One day at a time.
It’s been my motto for a while now. I have it posted in various places where I can see it often along with visually soothing images (usually with farm machinery involved (I grew up on a farm)).
Only today did not feel like a one-day-at-a-time day. It felt like one moment at a time, then it felt like five seconds at a time, then it felt like a complete panic that said “oh shiznick I’m crying in front of co-workers, wipe your tears off with your sleeve and try to keep moving.” I go on break and I soak myself in mindless youtube videos and for the short half hour I forget where I am and suddenly I’m late punching back in on the timeclock. (And yes, my job has a literal old-timey timeclock where you put in the time card and it cha-chunks and stamps your ticket.)
I wiped my tears on my sleeve all day long today and when one co-worker asked if I was okay, I confessed that no, I was not okay. Yet, I didn’t burst out in sobs as I had expected I would. She just turned to me and said, “Life, huh?” and I confirmed that yes, I was not fine because of Life and we left it at that. And I was grateful.
Because the thing is, even with all this depression floating around, I still have to do my job. And I’m actually glad I have one, otherwise my depression could spiral out of control with no steering wheel attached, or burst out in flames with just the right spark.
I’m glad I have to routinely converse with other human beings, as much as I loathe getting out of bed and have to spend a good 45 minutes talking myself into the entire process of opening my eyes, getting myself into an upright position, and putting both feet on the floor. And that 45 minutes doesn’t even include remembering all the other parts like pants, shoes, and socks.
This whirl of depression has snuck up on me, jumped onto my back, as Winston Churchill’s sneaky ol’ Black Dog will do. He’ll sit in the corner, tight into the dark, so you become almost unaware he is there. Maybe he’ll bare his teeth once in a while, growl, or in some other frightening way, remind you of his presence. But eventually, inevitably, he will attack, always with a ferocity that scares me, sinking his teeth into my neck in a complete ambush, debilitating me. And I suffer. And sadly, in turn, my family suffers.
And imagine with this dog on your neck (or for my unlucky readers who have their own Black Dog of depression who already understand and don’t have to imagine) trying to perform normal day-to-day tasks.
He drags you down, you’re bleeding from your neck with a wound no one can see, and you falter at every step.
Take a walk! Go outside! Enjoy the sunshine! Count your blessings! I would if it would get him off me or even keep him at bay. Sometimes when I write, I’m able to alleviate some of the pain enough to continue. So I’ll keep taking it one day at a time. And I’ll keep my chin up and hope he releases his grip soon.
Please, Black Dog of Depression. Please, release your grip soon.