Maybe is a good word because 'maybe' does not mean 'never".