When Kathy volunteered the (now private) archives of her blog for us to sample from on Blog Segullah, I was surprised and flattered and overwhelmed. This post is what introduced me to Kathy. Kathy is who introduced me to Segullah and Segullah gracefully introduced me to all of you. Thanks Kathy and enjoy! —Maralise
Thomas and I made our grand appearance at church on Sunday. (Due to his fragile health we’d had to opt out since we was born six months before.) It was really strange, thinking of all that had transpired since my last time there, and really nice, becoming reacquainted with all the people and feelings that I have long enjoyed there.
I was amazed by how this whole situation worked itself out. A few weeks ago I was worried that I would never want to be there again. But just as my excuse to be home ran out, my desire and capacity to rejoin the community came flowing back.
My relief at this resolution reminded me of an experience I had a couple of years ago. At that time I was struggling to recover from the upheaval surrounding Sam’s birth. He was my sixth child, and the first to have any serious problems in the neonatal period. While he was only hospitalized for three weeks, and was perfectly healthy afterward, the experience shook me soundly. A year later, I was still in a pretty deep funk.
I was talking on the phone with a dear friend of mine, who is a licensed social worker. Concerned that I was becoming clinically depressed, I was describing my symptoms and hoping that she would give me a diagnosis. For some reason, having someone say, “yes, you are officially depressed,” seemed very important, as if I needed that validation to be able to name and own what was happening to me. As I spoke, an image impressed itself strongly in my mind. It was a dolphin, diving into the waves and then surfacing again. I heard myself talking to my friend, using words that didn’t seem to be coming from my own mouth.
“I’m going to be okay,” I said. Suddenly it didn’t matter if I was officially depressed or not. I felt what I felt, and I knew it was temporary. “It’s like riding on a dolphin. You submerge for a while, but if you’re patient you’ll come up again. You just have to hold on and ride it out.”
Now, that may seem really obvious, and I can’t describe why that was such a relief in the moment. Probably because when I’m depressed I’m quite certain I have always felt that way (those happy times were just times of denial) and I would always feel that way. The notion that I wasn’t really “stuck,” and that things would work themselves out without any doing on my part, was like a key to peace.
Those same fears and that same relief have been in play again this past while. I still have not recovered from all the craziness of this year, but I’m less scared about that. I am beginning to understand that I can trust my body and mind and spirit to know what to do. When they need to power down for a while, when they need extra rest and support, that doesn’t mean I’m falling apart, losing my mind, losing my health.
I’m posting this with the hope that I will be able to hold on to this trust. So much of my stress comes from pushing myself. “You should be better by now,” I think. “It’s time to buck up.” “There is something seriously wrong with you, for feeling this way.” I hope I can feel more settled about resting when I’m tired, doing less when I have less to give. And I hope I can better trust life to take me where I need to go. Apparent trends aside, my life is not a downward spiral to hell.
It’s just a dolphin ride.