Back in Tune

As the depression gradually lifted yesterday, different parts of me started to come back online.  I made some cards for my sister that only the day before seemed like an impossible task.  I walked the seven blocks to the post office, mailed some bills, walked to my coffee shop, journaled and walked home.  Moving again felt like heaven after avoiding the Y on Friday and skipping TOPS on Thursday.  Moving with pain, still, but moving nonetheless.

I tidied up the apartment, did laundry at my mom’s house, and considered how I would manage this last week in May with little in my cupboards and $20 in my billfold.  After two long depressive episodes this month, the financial well is pretty dry after bolting in my truck when I didn’t really have money for gas and all the take-out I brought in because I couldn’t force myself to cook.  Then, there were all the movies I went to in order to distract my twisted brain from thoughts of self-harm.  Even with help from my family for medical bills and an overhaul on the truck, I’m at less-than-zero.

There’s no despair in that.  I know I’ll be fine.  It’s just the way this illness works in me.  It doesn’t matter how intelligent I am, or how many coping skills I accumulate.  I train and prepare the best I can, tuning my instrument for the Dark Concert to come.  But, when it hits, I can only play for so long before going flat.  Strings break.  The lip gets tired.  Notes run together.  Then, I just hang on and wait for the coda.

As always, it’s in the silence once the music stops where I can effect change.  I adjust.  I fire up any other parts of me that have shut down and put them back in service.  I start practicing for the next Performance.

Therese Sizer, Sandy Wyatt, Perkins

Last night I got to practice with a friend I haven’t seen in over 30 years.  When Therese walked through the door at Perkins, I felt like me, not the slow, despairing creature I had been for the last week.  I felt my heart expand from a brittle nub of contraction.  I felt music moving through my veins.

Lenihan, Julie Greiner, Therese Sizer, Sherm Botts

Band Divas—Sandy, friend Julie, Therese and Therese’s dad, who was our band director in 1973

Therese and I met at swimming lessons the summer before we started junior high.  She was a part of every happy thing I did in school—band, speech club, foreign language club, and all those slumber parties.  We were part of the same gang—smart, talented, teen-aged girls trying to figure out who we were.  She’s still smart and talented, an accomplished woman moving confidently through the world—just like we hoped we’d be back in junior high.

Catching up on each other’s lives, talking politics, laughing, we both remarked on how much we were the same as those young girls.  The essence doesn’t change.  The song of our soul seeps to the surface, no matter what tries to silence it.

I’m grateful for the chance to practice with Therese last night.  Like a tuning fork, she helped me find my pitch.  It’s always there, but gets lost sometimes in the cacophony of my depression.  Thank you, my friend.

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12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. deb
    May 27, 2012 @ 12:16:27

    I’m SO glad you ran into Therese! And what a lovely photo of you both now, and when you were young. Mr. Botts was the best. I loved him. And I love you. Sending all my best. Deb

    Reply

  2. deb
    May 27, 2012 @ 12:16:58

    AND, I forgot to mention, what a wonderful post. Thanks so much for that!

    Reply

  3. Kathryn McCullough
    May 28, 2012 @ 03:53:22

    LOVE the photo of you with your friend. You look so happy. I”ve been away from my computer for most of the weekend, but I’m glad to know you’re feeling a bit better.
    Hugs,
    Kathy

    Reply

  4. Looking Out The Window
    May 28, 2012 @ 07:47:42

    Thanks for sharing. Your post really brought to life what it is like for you, to read and understand to the best of my ability, and yet knowing I can’t truly understand. I found some parallels in my debilitating migraines and other times it painted imagines that I could not get my brain around. I so related to setting yourself up to cope and manage the next episode. With luck and blessing you will find more and better management techniques, and celebrate those, knowing that likely none of them will completely beat the dragon. I so resent the time that is stolen away from me by migraines, but celebrate each time I come out the other side. I rejoice you coming out the other side.

    Reply

  5. Kana Tyler
    May 28, 2012 @ 17:53:54

    “she helped me find my pitch”… Lovely!
    My Crohn’s Disease has been in remission for a while now, but I remember so clearly the feeling, when a flare-up finally loosened its grip on me after months of excruciating pain–as if the ABSENCE of pain were a sensation itself, which no one could appreciate so well as I in that moment. I wonder if it’s similar for you when a depressive episode finally loosens its hold on you?

    Reply

    • Sandy Sue
      May 29, 2012 @ 06:36:11

      I completely get that sense of absence, but in regards to pain (I used to puke with pain with my periods). I know how you suddenly become yourself again when the hurting stops. With bipolar episodes, it’s more subtle and never the same twice. Sometimes there’s a gradual loosening of anxiety, sometimes a twisted thought untwists—like the idea of being dead instead of doing this again suddenly seems Shakespearian instead of normal. Sometimes the fibromyalgia lets up first. Sometimes I sleep through the night first. I’m always on the look-out for the first clue.

      Reply

  6. pegoleg
    May 29, 2012 @ 08:58:55

    I’m so glad your mood is lightening. How great that you reconnected with an old friend!

    And what was it about all the cameras in the 70s? Gone With The Wind still looks fabulous, but I don’t have one photo of my teen years that isn’t faded??

    Reply

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