Have you ever experienced the phenomenon where something captures your imagination, draws you in, and you can't explain why, particularly when it doesn't have the same effect on others?
This happens to me more often than not--something reaches my spirit when I am discouraged, and bolsters me, despite the way it does not elicit the same response in others who are close to me.
I made J. watch Rent last week because when I watched it the weekend before, the music found a sore spot in me and somehow soothed it. He didn't get it. At all. I suspected that might be the case. My emotional ups and downs are mysterious to him, and while he sympathizes when the darkness seeps back in around the edges, he doesn't really understand it.
And I'm not entirely sure why a story like Rent seems to help hold the despair at bay. Something about the "No Day But Today" numbers speaks to me ("there's only now, there's only here, give in to love, or live in fear"). I think the sense that love offers hope in the midst of despair is what my mind is latching onto. And I'll take it.
I've felt more fragile lately, more likely to shatter when something overwhelms. Oh, part of it is definitely circumstantial--my grandmother's health is slowly deteriorating, and I am slowly coming to terms with the knowledge that, despite our next visit south being only a few months away, she may not be there then--but I don't think I can attribute it all to that. My fears pile up more swiftly than they usually do, and little triggers have suddenly transformed into larger ones.
I experience high levels of anxiety about driving, particularly at night or in the rain; my reaction to my grandmother's news about how she's doing sends me into a spiral of grief, often followed by nausea (a typical reaction to stress for me); and I'm beginning to find groups of people overwhelming again. None of these are good signs.
My response is, at least, healthier than last time. My first couple years of grad school were fraught, in part because I knew something was wrong but I didn't know what it was (lesson learned: depression does not always look like the symptom list, and being able to function with it does not mean that there isn't a problem). I avoided people and would "forget" to bring lunch with me to school. I'd escape home to hide as soon as classes and my shift at the library were over. I had a couple social get-togethers that seemed safe, and those were the only ones I went to. I was keeping up with my coursework and my grades were fine, so I had to be fine, right?
This time around, I'm deliberately seeking people out. I even joined a mum's group, and that's a little atypical for me. I screwed up my courage and drove in the dark to knit night last night. I'm participating in the Lenten book study at church (of course, it's a Richard Rohr book, so I'm excited about that). I've started doing yoga. I make sure E. and I get out for a good long walk every day. I listen to music that encourages.
It helps. I don't know if it'll be enough, but it helps for now.