Thursday, August 26, 2021

On the Other Hand...

We did a thing! I look at these pictures, and remember this outing, and it's wonderful. Geoff and I, rather spontaneously, left the house, drove an hour and a half, and by the way it rained and was gray and wonderful the whole drive up, and back, yet blue skied and comfortable at the destination, and this sentence is more winding than the road to Julian... Anyways! We hiked around, and inhaled fresh air, with fresh views, and had long talks about ideas, hopes, plans, hopeful plans. We didn't get apple pie, or shop. Oh. Wait. I take that back. I did pop into a favorite spot in Santa Isabel, but it's not the shop it used to be, and what I found was a lovely hardware store, with a friendly proprietor, and I bought two dollars worth of Smarties and a bat box. Oh crud. I think I left the Smarties in the pocket of my dress. The dress went in the washer last night. You guys, I am pretty sure I have ADHD. I'm not kidding. I am not diagnosed, but I have curated a pretty strong therapist community on Instragram, and the evidence is compelling.

New paragraph?

I love Julian, and oak trees, and rolling hills. For the first time, it occurs to me that I hold a lot of store and space in my head and heart for a place that I fixate on as kind of a home-place, a bedrock of my childhood, when actually we visited only a handful of times, lived nearby for only a few years. I've gone back, again and again, since forever, but... the connection and sentiment is based largely on brief, yet highly treasured moments. I guess it's that those were formative moments, occasions, so that even though they were small in time, they made big, dear impressions. And so, when we visit, I love that the smell of hot, dry scrub mingles with pine, and I feel at home. I love seeing familiar turns in the road, the green house with the red roof, the manzanita in beds of crisp oak leaves. Acorns. Schist. I feel possesive, protective of the intangible ways red cabins, and old store fronts, buckwheat blossoms, and white sage, recall happiness, well being, belonging. And all because I have some memories, some anecdotes... we drive through, and some part of me feels like a founder, a co-owner. Not boastfully, not with thoughts of dominating... but as a kind of idea about being connected, being one thread in a narrative. Do you ever think of a feeling you have that has sort of evolved into an unpsoken belief? I've never put this into words, but there is a feeling I get, in Ramona, Julian, along the back country roads, that there is a picture, some evidence of me being there, in the Pioneers' Day Parade, walking into the 5 & Dime, or scrambling up boulders across creekbeds, and someone recognizes me, Handsome Eddie, or the girl that lived down the street and rode her horse, Stony, to our house, maybe serene Eileen, maybe Cece who could make a perfect pig squeal, had long smooth hair, looked like she could have been in the Coca Cola ad, where they sing... one of them could claim me, declare She belongs here, she is familiar. I can tell you something about her. Not in so many words, but just a feeling. Not everything has to make sense, I suppose.

