It’s a matter of instinct, it’s a matter of conditioning,
It’s a matter of fact.
You can call me Pavlov’s dog
Ring a bell and I’ll salivate- how’d you like that?
Dr. Landy tell me you’re not just a pedagogue, cause right now I’m
Lying in bed just like Brian Wilson did
Well I’m lying in bed just like Brian Wilson did.
Lyrics : Brian Wilson ~ Barenaked Ladies
Sometimes the depression slowly creeps up on me.
I can feel it rising in the back of my throat as it chokes out my laughter.
I can feel it in my heart as it whispers, “The world really isn’t a happy place.”
I can feel it in my soul as it fills it with cement, dragging my body down to a turtle’s pace.
I can feel it in my mind as it slips a blanket over my thoughts.
And from the top of the proverbial hill on this bipolar roller coaster ride, I can feel the force of the impending gravitational pull downwards where the infinite sadness will saturate my entire being; the world around me changes.
Just like Pavlov’s Dog*, I am conditioned to retreat to my room, draw the blinds, and pull a blanket over my head as a response to this internal stimuli.
Aren’t we all conditioned like that?
If I allow myself to do that every single day, the depression will grab hold of me tighter and tighter until I suffocate and start to believe its web of negative illusions of myself and of my life.
So everyday I force myself to break old habits.
And I do things.
Even if it is as simple as taking a shower because that is all the energy I could muster up, that is more than not trying at all.
Try, try, and then try some more.
On Good Friday, I silently picked my way through a plate of disgusting fish and chips as our table bustled with jokes and talks of Easter plans.
It was all Charlie Brown-esque to me.
Wha wha wa wha.
I remember Shawn grabbing my coat and then ushering me towards the door. When I got outside the chill in the air hit my face, as did the late afternoon sun. I reached for my sunglasses and said, “I think we need to go for a drive.”
Shawn cocked his head, “Um, sure. We can drive down by the river.”
I opened the sunroof and the wind frazzled my hair. I didn’t care much.
Chunky marveled at the “ship boats”, as he calls them. Shawn talked about something. I think it was about making his mustang faster.
I stayed quiet until I saw the small patch of sand in the distance.
“Do you want to go to the beach?” I asked.
“Sure,” said Shawn.
While there was still a nip in the air and Shawn was without a coat, we walked to the beach.
They walked ahead of me and examined each rotting fish carcass washed up on the shore.
Shawn motioned for me to join them, but I just wanted to watch them; their happy made me feel happy.
And of course we hit the mini park where I was coaxed to hop on this whatcha-ma-call-it.
Can I tell you how fun that was?
While the rest of the weekend went to hell in a hand basket, moments like this….
Slow the ride to Debbie Downerville.
In fact, sometimes these moments can completely veer the bipolar roller coaster onto a level plane for a while.
I just have to force myself to do things that I am not normally conditioned to do when I’m depressed.
And it is helping.
(*If that doesn’t make sense or is a wild erroneous analogy, I apologize. It sounded good in my head when I was listening to Barenaked Ladies while washing dishes. Yes, I am the dishwasher. Anyways, it was a semi “Oh, that sounds really awesome” moment.)