All Good Things
By: Tosha Woronov
So it’s time to just come right out and admit that I’ve been depressed. Admit to you, I mean. The people in and out of my daily life know this well already, have been forced to know it time and time again. But I haven’t wanted to write about it.
I keep thinking it’s going to go away, leaving me to myself, leaving me to my writing, my energy. I thought it would leave as summer did, that season I hate. With fall, my favorite time, I was sure the good feelings would breeze back in with the crisp cool air, pop up like bright orange gourds.
I tried reading through my depression all summer. I read a lot. Northwest Corner. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. The Sisters Brothers. The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore. Pretty. The Year We Left Home. Tinkers. A Visit from the Goon Squad. The Submission. All good, all worth reading. I was –almost- re-inspired. But the keyboard just stared back at me, my own ideas simply not worth typing out. It was all just too…blah.
It’s not like good things haven’t been happening. Being a mom of a great kid means – thank god – witnessing charm and beauty and growth everyday. Well, you know. But that’s why I couldn’t write about it; I couldn’t see how another reader could possibly care about the feats or sayings of my little one when she had little ones of her own by which to be astounded.
So I read some more, looking for common ground. Like Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. Whoops. Maybe too much. I don’t think I need shock treatments, and I sure as hell don’t want to stick my head in the oven. I just feel like not getting out of bed. Or crawling back into bed. Or turning off the living room lights and hiding in my corner on the couch, under a blanket.
It made sense all summer, with my reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s not rain or cloudy weather that bring me down, but rather 105-degree heat, a sky that hums electric, brittle grass, dogs tired from nothing more than panting. I hate it.
But now it’s October, time for pumpkin lattes (which I don’t drink, just love seeing on the menu) and petting zoos. Costumes and a light sweater. Time to make chili and spiced breads, butternut squash soup, add some caramel. Now is the time for the beach, wrapped in a down vest, as the sun sets and the pelicans dive.
So why am I still so sad? I know I need to return to the medication that helped me immensely once not too long ago. That’s becoming clear. But there’s an admittance of defeat there that takes a stronger, healthier person to arrive at – a less depressed person. Ah, there’s the rub. Everything I need to get better I can’t seem to do because I can’t get better. The chicken or the egg? My vicious cycle. It would help to write, but (as I already explained) I can’t do that. It would help to visit with my witty and loving friends, but I keep canceling (for the couch, my bed). It would help to exercise, but…yeah right.
I have tried to slog through this, I really have. I cannot allow my label to be “Depressed Person”. I joined a meditation group, and remind myself its teachings: “anything fully experienced brings joy” and “suffering is not in the fact but in the perception of that fact”. I don’t know if I so much believe these things as need to believe them. It would be great if they were true.
And I’ve been really, really good at slowing down and experiencing the moment, which all moms are told to do lest her child grows up too fast. And let me tell you – ha! ha! – it’s easy to do when you have the blues. Oh yeah, I could sit there all day long and play Monopoly with my son, or doodle with him – ignoring the dishes, the groceries, the evil stack of bills. I slowed it all down all right.
I’m angry that I quit my meds, that tiny pill that made such a big, yet subtle difference. I can’t forgive myself for giving up that safe place in the first place, for losing all these months to the malaise in my head.
But something’s got to give.
Yesterday evening I shopped for the ingredients for a thick and hearty homemade soup. Last night I took my meds. This morning I made myself write, and admit to you, that I’m having a hard time. Now I’ll go downstairs (walk past that couch) and heave out the crock pot. This afternoon, I’ll sit on a blanket on this fine October day and watch my son play football, and my husband coach it. And I have faith that when we return home, the smells of this season of all good things will bring me back to where I’m supposed to be.