This is how I am- I get a text from my husband while I'm on my walk. It says, "Are you at home or still walking?"
I text him back, "Walking." Then a few minutes later I text again, "Do you need to talk to me?"
He doesn't answer.
Now I KNOW that Monday mornings are insane for him at work. I don't know about the government stats but his business has taken a definite upswing lately and it feels as if the economy is slowly healing. So he's been crazy busy at work. It's a one-man operation and he is the man. And so, the fact that he doesn't answer me right away really isn't surprising and shouldn't be disturbing. BUT, my mind, well.
I can't help going every place I can go which is scary and negative. Things he may need to discuss with me range from his health to the possibility that he's met some Georgia woman who loves to hunt and so he is leaving me.
I have to forcibly prevent myself from texting "Are you okay?" which is probably what half of my texts to him say.
I get home, I take off my headphones, my hat, I get a glass of water, I call him.
It's about a business thing. A possible renter for our little plaza. It is not life or death, it is not even really that big a deal. It's a decision that needs to be made. It will not make or break us.
I am so fucking relieved I can't even say. And once again, I chastise myself for being insane. For always going straight to the sky-is-falling scenario.
This is why I hate the phone. It rings. I think, "Oh, someone is in the hospital. Someone has been in a wreck. Someone is in jail. Someone is dying."
Every. Single. Time.
And every time that fear rises up in me, even after I realize it was all (once again!) for naught, I am left with a residue of it. Of anxiety. (It could have been bad. It could have been.)
I know I am not the only one.
The medication I'm on makes it bearable. I don't know what I'd do without my walks in the fields and in the woods, without my chickens, my dirt to dig in, these trees to shelter me, to give me perspective, without my husband, my children.
This is how I am.
I see from doing some reading that the fall equinox can be a trigger for certain people who are inclined towards bipolar disease, towards depression. I take some comfort in that.
Here's another thing- I HATE the term "mental illness."
If so many of us suffer from these things, how can it be an illness? Why isn't it just perceived as something which is fairly normal, albeit something which addressing, which does not need to be ignored? They always bring up the whole "well, diabetics need insulin and people with mental illness need treatment" metaphor.
Yes. Of course. Like that.
I don't know what I'm talking about. Diabetes is an illness. I suppose depression/anxiety/bi-polor are too. I just despise always thinking of myself as "ill." This is just the way my brain works. I wish it didn't. But am I ill? Because I don't like crowds, I don't see the point of random shopping and socializing? Because things are difficult for me which probably should not be?
An illness suggests that there may be a "cure."
Oh, there are a million cures.
Medication of course. And exercise and proper diet and therapy (all sorts of therapies ranging from the proper ingestion of certain psycho-active mushrooms to talk therapy to hypnosis to, oh fuck, I don't even know) and practicing gratitude and giving it all to god and just FUCKING GETTING OVER IT, ASSHOLE!
"I choose happiness!" say one million and ten goddam internet memes, all with golden sunsets or fields of flowers or the sun sparkling on a peaceful body of water.
Which implies that those of us who are depressed or, yes, I suppose what we might call mentally ill, CHOOSE NOT TO BE HAPPY!
Those things make me want to vomit.
It's almost (not quite) like, if you're gay, being told you have a choice not to be.
Oh, how I wish I could just choose happiness. Not that I think that any human being is happy all of the time nor should we. That's not realistic. That's not life.
But when the darkness comes, when the panic rises, wouldn't it be wonderful, wouldn't it be fantastic, would it be the very best thing of all to just...choose...happiness?
What simplistic bullshit claptrap.
I am aware that I can choose to try, every day, doing every thing that helps to keep me moving, to keep me from falling way down to that place from which there feels no escape. And trust me- I do those things.
So do you.
My chickens are so beautiful today in this cool light. A while ago, Elvis stood next to the red blooms of the firespike and the hurricane lilies, his red comb looking like another sort of bloom. It was as if he was asking me to come and take his portrait. "I'm ready for my close-up, Chicken Mama," he seemed to be saying.
The fields are full of beautiful fall blooms. I think about that- how spring blooms are one thing but oh, how glorious the fall flowers are. I would like to think that's a metaphor for human life. For my life being far past the time of spring bloom.
The sky is that blue which only comes this time of year. So blue it puts all the other blues to shame and makes them jealous. The trees rise up into the blue sky, anchored as they are by their invisible roots, deep, deep into the earth. I notice this, it bring tears to my eyes.
Maurice walks through the backyard, strolling from shade to puddles of light. She is orange, she is golden.
I notice all of these things and so much more.
I do not think I am ill. I think I am this way. I think if I could choose happiness, I would.
I cannot but I can choose to pay attention, to accept that this is who I am.
And today it is not so bad at all.