I’d say stuck in neutral, but…

When someone is “stuck in neutral,” they at least are idling, right, and not rolling backwards? Maybe I’m stuck in neutral on one of the hilly streets in downtown Chicoutimi, rolling backwards and picking up speed. I’m not suicidal or anything ridiculous like that. I’m not even regretting the choices I’ve made in life or wishing life had dealt me another hand. I’m just sort of DONE trying to play the hand in front of me for now, ready for the dealer to make it around to me so I can fold and await the next hand.

I am rather depressed. The days are short, the nights long. I’ve had so little energy lately that I’ve isolated myself a great deal up here, unable to find the will to make the effort to try to have fun. It’s not even any one big thing. The back continues to heal up nicely, becoming more and more a thing beneath notice in daily life. It’s a lot of little things that pile up until the weight keeps me on the sofa watching movies for too many hours too many days.

I’m ready for an end to this limbo. It’s in sight, at least. Three weeks from this moment in time, I’ll be puttering around the house, packing, trying to make sure la maison grise is ready for the return of its lord and master. I’ll be thinking about what time to leave to balance avoiding the hell that is Montreal traffic while not robbing myself of too many hours with my best friend when I do arrive. I’ll be resigned to the hours on the road and thrilling in knowing it will be the last time to make this particular drive alone.

One of the worst facets of my own personal depression (yeah, I deal with this from time to time, depression and I are old pals, and I know all of his facets quite intimately) is what I’ve come to call the Double Shits. Depression knocks, I answer, and I feel shitty. But then, as the little rat of discontent rushes around my brain, nibbling bits here and there, I think too much. I think about how my mother and sister worry about me from their distant places, 3000 km away from me. I think about how my husband has to labour under not just the weight of his course, his displacement from his lovely home to a little hotel room, his loneliness and discontent, but also the additional weight of worry for me, and the knowledge that I’m not happy right now. I think about how selfish and shortsighted I am; so many military families have to deal with much more hardship. I’ve been able to visit my husband perhaps 5 times in the past three months. I know he’s not in harm’s way, and that he’s coming home soon. I have no children asking where daddy is and don’t have to labour and at least give off the impression of strength like military wives with children. Yet I indulge my sorrow and wallow in my misery. I sometimes feel I don’t have the right, or that I’m being weak and yes, selfish. And there you have them, folks, the Double Shits, which help me accelerate into curves of a downward spiral.

The part of my brain that nibbling rat hasn’t reached knows better. It knows that I have the right to not like this, and to fall down a bit from time to time. That strength is not a static state of being, but a thousand tiny decisions and actions, all of which must be repeated and reenacted to avoid strength’s evaporation. It also knows that I’m not responsible for others’ feelings, that my family and my beloved will worry about me sometimes, and that’s okay.

But what this bit of still-functioning brain also knows is that I am responsible for my own happiness.  A shadow of Double Shits flits by as I acknowledge that *I* am failing myself. Yep, I can even feel guilty and sad for that. I am not doing what it takes to wrest my own happiness and satisfaction from the world. Instead of working to throw off the weight of sadness and loneliness, I have instead laid down and given it a cozy little nest in which to grow and preen itself. I’m not responsible for others’ feelings, but I AM responsible for my own, and I’ve been lazy.

I want to get back to being the woman my husband is proud of, to being a source of strength for him, instead of sapping his. I know I have it in me to do this. I’ve let things burn and then risen from the ashes many times. Several times I’ve had a toehold on this, but I keep slipping, and each time it’s been a bit harder to get up.

I have to leave the house this morning. Gotta get Ginny fixed up so she can carry me back to my love soon. Gotta find the energy to start moving again when I get home. Maybe I’ll promise myself a brief skype with the husband, if I can only drag my reluctant Meatsuit and even more reluctant mind onto Le Monstre for half an hour. And clean up the kitchen. Those are small and attainable chores. They won’t rid me of that scampering, nippy rat. But they will set him back on his ass for a few minutes. Do that enough times, and I can get him back into the cage where I try to keep him.

I’m going to try to try again, baby. I can’t do it for me yet, but I’ll do it for you.

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