Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fingers Crossed

Thank you from the bottom of my benighted little heart for your responses yesterday. That I could write about how I've been feeling was, in itself, a sign of my hope that this blip of depression would end soon. It has also been fascinating to me that I can see it, note the symptoms, chart my progress & wait it out rather than giving into it with a full black-out of the soul & communication.

Three things happened yesterday that made me actively resent the intrusion of the Gray Beast.*

I didn't take the dogs down to the Hill because of heavy rain. I had skipped it on Monday as well, telling myself that my fall had made me too shaky but really because I didn't have the energy. I was feeling guilty about their time cooped up in the Bat Cave but at least I was very present for them, cuddling & instigating. Daisy had claimed the prime spot on my flopped over futon, next to me, sprawled so no one could get near. Henry, however, wasn't having any & forced half of himself between us. I reached up & pulled him over so that he was lying sideways on my, his butt on my knees, his head lolling over my shoulder. He slept for twenty minutes that way.

All the dogs are affectionate, & Boomer & Daisy will sit in my lap, but none of them would relax and sleep stretched out on me like that. It was such an act of love & trust. I held very still & put my book down so as not to disturb him.

The rain ended around supper time & I took Daisy for a walk. We ended up at the big park where there is actual grass (the Hill is ground up bark) & a playing field of Astroturf. I took her leash off & she shot off in a million directions, sniffing, playing the puppy, then rolling ecstatically on the wet playing field, throwing herself down to writhe & wiggle over & over again. That, my friends, is what happiness looks like. I appreciated her happiness even if I didn't feel happy myself. It reminded me of what happiness can feel like.

The last thing is maybe a writer's thing. I spoke one good line & thought another yesterday.

I was walking Hero & met Gerry & Molly, who we joined for a block or two. Hero peed & I praised her, trilling when she looked at me expectantly, "Oh, what a pee! You are a cham-pee-n!"

Gerry said, "It was definitely a ten. She could teach us a thing or two."

"I'm a defecator from way back," I retorted.

As Daisy was prancing around the playing field, two people stopped & began doing serious stretching, knee to ear stuff. I sighed to myself that I really resent public acts of yoga.

& then I thought, Damn: what do I DO with such good lines???

The Black Beast woke me up this morning after a bad night's sleep. You've mistreated the dogs, it said. You've been eating way too much food. You're so fat -- you're always going to be fat & you're going to get fatter yet. When are you going to get a manicure for the wedding, h'mm? How are you going to pay your bills? Do you know how much your back is going to hurt by the end of the day? You should really pack up blankets until the new storage bags get here -- the house is a mess. Speaking of messes, when was the last time you showered? When are you going to get keys made & buy cards? Do you KNOW how much money you've spent on clothes lately?


I finally, in my second cup of coffee, said, "Enough!" I'd get the dogs out today. I'd try to keep my food by the book. I'd keep my to-do list minimal so that I wouldn't have so much failure at the end of the day.

More to the point, I told the BB, I'm staying in the minute. I'm going to do the next right thing, one after another. I know what they are but I forbid anybody in my brain to talk about it before the minute has arrived. AND, I told the BB, I'm going to thank God for every walk I have to do, for an aching back that means I did the walk. I'm going to thank the guy for everyfuckingthing that happens to me today because no matter what it is, I can react to it properly.

I went into the bathroom to get dressed & realized as I was pulling my socks on that I had been spraying my wounded knee with antibacterial stuff but hadn't actually cleaned the thing.

That is what depression is, I noted. It's not disliking oneself, it's ignoring a seriously skinned knee.

I got out the hydrogen peroxide. It stung; the wound needed debriding that badly.

So is it any wonder that when, twice today, I got dog shit on my hands, I minced my dogs along until I could get to the nearest soap & water & wash up? That's what reacting properly is.

The dogs were smiling & filthy when we walked out of the dog run.

*The Gray Beast is without affect -- with no voice. It's a tactile Beast, preying on me with a heavy gray net that blocks out life & light. The Black Beast, by contrast, is auditory. It has a snarling voice of accusations, reminders, things to do, recriminations & dour predictions.


Anne M. said...

Oh my, dearest Frances. It's a hard place to be and all the days look the same and feel the same and it's hard to get out and get your bearings. Been there, know the feeling, so I truly understand. I wish I could link arms and go with you on the walk and listen to your great lines and just BE for a while.

Hang in there, my friend.

Unknown said...

Hey, sorry I've been out of it and missed your last post. The Black Beast is no fun but in some ways, did get you moving towards the things you needed to do, even if it was in a Devil's Advocate sort of way. Glad you found the voice to talk back to him and dust yourself off.

Those heavy Grays are worse, I think, because they do nothing but fill my heart with lead and keep me paralyzed. Your clouds yesterday looked just right for the way that feels.

No advice here, just a virtual hug.

Vickie said...

roping in those woulda-shoulda-couldas is HARD work - sounds like you are smoothing things out a bit.

Our weather has warmed a bit - so yours probably has too. Every day there is something new popping out in the gardens.

Has been so cool most days. Pool opens on Saturday - Great days for being OUT, but hard to picture getting IN the water yet.

What Cindy wrote in comments on your last posting is so very true - for so many of us - you should feel very proud that you encrouaged us all down different paths.

LMI said...

The way you describe the differences between those feelings (the Grey Beast and the Black Beast) is just so spot on. I don't know if it's your writing about the weight issues or the writing about the depression that touches me the most--not that they're not connected, but people that have one of those problems don't always have the other, and it's interesting to see someone else with both problems wrestle things out.

I'm just so glad to see you writing consistently and I'm looking forward to your book.

Laura N said...

Those *are* two great lines. I laughed out loud at the "I'm a defacator from way back." I've no doubt you'll find a proper place for it and the public acts of yoga line.

What a super dog owner/care giver you are. They are blessed to have you.

Cindy said...

I love your description of the grey and the black beasts. Amazing. I also have the red demon, she makes me do stuff I regret. Gives the black beast something to talk about. She's pissed and bored of the grey beast and trying to fight back and get even. But she over-does it.