Here’s how it’s going ‘round about now:
I thought I’d update you while still in the throes of this delightful mental illness episode, because a) I’M STILL ALIVE which means, b) I’M WINNING, GODDAMMIT, and c) I’ve utterly abandoned the idea that I need only reveal the pretty parts of life or write only after I have an inspiring, Oprah Winfrey Book Club story of tragedy-turned-triumph to share. I mean, I’m not opposed to triumphing. Triumphing’s rad. It’s awesome. It’s the best. But right now, I’m slogging, and slogging is the biggest part of triumphing, so slogging is what we’re discussing today.
Right now, I’m in the middle of a med change. Which means I mostly cancel appointments, and text people to say “I’m sorry I can’t be there,” and stay home, and look like this.
And sometimes I lay down at the top of my stairs because walking all the way down them is too much effort.
I just can’t do it, you know? Like, I get to the top of the stairs, I do whatever Thing I went up there for, then I stand there blankly, trying to figure out What’s Next. Am I supposed to do More Things upstairs? Was I headed downstairs for the More Things? Was there something to grab? A kid I needed to talk to? My brain just fizzles. Like a transformer exploded somewhere in my circuitry so there’s no more electricity available to run it. I’m like a robot that powers down. I’m there, at the top of the stairs, fully useless. So I lay down and become a puddle of human.
Ever-y-thing takes too much effort right now. But here’s what I need to work on (and also, because you’re human, probably you do, too): CREDIT FOR WALKING UP THE STAIRS IN THE FIRST PLACE.
I mean, yes, technically, you’re the cat stuck in the tree who got herself up and can’t figure out the rest of the equation, but let’s be honest — no one ever finished a task without going through the middle of it. No one walked back down the stairs without first walking up them. No cat ever got to call herself a Tree Climber without clawing her way up there. No one ever completed a race without moving through the course.
Why do we only pat ourselves on the back when we’re finished? Why do we fail to understand that middle steps of progress are as valuable as the final one? Why do we denigrate rest? Also, if we’re stuck in a tree, doesn’t that just mean there are hot firemen on the way to rescue us? And are we really meant to climb trees without help anyway? Or is it OK to make tree climbing and stair climbing and race running and med changing team sports? Where we get to request assistance and hand holding from time to time?
^^^I’m just saying.^^^
The thing is, I detest med changes. They’re a necessary evil for managing Clinical Depression. Also called Major Depressive Disorder. Also known by its Benedict Cumberbatch name, Brainblighter Fuckweasel. Aka, Mungminded Waffletwat. Aka, Headcase Ragecrumpet. But meds only work for as long as they work which, unfortunately for everyone, is never “forever.” And so we enter the slog of weaning off the one that doesn’t work and onto one that… might. If the new one does work, HOORAY! If it doesn’t, we repeat the process to infinity until we find one that does. The difficulty lies in the fact that there’s no definitive end to muddling through the madness. No specific finish line.
I HATE this stage of managing mental health. Partly because I’m underwater and stuck at the top of the stairs. But partly because I am not very PRODUCTIVE in this mental place, and god knows I use productivity to gauge my value as a human. Practicing what I preach — that we are all already valuable and worthy of love exactly as we are — is ANNOYING, friends. I have no patience for this. I mean, I have patience for this for you. You are definitely already valuable and worthy of love exactly as you are. This is as deep a Truth as any I know. But I have no patience for this for me. I like saying we’re all valuable and worthy of love exactly as we are while feeling productive and on top of my game. You know? I like saying we need do nothing to prove our inherent worth whilst I prove my inherent worth by getting shit done. <— SO MUCH EASIER.
Med changes make me feel like a lump. Like a bump at the Top of the Stairs. Like a barely breathing sack of mush. And I’ll admit to being kind of bummed that this med change hasn’t been easy. Even though I knew it probably wouldn’t be. Ppppfffttttt. Also, blerg.
That’s it, friends.
That is all.
That is how it’s going.
I’m not well.
But if I’ll listen to the Truth for a second, I also know I’m doing exactly what I need to be doing right now, which isn’t doing at all. It’s being. And breathing. And believing I’m already infinitely worthy of love. Exactly as I am. Right now.
Which means I’m fine.
Love to you, friends, and waving in the dark, as always,
P.S. This is the nipple light at the Top of the Stairs. And the smoke detector.
I’ve spent a lot of time looking at them lately.
P.P.S. Med changes are like trying to trade out floatation devices in the middle of the ocean. Like, you realize the raft you made out of coconuts and palm fronds on that desert island you escaped has been sinking for longer than you’d like to admit, so you’re kind of under water already. FORTUNATELY, there are helpful people around who have FOUND YOU and are EAGER TO HELP. So they toss you a life preserver and your job is to eeeease off the raft and onto the ring, slowly and carefully so you don’t breathe in too much water during the switch. Only, you’re on the ring and the raft is out of sight when you realize the ring isn’t actually floating. It’s sinking, too. I mean, since you’re under observation at least you’re not the only one who knows you’re still drowning, and the helpers start tossing all sorts of things at you, hoping something will stick. Eventually, when everything sorts itself out, you’ll be clutching a basketball and have one leg flung over a pool noodle, and then you’ll see how long you can float on those before you have to switch again. I bitched about this to my doctor until she reminded me we didn’t use to have floatation devices at all, so they used to lock up people like me on the desert island where we’d play checkers in our pajamas all day. Since my doctor has to use floatation devices, too, she’d be on the island with me. I have to admit, the island doesn’t sound all bad some days. And I’ve already got the pajama part down. But since I’m bad at checkers, I’m going to go ahead and be grateful for the flotation devices. I’m just saying… this part sucks. Someone throw me a yacht next time. We can all cruise around the island together.
P.P.P.S. I’m seeing my doctor again tomorrow. Wish her luck.
P.P.P.P.S. Did you know I run a small number of retreats each year? I do! One of my very, very favorite things to do is hang out with members of our incredible, worldwide community and offer rest and respite from our regular lives. I would LOVE to have you join me. And I’m not making promises or anything, but maybe we can lay down at the top of the stairs together.
Click here for general retreat information. We’re 90% full for November 2019. If you’re thinking about attending this fall and have any questions at all — like, “OH NO! There aren’t many spots left and I want to be in a bed/room where I’ll feel comfortable!” — please contact our registrar, Maggie Peterson, at Petersonm1@spu.edu. I’d love to see you there. The Oregon Coast is one of my happy places.
Or, if you want to head straight to the registration pages, you can register via my farm website, CAIRNS FARM: