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this wellness program is the only thing not falling apart

Monday, December 06, 2010

Thank goodness for SparkPeople. I couldn't manage a complete fitness and nutrition program without the structure/templates and the marvelous support. Plus, we all know exercise is a great way to battle depression, and I know that it's helping on that front, too. I am very proud of myself for my commitment to this lifestyle change.

Thing is, it's just about the only thing that's not disintegrating. Caveat: my situation is a walk in the park compared to most out there struggling. I'm embarrassed to even give details 'cause it'll all seem so minor. I'm enormously grateful for the many blessings and advantages I enjoy. That said, I've got 30 years of depression (unrecognized for most of that time) and deeply ingrained coping mechanisms. My life has been a collection of fictions, all of which are anchored in my being -- no, in my projecting the image of -- a strong, independent, self-sufficient person.

It's been 10 years since I admitted there was problem and sought help. Took me years, though, to stop lying to myself and my therapists and my friends. I *was* my fictions, and now they're crumbling. So what am I now?

I'm sure this is good and healthy in the long run. I'm sure I'm now finally, truly on the way to having an authentic, fulfilling life of my own. But, good God, right now it's hell. I've never felt so bereft.

Dissociation has always been my avoidance mechanism of choice (in a mild way, mind you). When facing things, on the other hand, I've always told myself that if I just tried harder and really put my mind to it, I could become the person I'm supposed to be and fulfill my potential. If I tried harder, I could find a nice boy to settle down with... heck, just to date! Couple years ago I finally admitted that I'm just not into *guys*. So the biggest personal fiction crumbled.

Professionally -- which is where I focused all of my energy -- if I just applied myself harder I could get over my stuckness and really flourish as a performer, a conductor, a composer. Those were short-lived projects, but now my years-long, highly successful pursuit of academia joins that list of fictions.

Meanwhile, because of my erstwhile independence (read: shyness, reticence, insecurity), my circle of friends is small, and I don't really know how to turn even to them for support. Rather than being a rock of strength, I'm a whining, pitiful depressive finally catching up on 30 years of unfelt feelings.

Did I mention I'm turning forty next month? I've never been a numbers person, but this one is really hitting me hard because rather than making good on all those fictions (lots of people do it!!) they're all falling away, and I'm left with nothing.

My friends reassure me that this isn't so. They're marvelously supportive when I let them know what's really going on. I'm not really by myself anymore than I ever was, but now I'm feeling it. I'm letting myself feel it for the first time.

That's what's going on with me, and it's why I've avoided blogging here. Just a couple of weeks ago I took my long-anticipated profession off the table and decided to put the dissertation on hold while I get a job to pay rent. I'm feeling like a failure and a freeloader and I'm crying every day. (I've never been a crying depressive; I'm more of a can't-feel-anything-deny-all-e
motion sort of gal.)

I may be on the pity pot, wallowing in self-pity, throwing myself a pity party -- but if I've never cut myself any slack and I've never given myself permission to *feel*, don't I need some time to break down? My whole life's been fake it 'til you make it. I need to be real for a while.

Short blog posts are much more sensible and readable; I'll be appalled when I see how long it really is. But I really need to vent somewhere, and this is one of the last safe places for me to do it. I've already bent the ears of my friends.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • VAJRA82
    What an amazing moment in your life, Bellcat. Agonizing, I'm sure. But as a musician, I'm sure you can relate that many of the greatest works of humanity are those that tear out our hearts and kick them around a bit. Remember that there is another end of this experience, and you'll reach it - you'll emerge strengthened and renewed. In the meantime, try to keep your curiosity about you as you observe the process of growth and mourn the death of the person you are leaving behind.

    2628 days ago
    Great comments have already been made so I'm not sure I have anything left to contribute. I'll just share my experience with "special" birthdays. The weeks leading up to them are awful. I get all weird and worry about how I'm going to feel. Then once they pass, I'm fine. I say...Oh so this is 50. No problem. I don't know why I was worrying. I didn't turn into a different person.

    2629 days ago
    From what you've said, I see this crumbling away of "fictions" more like the sloughing off of a cocoon. I know that it sounds hoky, but you are becoming the person you were meant to be.
    2630 days ago
    Very candid blog and I'm sorry to learn that you're going through a very hard time right now. Try not to focus on what you haven't done in your life, but the things that you want to accomplish going forward. Although it doesn't seem like it now, you have more control over you present situation and your future than you may think. We can be our worst enemies sometimes when it comes to judgment. Really think about what you want for your future and break them up into manageable small steps that will lead to achieving them.

    You're stronger than you think, and it's ok to not be okay, as long as you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again....

    If you need an ear, feel free to contact me.


    2630 days ago
    Possibly you are like the tree that loses it's leaves in the Winter in the anticipation of new growth in the Spring. On Friday I will be 61 years old. I am happier and more content than I have been my whole life. I have had a great therapist for the last 4 years who has taken me through a lot of tears and pain. I had to get it out to heal to make way for the new growth. emoticon and we are here to help you through this. You are in the storm and there will be clearer skies ahead for you and new growth that you can only imagine with Awe! emoticon
    2630 days ago
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