I believe it was noted philosopher Frou Frou who once said, "There is beauty in the breakdown." I sure hope that's true. Yesterday I had a breakdown in grand fashion, spending most of the day sniveling behind a closed office door, sternly telling myself to pull it together and writing myself overly hopeful To Do lists in an effort to bounce back quickly.
It didn't happen. I didn't really pull it together until I got home, and that's only because I had to be a mom and not a mess. In the meantime, I'm stuck here at the bottom probably for a while. And that's okay. I think if you hit the bottom of the barrel, it's good to just mill around down there a bit, scraping up the rust, checking things out, examining the dregs.
Here is the one thing that I learned from yesterday, and I think it's pretty valuable. If you look back at the posts on this here blog since, oh, June? Before that? You'll see I've been laughably depressed. It's like now, how I look back on my pregnancy with Madeleine and say, "Oh. Oh, you poor thing." Because that was a good nine-month span of depression right there, and I honestly had no idea.
So that's the thing. Lately I've been laughing about my lack of a highlight reel at work, proclaiming that what I have is a lowlight reel. "I'm here to make your highlight reel look even better," I say to anyone who will listen. Now let's all laugh. Something terrible happens? Let me turn it into a funny story and tell all the people. We're all laughing! See? Life isn't that bad. Because we're still laughing.
Yesterday, staring at my computer screen and wishing desperately I could go home to a quiet, empty house, take a cold shower and sob uncontrollably for seven hours or so, standing right there at the motherfucking bottom of the barrel, I realized there was nothing remotely humorous about my situation. Not a yuk to be had. And I felt relief. And I just could not stop crying.
Because suddenly I was actually feeling every single bit of sadness I'd been harboring since way back forever ago (it feels like). My hiccuping, sobbing, swollen, puffy-eyed mess of a realization was that in my interpersonal life I have been tamping down all the bad feelings, using humor to get through the day. That's all well and good, but not if I'm letting it numb the other feelings. Not if I'm not acknowledging that there's real work to be done here.
I feel better today. I mean, I'm exhausted and my eyes are gummy, and I'm not going to put any money on the idea that I won't find myself crying about something at some point in the day. But so far, the view from the bottom of the barrel isn't so bad. You can only look up, right?