Sitting, Waiting, Watching: Everyone's Friend Depression
I like to imagine my depression and anxiety as a little crooked creature, not unlike a goblin, with long claws and a mischievous face watches me constantly from a chair in the corner. When it isn't in the chair, it is on my back, breathing down my neck, constantly weighing me down. Currently, it is sitting in the chair, waiting, watching me to turn and notice it and invite it up on my back again.I'm on the new year streak. What I mean by streak is the point of the new year when you feel rejuvenated, alive, motivated. It is week three though and I am nervous. I am feeling great but how long does it last? How long can I keep up this energy, this positive attitude? It doesn't feel right because it's new but then it also feels so good. It feels like the lost, past me is running back me like a child showing off a treasure they found in the woods. But what if it's a dead bird or poisonous plant? How do I know I want happy me again? The me who led with courage and confidence? Wait, why am I even doubting this? This is exactly what I want.The fear that we will fail is very real and present. I admire those who stand in the face of it and keep going any way. Because I have lived under this fear for the past few years, it is harder to crawl back out into the sun. It's like the blanket fort I was writing about in my last post. It's cozy, familiar, quiet to the rest of the world. I can sit it and go unnoticed, unpressed, invisible almost. Failure doesn't have a space in my blanket fort. It is only outside of its flimsy walls that it wrecks havoc. If I don't move, it can't see me. Just like a T-rex (based on the very real science of Jurassic Park)I can actually feel the creature's eyes on me. I have been sticking to my goals. I have been accomplishing the tasks I've put before me to pursue my new and old creative endeavors. Things are...god, dare I say...looking up? That feels weird in my mouth. I'm used to suffering, to making excuses, to procrastinating. The little goblin knows the streak has gone past what it usually does and it is getting restless. It is calling to me, telling me I can't keep this up. I won't win, I won't succeed, I will fail as I have consistently done for the past few years.How do I blast past this feeling of unease? How to I keep the goblin at bay? Is it even possible? I don't have the answer. I am actually nervous because I don't. I was so comfortable in a way with my depression and anxiety that I am feeling naked without it. I am not sure if that's normal but my normal has been a lot of doubt, giving up, and ceasing to believe and now that I am at the plateau of feeling okay, the hill on the other side is daunting. I could fall down it or I could keep climbing.It all takes effort that I think everyone has. It is a moment of choice to keep going or to fall back down the hill. Or even just stay on the plateau. It's still familiar, still complacent, it's not too far out of the comfort zone. It can be the beginning of the end. The first day when you start eating carbs again or go to the gym one less time. It's the gateway drug where you cheat once on your plan and world doesn't end so you keep doing it and it's all downhill from there. The backslide is real because the goblin pulls you back down to land on a pile of pillows that bury you enough you're seen but not entirely visible and it is nice and soft and warm.It's difficult and trying to only report to yourself. As cliche as it sounds, the Whole30 has taught me a lot about that. I've never done a fad diet and any exercise challenge I've tried, I give up after the first week. I could drink a beer or have cheese and no alarm would sound. My husband wouldn't be mad, just disappointed and probably also jealous because he also wants to do those things but it wouldn't harm anything but my own commitment. I think we all are really good at making those excuses for ourselves. I need this cigarette today because I am stressed. I can't work out because I wanted to go to happy hour. If I eat this plate of pasta, it won't matter because no one cares but me.The moment I get results from anything, I panic. I panic because I am happy to have achieved something but also because it's just me doing the nightly report on it and if I stumbled, no one is tuning in to give their perspectives. I am lucky to be loved and supported for everything I am no matter what I am or what I am doing. That also adds to the panic because I want that love and support to be worth something. I want to show that it has carried the way for me. I want to make them all proud and the goblin sees that and adds a layer of disappointment to the depression and fear of failure. It's not real of course. Most of what I feel is all in my head but that again goes back to the fact it is legit all on yourself to silence the fears and empower the climb.That's corny as fuck, friends. I apologize for that. The plateau makes me say these things because I am riding on a high of no sugar or hangovers for 18 days and having endless hours not slaving away for something I don't care about. I may never shake the goblin. I know that. Even if I go beyond the plateau to the next level, it will still be there waiting. I will falter and succumb at some point I think. I worry that I think that way because it is disheartening. I am trying to view it more as something that I am aware could happen and if it does, I know I can get back out of it. But considering the struggle to stay afloat is happening now, it scares me to think what going back under will do.The last time I felt this determined, this above it all, was in my twenties, brand new to the city. Guys, I know I talk about this time a lot but let's be honest, it was the fucking best. Our twenties can be so great. It's a point where many of us have done the shit we are told to do. We did high school, some of us did college, and now we are adults and in charge of our own lives. It is freeing and magical. Or was for me. I just went in guns blazing, no fear, just excitement.Age robs us of that. We get more cautious, more concerned of how to make it all work instead of just trying it and seeing what happens. I mean, when I was a kid, I heard (as we all did) Pop Rocks and Coke could explode inside me but did I try it? Fuck yes I did. If I was just hearing about that now and actually believed it as I did when I was 9, would I do it? Probably not because the goblin would be like "Yo, avoid the scary things that perhaps aren't real but they might be because everything is horrible and terrifying."I did not know how strong I was until I started on this path this year. I have been here before but with less thought (again, my twenties). I want to be boundless and bold again (those are two of my words for this year). I'm getting out of my head and just checking things off on my lists, pushing the depression aside, reminding myself that if I feel this good now, I can feel even better later. If I don't stray from the path, I may actually fit the pieces back together. Even if we all have a goblin of some kind waiting in the dark for us to trip and stay down where we fall, giving up, we also have ourselves to pick us back up and try again. It seems impossible when the trying again takes so much energy and commitment and sometimes doesn't feel worth it. If I turn back now, I won't ever know what is next. If I slide back down, even if I can get back up, will I? I have the strength now. Might as well keep going. The goblin is patient; it will wait forever to get back up there. Even if I starve it out, I don't think it will ever be gone for good. It's learning to live with it that is the challenge. Up I go for now.