So. Being there, with Geoff, the ride, the hike, the talks... it was lovely, and one of those occasions that will stand out, because it was happy, because my senses were awakened, and we laughed. All of which makes me feel chagrinned (embarrassed, distressed) over my increasingly frequent bouts of anxiety, and depression. I think it's depression stemming from anxiety. I think overthinking, explaining, rationalizing and feeling apologetic are also tightly woven into the situation. I wouldn't be writing about this, except yesterday I was so low, I didn't resist stating it matter of factly: I think I am Depressed. And it actually gave me a detectable moment of relief. The elephant in the room has been labled, folks.
This. This... and I wish I could add a graphic: An arrow, emphatically pointing at this statement. I am ignoring people. But not. It's like being a sponge that is sitting in water, and I am saturated in water, so that no matter how much more water is poured on me, it's not like I can do anything to absorb more. In this scenario emails, phone calls, texts, social invitations, plans, destinations... all incoming communication is like water, and I can't seem to take on any more. It all comes at me, and it's not registering, I am not registering. It's a problem. I see all of my "problems" and I am out of bandwidth, out of sense for how to make things fixed, better, managed. Wow. This is a lot. I am unsettled by the idea that someone will make suggestions to me, or imagining particular people silently judging me. So why over-share? I think it's because it helps me... I feel it, again, that little bit of relief, because saying it aloud proves to me that I am struggling, but not broken, grappling yet not willing to surrender, nor impose (more) shame on myself. I don't think I am alone... maybe, someone else will see something familiar here, and feel some relief, too. Maybe I am standing in some kind of small yet courageous stance, and yelling in my small voice, "Yeah! I am not having a good time here! And I don't know what to do! But. I will begin with some truth!" I can write these things down, and hit publish, and maybe it's like a spell, an encantation, or like burning a sacrifice, something symbolic or ceremonial, and I find I am still here, not turned to dust. I don't know why it helps, a little, but I need a little help.
This morning, when I had an email to write... I loaded the dryer (probably with my dissolved Smarties), cleaned the kitchen, cleaned the cat boxes, fed Maria, and did an hour of pilates (just kidding), and was open to more, just to put off writing the email. By the way, I did finally write and send the email, but I was sure to be petulant, salty, and bad tempered about it. Come to think of it, that could be an improvement over ghosting the recipient. I should clarify, because over explaining, being apologetic and rationalizing are some of my core skills: I wasn't bad tempered in the email, to the recipient, but with myself and anyone standing within three feet of me, but only because of proximity, not as a directed attitude. (That sentence might possibly make no sense. Email me, if you would like a lengthy attempt for me to clarify. But, also, I might not get back to you, and it's not personal. I've just been out of sorts, and avoidance seems to be a default for me under some circumstances, which are ill-defined.)
On the other hand... the new cupboard? The pretty set up, where I put our coffee maker, and hot water kettle? It still looks pretty. It still makes me feel like I have arrived at a cafe, with high Instagram worthy qualities, and excellent marks on Yelps. Making tea here, walking into the kitchen and remembering that this is nice, it's good. And I looked up "Cooridnated Palettes" for our exterior house paint, and found that by sheer chance our barn is coordinated, which is hecking brilliant, and I love this green, Pine Brook and how it looks with Arrowhead Lake, so maybe we will get to do something nice with that.
Ok. I have this sensation like something awkward happened (which, I am aware I created) and someone needs to say something, something to break the tension, to distract from the elephant in the room, the unexpected breaking of wind... can we just pretend this didn't happen?? Let's talk about demolition. We really need to get our broken swimming pool out of the ground and off the property, so I am looking for a demolition company. I have criteria... I want to pay as little as possible for a capable crew. It's not a fancy job. We don't need a fancy company. Now, I am going to check on the laundry, probably clear out Smarties wrappers.


Little Dorrit does... said...

I'm sorry you're not having a good time. Depression, for me, was like watching the world from behind a really thick pane of glass - everything seemed muffled/distorted and remote for a while.

Noticing/collecting/cherishing the happy moments where you feel alive and connected and joyful helps, as does acknowledging whats going on for you, and being kind to yourself when the thought of answering an email or making a phone call is overwhelming...

You are right in thinking that you are not alone.

Janece said...

I've read this blog post a couple of times now. I haven't replied yet because you've just been on my heart and mind and I haven't known what to say. And, truth be told, I still don't. Except, I love you.

Today, I finally read this post by Austin Kleon that I've had open and waiting for me for, well, forever. But, as I was reading it - I thought, Natalie might appreciate this. So here it is:

Love you, dear one!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Little Dorrit, thank you. I can relate to your description, especially about distortion. I find myself asking, "It wasn't always like this, right?" On top of the issues I personally navigate, the whole world is sharing the distress of this ongoing pandemic, and plenty of other global crises. It's a lot, and we could all use some kindness. I know that I am fortunate, and actually safe, and in better moments I can reason that even though I wish I were better, or more accomplished, or totally restored after the accident... that there is simply a new normal. It's not what it was, but maybe I am good, in spite of the changes and differences. It's easy to understand that I cannot go through life unscathed, but it's taking me some time to adjust.
"Alive, connected and joyful." I am going to be more mindful of your good message.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Thank you, Janece... I haven't known what to say, or not say, either, but I do feel a release, and a kind of safety net by your just being near, caring. I love you, too. You have such a tremendous capacity for sharing your open heart, and making yourself available. I am lucky to know you as a friend.