Depression, My Last Apology, & Yoga

I attended free yoga today. Prior to entering class, I was listening to Andrew Solomon’s beautiful Ted talk about depression. As he spoke about his darkest moments, I understood exactly what he meant and how he felt. It was something I lived with and never really questioned. Depression doesn’t know there is a different way to be. Sometimes something in life can trigger it’s presence but isn’t always the reason for the depression.

The truth is that I have been depressed for a while and last year was the breaking point, when I fell apart and the ex wanted to dissolve the marriage. I couldn’t see the misery he experienced standing by me because I was living in it. It was a clarifying realization and I texted the ex and said that I am learning that I have been depressed for some time and that I was sorry that I put him through what my depression put him through. With that, I am done being sorry. For all I know he could be out with a woman at this moment.

I walked into yoga and the basics proved to be difficult. I could not concentrate and keep balance. As my mind beat me up with negative thoughts, I continued to focus on breathing. The dischord began to quiet and eventually the thoughts were escorted to the back of my mind. An hour later, I was sitting with my hands together in Namaste, authentically grateful for that class.

I walked out and the truth that I am not enough started feeling like a lie. This belief only fades due to an accumulation of factors; time, reading, self inquiry, and therapy. However, I contribute their efficacy to medication, something I should have explored years ago. Today is the 27th day I have been taking antidepressants. It is my psychiatrist who believes that depression has been my normal for years. I was initially against the idea after reading criticisms about the over prescription of drugs and the potentially dangerous and permanent side effects that antidepressants can cause. However, when you find yourself calling your friend hysterical, not seeing any purpose or value to your life, you have a choice.

I still spend a great deal of energy grieving and crying, but I no longer question waking up and getting out of bed. I don’t spend each day obsessing over divorce and this has freed up energy to do things, like yoga. I am terrible at it but it doesn’t bother me when it would have. I have begun to draw a little bit again, something I forgot I enjoyed doing. Most importantly, I spent years telling myself how I should be and what I should do. Now I think less about the shoulds. I don’t hate myself. I am beginning to notice that everything is not pain and loss. I looked up at the sky tonight and the moon was a thin delicate line and it was lovely to look at.

 

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Bubbles

My friend’s son, let’s call him C,  screams “BUBBLES” and we are instantly outside, running into and through a cloud of bubbles, screaming and laughing. We stop and watch the bubbles float away and I am convinced that some of the rogue ones have made it to the road and the sight of them have made a driver’s day. We use gel bubbles that float like helium balloons and stick to everything like Dandelions. Inevitably my friend’s son is covered in them.

I pause and think about the bubbles much like thoughts and about my mediation practice. I have been doing it about 3 times a week and that is an accomplishment. I use Headspace because I like being guided by this bald headed British Yogi who instructs me notice my thoughts gently and then return my focus back to my breathing.  It is this same breath that I use to blow these bubbles for C. I watch them as some get stuck, deflate, dry, or blow away. In all instances, they eventually disappear.

I hear C yelling for more and I am shoved into the present again. He is screaming in delight. I am in the presence of joy and it feels fresh, alive, and amazing. I was once very afraid to have children. The divorce has taking that fear away with the marriage. Now I think perhaps that I might find someone who loves me without conditions and maybe a baby is still in my future, but all is fine whether any of this happens or not.

For right now, I will focus on right now and laugh and smile watching bubbles.

 

Some Setbacks are Expected

I had my first mediation yesterday and I kept it together. It has been 4 months since I last saw him. He asked how I was doing and then answered himself by saying that was a stupid question to ask. I never answered.

During mediation, there were a couple questions that made me choke up and one that made me cry, but for the most part, I did not speak to, much less look at him.

It was only when we both walked out of the building together and I finally looked at him that I began to cry. My heart broke. He stepped towards me and as he tried to put his hand on my arm to give me a hug, I spun around and walked to my car. I wanted nothing more than to hug him and not let go.

I cried terribly in the car. And then I texted him telling him how difficult this was for me. He said he knew it was hard for me and that time would help. I shouldn’t have texted him. I am looking for relief from somebody who broke my heart and is evicting me from our life.

His mom tried to call me. I can only imagine it was to yell. I didn’t pick up.

Then I cried in bed. This morning. This afternoon. This evening.

I cried because I miss sharing my day with him. I cried because I felt rejected and hurt. I cried because I don’t know what I am doing and how I got here. And I cried for something I lost. I cried and felt pain for something that is no longer the present. I saw someone yesterday who reminded me of someone I love so very much.

“When the marriage fell apart, I tried hard-very, very hard to go back to some sort of comfort, some kind of security, some kind of resting place. Fortunately for me, I could never pull it off. Instinctively, I knew that annihilation of my old, dependent, clinging self was the way to go.” Pema Chondron

Setbacks are okay. Failures are okay. Not knowing is okay.  Today I fell apart, my nose is raw but I am okay. I saw him and got carried away with the past and lost all awareness of the present. I got lost today, forgot where I am, but I remember now, that I need to move forward, through the sadness, setbacks, and pain.  I will shed this divorce just as a snake sheds her skin, leaving the sad dependent me behind.

 

The Best of the Worst

“Divorce is the worst thing that has happened in my life. My husband doesn’t love me anymore and now I am worthless. I blame myself. My life is meaningless now. I have nothing. I am nothing. How could he let go, fall out of love…I am so unlovable that he couldn’t stand to be married to me and discarded me. He said we failed. He believes we should not have ever gotten married.”

