This is What Hanging In There Looks Like

I wake up around 9:00 with a splitting headache and a sense of dread. I hide under the pillow until my husband brings me my tea. I drink the tea and read the NY Times online. The news of the upcoming inauguration and the confirmation hearings for Cabinet nominees does not cheer me up. I skim my email instead. Then I put the phone down and doze for a while.

My husband comes back in around 11 and asks if I want something to eat. Oatmeal, we decide. He asks if I want it in bed but looks pleasantly surprised when I say I’ll come eat in the kitchen. The dogs love me up when I get out of bed. I eat the oatmeal. Then I grab my laptop and crawl back into bed. I read some blog posts but can’t focus to read very many. I put the laptop aside and stare at the wall again.

I try to observe my thoughts without judgment. I see how there’s something urgent and violent stirring in me. It doesn’t have a specific shape or a name, but it feels self-destructive. After a while, I realize that I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure around my vagina. Sometimes it’s as if one part of my body is more alive than the rest of it. Or like I’m feeling something that happened earlier, but I’m only feeling it physically, not emotionally. Emotionally, I’m numb.

The self-destructive part is shame, but the shame isn’t specific either. I try to ask it, are you a feeling about the woman married to Miguel? Are you reacting to being a single mom? But that didn’t feel right. Are you telling me something about the teenage girl? Maybe, but it wasn’t so clear. Maybe you want me to know something about the little girl?

I don’t get a straight answer. One moment I think it’s about my little girl self, but then it seems to be about sex with Miguel and things he did to me because he wanted to, regardless of what I wanted.

Every now and then, I stop thinking and just breathe. Sometimes I am numb. I am not freaked out. I am tired, though.

I finally get up for real at 2:30. Still in my pajamas, I eat some bread and cheese and then I actually do a little bit of work. I’m slow, but at least it’s something.  I work a couple of hours before feeling worn out. I read a little, space out a little. I go lie down in bed again around 7. I fall asleep until my husband wakes me up for dinner.

I feel embarrassed that he makes all the meals and cleans up afterward. I did laundry last weekend but otherwise have been useless. He hasn’t complained about it at all, though I know it isn’t fair.

I watch a movie with my husband. I draw a picture of a woman hanging from a tree limb. This would not be my choice of suicidal methods, but it feels appropriately dramatic to draw the picture.

I feel and smell sweaty, still in my pajamas from  the night before. I need a shower but it’s too much effort today. I resolve I will try harder tomorrow. I will get up and take a shower and see if I can spend most of the daylight hours out of bed. No, wait, I’ll keep it more low key, less demanding. I will just see how many daylight hours I can manage to be up, but I won’t scold myself if I also hide in bed. This is me, remembering to “be kind to myself.” I’m hanging in there.

9 thoughts on “This is What Hanging In There Looks Like

  1. One day at a time. One moment at a time. Get through them slowly and with compassion. I have so much time and love for you Q (assuming that’s OK to say), and I gently remind you that it’s more than OK to be struggling or simply hanging in there. Sometimes our hanging in there feels like running a daily marathon.

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  2. You sound exhausted. Keep taking those baby steps and being your own best friend. I feel like I’m running a marathon too at the moment. My response seems to be Drive, Drive, Drive yourself. Not good… need to find some balance. Hard ain’t it my friend!

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  3. It’s hard to know what to do when we feel so bad. Push ourselves to be more active? Be gentle with ourselves and stay in bed? It seems like there must be some right decision, a right thing that we could do, should be doing. It makes it all even more exhausting. You’re so wise to be curious and accepting about where you are and how you’re feeling right now, but of course you wish you were feeling better. I wish you were, too.

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  4. You are not useless. Even in this depressed state, you are not useless.

    I have countless drawings of a person hanging. I used to draw it to show the person struggling with so much heavy emotion that it strangled her. Yes, it’s shocking, as shocking as the load we carry called PTSD.

    I’m sorry you’re going through this, too. I understand what you mean when you say you try to read some blog entries or other things but your attention span doesn’t allow for much. I try to get around to see people but there are times I just don’t have it in me.

    These times are hard, to put it lightly.
    Faith

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    • That’s a good way to think of it, that the expression of depression–whether through writing or drawing–can’t really be more shocking or terrible than the depression itself.

      I am sorry you know this dark, terrible space so well, too.

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