The truth is I wanted to have something profound to say at the half-way mark of my 50th birthday. The truth is I wanted to be able to look at this blog and see that I had, on the 28th of each month, written something that illuminated a bit of how my thinking has been shaped at this hallmark time in my life.
The truth is none of that has happened.
The truth is at this particular time is that I have been hit by a depression most likely prompted by the great hormonal shifts happening inside me as I type. I suppose it would be easy to say that the depression is winning since I haven't attained the goals I set myself, but I am here doing this and so I'd say my better self has the edge.
Years back, a woman I know showed up at my house to help me with a project. There were tears streaming down her face and immediately I asked what was wrong. She said, "Oh that's just my depression. Let's go!"
I didn't say too much. I let her be and we did what we set out to do- an organization project followed by a walk and I can't say we spent more than three minutes discussing this depression. At that point, I'd had my own experiences and I was struck by her acceptance and ability to just live with it and move around despite it. Frankly, I did not understand.
But I am starting now to think this might be a way I just might have to be. The range and scope of depression varies so widely so I want to say for sure that I am no expert. I only know me and I am starting to think at this particular juncture, maybe I can live with it and not become it and this takes a high degree of self-awareness and I have that most of the time...until I don't. This is the tricky part.
Earlier this week I met a woman whom I don't spend much time with but we have a two person mutual admiration society that is unspoken. The forces aligned and we ended up with two unplanned hours together and when she asked me how I was, I opted for the truth. I talked for about ten minutes and as I looked at her I could see tears rolling over her cheeks. For a moment I thought, "Wow. That is empathy." And then I noted she was sitting on her hands. And then she said, "I'm sitting on my hands because I want to say..."
And I waited. I waited for her to tell me all the reasons why I shouldn't feel the way I feel. I waited for the buts and suggestions. Instead, she said, "Me too. Me too. I feel like you are telling my story."
The relief of such recognition....I cannot adequately describe it. If you have ever met a person with a shared experience then you know there is something that happens, something that shifts and relaxes just a tiny bit inside you at the discovery at not being alone in your experience and feelings.
And so today, on the 29th of June, not the 28th, the halfway mark of my 50th birthday, I am thinking about how I am going to navigate my depression while living in world that seems to be getting uglier everyday. There are doctors and plans A through Z and a great support staff including cats, friends, a husband, and best of all, me and the experience I have.
The reason I write is that sometimes it can help me find my way back to myself. It can help me sort through what I think is to the golden kernel of my truth at any particular moment. The reason I share is because I want to be that woman with the tears who feels lightened by recognition.
This isn't going to end in a neat way. I don't want to make promises I can't keep. Right now, it's the golden hour of morning where the birds are singing and the chickens in our backyard have their own little clucking-song going on. One cat is irritated by the computer in my lap because it is cutting into the lap time we usually share. I am staring at patio furniture I put together. I had a bit of help at the very end, but I lugged all of the pieces up two flights of stairs and I did what I did not think I could do. I have the patience of a gnat and my skill set had never involved Legos and 100 page instruction booklets. But this was a tiny challenge I issued myself. I forgot my To-Do list full of items far more essential to my daily living than assembling a patio loveseat. But I went at it anyway because there was this little nugget in me that said, "Just try. You can always ask for help."
And so I did.
Someone sat on it last night and it's still together! In this is moment, I can see that I am too.
Happy Half-Birthday, Lisa. You are doing it.