When I check the health insurance bills from my psychiatrist, down at the bottom, under where all the money stuff is spelled out, there's a diagnosis code: Major Depressive Disorder.
And it's never been so major as it is right now. It's all I can do to keep my head above water. I'm deep in the throes of mourning--and for what isn't really important. The important part is the process of letting go--something for which we have very few play books in this country.
My therapist has encouraged me to learn to "live in sadness."
And so that is what I do. I cuddle my dogs and my husband, I make soup and try to give myself a break about the dog hair balls in every corner, the pile of dirty laundry that's now so big that the foster dog thinks it's his bed, and the dusty dusty shelves. And I cry. A lot. Every day. For about six weeks now.
I'm a believer in feelings as energy. They must be released. They must be moved. I've experienced first-hand how stuck energy can become illness and physical pain.
Want to live in sadness with me? First things first. You'll need to start clearing your schedule. Try not to do anything that forces you to pretend that you're okay unless it pays your mortgages [read: go to work. try to work. take sick time if you have it when the work is too much]. Otherwise, plan to hang out at home.
Here's my living in sadness soundtrack:
- Joshua Radin (not his new stuff. only old)
- Sufjan Stevens
- Joanna Newsome
- Iron & Wine
- The Weepies
- Alexi Murdoch
- The Decemberists
Living in sadness foods:
- Chewy red wine
- Wild rice soup
- Hot spiced apple cider
- Golden Grahams
- Bread pudding
Living in sadness itinerary:
- Spoon with a greyhound
- Spoon with a spouse (until one of two greyhounds forces himself between the two of you)
- Stare at ceiling, wall, or floor
- Cry more
- Walk the dogs [even in the rain; even though the sun sets an hour before you get home from work]
- Contemplate doing some laundry
- Get out the crayons
- Talk about the sadness, the grief, the fear
- Watch mindless television
- Go to sleep
One of the crappy things about depression is that it makes everything un-fun. There is absolutely no pleasure left in my life.
My favorite things in the world--sitting amongst my friends eating really great food, having really great conversation over really great wine, and I'm floating above it all thinking, Is this fun?
Nope. Not un-fun. But not fun. There is no such thing as fun.