Friday, April 17, 2009

Slow Ascension

It should have been lovely.

The morning was warm and still, silence disturbed only the rustle of brown leaves on the ground and gentle songs by fluttering birds. I stood on a small deck, thinking it seemed an odd place to build such a structure though it was often occupied by someone pausing to watch the water. The sun, continuing its steady rise, cast long shadows of trees over the river whose flow was slow enough to offer faithful reflections of the trees lining the shores.

I captured my own shadow while tucked into a corner, resting lightly against the warm wood and breathing in the earthy scent of spring. I stumbled a bit when Chienne grew bored, tugging insistently at the leash and turning to glance at me in encouragingly. I smiled at her, feeling it less of a burden to allow my lips to curve and slowly moved off the deck and back to the path. I took deep, soothing breaths as we eventually turned toward home, trying to remain calm as I packed my bag and climbed in the car.

People are nearly unbearable when I grow depressed. They create pressure and expectations, have judgments and criticisms. And I'm somehow incapable of tolerating their presence. "I can't," I wrote to Mom after I avoided her call one night. "Give me some time to settle and then I'll talk."

Powering down my cell phone - the first time in Industry that I've done so - made the incessant vibrations cease a day or two ago. I couldn't speak to a room full of people. I blinked at the realization midweek, feeling quivers of panic overtake me. They'd find me, I decided irrationally, going so far as looking for a place to huddle, hidden from people who might seek my attention. I tried to soothe myself, taking a sip of water before focusing on breathing patterns. Failing, I scurried from the office, breathless by the time I reached the safety of my car.

Climbing, for me, is graceless. I do what's necessary to exist, spending time staring at walls or into a television screen. I increased the dose of my antidepressants, swallowing them faithfully each night before I said prayers, asking for something to help me up. Pulled by gentle comments and increasingly concerned emails from friends at work, I wobbled a bit as I tried to adjust to being around people again after a couple of days spent mostly at home.

The interesting component is that it does get easier. It's still difficult to peer through the tangled worries and fears, especially since it seems so very dark when I'm in those moods. But the knowledge that it will get easier - just as it has before - offers some comfort. There is also less guilt and self-loathing. When I say I'm ill, it feels true. Allowances must be made so I can recover.

"Stop," Youngest demanded when she walked in my office this morning to find me looking at the newest set of fibroid data I have. "You're fine," she insisted and I blinked at her.

"You always sound so happy, Katie," Newest later called from her office as I giggled over something Best told me. I blinked at that too, poking my head around the corner after he left to say hello. "I miss you when you're not here," she told me. "Nobody else laughs as much."

"People are funny," I replied after thinking for a moment. I continued to ponder it as I worked through the day, bracing myself when I had to face more than a couple of people at once and working steadily until it was time to go home. I don't think I've yet figured it out - how to maintain balance and avoid the downhill slopes and subsequent climbing. But I do think - for this time - I'm emerging from the depths.


JaneB said...

So pleased to hear that you're over the worst for the moment, I was getting concerned.

Brigindo said...

I'm glad you're climbing, even if it is slow going. Its great that you can see the pattern and know you've climbed out before so you'll do it again. I think it is also really important to name it and feel it as an illness, because it is and its something you'll recover from.

Unbalanced Reaction said...

It sounds like your coworkers adore you. Hang in there.

Psych Post Doc said...

I'm glad to hear things are better. The pictures from your walks really inspire jealousy! :)

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