Thank Good Gawd Almighty for the most marvelous friend —who loves family, God, selfies, presents, fun, joy, travel, celebrating, and even me— to the end of the earth and back, she loves me. Crying as I type that, because it is so damn special, the friendship that we enjoy. Truly BFFs! Yesterday was my 50th. For my special day, I planned to run a time consuming and far away errand (the result of a 80 mile round trip drive to get a birthday gift for my ex, from our boys) and then go to lunch with my best girl in the world. Awake at 5 am, I remained pinned under my weighted blanket, listening to Option B on Audible until 11am, knowing I was missing my window of opportunity to make the errand or lunch happen. I was runnin’ down the clock. I texted the Bestie (friends of more than 40 years, I will call her “Favorite”) informing her that I was too
sad to do any of the things. Favorite rallied, invited me to meet her at work and drove the 40 miles to the errand. She was present, loving, fun, and comforting, not probing or trying to fix or cheer, just WITH me, like a fucken boss of a friend. She declared, before my arrival, that it was ok that I feel however I did as long as we were together– and went to lunch. I even panicked at her plan to take me anywhere I like for lunch, because I could think of nothing I wanted. We figured it out, though! The whole day together and birthday dinner too. Possibly, my best birthday yet. Favorite and her parents, my sons, dinner of my choice, with cake and gifts and even a photo–with my boys. If I can do exactly and only this, every year for all of my birthdays, I would be blessed. God, it was so sweet and wholesome– each of us just being exactly who and how we are. LOVE.
I recognize that it is normal and healthy to want to celebrate, and I wished that I did. In general, I require space and solitude, more so in times of heightened struggle. My experience with depression is that I stop liking and wanting even the people and things which, when I am feeling healthier, I like and want. I cannot make that be different, not even for my boys whom I would do anything for. It is possible that I could exercise & get outside more, and make healthier food choices–those things would not hurt. But, apathy is at the wheel more of the time than I care to admit. The anguish over certain things/people seems to be in endless supply, and the grief and shame over the anguish are oppressive. Recovery has taught me to now offer generous space to anyone finding it necessary to make a person look or feel bad for feeling bad.
Having the calendar create expectations that all people should feel/act/perform happy is a freaking nightmare. When I reflect on all special occasions, I can recall only, my overwhelming panic and shame of not feeling(and therefore behaving) the way in which I was supposed to. I can feel the stinging disdain and remarks directed at me for being so selfish, just heaps of shame. Oh jubilant ones, I am so sorry that I cannot be happy for and with you as a result of my brain chemistry and family experience, which have left me with sometimes crippling anxiety and depression. (The best– is that they would debate this.) My anxiety, surprisingly is not lessened by the consequences imposed for being this particular brand of selfish menace. Oh, and why won’t I just lighten up and stop being so defensive, they wonder? Because when you are depressed, you may actually just be a bad person, making a selfish choice to be miserable, at the expense of all the joyful good people, who will rightfully school, shun, and gossip about you for that sort of bullshit. And best of all, they will insist you return for the next “celebration” and punish you when you do not, or even when you do. Good Times. Shaking my head. So glad THE day has passed…and so grateful for Sweet Greg and Favorite just loving me through it.
Here is what I know to be my truth. I can now(since recovery)be counted on, to: tell the truth, do as I say I will, apologize when I blow it, help you and be there for you in hard times. You can count on empathy, encouragement, and inappropriate jokes. But please, DO not count on me to be happy because you need for me to be. That is unfair and insane.
Brilliant quote from C.S. Lewis ➡️ “Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.”Much Love,
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