May 08, 2012
The Same Thing, ME Newsletter, Vol. 5, Issue 19
Hiding under a tarp
When I should have
Taken up on a boat
Water rising, I’m still
On this rock, now
An island of my
Q: If depression is a disease, how do you see it?
A: Like a virus I want to get rid of, flush out
Q: What does your grief look like?
A: It doesn’t look like anything.
My answer is met with expectant silence, an unspoken, "Go on...", so I begin to describe how it feels, in images.
A: I suppose it would look as if I am in a smoky, egg-shaped but constantly warping viscous bubble - with a 360 degree view: semi-transparent from the inside out, but nearly opaque looking in, like glassy volcanic ash sliced thin enough to create glass panes.
Q: What’s outside?
A: Wide open spaces, green grass, fresh air, trees, a warm breeze. My imagination vividly colors that should be there. What I am seeing through the bubble… I know is not right.
Q: What would it feel like to be outside the bubble?
A: Like being in a picture and not belonging there.
Q: Like “What Dreams May Come?” (ref. 1998 movie, severely panned by critics. I don’t so movies much, and ironically, I am quite fond of this one).
A: No, more like a photograph.
Q: Are you on the ground or floating.
A: Neither, I just… am. Like a cut-out picture of me from another time, glued photo shop style onto a sunny afternoon in central park.
Q: Two dimensional?
A: Very much so.
Q: What does your grief feel like?
A: Electric, bright, yellow and white and every shade in between, strong flame, but no heat. Swells up inside me like an energy trying to escape, demanding release. It overwhelms me because it wants out.
Q: And what do you want?
A: I want it to go away. I want it gone, out.
Q: So, you and your grief energy want the same thing?
A: Wow. Yeah.
Q: Maybe you could work with it instead of against it.
A: Yeah, maybe I can negotiate instead of cramming its head down using my hand as a plunger.
I giggle a while at that. Negotiate with my grief. Go figure. I have the power.
Q: You haven’t talked about friends much. Things are better?
A: No, I’ve just dropped out. It was the only thing left I had to care about, and now I don’t.
A: Yes, exactly! That’s the word I use. They always talk about “engaging” at work, so I have been joking that I am disengaging. Only I’m not joking. I have, which means I’m going in the opposite desired direction, more alone, cutting myself off more.
A: Because the only thing that makes me happy is making other people happy. But damn, it seems the harder I try, the more resentment I get. It’s unappreciated and makes people uncomfortable. If you don’t give enough you’re selfish and self-centered. If you give too much, you’re grandstanding and making other people look bad – in their own eyes, anyway.
I almost let the therapist in on my biggest secret, but didn’t. I redirected by mentioning one of the most ridiculous requests I ever received at work this week and how unbelievable it was.
He said one word: Stupid. I agreed, and time was up.
Later that night, I took a call from a fired up friend in response to a previous Midweek Encouragement post. “I told you years ago,” she said, “You can’t skip stages of grief. You’re doing yourself, Jeff’s memory and the world a disservice. And you are too creative to stay where you are. You need to move, or change jobs. Find your way back.”
I can’t even consider that right now. I just want to make it through the winter.
Posted by jaselin at May 8, 2012 01:29 PM