At first, there is the very real, deep temptation to wallow. Curl up in the bed for hours, watch television and eat junk food, repeating to yourself every dark, self-destructive tape in your head. You suck. You aren’t good at anything. You deserve this. You will never be really good at anything. Everything good gets ruined eventually. There is no way out of this.
It’s difficult to avoid playing at least some of the self-destruction tapes, because professional depressives like myself are prone to go to the bad stuff before the good. And if there is anyone ready to pile on the self-blame, well, who has two thumbs and already feels bad about themselves – most days, anyway. Not about everything, and not every day, but it’s there, looking for any opportunity for a way in. Boy oh boy, have there been opportunities this year. So many more holes in the dam than foundation, it may as well be a net.
Of course, this is not the worst I’ve ever felt. I always tell myself that the worst day of my life was the day my Dad died, and I know that will always be the worst, and I lived through that somehow. Sure, the day my brother’s foot was amputated was a new low. The day my best childhood friend dumped me was terrible. The day I had to tell my best friend and roommate to move out was gut-wrenching. Each time a cat dies, they take a piece of my heart with them. Getting fired, oh boy, that is an experience I came to later in life, and your self-esteem takes quite a hit. Having your significant other go through terrible times is a heavy emotional blow. Being ill is super hard. Having a whole bunch of those things happen at the same time? Priceless.
How do you build yourself back up? First, you reel. Then, try to take stock of what you still have. What is the worst part? How can you overcome that? What are your first moves?
Of course, this is a terrible time to be between therapists, and it’s not exactly the right time to go find one. So, I’ve navigating this gauntlet without a net. Oh, except for the previously noted net of self-esteem. It’s flimsy, but there is still enough there to get me back up. My husband, friends, family, and a bit of savings are what is going to get me through.
I’m down, really down, but not quite out yet.