Coming out of a debilitating period of depression peppered with anxiety and bi polar imbalances is a very slow process, it doesn’t happen in an instant, and things that most people would consider small moments in their everyday lives are monumental for someone who could barely breathe or walk across the floor. In the middle of my worst day I was so sick from not eating I was desperate to eat but I couldn’t move to get myself something. I finally did because my body was screaming for sustenance but walking across the floor was a leaden thing as if I had shackles on my ankles attached to bricks. When I finally fed the dogs and made myself toast and eggs nothing had ever tasted so good but I don’t think I got up again for more than 2 hours when I finally had to use the bathroom.
So when I say that today I colored my hair and took my first shower in 3 days you can perhaps appreciate what a giant step was made toward wellness once again, or rather the welcoming of the dawn. When the sun starts to rise there is still darkness all around but the first rays of sun are a promise of so much more. Anyone who can’t sleep at night and is bubbling over with anxiety can tell you about the relief of the coming of dawn. Many can finally go to sleep at last, released from the shadowy blackness, having made it once again through a dark night of the soul, anchored once again by a ray of light.
There is so much piled up on my desk that needs to be done that it frightens me but I know that gingerly taking my first steps out of the morass of pain and the paralysis of depression I have been caught in if I am not careful I will rebound and it will be worse than the first time. Baby steps.
I want to thank all of you who read my last post and took the time to write loving supportive comments, and I can tell you that reading them helped me take the first small slow turn toward the light. That people take the time and show tremendous love and caring is humbling. I cannot thank you enough. You have helped me move through this sooner than I might have.
And I had written in the last post that I had even told my beloved daughter Rachel not to come this week. Her visit is the highlight of my week but I fear her coming and becoming upset or worried because of the shape I am in. She already has a full plate with her work and her family, but she is an angel and gentle and sweet and, not a small point, a psychologist, so while she works in a different venue than what I deal with she understands me better than most. She came, she brought me a wonderful dinner she had just made for her family, stir fries with tofu and pineapple over brown rice, and we sat and talked and snuggled with pugs. and watched tv and by the time she left I knew I had turned a corner and wouldn’t slide back again into total darkness, at least not this time.
After being up awhile this morning a song came to me that I dearly love, a song that has helped pull me out of this dark place time and time again assuring me that if I could just hold on until “morning” came, all would be well. It was a song that came out in my youth by the man then called Cat Stevens. You know of course that it is “Morning Has Broken,” and I sang the first chorus again and again and again throughout the day…
“Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the world.”
And that I am singing is a wonderful thing. Song has always been a great healer, since the dawn of time. Once I can get myself singing I am making huge leaps toward recovery.
It is Friday evening and the dogs and I have had our dinner, I watered my pot garden on the deck and some other areas of the garden while the dogs ambled about, and just walking around I drew in more key elements for healing and self care — movement, fresh air, the healing power of Nature, and the last rays of sun on this autumn day.
I am rereading the books now, the 0nes saved from the fire, of one of my very favorite writers, Gladys Taber. In her chapter on October in Stillmeadow Seasons she writes…
“Life renews itself , no matter how much we may suffer.”
And so it does, and it is this I have learned in my 60 years, and it is this very thing I hold close and dear and want to share with others who suffer, who are afraid, who are going through their own dark night of the soul. Life renews itself, and so can we.
I am not 100% yet, but maybe as much as 70%, and that is just a marvelous thing. When I last wrote I was what I call flatlining meaning still here but not knowing how I would hold on. Flat. Feeling nothing but deep, dark desolation, but do you see my friends, 2 days later and I am well on the road to recovery. I have known people who took that last final step when, bless them, if they had had someone to sit with them and tell them they would make it, insist that they would, love and cherish them as so many of you have done for me, they too would likely have made it, or a good many would have.
Please do this. If you ever suspect that someone is in a very dark place do something about it. If you can’t reach them call someone who can. A life may be saved. Or pray. Anyone who doesn’t believe in the power of prayer will never find the torch it provides to light the way to grace. I know the power of prayer, I believe in it, and if all I can muster is “Please God, help me.” I do, and I know that it helps.
I wanted to write tonight to thank you, to reach out to you and hold your hands, and lean forward, my forehead touching yours for just a moment so that I could whisper Thank you… You are a star in the firmament of my life.
And know one more thing, if you are out there suffering, I am truly holding you close in my heart and prayers. I pray ongoing for those who, like me, suffer the kind of darkness which feels like it has no end. With my eyes closed I send them light and pray that they may feel it coming and hold onto it.
I am on my way. Praise for the singing, praise for the morning, praise for the springing fresh from the world…
Who will sing with me?