Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 17 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Accepting sadness in the midst of beauty

I don't know exactly why. Nothing significant happened. Nothing significant was said. We were in the middle of a camping store, and I found some cool dog gear, and I got sad. Then we went to Walmart, and we were shopping for cabin necessities, and I got sadder. I checked out before Bill and Cindy, went to the car, and sat in the grass and cried.

Mourning, sad, lonely...I think I was a little of each. The dog gear reminded me that my boy is getting old, unable to do many of the cool things for which the cool gear was intended. I think I've been coming to this realization slowly, as his body has been slowly letting him down. No fetch, no haphazard climbing and jumping, and very little running... The reckless abandon, which brought joy to his heart and sparkle to his eyes over the past 10 years, is quickly becoming a thing of the past. I'm mourning that loss.

I think the mourning led to a sense of alone-ness while negotiating Walmart with my two best, married friends. We are visiting Bill's family cabins here in Colorado, and every Independence Day much of his extended family gathers here. The sense of belonging among them is palpable. Bill and Cindy are as happily married as two people can be, and of course they are part of that extended family. And then there's me. I don't usually experience this around Bill and Cindy, as I have truly become part of their family, but last night I felt like the third wheel. I was alone among friends.

Puck is my family. He has been my singular partner for the last 8 years. He and I have stood alone. The mourning in the camping store quickly turned to loneliness in Walmart, I think. Projecting into the future never leads to positive results, and that was true again last night. Thinking about Puck's losses led to thoughts of Puck's ultimate loss. Where am I going to be when Puck is gone? Combine that thought with Bill talking about moving away within the year, and it is now seems clear why I felt alone--and sad. My family will eventually change. There will be future losses, and those thoughts made me sad.

So this morning I guess I'm working on acceptance. As the Big Book of AA says, "...and acceptance is the answer to all of my problems today." I'm still feeling sad. I'm not going to fight it. I guess that's where I need to be at the moment. But I'm not going to dwell on it either. Dwelling could lead down a long, dark path. Acceptance is the light at the end of that tunnel.

Life changes. In reality, I don't know what the future holds. Puck may live 5 more years of joyful bliss. Maybe he'll happily adjust to less activity and more leisure. I don't know. Bill and Cindy may or may not move away. Who knows? I may or may not move with them. It's impossible to say and therefore pointless to consider today. Instead, I'll try to go with the flow--soak in the company, the beauty, and the time with my boy. Life changes. I'll work on accepting that today.


Maggie Beth said...

Tears running down my face. I so understand Etta. I do. At 42 I have never married and no children. (that aren't furry! WINK) I am Southern and this 'fact' is called to attention more often than it should be. I had to remove myself from FaceBook because of the 50-something people I grew up with ~ I was it. I was the O N L Y girl never married. And the O N L Y girl with no children. ((Even my 3 openly gay friends have been in relationships for DECADES!!!)) It is one thing to "know it" - it is another for EVERYONE ELSE to know it. ((And for me to look at everyday!!))

It sounds so petty (because it is) but people take this seriously. People "here" ask who you are dating / married too ~ how many children do you have. You say "none" and "None" they are stumped. They don't know what else to say.

In my 20's I was CONSTANTLY told "Oh he is coming! Just wait" in my 30's I was told CONTSTANTLY I was a late bloomer ~ JUST WAIT! Entered my 40's and no one says anything anymore ~ I KNOW they think I have chosen an "alternative lifestyle!!" (LOL!! That just cracks me up ~ but it is true!!) Nothing wrong with that ~ but I definitely prefer men!

I am treated as if "there is something wrong with me" ~ there is no OBVIOUS reason I am not married. Smart, funny, beautiful, etc...SSOO?? What is wrong with her??

It is hard to look pious, judging, people in the eye and say, "You know what!?!?! I lost a decade of my life living in a hell, that would have made grown men piss in their pants!" These are the same men / women who keep "secret" blogs where they bitch about their lives, their partners & their KIDS! And I LOVE this ~ the women who say dreamily ~ "I wish I had been smart like you ~ and waited to marry!" I want to look at them and say, "F#(% you!" But instead I smile, my beautiful Southern smile and say, "You are sssoo sweet." (Bitch).

As for Puck ~ I can't even think about it. Breaks my heart ~ I am sorry. At my darkest hour I wanted to die. PLOTTED to die! Prepared to die!! Do you know the O N L Y thing that saved my life? My dog at the time. I was thoroughly convinced that NO ONE would love her and care for her like I did. So out of obligation to her - My Baby, My DOG!, I did not kill myself. You will never hear me underestimate the place an animal has in anyone's life. I KNOW she was placed in my home by God. I had never owned a dog ~ then right before all hell broke loose she fell onto my lap. I often say, "Angels have feathers and fur!" I am humbled (if not terrified)at the reality that my prescious girl alone saved my life. You love Puck as much as he loves you!!! You embrace him and take day by day....I am so glad God created dogs....((cats..tooo....but not so much!! LOL!)) Sorry this grew so long -- but I am living the dream with you Girly-Girl ~ and don't you worry ~ (I hear!) "Our time" is coming! and it will Etta, it truly, sincerely will." Be at Peace....(hugs) Maggie Beth

Anonymous said...

I think working on accepting your life circumstances is a very wise choice. I know it's hard, though.

As for Puck, I think I can relate to how you are feeling. I just lost one of the loves of my life, my dog, about three weeks ago. He was 13.5 years old. I'm sure puck will be around to keep you company for longer. Maybe he won't behave like a puppy, but dogs can be fantastic partners even when they're tired.

I hope you feel better soon.