These thoughts consumed me for months. They tightened their hold in a dark embrace and loved me in darkness. Like friends, they convinced me to stay for a while longer.  I lay suffering, tied to the pain, grief, and denial. I surrendered to those thoughts. I was convinced that this way was absolute and life was meaningless.

While my thoughts pulled me further into depression, something small maintained exemption. I didn’t know it at the time. This small something was alive and this softness, led me to see my sister and cousins for support. It drew me to seek therapy. It asked for help, regardless of my guilt and pride. It showed me gratitude, kindness, and forgiveness. It pointed me to Miguel Ruiz, Eckhart Tolle, Pema Chondron, and Thich Nhat Hanh. It stilled me and reminded me to breathe and listen to what is now.  It told me to open my eyes and experience the beauty in the details that I missed because I was too busy thinking, and looking for the big events and objects in life. This softness was life and it saved me from me.

I am reminded of the theologist I sat next to on a plane, when I was plagued with sadness and didn’t know how to explain what had just happened. I explained I was destroyed by divorce and how I was lost. He said to me, “You have been awakened,” to which I replied that I preferred to go back to sleep. I said to him that this just sounded like the type of thing people say when someone has just gone through a traumatic experience, when people tell you that there is a lesson to be learned, it happened for a reason, and you will come out of this a better, stronger person. He said I was given a gift, to find a new path, and invited me to walk it without fear.

I have been graced with the kindness of strangers, family, and friends who have become my pillars which I lean on when I need to rest. They are bigger than life and I see them as beloved giants, these extraordinary creatures who are somehow more magical that fiction. A love lost only enforced and magnified the love that now surrounds me.

Here and now is where I am.  Stripped of my possessions, my home, my ego, and I am left to learn what life simply is. My past has become an obscured painting that I can still see behind a veil of fresh white paint. I have no plans and no dreams. Not yet because I simply do not know. This newly blank canvas is what exists right now and I am investing my time, money, and energy in doing nothing and simply being.

I have lived a life of limited beliefs with a conviction that only caused myself pain beyond the sadness of a loss. I spent my life thinking about what ought to be, when this or that happened, and more thinking and more binding thoughts. I believed in the security of marriage, the automatic reliance of love, and an uncorrupted future that I was sure would happen. I believed if I had the external securities of life, I would be happy and safe from sadness. I was vain and unwilling to see the dichotomies of life and believed I was immune to pain. As I am experiencing life now, it feels big and wild. I feel lost without the confinement of my definitions of what should be, but they have not served me and it has taken an enormous rift for me to see that I have been wrong.  My beliefs have depleted me and now it is time to find a new path by creating a new thought.

So…what if divorce is the best thing that could have happened to me.

Dreaming

I dreamt that my husband told me that this was all a test and that I could come back home now and then I awoke to the sound of his voice calling my name.

Sleeplessness

I slept all day to avoid being alive and now my thoughts are endless it’s nearly 6am. Each thought is filled with doubt and fear. I remember how much I loved him and how that love still lingers. I cry as I write this, pausing between words, feeling angry still for discarding me  and hurt.

I remember how after he told me wanted a divorce, he left the following weekend to Vegas to honor a promise he made to his friends to attend a bachelor party. He keeps his promises to his friends. I remember asking him if he could stay or how perhaps we might take a trip together instead. His reply was no.

I remember asking him to please reconcile and he repeated over and over that he did not want to. I cannot and will never understand why he did not want to try to work on the marriage. I believed with counseling and effort we could have made things great.

I remember feeling invisible around his friends. I would leave their weddings and parties alone because he preferred drinking and partying with them. I remember how seldom he would look at me.

I remember after he asked for the divorce, how he wouldn’t come home and would stay out with his friends, go to bars, and avoid coming home to avoid me. I remember how he told me that he stopped loving me a long time ago and how I was he source of his misery and I believe him.

I remember that I have to find reasons to get out of bed but right now they are hard to remember.

Christmas for 1

The Event: Friend’s Christmas Get Together

Summary: First holiday season solo. I was unmerry, quiet, sad, and my friend said to come regardless. At the end of the evening as I was leaving, I began to sob uncontrollably in my car. I felt abandoned and alone. I couldn’t feel the joy and warmth that surrounded me. I broke and called a friend who answered immediately, which was unusual. He was looking at his phone while pooping he said. This made me stop crying and I was laughing.

My friend has a unique way of speaking in abstract phrases that I have learned to translate only after multiple decades of friendship, but tonight he was sharp, concise, and direct. I also believe he was a little drunk. He told me to pull off the road.

He was stern. My friend, who lives with his own demons, assured me that there is a better life ahead and not to go back. He argued with me as I attempted to relive the past. What’s done is done he said and reminded me of the words our mutual friend said to me, “He doesn’t love you and if he did this wouldn’t be happening…he has every opportunity to reach out but he hasn’t…lose all hope in reconciling to move on…”

I wish I could remember each word he said and every event since that has revealed to me brief moments of hope, of blue sky. I hope that the summation of these short glimpses will form into a feeling and a thought that replaces the old, tiresome ways of a life I can feel absolutely confident to leave behind without looking back.