The Dog stinks. His hairs get everywhere. He constantly gets under my feet and trips me up. It feels like he is everywhere I go. He has been in residence for so long now that I can barely remember what it was like before he came or imagine that things will ever go back to normal after he leaves. I feel like I have lost the future – there is only a miserable now and I am stuck here, Groundhog Day style, permanently. So my task for today is to sneak out without the Dog and daydream about what I will be like when I am well again.
I am a warm and wise mother, enjoying a respectful and kind relationship with my children; our home is organised so that I don’t spend the lion’s share of my energy and attention getting things done; I spend time listening to myself every day and follow my ‘inner light’; I feel that I belong in a web of relationships rather than hanging off the ends of unconnected threads or worse still in free-fall; I have fulfilling paid employment that fits in with raising my boys; I feel valued, feel that someone wants what I am offering – at home, at work, socially; I am making and creating things, planning and completing projects frequently; I know where my career is going even if I have pulled over for the moment; we are on-budget, living and eating well; as a family we have fun together; I engage with this stage of my life instead of worrying about what the future holds; I shine at something; I relax and have fun frequently; I contribute to other people’s lives, make their lives brighter to some extent; I am well-groomed; I am fit and slim and strong; I let go and go with the flow from time to time without fearing the consequences; I take pleasure in life, feel satisfied with where I am and able to change or live with the unsatisfactory bits of my life; I am not afraid; I can do.
Writing it all down makes me realise that I am much more than my depressed self – almost all these statements have been true of me in the last two years, many of them in the last twelve months, some even within the last six months: I know it is not outwith the bounds of possibility that I could be this person again. So this task heartens me. But I am not going to get there by sitting still and waiting for it all to come back. As Winston Churchill said “If you are going through hell, keep going.” The only way out of this is through it – I have to find my way back to being this person. So these are my top rungs, now I have to work out what are the many little steps that well bring me to the top again. I want to get back up – I don’t want to be a seething cauldron of rage and circling resentments, nor a heap of hopeless incapacity. I want to be me.