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Archive for the tag “depression”

Breakdown

So last night, after making some dinner, one of my friends stopped by. She laid on my couch stretched out, I at my table with a fresh drink, hands on my head.

As usual, we were talking about relationships.

I said I was tired.

I said I thought I was healed from my broken engagement which basically happened two years ago. I wondered what was wrong with me? Wasn’t I better? Why isn’t anyone I’m seeing/interacting with simply good enough?

What else do I have to do.

When my friend kindly suggested that I “work on myself” that’s when I lost it. And I started to cry.

“Work on myself? That’s what I’ve been doing for the last two years! In fact, I’m tired of myself. I’m with myself all day long, all night. I’m sick of working on myself. I’ve been praying and fasting and working out and trying to launch businesses or finding classes, or looking for volunteer opportunities. I’M TIRED OF WORKING ON MYSELF.”

I even told her that I hated to admit that I’d become one of those women fixated on finding the one. I confessed that it consumed my thoughts day and night, turning me into what I didn’t want to be.

One of those chicks.

My homie thumbed through my bookshelf, made me throw out an old bridal magazine I ran to buy a week after I got engaged– I promptly threw it in the trash– and then she handed me “Oh, The Places You’ll Go,” by Dr. Seuss.

She said I had to read it aloud.

When I got to certain parts, with the fervor of an old church deacon, she’d tell me to read it again.

The book was given to me as a gift from my aunt and uncle when I graduated from college. The words are real and inspirational and Dr. Seuss was indeed a genius and gifted.

It was a reminder that life is tough and that feeling lost and defeated does happen. But we have to keep going.

I am putting a lot of pressure on myself and on the men I’m dating. I need a break.

I need to not take it all so seriously and I know that’s easier said than done.

Another friend pointed out that I am not my best self right now and that’s why I’m not attracting what it is that I want.

At the Essence Fest, I had the pleasure of sitting in a packed conference hall to watch life coach, Iyanla Van Zant share her words of wisdom. She kept saying over and over that our lives is a series of constant correction.

So whether we want to or not, as long as we breathe there’s something to fix, to make better. That concept resonated with me because it’s one of the cornerstones of my tee-shirt brand, the concept of correction and self-improvement.

Last night, I was rejecting that out loud. Does that make me a hypocrite?

No, it makes me human.

Iyanla also kept repeating the words, “Do the work.” “Do the work.”

Can we have a night where we breakdown? Can we have a day where we cry?

Yes.

But we’ve got to find the strength to get up, face another day and do the work.

The work doesn’t have to be monumental. It’s doing what you can that particular day.

My first act of doing the work has been to seriously look up programs at my community college to take in the fall.

The next is thinking of an action plan for my job. My goals, what I’d like to try and what I’d like to take on.

Getting back to my tee-shirt business and officially launching the site.

I’ll keep it light with the guys I meet online.

The first order of business, which I just did, was let the guy I went out with Friday know that I’m not interested. I did it by text. I’m a jerk. But I want to be done with it. He tried calling me a few times over the weekend. And sent a text today.

I’m sure he’s upset. But I don’t know what else to do. I can’t go on like this.

The inspiration from today’s post is an old joint from Mariah Carey.

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Advocate for Indulging In Your ONE Bad Day

I’d been feeling like crap lately. Mentally. Which manifests itself in the physical making you feel drained, achy and just tired.

I feel much better now, thanks.

I spent my entire day off Friday, someplace between my bed and my couch. Unshowered, I went in and out of sleep, occasionally peering at the ratchet daytime television.

When the voices of angry babies mothers and fathers awaiting DNA tests grew too loud and way too chaotic, I turned it off and returned to my own thoughts.

I wanted my mother. Her mental illness often prevents us from having a real conversation for any long period of time and so I cried for myself and the helplessness surrounding me and that situation, that I normally do a great job of ignoring and pushing past.

I could not stop the tears, nor did I stop myself. I heaved. I coughed. I cried til headache. Til emotional muscle failure. I needed that cleanse. I needed to stare down that monster.

It was ok that I missed my mother. It was ok to allow myself to miss my mother and mourn the more mentally stable mother I lost at the age of 16.It was ok that I missed her nurturing. It was ok that I was angry that while as thankful as I was for the mother figures in my life who saved me, nurtured me and helped me along my journey to and through womanhood, I still desired and needed the woman who gave me life, was still yet living, but at the same time a flesh and blood ghost.

So I cried.

I gathered up enough strength to put on a ratty sweater, some fake uggs and a hat and go to the grocery store to pick up a large slice of cake and some ice cream. I looked a mess and dared someone to even look at me sideways.

I returned to quarantine.

The next day, I stayed in the house for a great while, but I was determined to finally get out. I’m glad I did, because the weather was gorgeous. I really let one beautiful day just pass me by. The previous night after compulsively buying Hip Hop Abs, and patiently, slowly giving my information to the chipper customer service person determined to read all of the add ons verbatim, I added yet another fitness DVD my growing collection of workout DVDs that went ignored for the last week. I also purchased a cheap ticket to attend a theatrical performance of Howard drama students at the old alma mater.

