Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Into Focus

I can't remember when I first visited Christine's blog, Coffees and Commutes. But I can tell you that now, I can't imagine a week when I don't seek out her words, rich with truth and insight.

Christine writes candidly about her life as a mother, her career and her life with depression. We both unfortunately walk this life of depression. But gratefully, after reading her posts, I feel human. Normal. Not alone. Her words are like a hand, stretching through my screen and into my soul.

Today's guest post is by Christine. Please read her powerful words and if you don't already, visit her wonderful blog. I'm sure you'll be so glad you did.

Into Focus

I felt a flash of optimism today. Actually it announced itself like a flash, but steadied itself quickly into a flickering light. There it was, dancing calmly in front of me, small, but resolute and strong. With it comes clarity, the kind of clarity that comes with a new set of glasses, my life finally vibrant and crisp.

Because I wasn’t expecting it, it felt delicious and wondrous.

When you start to come out of a dense fog, the glint of transparency seems to sparkle brilliantly. You reflect and realize how overcome your life was by sadness and despair. The new clarity stands completely juxtaposed to the more familiar grey oppression, tantalizing with the freshness of a sunny spring day. For a short time, I reveled in it and was reminded how good life could feel.

When I first fell into my personal abyss and realized that I would need medication to help me out of the sludge of my mind, it wasn’t long before I started to feel better. Within a week the haze started to life, my energy slowly rebounded, my heart’s cadence slowed to a more manageable rhythm.

Now, many weeks later, I believe I may actually be getting better. I’m more myself than I have been in a very long time. It feels like the return of an old friend who you didn’t even realize you had missed, the familiarity bringing a new sensation full of ripe possibilities.

It’s very difficult to describe how pervasive my depression was. Now with clarity, comes the benefit of hindsight and a feeling of sadness for the self who was lost for so long and all that was missed because of it. I feel like whole pockets of the past couple of years have been taken from me, particularly the last 5 or 6 months.

I’m told this is common, that when people begin to feel better they recognize that the struggle was there far longer than they ever knew. The slide was gradual of course, but it was deep. I think that’s the true horror of this illness—how it squeezes a person’s wellbeing in the most secretive way, so that it’s not obvious to the one who matters most—yourself.

But here’s what I now know. At the beginning of this year I set out to find myself. In the process I completely lost myself. Now I believe this is exactly what was supposed to happen.

Until recently I fought it, refusing to allow myself to be lost. That is precisely where the sadness and confusion came from. I was afraid to let go and just be. I thought self-understanding came like an achievement, something to reach. Like a place of souls. When all along it was inside me—right now—right here.

It seems cliché, but I really did need to lose myself before I could truly find myself.

I was so blind I almost missed itI floundered and sputtered and practically snuffed out my own breath in a desperate attempt to discover something that didn’t exist.

A self beyond myself.

So here I am, trying this realization on for size and reminding myself to breathe in the simplicity of a live lived each day. This very moment. Consciously reminding myself, as I do so often with my children—stop, breathe, focus. I feeling my thoughts and allow them without judgment. Testing it out, learning it.

Simple, and yet so hard. Practicing.

Acknowledging that what I feel is real and okay. And then moving on. Deeper. But within the self who I already am.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Denise, for that kind intro and for having me today.

Justine said...

Two of my faves in one. Like a Hump Day special - wait, that came out wrong. You know what I mean! :)

Christine, it's been an honor to be a part of your journey. I think I met you through Kristen @ Motherese and I've been hooked since. Knowing that I'm not alone in the search for my own voice and my sense of self in general is one thing, but realizing that I'm in great company definitely helps me be more confident in my search. Your honesty in your reflections has inspired me more than you know.

Actually this goes to you too, Denise. Sometimes the poetry in your words alone are a balm to my restless soul.

Kelly said...

Christine has a knack for writing simply and beautifully about things that are complicated and gritty. Happy to see her here!

Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri said...

Christine, you have a way of expressing the complexities of your journey so authentically and with grace. There is a trust between the writer and the reader and you always, no matter what you are feeling, aren't afraid to open up completely on the page. This is a quality that is rare and admirable.

Thank you Denise for sharing Christine's words in your space.

Lindsey said...

Bravo for this honest, brave account. Love seeing your words here, in a space I so adore. xo

pamela said...

My dear girl: I thought self-understanding came like an achievement.

Wow. I am going to remember that line because it's exactly how I think. So much of this reminds me of my own journey, how insidious depression can be and how debilitating.

Thank you for this. You answered so many questions I had about myself and you validated so many of my doubts. Lovely.