It’s a new day and has been quite a few weeks since I’ve been on (let alone written on) this site. I’ve been in somewhat of a “funk” lately. To the “professional” I would be diagnosed as severely depressed, to some other’s I might be thought of as merely feeling sorry for myself. To me, the feeling of worthlessness comes to mind. I mean seriously, I’m a middle aged woman who, at this stage of my life, thought that I would have been living the “happily ever after” story. The story that ends with a successful career, a life with a wonderful partner, who loves me despite my faults (of which I have many), wonderful friends and a wonderful home that is filled with both family and friends.
My spiral started downward sometime ago (something that I ignored, buried and covered up) and was propelled by recent events. To those who have never suffered from depression it might seem that I should just be able to get over it and move on. But to any of you who have had the unfortunate experience I’m describing, you know what I’ve been battling. Mostly it has been this feeling of being stuck with no way out; worthless. The question of “what have I done with my life” haunts me. Along with the questions, “where do I go from here” and “who will hire me now?”
Now logically I realize that I must be starting a new phase. But honestly, it is difficult at times to see the end of the vast tunnel before me. That tunnel that is so dark and long, where I might see a small speck of light, but where the darkness is so vast that it
overshadows that small, albeit gleaming, speck. This is where the “hopelessness” comes from, when a person is so anxious to know what the end result will be that they give up before there is ever a chance to see it. And, even so, that “result” is never seen until “hindsight”.
Recently I was reminded of the woman, Florence Chadwick, who in 1952 attempted to swim the 26 miles between the Catalina Island and the California coastline. As she began, she was escorted by small boats that watched for sharks and were prepared to help her if she got hurt or grew tired. About 15 hours into the journey a thick fog set in. Florence began to doubt her ability and told her mother, who was in one of the boats, that she didn’t think she could make it and, after swimming a little while longer, was finally pulled out of the water as she was unable to see the coastline due to the fog. As she sat in the boat, she found out she had stopped swimming just one mile away from her destination. Two months later, Chadwick tried again. This time was different. The same thick fog set in, but she made it because she said that she kept a mental image of the shoreline in her mind while she swam.
What I love about this story is it reminds me that, although I may be haunted by the vast tunnel, also too, I may only be a short distance from my destination. For who knows what will happen tomorrow? Who knows who I’ll meet? Or what I’ll do? It is a lucky thing that I’ve been given some time to take off and think things over, for I need this time. To patch myself back together? Certainly. But mostly, this time is needed to take stock in my own journey and all that I do have and be grateful.
However, being grateful for what I have (family, friends) has never been an issue; for I truly am blessed. But this issue of my own abilities and feeling comfortable in my own skin, this is something that I continue to have issue with. Of course it didn’t help to return to a workplace that chose to penalize me for being out by demoting my position and reducing my salary. At one time my co-workers called me a ‘pit-bull with a personality’; meaning: I got the job done at all costs and could make you smile while I did it (just don’t get me riled… wink, wink…). These days, I feel as if that part of me has drained out my toes and onto the street. I just don’t have that woman in me anymore. I’ve been afraid of my own shadow lately. But, that is an issue of the past and all I can do is start from where I am and take stock in what I have and be grateful. That said, a recent conversation with my brother reminded me of the true talents that I hold and the wonder of life itself.
So, where do I go from here? Well, the good news is that I’ve got the gumption to blog (well, for me anyway… I can, at the very least, get these feelings out). And I am feeling better. I am getting out, maybe not every day; but I’m getting out some of the time. I’m crying a little less each day (much less now than in the beginning), and the world doesn’t seem to be weighing on my shoulders quite as heavy as it had been. I’m making plans for the holiday (always a plus); and I’m looking forward to it (a double plus).
This week is a time where, not only is it a wonderful excuse to gorge ourselves with wonderful morsels of turkey and all the fixings, but it is a time to really think about all that we have to be thankful for. My ancestors were among those who first gave thanks, some settled in the Dakotas and are still there. I’m grateful for the family that has grown from my history into my present life; all of whom I’ve recently had the privilege to get to know.
I’m extremely grateful for the many memories of my own childhood; starting with my mother and her many traditions; from the way she could stretch a penny by sewing all our clothes and cooking wonderful meals (meals that Rachel Ray would be jealous of) to the talents that she inherently handed down to all of us. I continue to be grateful for my siblings and the bond that we all continue to share. My gratitude continues onto my friends, all of whom have supported me with their truths and kindness’ these past years.
All this being said, I am a very rich woman in deed, as cliché as this sounds; I just need to place more emphasis on the light (even if it is only in my “mind’s eye” like our Miss Chadwick). What’s next? I have no idea. Perhaps it will be like the ride at Disneyland’s Space Mountain; where you can’t quite see the track, but you must trust that it’s there and simply sit back and enjoy the ride. So, here I go… ready or not.