Forgive me, but I need to talk some more about hope today.
“Hope is like the sun. If you only believe in it when you can see it, you’ll never make it through the night.”
I had an interesting phone call with my therapist last night. I rambled for a while, as I am wont to do. Even with my therapist, even after so many years of therapy, I clock that I still feel a compulsive need to perform, to be smart, to have figured myself out.
When I was smaller than this, I took a ballet class. The ballet teacher told my mom, “She’s so hard on herself. If she already knew that to do, what would I have to teach her?”
Not knowing how to do things makes my skin crawl. So, I avoid things that don’t come easily to me. This totally sucks, I know.
Talking rapidly about everything I’ve ever felt comes easily to me. Making little quips along the way to dull the trauma comes easily to me. Sitting still, out on my lawn, trying not be distracted by cars and bugs and neighbors out for evening strolls, and having my therapist ask me pointed, simple questions about my depression…
That’s fucking hard.
Because I don’t like to be reminded that this Isn’t Normal. That I have an Illness. That it’s probably Biological, and might always need Treatment. Wouldn’t it be so much nicer if this was just a fun little character quirk of mine? Something I could control? Wouldn’t it be nice if I was only manic when it was charming, and only depressed when it was romantic?
The flavor of my depression right now is Hopelessness. I just can’t imagine ever feeling differently than this, of ever not hating myself this hard. And it’s hard to want to continue on into that future. But my therapist pointed out last night (I’m not going to be as eloquent as she was): There’s a certain sense of “Fuck It” that can accompany Hopelessness. And, oddly enough, embracing the “Fuck It” so far today has kind of given me some… well, Hope.
I went out for a run this morning, and I had a nice conversation with one of my housemates, and I called my Mom while I went on a walk to get an iced latte, and all of those things felt good. It is rare for me not to agonize over every decision of my day, but so far today I have just done things as they have occurred to me. And it’s been nice. I have done things that have made me feel good.
And that gives me Hope.
I can’t really see it right now, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. It isn’t something that I can reach out and grab and squirrel away for me, for you, for us, but… it is there in the spring breeze, it is there in the pages of a familiar story, it is there in the first gulp from a good iced coffee, it is there in Cat Stevens lyrics:
Now I’ve been happy lately
Thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be
Something good has begun
(I mean, not yet. Clearly.)
I don’t know what to do right now, and it makes me itch. Makes me want to carve out my heart and fling it out the window where it can never hurt me again. But sitting in this discomfort is going to be part of the process, I think, hate it though I do.
So, I don’t really know, my friend. Be gentle with yourself, if you can. Sit in the discomfort for as long as you can stand it, because I think that might be how we make it out to the other side.
Because there isn’t Only This. I shall not abide that. Not for me, and not for you. What are you made of? Tell me. Today, I am composed of iced coffee, of blades of grass, and of promises of Disney World fireworks.
This is my Forever-Bargain, that I will continue to initial here over and over and over again: I am not going anywhere.
May the Force Be With Us.