Saturday Night

January 31, 2012

I’ve written about how much of a failure I feel when I’m home alone on weekends.  It’s really a bit ridiculous and I’ve been trying to think it through and sort it out in my head somewhat.  Yesterday was Saturday night and I found myself home alone.  Actually, I didn’t find myself there, I chose to be there, and it was still difficult.

I had options: I could go to a friend’s musical performance, I could call another friend for dinner, I could go visit a friend and her baby, and there were any number of people I could call – either to try to make plans or to just to catch up with.  I had taught a class that day though, and I wasn’t really in the mood for people.  I also had a book I really wanted to read and a soft dog I wanted to snuggle with, so I decided to stay home and spend the evening on the couch.

It was so hard.

Immediately, I started thinking – almost aloud – that I was a failure.  I obviously didn’t have any friends and I was clearly never going to get a boyfriend if I didn’t get out of the house and meet people.  I felt like I was wasting my time and that I was just marking time until I could go to sleep.  It was sort of a cross between feeling like I had been stood up and killing time while waiting for an airplane.  I realized in the middle of it that I was being really unfair to myself. This wasn’t a way to kill time – this was a way to enjoy myself and it was no less valid than spending time with friends.

But it felt less valid.  Just like eating at a table with real silverware feels unnecessary when it’s just me.  Just like looking nice feels invalid if there’s no one “special” to look nice for.  Just like seeing a sunset seems like less of an experience when I’m alone.

I think some of this makes sense – it’s nice to share experiences with people and it’s nice to be in community.  But I don’t think that should mean that I cease to exist or have meaning when I’m alone.  Or that I should not enjoy solitude.

This is kind of ramble-y but I’m just trying to figure things out.  People say that identifying the problem is the first step but to me, identifying the problem often seems really overwhelming, almost like there wasn’t a problem before I named it.  I’m trying to remember that I’ve always felt this way and it certainly didn’t feel any better before I could name it.


Illness

January 26, 2012

I’ve been sick for two months.  Only 8 weeks, actually, but it feels like longer.  I had a cold which turned into bronchitis, then as I was finishing my antibiotics, I got another cold.  All the coughing has caused me to either pull a muscle or crack a rib.  I’m not totally sure and it doesn’t really matter because the treatment for both is the same: Rest.

Rest is difficult when you are single and self-employed.  There are no sick days and there is no one to pick up the slack.  Several people have said something along the lines of “You’re so brave/committed/crazy to keep working while you’re sick.”  I think they meant it as admiration.  However, I don’t have a choice.  If I don’t keep working, I can’t pay my rent/health insurance/grocery bill/dog food bill.  Not really an option.  So the admiration made me feel a little resentful – not because the other person did anything wrong but because it feeds into my deepest fears and anger.

However.  In the past when I’ve been sick – even for a week – I have gotten really really depressed.  The solitude gets to me and makes me feel sorry for myself to the point where my internal monologue starts sounding like an angst-ridden teenager.  Poor me.  Nobody loves me.  If I was worth anything, I’d have a partner.  I should just die because clearly nobody loves me because they haven’t called to see how I am. nothing will ever get better.  Ever.  Until I die.  So I might as well.

Anyone else do this?

This time I’m not there!  I’m miserable.  I’ve been coughing so much that I”m actually developing my upper abdominal muscles from COUGHING.  (seriously. I can see it).  I’ve produced more mucus than I thought the human body was capable of.  I can barely sit up in bed because my side hurts so much.  But hey, I don’t wish I was dead.  I just wish I was well.

That’s progress, right?  I mean, I’d like to be overwhelmingly filled with joy at all time and be completely sure of myself and have self-esteem coming out my ears.  But sometimes you settle for being grumpily OK with being alive, even when you hurt.


Surviving Depression

January 3, 2012

Please read this. Again and again.

And then let me know if you’re a survivor and how we can support each other.