stuckLast week I got stuck in the snow and ice.  I spent about a half hour rocking my truck back and forth, almost tipping over the edge to freedom only to fall back into the rut.  Eventually, a boy with a truck and a tow line happened by and hauled me out.  First he wanted to try his hand at rocking out of the rut (Ah, the optimism of youth!).  While he played in my truck, I stepped off the snow-hidden curb and fell with my foot caught.  Things got twisted and made funny noises.  I may have uttered a few disparaging words about winter.

Unfortunately, my brain seems to be stuck and making its own funny noises.  For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been mired in depression, able at times to rock back and forth, but always ending up in the rut.  When I’m in this gutter it’s too easy to focus on all the failures and pain—my application for rent reimbursement was denied since my HUD apartment building doesn’t pay property tax; after doing a week’s worth of records-gathering and making copies for my rent review, my 2014 rent only went down by a dollar; I can’t stop binge eating.  Saturday I got up, determined to knock some of the whingeing out of my head.  I got dressed for the Y and stopped by the library to get a new pile of DVDs.  By the time I checked out, I was exhausted.  I went back home, pulled on my jammies, and crawled, defeated, back into bed.

When the rut gets deep and my mental tires smoke from spinning, I try to remember the good stuff.  And there is good stuff.  There’s always good stuff if a person looks long enough.  I’ve made it through a whole month without using my credit card and sticking to my White-Knuckle budget.  The UU Fellowship I attend asked me to be their go-to presenter and will pay me a stipend of about $50 to provide two programs a month.  I was approved for Medicaid, so I’ll at least be on the waiting list for the Intensive Psychiatric Rehabilitation program.  And because I have Medicaid now, I can continue to see my therapist every week instead of scaling back to save money.

Then, there are my friends and their gifts.  There’s Rob and Carol.  There’s David and his gift of The Measure of My Days—a beautiful, inspirational book.  And Michelle’s gift of two fabulous CDs of music (The Polar Vortex 1 & 2).  And emails.  Lots and lots of emails filled with support and love and inspiration.  Those are just my bloggy friends.  Here at home, I’ve been given bags of fabulous junk to make art—sequins from India from Sheila, Czech magazines and bric-a-brac from Robyn.  Dee invited me over to look through her collection of vintage photographs and to pick out ones I could use.  Penny and Karen take me to lunch.  Cat takes me to breakfast and keeps my phone working.  All these tow lines keep the tension steady so that when this current rut flattens out a bit, I can drive on.

Tow Lines

Still, today, the despair and pain are thick.  I’ll go to the laundromat in a minute—a cozy place that’s warm and smells like home.  I’ll get my Peppermint Mocha, and sit with my journal, and do all the things I need to do to keep rocking.  Back and forth.  Back and forth.  And I’ll remember the tow lines attached to me that keep me tethered to the world outside this rut.

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. pegoleg
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 08:22:44

    That’s a great mental picture, Sandy. Good advice to concentrate on the good things, like that generous kid who came to your aid. I know the endless snow, ice and cold are not helping anything.


  2. Maggie Wilson
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 09:38:23

    Throughout all of this I detect a thin steely inner core of a tow rope of your own. You have not only a gift for words, but a certain strength. I guess the trick is to hang on tight, yes? Thanks for this inspiring post.


  3. radiatingblossom
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 11:20:28

    In so many ways you are blessed, Sandy Sue…because so many of us see the light which shines within you. I imagine it must be so difficult for you so many times. My hope is that you will be able to hang onto your blessings when life seems to pull you down. Try to stay strong and always know that you are appreciated.


    • Sandy Sue
      Feb 24, 2014 @ 13:02:09

      When I’m in this phase, it’s so hard for me to believe that I’m appreciated. It just doesn’t seem real. It sounds so needy to say this, but I need folks to remind me that it is real.


      • radiatingblossom
        Feb 24, 2014 @ 13:15:37

        I think it’s good to know that and to let the people who care about you really, truly remind you of what a wonderful person you are. I believe you help so many just by sharing your thoughts and feelings. I just hope that you can help yourself in the process. You’re a wonderful writer and a kindred spirit to many of us here in the blogging world. Hang tough my friend…let that light within you have some time to heal you and to give you strength.

      • Sandy Sue
        Feb 24, 2014 @ 18:30:26

        Thanks, Carol.

  4. Kathryn McCullough
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 14:56:47

    I’ve spent way too much time in a rut myself. Good luck with rocking. You are wise to focus on the good things. That usually helps me, at least. Hope your ankle is okay. I’m thinking about you, dear Sandy!

    Hugs from Ecuador,


  5. Littlesundog
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 16:41:35

    The other day I received an email from a friend, who felt we were in a similar space, dealing with anger, and isolating ourselves from those who hurt us. The final sentence was, ” If you ever want to just check out, we’ll go cross country robbing banks.” That was exactly what I needed… a thought I could relate to yet with the humor I needed to help me rise above my melancholy and frustration. You are right – sometimes we just need a few kind words from friends to help us get by for a while.


    • Sandy Sue
      Feb 25, 2014 @ 23:23:57

      I know it can feel self-indulgent and needy to let our loved ones know how much we are hurting. But, it’s necessary and self-responsible. We must take care of ourselves by allowing the help and kindness of others. I forget this so often, and am reminded by the folks who love me.


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