Remember when I promised that I’d occasionally drop some pages from my work-in-progress memoir here? Well, here you go. Enjoy and have a good weekend.
I can’t cry all day.
I can’t start in the morning.
Or maybe I can start crying in the morning after everyone has left the house.
But how to stop?
How to not fall into a canyon I’ve known so well in this lifetime. How not to slide into that place where the light only hits the wall as it pours through the blinds as I lay in bed and try to read myself through depression. That place where I can’t really feel the light even as it wakes up my pupils.
Still, I’m not doing so well pulling myself through my days. I know the canyon of depression that can fill up my days with the racetrack of my mind. My mind that won’t slow down no matter how many books I pour into it. How I laid in bed in college, reading books for history class, my friend knocking on the door to make me go to weekend brunch. The counselor who said, ‘call me when you think you need to be on meds, you’ll know.’
I can’t go there.
I am going there. Ruminating on how one of my three brothers insists it’s good if Annie is in the bottom ten percent of people her age. I know, I know, it makes sense: then she’ll get help paid for with taxpayer dollars. You want the help. You know the help is on its way because what almost 6-year-old only knows o and x, x and o, maybe the number zero. I want help. I don’t want to know how bad Annie is really doing. I know she is at the bottom of that list that exists inside her teacher’s head. I know I’m not supposed to focus on that. I am focusing on that. Everyone leaves for the day and my brain circles harder around the image of my daughter crying at school, lost. Lost.
I can’t be lost. Or I can’t be lost to that deep well of depression that means joy no longer is possible, that my neurons stop firing at the sight or smell or taste or texture of pleasure. Because two kids and a husband live just outside my body. They can see my emotions just as easily as my brain spits out “the bottom of the class, we’ve got our work cut out for us” phrase. They see me and my red face that has an ocean running over it as soon as everyone leaves for the day.
I need a plan. How to move away from the side of the well? I’m inching down the mold-covered walls, but I know there’s a rope, somewhere. Because outside there’s snow days and walks to Starbucks and an almost 6-year-old who easily crawls up and onto my back after I pull her out of bed. There’s joy at the top of the rope even though my arms aren’t etched with ropey muscles. I can make my own rope and climb it with these skinny, slightly muscle-covered bones. Dammit, it sucks to have to make my own rope.
I’m not a rope maker.
I am a rope maker.
I wrote a self-help book with the Amazing Astrid Pujari. She’s a full name type person, I mean how when I mention her I must use her full name. Do you know Astrid Pujari? I love asking people that question, hoping her role as an energy-medicine guru and doctor to a slew of seekers in Seattle will rub off on my pale skin. I wrote a self-help book with her, no matter that it was never published. It lives in my brain because I typed — and lived — all the words myself.
Gratitude. That one. I pull this overused word from the tool bin. I’ll practice it daily. I lasso my childhood friend Linda into my practice. Linda, I type in an email, I need to write a gratitude list twice a day and I need to email it to you. You don’t have to answer but I have to send it to someone. Someone has to witness the rope of thankfulness that I am building. I’m having a hard time with Annie’s learning issues. So here goes. Here’s the first one:
- I’m thankful for the walk to Starbucks with the girls
- For the snow stopping time
- For the snow days off of school
- For hot chocolate
- For sleeping in