Making sense

Anne Lamott, on writing ...

"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out.”

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I got out of bed

I didn't want to. It was already 10:45 a.m. A Sunday, my husband in the kitchen rattling pans. Frying up bacon. The cocker, up and down on the bed, standing on my chest, her tongue hanging: Get up, Mom. I have a ball, right here, on Dad's pillow, and if you get up, you can throw it, and I can chase it and we can start our day.
I pushed her away, rolled over. Checked my iPhone. Checked facebook. Other people, up and moving around. Already back from church, back from Costco, back from the grocery.
Me, still in bed and not wanting to get out of it.
Me, depressed. Bad breath and greasy hair and a creeping anxiety, already. Not even standing and there's the anxiety. The pain in the center of my chest that makes me think a heart attack is forthcoming.
Trying to laugh at myself, make light of the situation, think something else, anything else.
Ordering myself: Get your ass out of bed, Kathleen. Take a friggin' shower. Put on powder and deodorant. Brush your teeth. When you're done, you can get a cup of coffee.
So I did. I listened to myself and headed to the shower. Turned on NPR while the water heated. Oscar talk. Oh yeah, tonight's the Oscars. That's something to live for.
Inside the shower, I perk up: there's a bar of Zum, patchouli. The water relaxes shoulders that have already tensed. Awake twenty minutes and tight there, like I've been at the laptop for ten hours. Patchouli relaxes, a hippy scent that tells me I need to chill.
Downstairs, there's my son. It's his birthday. Oh my god, it's his birthday! There's something to live for. He's twenty-five today. Born in 1988, my post-partum depression so severe that I would call my parents, ask them to please come over, for just a bit. Me, taking long showers, driving around in my Monte Carlo, Fleetwood Mac blasting. Getting medicated, knowing that I needed it. Loving every inch of that sweet baby boy, nurturing him, nurturing myself.
My adult life, then, all of it, lived with depression lurking, anxiety hovering. It's a damn heavy cross to bear, I'll tell you that.
What helps: talking to people, eating oranges, drinking coffee, listening to music, driving aimlessly, windows down, air wooshing in, cuddling with my dogs, hugging on my husband, my children (all adults now), teaching, connecting with others, reading, writing, blogging, shopping at Walgreen's for cheesy you-can-only-get-this-as-a-special-television-offer items.
And getting out of bed. That's where it starts. Pulling back the covers and standing up.

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