Monday, February 16, 2015
The Depths of Despair and Other Challenging Holes
Once again, I spent the bulk of my time off visiting in Colorado with family although it was primarily my Mom I went to see. This meeting with her is bittersweet in so many ways and is a story for another day when I have the luxury of distance in time. I will only say here that this trip was at once possibly the worst and most likely the best trip out to see Mom I've ever had.
But enough of that for now.
Today's dilemma, as is common with me on the final day of any vacation time I've ever taken, is how to force myself back into the real world and my life. 'Force' sounds dramatic, doesn't it? But that is what I have to do. I have to force myself. Because, when I'm off work, I'm completely off. I don't think about it. I don't dream about it. I don't (often) wonder how things are going back at the lab. For me, vacation has always been about being absent from the stresses of my life. Or as absent as I can be.
I've been milling about the house today enjoying the fact that I was able to lounge in bed and watch not one but two episodes of a favorite TV program before I even got up to feed the dogs. Those poor dogs. How they must suffer. I have managed to make my bed the most comfortable bed I've ever had and I am loathe many days to leave it. Especially lately.
Not too long ago I wrote a blog piece about depression and how people don't understand it unless they've been there and done that. I am subject to seasonal depression as well as a generalized depression that seems to strike randomly. I've had people offer me medications, meditations, and baptism in their particular flavor of religion. I've had people offer me a hand up out of that hole with so many strings attached that the hole looked safer. I believe in my heart that they all mean well. I am grateful to have so many caring people in my life.
The offers of assistance have happened so frequently lately that I decided it's time I pull myself out of this hole. But it's hard. So hard. The gravity in here is more intense than anywhere else on the planet. The inertia is solidly in place. But it's happening. Slowly. It began with a gift from my Mother.
My Mom and I share a passion for bracelets. I don't wear them often anymore since I spend so much time at work in the lab or the garden and I fear damaging or losing them. But I do frequently wear a watch. The one I usually wear is inexpensive and functional with a Velcro band. I have never seen it as a piece of jewelry. Just a tool. Among many other things, my Mom gave me five of her watches that she said no longer worked. I suspected that all they really needed was a new battery.
So I took my favorite of the bunch to a shop and had a new battery installed. The second hand came back to life and the clerk set the time for me and handed it back. I paid the lady and put the watch on my arm. I stood at the counter and looked at the seconds ticking by. Right there I was struck with a realization that my Mom had given me more than just a pretty watch. The gift went deeper than that even if she didn't realize it.
She had given me the same gift she's given me all her life. Time. Over and over she's been there for me supporting and cheering me on and propping me up when I stumble all the while handing me the tools that I need to catch myself and cheer myself on and stand up for myself and pick myself up off the floor after dragging myself out of the depths of despair. Maybe she doesn't know what she did just then when she handed me that watch. I suspect she does. But, it doesn't really matter.
I remember my first watch. My parents gave it to me when I was ten. I remember my Dad telling me that a watch was a big responsibility and to treat it with special care. It was a Timex on a wide leather band that was dyed white. I was told that because I am right handed, I should wear it on my left arm which I tried for awhile. In the end, though, I chose to wear it on my right arm and I still do.
I'm such a rebel.