Monday, November 5, 2012

A bad October day for Someone

Hard to imagine what lies beyond
Someone I am close to is struggling with depression.  It won't last and I have said this to Someone. But depressed people believe they'll feel differently like they believe happiness fairies will visit them in the night.

When we last spoke, it was a  drizzly, chilly day in late October. Outside, leaves covered the ground, and the sky  looked like handfuls of gray cotton.  "Everywhere I go, I think about things that are over, things I wish I hadn't done, things I lost," said Someone, watching that sky.

There is not a more helpless feeling than to sit across from Someone in this state.  You love the Someone. You want - badly -  to help them turn their own engine. But you can't, because along with energy and exercise and rest and a better diet and professional help and maybe meds at some point,  it is required that Someone possess the imagination to see themselves on the other side. But depression chokes the imagination.

I wanted to offer something like this: "Life is a puzzle cube. You can't go back and change a piece and keep your results." But I was caught off guard and it came out more like this:  "You know those puzzle things that look like...kind of like a lattice work...wait, more like little stacks of wood...what's that game we used to play, it starts with a 'J' and it has little pieces that fit..."

This is how you sound if your mouth keeps talking when your heart and mind should be in charge.

Now that  I've had a few days to think about it and reflect on my own regret-fests, I  can do better than teabag wisdom. And so to Someone,  I am dedicating this post...

Dear Someone,

Everybody gets this way. To whatever the degree, everyone has long, rainy, low-energy days when they treat themselves to the melancholy combo platter: lost focus with nostalgia, maybe reflection upon a conversation that went wrong,  maybe a stretch of guilt, maybe some preoccupation with a sad event.  

It's a party of woe, these regret-fests. Self-pity arrives first, followed by other-pity as you consider mistakes you've made as a  parent,  friend,  daughter, son, brother, sister, wife or husband and overall person.  I know if I don't excuse myself from my own regret-fests quickly, I will start to believe that even the cat would be better off with someone else feeding him filtered water and playing the *which-box-is-the-rattle-ball-in-Gus? game (Instructions below).

Someone,  we all do this,  lament moments in the past which we made or didn't make happen.  Young adults regret how they treated a classmate, a sibling, a parent. Older adults regret loss of temper, faulty judgment, negligence,  proud displays that cost more than they gave back. Even young children regret things (once they've gotten away with them).

But, Someone,  there isn't anything less productive  than to use your current mind to go back and assess behavior that occurred in younger years when your entire environment, frame of reference, maturity, motivation and knowledge base were different from what they are  now. We can remember a lot, but most good or bad moments cannot be remembered  as they actually happened or why. It's true. I looked it up.

Someone, people minimize the meaning of whole lifetimes - all they've learned and all they've earned -  when they lament what they never got and fail to understand what they got instead. 

And Someone, as miserable as regret-fests are  they usually last as long as they should - until you learn something from them, or determine that you won't.  But when woe ceases to be useful it's time to muster a Rocky-training-in-Philadelphia moment when you throw open the curtains, stand up straight, bounce on the balls of your feet and say to the cat, "I've had just about enough of me."

You should really do that, because you'll laugh involuntarily and maybe turn your own engine.

Life for all of us is what it is, but also what it will be nextSo spend the time you must to let go of what was, and then, know that soon:

You will know things you don't know today.

You will feel things you don't feel now.
You will experience things you wouldn't have appreciated before. 
You will be like this guy and kick depression's ass.

And Someone, no matter what  you feel, remember, for better or worse, it won't last.


*Directions for Which box is the rattle ball in Gus?
Your job:  Roll a golf-ball size rattle ball into one of three empty boxes (These can be found at Petco across from the drinking fountain that I  paid too much for, according to the website which sells it for $20.00 less).
Cat's job:   Figure out which box the ball is in, then go inside and bat it around.

To make this more challenging, consider a little variable reinforcement. When cat fetches ball and accidentally brings it to you, offer lavish praise and a food treat. Repeat for several years. 

1 comment:

  1. I will make sure that Someone reads this post...