Depression knows it’s way around my mind like a bee in a hive. Knows exactly where to plant himself, his role, his goal. I set my alarm, but ignore it for almost 2 hours. My kitty wanders in and is my excuse for hiding longer. As he nestles himself on my shoulder I tell myself we are bonding. But, really I’m avoiding.
The days feel excruciatingly long right now. I’m searching for jobs each day, but haven’t applied to anything for 2 weeks. Of the 2 places I applied at the end of December, I have been invited to an interview. This Friday. I rehearse my smile. My enthusiasm. I hope I can muster it when the time comes. I am or was interested in this job prospect. But that damn devil of depression whispers I probably won’t get it. I have no practical experience. Why bother. If I don’t show, who will know. I can always say I thought I did great. That would not be good for my frail psyche!
So, today I have a lunch date and a hair appointment. This means I leave the house. I am without a car this week. My friend agreed to drop me off at my hair appointment and I will walk home. It’s several miles. Music in my ears and the sun on my face will be good medicine, along with exercise.
I have to keep fighting. It’s tiresome. Downright exhausting and daunting. I’ve been through it before. One foot in front of the other today. Reminding myself I’m doing the best I can.
I walked a labyrinth in A local small town today. I was envisioning my negativity rising through the trees. Letting go. Starting anew. New footprints awaiting to set along a new path. A walk of forgiveness.
I was really noticing the colors of the rocks and foliage and their vibrancy. Breathing in the cool crisp morning air. I wore my husband’s scarf to feel warm and safe. To feel…connected to something comfortable. Because, I’m uncomfortable. If I told you I quit my job because it was toxic. I didn’t believe in the leadership. I couldn’t see the way forward in success. I tried, I think, the best way I knew how. The management may not have appreciated my efforts. In fact, on my last day, not much respect was afforded. A wave and half smile ushered me out the door. You might say emphatically good for you.
The labyrinth is at a church w a preschool.The children came running to and thru the labyrinth, full of innocence. Carefree, free. Enjoying each moment. They also seemed to really enjoy each other and want to share in the joy each was feeling. True unbridled connection. No judgement as they giggled pretending they were birds or airplanes. I teared up knowing this was a lesson for me..a gift…a reminder to slow down, my path is okay, but…what’s missing is to be apart of. Always questioning where I belong.
The days pass. I open the curtains. I welcome the sun. Yet, home is where I stay for the most part. I’m doctoring my resume. Beefing myself up. Telling the next person my big plans. Rehearsing my interview in my mind. Going to the library to research how best to be what they want. But, what I want most is to go to bed. Be left alone. Curtains drawn drowning in covers. Some days moving from the couch is so hard. I shuffle. I reach for that next blanket to drape over me.
Going to the gym is a chore when I think about it. Running. Dripping with sweat. Logging miles. Just putting on gym clothes and pulling my hair back in the mirror used to be my nemesis. So much work and effort. I’m always too tired. I’m no longer strong. Time got away from me. It’s just a waste of time at this point. That was my thought process.
I made my way back to the gym. Slogging some days. Just battling to get my car to that parking lot. Negotiating if I did..only 10 minutes. Turn the key. Put it in your bag. Check in. Grab a towel. No one knows how long I’m there or how hard I work. I made it. Phew.
Enter my trainer. My leap of faith back into fitness and myself. I watched her lead classes. Heap positivity into such a big space and into me. Punching and kicking our way through 60 minutes she said something magical: unleash yourself.
I have. I am. Some days are harder than others. Some days bipolar disorder leaves me in tears in my car before class. Before our session. Yet. She unknowingly helps me to dig deep on those days. Squat harder. Lift heavier. Unleash the burden of what is usually myself. I confided in her. I shared myself. She pushes me just the same.
The beauty of the labyrinth is sometimes you are walking it and you may not even realize. Each step. Each breath a new opportunity. Whether among the trees. Among the din of a gym. The opportunity to unleash is always there. The opportunity to be you. Me. Most importantly me.
I am constantly learning how to take care of myself. I’m not very good at it. Self compassion is a challenge. About a month ago I finally broke down and joined a hiking club. I had been contemplating joining for 5-6 months always coming up w excuses as to why it wouldn’t work out. The dominating factor was always fear. Fear they wouldn’t like me, fear I would fall into the darkness and stop going, fear I wouldn’t fit in.
The hikng commitment is Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. I have to say it’s going pretty good. The folks are a bit older than me and not quite in as good of shape. This group is meant to be social as well as physical. I have trouble slowing down and tend to run up ahead of the group. While this is encouraged, to get a good workout, I miss out on the real reason I joined. Connection. I am such a competitive person that when I get on the trail the all or nothing brain kicks in and I must go at least 5 miles. I have a watch that both spurns me on and scorns me when I don’t reach this distance.
Somewhere in finding my place within the hikng group I decided this level of activity is not enough and I joined a bootcamp class. I worked out with this bootcamp for years just prior to my epic fall into bipolar disorder. So now I’m doing bootcamp Monday, Wednesday, Friday on top of hiking. Gotta fill the void somehow right?! There are worse ways to fight isolation and loneliness.
Well, I gave in and took last night off from hiking. My body was so tired and sore. We did a rather rigorous workout on Wednesday. I could barely walk. I knew if I hiked I would have no energy for Friday. So I told myself it was okay to rest and take a day off. Me. I did that for me.
The lesson could also be more isn’t always better. I am happy to be off the couch. I’m happy to be physically active again. I hope to be more social in my group. But really I hope to take good care of myself one day at a time.