Right this instant I have a brisket with southwest seasonings doing tantalizing things in my slow cooker and the smell is driving me crazy because I keep finding myself drawn from the office to the kitchen, my hand reaching for the lid so I can stir things around and get a healthier whiff of the stuff, but NO! I need to leave the lid in place and just let the magic happen.
It’s a test of will I have going on over here, and I only have… oh… 8 hours to go.
I’m hoping the end result, southwest chipotle brisket tacos, will be worth the turmoil in my already unbalanced psyche.
Speaking of unbalanced psyches (how’s that for a segue?), my moods have been all over the place lately. And by “lately,” I mean like the last 3 years. But especially recently.
One minute I’ll feel elated, high as James Franco at the 2011 Oscars, infused with anticipation and joy from the plethora of choices I could make with my life, the friends I have, the places I’ve been and have yet to see.
And then I’ll be down. So, so far down inside this rocky hole, and I climb out every time, but there’s nothing to stop my fingers from bleeding from the effort. Because right now – not in the end, but right now – I’m a 28-year-old waitress with a college degree. I’m essentially a stay-at-home mom without the “mom” part and what does that leave? And, aside from the occasional decent dinner, I’m not even good at the stay-at-home part. No matter what I do, the house always seems dirty, the laundry baskets are always full, the junk just keeps collecting everywhere, and the dogs are being so horrific today that part of me wants to leave the back gate open and be done with it.
Not that I would ever do that.
But I think it.
Does that make me a bad person?
I realize what I’m describing sounds like some type of horrific bipolar disorder that can only be satiated with drugs and extreme psychotherapy, but bear with me for a minute.
Maybe – just maybe – I’m not alone in my “crazy” thoughts.
Maybe we all have our ups and our downs, our moments when our subconscious is trying to tell us something is terribly wrong but we continue to ignore that voice because listening to voices really is crazy, but is it?
And before you call the nice young men in their clean white coats, hear me out.
I’m not talking about voices voices, but your subconscious. Your you. The thing you’re referring to in the rare quiet moment when you’re all alone and you ask yourself,
Who am I?
The thing that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when the creepy man across the street is watching you a little too closely, or the thing that makes you feel bad when you say something mean to another person.
I’m pretty sure we all have it. This internal voice we sometimes find ourselves arguing with but most often ignoring because I certainly know better than myself, right? Who cares if myself is telling me that something doesn’t feel right and maybe I should get help? Myself isn’t a doctor. Myself doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
But maybe she does.
Because, whether I’d like to admit it or not, she knows me better than anyone.
If you’re still reading at this point and haven’t rushed off to unsubscribe, thank you.
I have a point.
And I think it’s this:
We all have a self. A conscious. A soul. Whatever you want to call it. It’s the thing that makes you, you and not me. And, for whatever reason, we’ve trained ourselves not to listen when it’s trying to tell us something.
And we certainly don’t talk about it.
We’re afraid what others might think. I’m afraid of what you think.
But I’m saying it now because maybe these “issues” aren’t really issues at all. Maybe these bouts of depression/anxiety/self-doubt are something we’re all capable of contracting if we ignore the voice for too long. At this point, I have nothing to lose – except maybe a bunch of blog readers I love – by admitting it. But, maybe explaining my process of dealing with it could help someone else.
I have my second appointment with a counselor tomorrow.
Sure, I could just pop a couple of prescription happy pills (which I’m sure I’d have no trouble getting at this point) and go on acting like everything’s peachy, but living life in a fog and suppressing the one voice I know is 100% on my side doesn’t really seem like a way to live.
At least not for me.
I need to know why I feel the way I feel and then figure out a way to fix it. I think this counselor might be able to help me with that.
Don’t get me wrong. What you “hear” in this post isn’t the real me. It’s not my normal tone. I’m mostly a pretty positive person. My inclination is to be happy. My laugh lines are real. I smile all the time. Except lately, a little less. I know that the wrinkles, the sagging skin, the spots on my hands are inevitable eventualities of getting older. It’s going to happen one day, whether I like it or not.
But my happiness? That is something I can control, even though lately it feels like I’m losing that control. I know it’s a choice I can make.
So I’m making it now.
*I promise this blog will still have my usual posts – recipes, random humor, rants… it’s still me. But I’m choosing to “go public” with this other issue and will refer to it on occasion because I think it’s important. Some people need to see that the healthy way of dealing with emotional problems is not to ignore them. We all experience them from time to time, and sometimes we heal naturally, and sometimes we need a little help. You can judge me if you want for putting this out there and making everyone feel uncomfortable, but if it brings comfort to one person, I’ll consider it worth it. And don’t be afraid of me. I’m not going to break. I thrive on feedback. So, if you have thoughts about depression and the ways people deal with it, I’d love to read ’em. UPDATE: Click here to read Step 2.