Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Fake it 'til you make it

I've heard this, or some variation of it, a lot since I started this journey.  One of the hardest things about depression is that you feel awful, so you mope around and do nothing, which makes you feel more awful.  Therapists, family members, supporters, and well-wishers all say the same it anyway.  Get up, take a shower, get dressed, put on make-up, do your hair, have a cup of coffee, eat breakfast, even if you have no where to be.  Live like nothing is different.  Unfortunately, depression saps you of all motivation, so things like doing your hair and putting on make-up are simply nagging chores that you don't really have to do.

I suffer from this version of depression, especially now that I'm home.  I don't really have anything to shower for, to put real clothes on for, to eat anything before noon for.  I don't really have the motivation to do these things without specific consequences, which I don't have.  So I try to fake it.  I pretend that I have to be ready by a certain time in the morning.  I consider K's bus pick up my "event" for the day and try to be together by then.  It feels pathetic.  Sadly, I'm still faking it.  I haven't gotten better enough, yet, that I am doing these mundane things without them feeling like they're unnecessary chores.

In a very different context, though, I had a fake it 'til you make it breakthrough!  Last night was my first non-family Wildtree party.  While the hostess is a friend I have known most of my life, it was still my first official, not-completely-a-favor party and I was excited.  One of the things I always want to do is to voice why I'm doing Wildtree.  I have a juris doctor, for heaven's sake.  I feel the need to explain myself.  Under most circumstances, I'm pretty honest about how I landed where I am.  In this group, though, and at a party that was supposed to be fun and enjoyable, I didn't think the "I had a breakdown and couldn't continue to practice" was a welcome topic of conversation.  So my explanation went something like this:

I was working 50 hour weeks and no one was satisfied.  I was missing out on my life, my children were missing out on me, and it still wasn't enough time to satisfy my clients.  All true.  So, I decided to try and go more part-time, which was actually harder.  True.  So I quit.  I wanted to do something that gave me more time with my family because these early years will never come again.  I'll never get missed moments back.  As a happy side note, my kids are thriving.  Where we used to have weekends, while I was able to be home, that they were maniacs and I could hardly move without them clamping onto my legs and torso, I now have days on end with them and they KNOW I'll be here, so they don't need to cling.  I can actually clean my house with my two children at home.

There was laughter in all the right places, knowing looks when I spoke about how quickly childhoods pass, and a general sense of good feeling when I finished.  It was then that I realized that, although I had always seen that explanation as "spun," it was all true.  I focused on the positive aspects of what's happened and  the whole thing felt positive.  I expressed it how I wished it looked and realized that that's exactly how it looks, and I think I've made it.

I drove home last night feeling warm and happy.  Proud, even.  The party went well and I realized that this doesn't have to be some cautionary tale.  I can enjoy this new life and not feel like it was thrust upon me.  Let's even argue that it was thrust upon me, I can still like what I'm doing.  I truly love being home with my kids.  I really like selling Wildtree.  I don't mind having left the stress of my old work behind.  I'm settling in and I'm happier than I've been in a long time.  I'm so thankful that I don't have to fake those feelings.