Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Slope

If psyches were objects, mine would be looking a bit worse for wear. It's as if the darkest of thoughts and frightening of worries had been forced into a corner and tucked behind something pretty. Safely contained, I'm able to function. I roll out of bed and arrive at work, making any number of decisions and talking to all kinds of people. I can battle the random escaped thought - there are several beautiful, strong, capable women at work who have remained single at ages greater than my own. People - men and women - seem to enjoy my company and not find me unbearably neurotic.

I knew I was vulnerable. I acknowledged that the 40 minutes I anticipated spending at the doctors was likely to destroy the shaky control I had over the worst of my insecurities and, once free, I'd suffocate under them for a while. I find myself astonished that I'm incapable of telling you of the events that led me here. There were a rather interesting series of choices I made, each of which was brought into sharp focus by a specific moment - a question or expression or event - yesterday.

By the end, the urge to hide was unbearable. Hurrying to my car, five business cards containing names of referrals clutched in a trembling hand, I sighed with a measure of relief once enclosed in the vehicle. There were physical sensations - the growing headache at my temples, the heaviness in my chest - paired with the familiar emotions. Pathetic and afraid, I told myself today would be better. That I would answer my phone again. I would leave the house and go to work.

Upon waking, I knew I would not. Even answering the simplest of questions on phone calls I couldn't avoid was agony. I couldn't lose myself in work, the pressure of a depression I'd done little to prevent a sharp distraction. I spent most of the day in bed, listlessly watching pictures move across the television screen while huddled in a nest of soft pillows and fluffy blankets. I closed the blinds, loathe to let anyone see in and, for once, not even caring to see out.

Tomorrow, I promised when yet another friend called to check on me, I'll come in. I will try to talk to her. I forced myself to pick up the phone and speak to my parents, but failed at making my voice sound normal. I clipped a leash on Chienne's collar and squared my shoulders before stepping outside in the sunshine I'd wanted to avoid. I did feel better in the fresh air, nodding at neighbors until they started to grate on my nerves. Lured by the glimmer of light on water, I walked down a hill and through the park, ducking under and around branches as we made our way to the river.

Inclines are tough, I decided, having walked down several of them to stand and watch the water. I have simply let myself slip downward, unwilling or unable to dig in my heels or search for a place to grip as my mood grew increasingly poor. Now, finding myself in a bit of a hole, I'm stuck with the task of climbing out.

I stood there until I shivered, glancing at the sun as it dipped lower in the sky. Chienne had grown bored so I wandered over and untangled her leash before starting the slow climb toward home.

9 comments:

The bean-mom said...

Oh,Katie.

You have many friends who care, even though some of us have never met you face to face. I am reading and worrying and sending you all the best.

It's good to know that there is a river and such natural beauty close to your home. I hope you sleep well and feel better (and that everything is resolved happily!) soon.

Psych Post Doc said...

I hope tomorrow is truly a better day for you. I think the walk with Chienne was a good thing, I hope you continue to do good things.

Brigindo said...

Keeping climbing the inclines as tough and slippery as they may seem. And don't forget to ask for a hand to help you out of the hole.

Hoping tomorrow is a better day for you.

Mad Hatter said...

Katie, it's okay to need some time to yourself. Just remember that you have friends here, virtual though they may be. We're thinking of you and will be here if and when you want to talk about it.

Jenn, PhD said...

Thinking about you Katie. Little steps, ok? Getting outside is good. Hoping each day is a little easier.

hypoglycemiagirl said...

Sometimes if keeping the proverbial chin up is hard, it helps to keep the physical chin up. At least I can fool myself to think I'm happy that way.

I hope the slope will be less steep soon

Amanda@Lady Scientist said...

You're in my thoughts. Be gentle with yourself. As Brigindo said, the slopes and inclines are tough and slippery and (I'd like to add) at times impossible to avoid. So, be gentle with yourself.

I hope that tomorrow and the next day are better.

Psycgirl said...

(((Katie))) It's okay to check out sometimes to look after ourselves. Good for you for continuing to go out and work on those slopes.

JaneB said...

(((Katie)))

T|ake the time you need to look after yourself. I was in floods of tears (and not happy ones) the other day because one of my friends sent me a birth announcement, and I just had this wave of 'it'll never be you' wash over me and it was UNBEARABLE, even though I was so happy for her (she's a good person, she'd been trying to get pregnant for years, she'd had a really tough, scary pregnancy and now has a healthy baby boy, much relief all round). It happens. It's part of life, especially as a 'reluctant single with depressive tendencies', sadly. I guess all I can say is, I DO understand. And remind you that there are sunny uplands between the holes with the slippery sides, and that you'll be back up here again soon.

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