Throughout it all though, there was the spectre of a black dog hanging over us. For you see, she’s a manic-depressive, so sick that she has been on disability leave for at least two years now and has recently taken retirement because there was no prospect of her returning to work. She is on large doses of medication, sees a psychiatrist and a psychologist and other professionals routinely. Some days she is barely functional; on a few other days she prepares meals, bakes cookies and is the way I used to remember her. It’s the pendulum between the manic and the depressive. I love her dearly, but there are times when I feel like I have to escape.
In part maybe because of the mirror. When I look closely at her, I see much of me. I see the lethargy, the disinterest, the desire to just stay in bed and keep the drapes closed and the doors locked. There are days when it is a challenge to get out of bed and get something to eat. Why bother?
Recent events in my life have helped to precipitate this phase and I recognize it. There were some circumstances beyond my control and others within my control. Trying to measure up to others’ expectations professionally when the target keeps shifting can leave you physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. Finally, there needed to be a separation, a parting of the ways in order for some semblance of sanity to return and that parting brings with it its own pain amid the realization that this adventure is over and another must be found.
Fellow blogger WiseWebWoman recently wrote a post about the black dog entitled “Act As If”. You can read it here. It forced me to realize that my coping skills have just about hit the bottom of the barrel and I realize that with a move coming up in two weeks, packing is proceeding at a snail’s pace … and I think the snail is winning. I’m looking forward to the move because it will put me physically in a better place where I have friends who care. But as a mid-range baby boomer, I also recognize the liabilities of age. The animus and the anima.
There are so very many of us out here who are fighting this beast of depression – sometimes winning, sometimes losing but constantly in the struggle. When you have a minute, send some positive thoughts in our direction. We can use all the good vibes we can get.
Thanks WWW. You have courage.