Remember this November

It’s been a pretty interesting month for me, and I’ve had a lot of firsts. If I was the anniversary type, I’d get an awful lot of cards next year. Luckily for me, I only remember birthdays, so yeah *sheepish grin*

I lost two special people this month. The pain was so bad I couldn’t make myself cry. Then I found one special person, and sometimes, when I think about it, it makes me want to cry too. I guess that’s pretty weird.

For part of October and most of November, I’ve had a bad case of depression. It shook me to my core, and I did some pretty crazy things. It affected my work and my baby, and I even took some tranquilizers. Also, pink-slash-yellow tablets.

[Random trivia: Did you know you can get high and/or black out on cough medicine? It’s all about proportion.]

I’ve been reading up on depression, and was amazed to realize a few things. Like, for example, there’s no such thing as ‘the real me’ because my shape is constantly changing. And, more importantly, when you’re a person that’s depressive, ‘the real you’ is grossly distorted. It’s just that you get really good at convincing people, and they start to see the ‘real you’ in the way that you describe it. That scares people.

I’m dealing with some heavy ish right now, and I’ve had someone come into my life. He hasn’t been around very long, so his image is untainted. He doesn’t see me as I see me. He sees me as I am. And when I look at myself that way, through his eyes, I feel loved and beautiful. I’ve trained myself to see my faults, but he looks at me unclouded. He points out things I never knew, and when I think about it, I’m like ‘Duh! How did I not notice that?’ It’s beautiful.

I’m glad h came into my life when he did, when I needed him most. There are lots of people who love me, and I value each one. But they’ve known me too long. They’ve heard all the lies I can tell, and they believe them because  I believe them. It’s amazing how much you can change when you just shift your perspective.

So today I say thank you to the-one-who-knows-himself, and I’m glad I went as low as I could go, because if I hadn’t, I may not have bounced back. I bless him a thousand times, and I hope he never goes away.

A loner … or a loonie?

In prison movies, the hero is either broken by solitary confinement or by being sent to the bathroom. I remember watching Shawshank Redemption – the solitary scene, not the bathroom scene – and wondering why they got so spooked. I remember Andy coming out of that room smiling, and I thought, ‘Exactly! It’s not so bad!’

But then I also remember Michael Scofield writing on the wall with his blood, and he’s a s heroic as they come.

I call myself a loner. I enjoy my own company, and I often wish I could lock the world away and have the planet all to myself. So I don’t think solitary is a bad punishment, and I wonder how isolation can make anyone mad. But then again, when Princess went to visit her cousins, I was bouncing off walls and drinking Baileys, so maybe I’m not quite as solo as I think.

A few days ago, I went home to bury my auntie. It was deep and it was sad, but it was great hanging out with my cousins. I was amused that they consider me an entertainer, and that I was always at the centre of noisemaking. I generally hate crowds and avoid people, and some people think I never, ever speak. If they asked my cousins, they’d think I have a social twin.

I guess it’s all about comfort. At home, I was at ease among my people, so Miss Super Bubbly jumped out. In crowds, I feel hemmed in and scrutinized, so I crawl into my shell.

Yesterday,  a reader recommended me a really good book called Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David Burns. The title sounds hippie, so I ignored it for a while on account of Flower Power. But I eventually found myself a torrent and loaded it up … er … down. I’ve been reading non-stop, and it’s got some great ideas in it. I finally have some tools to beat depression, and I think everyone should read it. Of course, it’s 700 pages long so …

I read something in a blog yesterday. It said *insert appropriate statistic* % of memories are wrong. The more vivid they are, the more likely they were cooked inside your head. Depression is like that too. You build up this picture of yourself and make it so real that other people see it too. After a while, you’re so used to it that it’s not even conscious. It’s just there. People think you’re doing it on purpose, but it’s really just a part of your nature, because it’s grafted there. Feeling good shows you how you built these illusions in the first place, and gives you steps on how to tear them down. Also, magic tricks. Svengali!

It doesn’t cure depression. It just restores reality, and teaches you how to cope with the sessions when they haunt you. Depression is a disease, and it’s not the kind that goes away. But Feeling good teaches you cognitive therapy, and these are skills that help keep you alive, literally.

The coolest thing I’ve learned is that my ideas of ‘me’ are an illusion, and when I see the real picture, I’m really not that bad. I’m actually pretty nice, and that’s a big thing for a depressive to accept. Thanks Mikhail!

Of course, sometimes, it helps to have a pep talk. I was talking with some clients yesterday, and I stepped outside the picture and did one of those astral projection things. [Relax, I’m not an withchiething. Really, I’m not.] I stood above the group, looked at myself through their eyes, and said, ‘OMG! I’m freaking awesome!’

Then I came back to earth and said, ‘You know, you guys shouldn’t nod quite so happily. You can’t be sure I know just what I’m talking about.’ They kept nodding anyway. The clients are a couple, and it’s weird, but the 2 hours I spent with them restored my faith in marriage. They are the cutest things, they’d keep going off on a tangent and talking to each other like they’d forgotten I was there. It was adorable. When I get married, I want me and the Mr to be just like that. We’ll even call each other Darl, though the accent is tricky to fake.

Back to work now. Enjoy yours, and make somebody smile today. It’s good kharma. Oh, also, this is so cool!






Last night my iTunes saved my life

It wasn’t actually last night – it was more like five minutes ago, but that title isn’t nearly as catchy.

The worst thing with depression is the cycle. You get down, you come up, you get down, you come up, you get down … you start thinking it’s not worth coming up again. After all, you’ll only be up a little while before you get back down.

Sunday was a really bad day for me. Monday was only slightly better. Tuesday was a breeze, Wednesday was so-so. Now it’s Thursday, and it’s safe to say I’m down again. Right back at Sunday.

I’ve been listening to my iTunes, mostly to drown out the Naija movie Princess is watching next door. The thing with iTunes is it’s random, so it plays the songs you least expect. And when you have 20 gigs of music, it sometimes plays things you didn’t know you had.

So it was that I heard Kiss from a rose by Seal. As teens, we said his soul is really hot – partly because of the song – but mostly coz he married Heidi Klum. I can’t even say it out loud.

There’s a part of that song that had lyrics I never quite heard. Something about towers and a hill, so I Googled the song and found them on azlyrics. As it turns out, it’s not hills, it’s a pill; and it’s not grave, it’s gray. Which makes the song ten times more cryptic and five times more deep. I’m going to Google an interpretation.

Point is, I was in deep with depression, thinking about Actifed and rope, then I got distracted by the music. I’m playing it now on OCD mode, and seeing if I can figure it out. It didn’t really change things, but it stopped far less healthy thoughts. I guess it’s a new coping mechanism.

When you love someone who likes to fix things, and he sees you’re something he can’t fix … things get a little crappy. But this is a sickness, and short of electric shock therapy, it really has no cure.

They say it’s a mental disease, and some think you can beat it with your mind. I don’t know about that. What I know is what my life coach taught me. I need to take it one day at a time, and focus on getting me safely through to bedtime.

I also sift the drama from the life, and that’s a lot harder than it seems. I have to see some things as details, and I have to let them go, even if it hurts. Butterflies and boomerangs and all that.

Okay, done. Now, seriously, what the eff is a kiss from a rose on the gray, and what does it have to do with Val Kilmer’s Batman? Heidi?