Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Control v. Progress
One of the emotions that a woman going through depression- whether chronic, long or short term, event orientated or otherwise, may feel is the conflicting nature of control. When I miscarried I felt a total loss of control. I could eat what the doctor told me, sleep when she told me, take all the medication in the world but whether the baby lived or died was out of my control. I was helpless. Being helpless is not an emotion that I am ok with. I am a very independent woman; I have had no other choice in my life but to be. I can take care of myself pretty damn well. Having been homeless and going through multiple deployments concretes this. As many other military wives know, when you are living alone with your husband thousands of miles away you find the ability to do anything.
I couldn’t do anything about the situation. I couldn’t control the fate of the baby growing inside of me. I couldn’t fix the owie with a Band-Aid and a kiss. I couldn’t wrap my womb in duct tape or call a repairman to fix it. The entire situation was completely out of my control.
Ever since then I have been uber hyper aware of how these situations in the past have brought control issues to the forefront. I have been watching for the signs. When you face a loss and that loss happens to be something completely out of your control, your timing, your hands… you try to find other things to take into your hands. Because this is not my first loss I am able to recognize that and fight off the demons. I will eat. I will not puke. Fighting the demons of an eating disorder= unhealthy coping mechanism for grief. I have really been struggling lately. I can’t go to the gym yet. The all clear hasn’t been given until next Monday. I feel like instead of controlling anything I have controlled nothing and have spiraled completely out of control.
Which is the complete opposite of how I normally cope. Normally after a loss I hold everything as close to me as possible. Right now I am cutting things out of my life, and people. I normally try to control everything around me: money, food, pets, house, everything. Not this time. This time I seem to have let everything go. This time is a new adventure, new learning environment for me.
My house is dirty. To me, to any visitor, it seems not so much. I don’t have dirty dishes or dirty laundry but the floors need a good scrubbing, the floor boards need washed, the windows are dirty, the bedroom has clothes that need put away, my fridge and microwave need washed down… I could go on and on. For some people my house would be considered fine, but to me it’s a mess. It’s a mess and its driving me crazy. That is something I could control right now, but the depression, medication and body have decided to make it impossible to sleep. I am running on two hours (if I am lucky) a night and then running crazy with errands and things to do during the day. I haven’t had a nap in a week and if I was to add up the amount of sleep I have had in eight days it would be less then twenty hours. My energy is drained by two pm.
So my house is dirty. I haven’t paid attention to our spending and for the first time in a long time our account is way below the balance I allow it to get to. I haven’t felt like cooking so we’ve eaten out a lot. My dogs are acting out because they aren’t getting the attention they are used to. I’ve gained a pound and a half.
Want to know something crazy though? I don’t really care. It’s not bothering me much at all. I think that is the scariest thing about all of this. It is all I can do to live day to day and fight away the demons plaguing me, everything else, well is a bonus. I have homemade spaghetti sauce in the crockpot, the kitchen is clean, and my husbands uniforms are washed. That is not much for me, heck that is what I normally do before lunch and then some. But it’s done, and its progress.
Today when I woke up I didn’t think that I wish I hadn’t. That is progress. Instead I laughed at the way the bear my husband bought me on the way home from Afghanistan some how ended up in my bed and poised so it looked like it was watching me sleep. I looked at the clock and groaned at the fact that I had only gotten two hours of sleep. I groaned louder when a ninety-pound German Shepherd landed on my legs, his front paws on my chest licking my face, demanding I let him out. I padded downstairs in my fuzzy robe and my new slippers that I spontaneously bought myself at Target this week, made a cup of delicious hot coffee and took down the calendar and inserted a counseling appointment into the schedule… with a smiley face. But, not once did I wish I had died in my sleep. That is progress. Might not mean anything to anyone else, but it is a big step for me. It is amazing what hope can accomplish.
I know that I won’t be cured instantly from the depression I find myself rooted in. I know that going to counseling isn’t going to be magic, cure all, for what is ailing me. But, it is a step, a big step, in the right direction. It is a step towards the tools I need for rebuilding. It is a step into a better future. A good house doesn’t get built overnight, this isn’t an Extreme Makeover Home Improvement type experience. I have a great foundation right now, but my tools are old and rusty. I need to update them and fix some of the cracks and destruction that has appeared. The hardware store is in front of me, I just need to make the investment into the tools and make the rebuilding a priority.
So maybe its ok that my house is cluttered, my car a mess, and my dogs driving me up a wall. Maybe its ok that instead of decluttering I took time to have a lunch date with my husband. Maybe its ok that I spent a good hour on the phone with a friend, or writing a blog, both therapeutic to me, instead of dusting. Maybe, just maybe, living today and not resenting it was more important.
at 6:41 PM