So it's two days on from the last blog post, and the blown fuse has been replaced. I have a lot of friends who talk a lot of sense. Sometimes they're repeating the stuff that my own logical head is telling me, but repetition reinforces the lesson, and I'm always far more willing to listen to other people than myself. Sometimes they blow me away with new things that seem so obvious, why didn't I think of them... But always they make me feel very lucky to know them.
So what's changed? The fact that after years of doing this alone I've finally opened up about it? That's certainly helped. Also I've just learned that doing something enjoyable once or twice a week makes a huge difference. I don't just mean the "typical me" scenario that goes something like:
Me: Hey, I'm ironing!
Me: Yeah, and?
Me: Well, (a) that means I can stand up and (b) I can move my arms and (c) support the weight of the iron and...
Me: Yeah yeah yeah big deal, is that it?
Me: No, I'm actually enjoying that I WANT to be doing this and that I KNOW I'm making a difference.
Me: *in a very small voice* Oh. Yeah, I see what you mean...
I mean the real enjoyment of breathing in a lungful of cold air, seeing other people's faces, hearing music from a Salvation Army band playing as the snow falls, I mean enjoying the naughty feeling of doing something trivial while the house mess is left to stew, that isn't trivial because it means I'm alive. For so long I've been in a kind of fudgy beige world where I can see stuff that needs doing all around me, but literally without knowing where to start. Where I've waited to turn an emotional and mental corner as I have done in the past, popping out of depressive episodes like a cork, full of energy and direction and motivation... this time has been the worst of all, and this time that simply didn't happen. But I'm learning, padding myself mentally, day by day hour by hour, doing stuff by rote and by pretending when I can't quite get the buttons done up on my padded mental waistcoat.
There is a popular idea about the choice to make today a better day than two days ago, that all that is needed is to step out of one day, shed it like an old skin and leave it like a pile of dirty washing on the floor that will simply evaporate if ignored. I resist that idea, because it *seems* to imply that I chose to have such a crap day that day. I know that's not the intention, but some words of "positive power" can be damaging, especially when you go back to Lesson 2 where you learn that depression twists thinking. Yes I do have a choice - I can choose to pretend today to have motivation and energy, to break down the first enormous job into doable-sized chunks, and to start. I can choose to allow the pretence to carry me through, hopefully long enough to do the job in hand in its entirety, and to move on to the next one (allowing for pacing and physical condition of course). But to do that I have to have pretence as a tool in my armoury and not everyone has it. I also have to have support, friendship and love from other people, and hope, perserverance, determination, strength... I have some of the qualities I need, and I am so lucky to have them. They will have to do the work of all the other qualities I lack - organisation, hope, perserverance... you get the idea. We're not just a walking box of tools, we're complex and complicated.
So today starts with getting downstairs. A challenge I didn't have yesterday, and one that's going to make the chores interesting! It's funny how living so long with physical pain makes it so easy to ignore, deal with, work around; emotional and mental pain feels so fresh and new with every stab. Time to try and find that padding.