Three Steps Back
I’ve heard it before. “Two steps forward-one step back.” How about one step forward (after a great while) and three steps back? It’s been a tough month, and I don’t know why. I mean I KNOW why, but I don’t know why this month in particular has been rough. I literally just woke up this way a few weeks ago. I feel blue. I feel pissed. I find that I wake up with a scowl. Actually, I wake up with a scowl and also likely had a bad night’s sleep. I don’t breathe deeply. I can laugh and smile, but I battle putting myself in a position where I have to laugh or smile. Am I acting like a child who pouts-who wants to be mad and stay mad? Maybe I am. I know I don’t do it for the attention, because I’ve been doing my best to stay away from people and avoid interaction. I don’t want to bring anybody else down. I don’t want pity. I don’t even really want to talk about it. But I guess I want somebody to know.
I feel better when I’m busy with work. I long for the downtime of the weekends, but I haven’t been enjoying that space or quiet time. I feel anxious if I’m not distracted. I know that there are dozens of things that I could do during these spaces to keep myself occupied. I have a long list in fact-clean house, plant flower beds, work on my Italian, practice my hammer dulcimer, but I can’t seem to focus well enough. Work is different, I have to work and I feel really comfortable there. Maybe I AM a fussy child–I obviously can’t be pleased. Too much work–too little work. Too much time-too little time. In adults I guess this is labeled anxiety. Restlessness. Trying to solve a problem that can’t be solved.
Let me think. What are those stages of grief again? Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Okay–so I’m skipping some of these, or I haven’t arrived at them yet. I’m definitely experiencing them out of order, and I don’t see that ever ending.
This might be a good point to lighten things up a bit. (It’s what I do–things get heavy, I make myself think of something funny.) I once saw somebody go through these stages. If you want to see one of the funniest segments on TV ever, watch Tony Shalhoub, as the OCD, type-A detective “Monk,” go through the stages of grief after he’s been told that his psychiatrist is going to retire.
Okay...that’s me. Especially the anger and denial. I’m not processing things as fast, but I can relate to Monk–the way he paces in circles when he’s stressed. I can usually snap myself out of a funk, but this has been a little lengthier dark spell than usual. I don’t feel truly depressed, and the optimist in me knows I can wait this out. Things always improve. I think if I worried that I wouldn’t feel better it would only amplify the feelings. I’m lucky to have a disposition that believes things will always get better.
Pete, just every so often, would get the blues. They would seem to come out of nowhere. As all wives do, I would inquire, “you okay?” He responded with so much self-awareness. He would tell me he was feeling a little melancholy and that it would pass in a couple of days. So I’d give him space, not ask him to do a bunch of things, and let him lose himself in his music. After a couple of days he would re-emerge and be his usual joyous self. I’m trying to treat myself the same way I treated Pete during those times. I’m not asking too much of myself. I’m not nagging or questioning myself. I’m just letting myself frown and be grumpy and avoid large crowds-I know that one day soon I’ll wake up and be just a little bit happier and see a little bit further down the road.
Do you ever think you’re improving, but then you slide back to square one? I'd love to read your comments below.
Now...here’s a little tune to lighten both of our spirits today. This is Pete’s version of the “Theme From “Monk.”