Unfulfilled. Blocked. Depressed. Unhappy. Aimless. Unmotivated.
These are the adjectives flying around my brain these days that describe myself. What is wrong with me that I can’t see the love, happiness, success, joy, and surplus that I have in my life? I constantly seek. Seek seek seek. Wanting something more: the next great job, a house with my name on the deed, an adventure, a getaway, the latest gear, the cutest home good, the tastiest meal. There’s never enough yet there is an abundance.
Three books have been sent to me in the past 9 months:
The Emotion Code by Bradley Nelson
The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
I can see the pattern in what my friends send yo me. A need for me to find release.
With years of therapy under my belt and switching meds a half dozen times I wonder what will fix this. Fix the crazy. The once self proclaimed “Crazy Widow”? I owned that title once. Now I flee from it.
I immersed myself in grief culture trying to find others like me and yet feeling like no one was like me, no one had been through what I’ve been through. And then I realized others had and I found deep and profound sisterhood in other widows across North America- women who “got me”.
And now I read women who have embraced their struggle with mental health and I tell myself I don’t identify with them and I’m not that crazy and if only my body produced this enzyme and I hadn’t had trauma in my 20s that maybe this depression wouldn’t even have showed up!
But it’s here. And the older I get the more I worry it’s here to stay like that terminal illness I’m certain I’ll get.
What if the terminal illness is Major Depressive Disorder? That mood disorder that’s come with some understanding and answers yet also with so many questions. Not that it kills me but that it steals all of my joy and happiness of a life that has all the ingredients of being fulfilled?
I don’t think about my life ending. Well, I do but not in the way you’d expect a depressed mid 30s woman to think. I think about that terminal illness and being so sad at how everyone will miss me and what I’ll miss. What I didn’t do when I was healthy. What I let happen to my body with binge and emotional eating and not being active and watching endless streams of sinister shows.
I know that you’re all thinking I’m suicidal but I’m not so don’t pick up the phone and report me. I’m sad and frustrated and angry and sometimes I wish I had another life tragedy to just shake me the fuck out of this funk. I wish I could find that willpower on my own to walk daily and stay away from sweets and fast food and see the cup as half full instead of constantly needing refilled. I wish I had a magic pill that made me feel joy and satisfaction without making me so tired I feel like I could sleep for a year and ruins my once unquenchable sexual drive that now feels barely existent.
I wish I didn’t need to take a behavioral survey every time I see my primary care doctor and that my therapist asks me at the start of every session to score my depression and anxiety and asks me if I’m suicidal. Because once. Once when my meds stopped working and my doctor retired and I found myself at a new doctor and therapist in the same week and they almost had to commit me because my scores were so low and I had thought about what it would be like if I wasn’t here anymore. Once. Now it never ends. Because I admitted that demon existed and spoke into my brain.
But I’m not like the others. I’m not an inpatient. I’m a functioning depressive. I don’t get committed. I hold down a job. I pay my bills and function in society and perform amazingly well. And none of this speaks to the crazy woman in my head telling my I’m fat and gross and smelly and lazy and not smart enough and with not enough credentials and with too few followers and too few boundaries and too prideful and not religious and not saved because I don’t go to church anymore and struggling because I don’t have enough Jesus in my life or because I eat too much sugar and love fast food and I don’t fit in and maybe I’m still a tomboy and I never fit into that truly feminine mold and I’m not a mother and I never carried a baby to full term and I didn’t get my bachelor’s and I don’t have my name on a house deed and I never got to buy a house of my own and my car is too small and I care too much about the environment and I’m the black sheep of my family and I’m too liberal for everyone I grew up with and for my family and this town and I’m too conservative for the city and I’m judgemental and selfish. Oh so selfish. And I can’t be the journalist or the famous author or the park ranger or the successful business owner or a politician who actually gets voted in. Because I can’t stick to anything long enough to make it.
And so I fail. Again and again.
But I’m resilient. I’ve rebuilt my life a dozen times and I tell myself I can do it again but it’s getting old and I’m getting tired and…older.
And more than anything I want to be well. I want my doctor’s appointment tomorrow to find nothing and yet something so I can have relief from these debilitating headaches. And I want this second anti depressant my new obesity doctor put me on to help me lose weight to actually work yet without the dreams at night that make my mind go haywire. I want my therapy sessions to be monthly instead of every 2-3 weeks because sometimes it’s too much and sometimes it’s too little. I want to not turn to food to comfort me every time I’m sad and angry. I want to choose happiness over lethargy and depression. I want to not worry about that terminal illness that may not come until my 90s when I may just die of a failing heart like my grandmother. I want to see and acknowledge that worry of losing another spouse, that concern of having no children to care for me as I age, that depression that tries to eat at my soul…I want to see and acknowledge all of that and keep walking and talking and move into thriving.
I want to stick to something because it matters even if its incredibly hard. I want to embrace when enough is enough and let dreaming be just that – not consumptive or obsessive but uplifting and inspiring. A goal to achieve instead of a must have.
And I want that pressure valve to release. I want to let off steam and say no when I want and yes when I am able and choose what’s best for me. I want to do great and hard things without worrying who, besides myself, is going to tear me down or stop me.
I want to know when enough is enough and I can say confidently that who I am today is enough. And if I accomplish more or less that will also be enough. I want to be untethered yet committed.
I want to seek and find. I don’t want to be in charge of others happiness because it’s too much. I want to be in charge and take the lead on my own happiness and self worth.
It may look different than others journeys and it always has. It always will. That’s what makes me enough. That’s what makes me untethered. I can only be me.