Not sure how Hip Hop Abs will work out, they will be express mailed thanks to my friend, but the cheap theater ticket, certainly was the best impulse buy of Friday night.

Little did I know how watching those students and remembering my own dreams while at HU, and listening to the words of Langston Hughes be so well performed with such passion and pride would help to knock me out of my funk on Saturday night.

I thought about my dreams and hopes. I thought about the things I loved and still love.

And on Sunday, while I didn’t make it to church (darn daylight savings), I wrote three poems and I delved into a book I had stopped reading, Makeda, by Randall Robinson.

I hadn’t been this enthralled since reading “The Human Stain” and “The Warmth of Other Suns.” Those are among my absolute favorites.

The timing and my mind was right to finally get into the book. And I think it’s quite brilliant. When I first started reading it, unfocused and too busy, I thought the prose was lofty and hard to relate to. I had to adjust my antenna. I’m glad I picked it back up. There were moments I just wanted to highlight passages and print them out as reminders. It spoke to me in a new way, loud and clear.

I found myself nodding. The main character wants to be a writer. He has a sense of justice.  He feels like an outsider. He’s filled with imagination and spirit. He’s drawn to “strange” people– the kind of folks most people have difficulty understanding, but he gets them. He doesn’t judge. He leans on the intuitive other worldly wisdom of his blind grandmother, who has a gift to see more than most. He went to a Historically Black College.

I exchanged messages with a dear friend nearly all day, with all of my random rants and all. I felt love and acceptance.

The crazy thing about feeling so much over this entire weekend was while I spent all of Friday in serious, debilitating emotional pain, I felt it, and I did the things I needed to do to pull myself out.

I prayed. I wrote. I read and saw something inspiring. I did talk to friends, even when I didn’t feel like it.

I took a shower. (That helps a lot)

It’s odd when your hurt or feelings of pain are familiar, like menstrual cramps. Like cramps, you know what remedies you need to make the pain subside. You know the kind of cramps you can keep doing your daily tasks to, and you know the kind where you need to be drugged up and home in the fetal position.

I actually needed an entire day to be catatonic, wallow in my pain, live with it, stare it down, cry and let it out. If it went into a second, and third and fourth day, then that’s another matter altogether. One friend asked if I needed to go back to therapy. I don’t think I need to at this time, but if my state didn’t improve, I knew I wouldn’t be against it.

Today’s song. “Get it Together,” by the prolific India.Arie

Staying In the Yellow

There’s a marvelous song by India.Arie simply titled, “Yellow.”

I was first drawn to this song when I was in a relationship, and it resonated with me even more when I got engaged.

In the song, she refers to different colors that represents the ups and downs of relationships: making her see red, being green with envy. Together,  she and her love are royal and purple.

Over and over in the chorus, she asks that they stay in the yellow.

I interpret staying in the yellow as, maintaining balance in love and life. Returning to center, even when you are shaken temporarily. Coming back to home base.

That was the hope and prayer for my future marriage. That despite the ups and downs, as long as we got back to yellow and kept coming back to yellow, we’d make it.

It didn’t work out.

I see certain things coming together in my life. I’m appreciative of the real friendships and I’m appreciative of the understanding that comes with letting folks go.

I’m thankful for this renewal of creative energy that’s been happening over the last several months and a surge of passion for myself and for my life and the things that mean something to me.

I’m single now, but the song takes on a new meaning.

I want to stay in the yellow.

I don’t need things to be perfect. That would be unrealistic and scary.

But I do know what life is like when you are so down, you can’t smile and you aren’t sure you’ll ever smile again.

I understand the paralyzing grip of depression, and what it is to feel so lost, everyday is like looking into one of those infinity mirrors. You see the same thing over and over, and there is no end. It confuses you, it scares you, you hurt your brain by trying to figure out how it works and you wear yourself out in hopes of being able to see something else if you squint and look just a little  harder.

Yellow is just fine. “Daisies in a meadow.”

Some people may think daisies are simple and not the most stunning flowers, but there is something beautiful and warm, genuine and subtle in its simplicity. It’s still pretty, it still gets the job done.

I’m happy today. Not crazy, super happy, but a subtle content happy. That’s yellow to me.

I’m going at my own pace, I’m doing things for me.

Yellow.

I want to lose weight. I’m going to keep going to Zumba at least twice a week, and try to eat better. Every time I jump on the scale I’m not going to lose 4 pounds. Some days I may even gain three, but I’m going to keep going and not beat myself up.

Yellow.

I’m moving forward with the business I’m launching, step by step. I’m not going to rush, I’m going to follow my gut, my heart and my standards and not settle. Even if it takes me longer. It’s not a race.

Yellow.

I don’t know what’s going to happen for me in the love department.

Sometimes I get lonely. I know I still love my ex and I can’t shake it and I can’t help it. I often hate myself for holding out hope, still. But it’s best I’m by myself right now.

Yellow.

I’m planning wonderful trips this summer. I’m going to go to places I’ve never been and see things I’ve never seen. I’m going to take it all in.

Financially, people try to get out of the red (debts and deficits), and get into the black (free and clear with a surplus).

All of that is cool.

But emotionally, for someone like me, who had been struggling in the grey all of last year, yellow is a fine fit.

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