Cooler temps, clear skies, wafting breezes with the scent of milkweed blossoms—this seems to be my internal weather as well. And like those breaks in the heat and humidity, they seem to come out of nowhere.
Earlier in the week I had a Come to Jesus meeting with myself. When the depression bottoms out, all my demons swell up like roadkill on a hot day—gassy and explosive. Out trotted All the Reasons My Life is Shit. I won’t bore you with details, just to say there it is an unholy pantheon of gremlins. And when said pantheon gets gassy and explosive, the splatter perimeter is vast.
So I sat down with my iced tea and toast and journaled until I spewed every vile thought onto the page. All the self-contempt and whingeing, all the tar pits and road blocks, all the fist-shaking at the Universe lay exposed to the air and the light. Then, I took a breath and said, “Now, let’s start ripping out the lies.” So I spend another hour untwisting warped logic, adding gray to a black and white perspective, and challenging every assumption. A few of the carcasses burst and disappeared. Most lost volume and deflated into desiccated mats of fur—still there, still yucky, but changed.
The next hour I looked at what I could DO to start turning this rotting meat into compost. What one small act could I implement to make one aspect of my life better? What could I do that day? That week?
By the time I left the cafe, the stink bomb had been disarmed. I felt triumphant in being able to do that in and of itself. But I also carried with me a plan to move my health, finances, and purpose in life in a positive direction. I shared my success with my support group the next day and got nods all around the circle.
I’m not a dilettante at this process. I know I have a narrow window to do some of these tasks and maintain a different outlook. But the point is that I can do these things now. And I will do them as long as I can.
This is what we do. We learn what has to be done every day to manage the illness, then we do it. It’s the hardest work I know, and it never let’s up. There are no vacation days and no time off for jobs well done. There’s just the Work. It’s not fair. It’s not easy. But too bad. This is ours to do.
And then, after getting off our butts or out of our beds and doing the one thing we don’t want to do, a break in the weather comes. We look up from whatever sweaty task we’ve been muscling into place, and all of a sudden we catch the breeze and feel it ruffle our hair. We take a deep breath, one that loosens the belly from the clench we’ve kept it in all this time. And we see the Great Work we’ve been doing, and it looks fine.
And we know that we’ll forget how this feels, this lightness, but if we keep coming back to the Work, keep doing all that we need to do, it will find us again.
It always does.