Feeling pretty bummed out. Understanding that part of this is being angry at myself for being depressed again, I try exploring it.
Take a short step back and I see a person who is depressed so she can’t do anything worthwhile, can’t do anything to make the world a better place. I don’t like her very much. She should try harder. That’s why it’s so hard to feel loving toward myself. She’s not very attractive, not very interesting. That is the truth about how I see myself. It makes me want to cry.
Take a big step back. Here’s this woman. Her depression is rooted in PTSD, it’s not something she chooses. Getting out of depression is a tricky business, it can’t be done by willpower. She works very hard at her practice of being in the present and accepting how she is NOW.
Walking the dog along the river I thought about how I hadn’t been able to find a way to observe myself without judgment. So I let the angry voice talk: “What’s the matter with you? You’re just lying around and feeling sorry for yourself and doing nothing worthwhile, nothing that would help make the world a better place. I’m disgusted! You should be doing good for others, thinking about others more than self.” Then I remind myself, as I’ve done before, that this wounded person is herself my task, that my job is to care for her, treat her gently, not try to push her to do things. I once thought that if I’d been given a clear-cut forest, or a polluted river to care for, I would not be angry at the forest or the river. I could feel myself softening, surrendering, being OK with not being able to change myself. I’m finally OK with “doing nothing,” just being here and accepting what is.
One of the hardest things about depression is that it’s self-reinforcing. Once you start to spiral down, it gains momentum, and whatever skills you might have had for helping yourself disappear in chronic trauma’s loss of the will to live. Intervention is required, by someone outside, someone trusted, like a therapist, or a good friend who knows what you are going through. Most of the things people say to you, trying to help, actually make it worse. “Why don’t you try X… or Y…” make me feel like here’s another assignment that I’m failing. Usually I’ve tried X or Y and it didn’t work, actually I’ve tried a huge number of things that didn’t work.
Elizabeth called about 6PM. She was a big help. She understands exactly the place I’m in and she cares about me. She gave me an affirmation: “Even though I’m horribly depressed and can’t get myself out of it, I still deeply love and affirm myself.”
Yesterday was tough. I was able to soften toward the wounded baby and then wrote about it hoping to do a blog post. But the energy faded and I went back to feeling myself a worthless blot on the surface of the earth.
This morning Eve called, an old friend and circle dance teacher. She wanted to come visit and dance at Neskaya. Oh thank you God! I went up like a helium balloon, had energy and inspiration for the dance program I had to teach later in the day.