Despite my best efforts, I’m in a bad place. I was thinking about my exhaustion post, my tiredness, and I was reminded that the last time I felt quite like this I was having post partum depression. And I thought, well, I did just lose my mother and that death was a kind of labor.
Maybe there is something to it. I did go to the doctor, my body is in fine shape. My blood work is normal, good even. Depression and anxiety are old pals of mine. Most of the time it’s like I get a bad head cold, kind of cyclical, and related to hormones. I think this time I’ve been dealing with a bronchitis and its just been so long that I don’t recognize I have it.
Mornings are the worst of it, anxiety is pervasive, sadness abounds. My body feels tired, heavy, painful. Basic things have been hard to manage. Manicures, nice clothes, giving a damn. Things get nicer about 2 pm or so, and I start feeling much better about 5. Still, I know this is a problem.
There are some things I need to change and I’m not sure how to start. One is drinking. I don’t drink to excess, maybe a glass or two of wine a night, a whiskey here or there at a show. But what I’ve found is that the only time I wind up feeling “like me” or feeling good, happy, light, witty, engageable, open, is after I have had that drink or two. Three drinks? Start to feel sick, and actually, I start to feel sick now even after two, sometimes even after just one.
If one drinks to feel normal, that means the alcohol is serving as some kind of medication. That means something big is off. Seems ironic that the one thing that is getting me in the space where I feel good is the thing that has to go, but I guess I should pay attention to all the lessons I’ve learned over the years.
Twitter. It makes me feel like I’m doing good work. Amplifying change. Pointing out the things that need attention. And I guess it does do that. But mostly it feels like seeing more and more things that I can’t do anything about. There is a lot of pain on Twitter, at least the parts I’m seeing. Anger, despair, outrage, fear, a world breaking down from racism, sexism, economic injustice, abuse, you name it, it’s out there. I read and read posts, and really, there isn’t much I can do to address those particular things. Twitter activism isn’t working for me.
In the real world, meat space, I see it too. Much up close and personal, but somehow making a connection with someone and talking to them, that feels as much or more helpful. Still, I feel raw, exposed, like I’m seeing so much that has been rent or damaged and how are we all just walking around with so much going wrong?
Last week, I felt the world spin a little underneath me, and I worried I might just fly away, from thinking about it all.
Not thinking about it doesn’t change things.
Just thinking about it doesn’t change things.
I need some grounding in real action, real work.
A friend of mine, who recently lost someone very close to them said, “It feels extremely important just to be present with all these feelings, no matter how much I just want to shut them out.”
I feel that way too. But it feels a little costly somehow.
Post partum depression feels right to me. The trauma of that week with my mother was profound. I felt so alone and it was so hard watching her die. It was so hard being in the years prior to that death, her in a kind of living death. She’s gone and I’m released in a way, but it’s still as if the puzzle pieces aren’t fitting. It’s like backwards labor, a birth of myself, myself as a mother, it’s deep.
And the experience of seeing the world in a new way is challenging.
So, I’m going to be as present as I can with the feelings, and I’m going to try to find real grounding actions, real ways to make change, and a lot less getting swept into a maelstrom of tweets.
I hope, at least. I hope that it will bear better fruit than the past 6 months. Because I am still tired.