Friday, February 23, 2007

The Blackness

You are worthless.
No one likes you.
You husband can barely stand to listen to you.
He’ll find some thin, pretty, political strategist to have an affair with and then leave you for her.
And no one will blame him.
Even your son will like her better.

You are wasting your life.
Everyone else – even the guy pumping gas into your car right now – has more goals and chutzpah than you.
You are so lazy, you aren’t even pumping your own gas.

You should be ashamed of yourself.
It’s only a matter of time before you will become completely invisible.
Nothing left.
No evidence that you were ever here.
Nothing of value will you leave behind.

And that will be a relief to everyone who has to put up with you.

Why can’t you talk better, look better, do better?
You had every advantage, and now look at you.

You will never be happy again.
You don’t deserve it.

This was my morning meditation when I was depressed.

It would begin as soon as I woke in the morning and then repeat itself, on a kind of malevolent tape loop, carping on in the background, for the rest of the day. By 11:00 in the morning, I was slouching through the black fog of this incantation, just putting one foot in front of the other. By 2:00 in the afternoon, I wasn’t talking very much. I was just trying to stay focused on keeping on doing the tasks and steps of my day, pushing through these terrible thoughts like I was wading through mud. By 6:00 at night, it was all I could do to get through dinner and get my son to bed. Then I would curl up under the thick, warm afghan on the sofa in my office, the one I knitted (despite my lack of industry!) years ago. I would pray for sleep, not because I was tired, but rather just so I would not have to listen to such horrible things about myself.

I wrote this down one day in December, and reading it today, I can hardly believe that I ever felt this way about myself. I’m glad that I don’t anymore, nor would I ever want to again.

And yet I know I might just feel just this way again. I am watching for clues. Snippets of self-deprecation that pop up. A tendency to dwell on possible disaster. There is a new part of me that watches, like a sheep dog, for any wolves prowling around the edges that might make off with my best sheep.

I suppose if this experience has taught me anything, it is that the best parts of me are worth protecting. And that joy -- in all its golden and playful forms -- is just as much an ability to practice and develop as it is a happy circumstance.


Blue Lass said...

This was my favorite bludgeon: "You will never amount to anything." I wonder what precise number I wanted to add up to?

Anne Custis Kenealy said...

Hah! Good point.

I'm just glad that the fish oil, Sam-E, vitamin D, light therapy, etc. is working. Turns out that I have been diagnosed with SAD or seasonal effective disorder. No wonder I never thought I would make it through February.

Blue Lass said...

February is particularly nasty in your part of the world. Where do you get the lights?