Re-learning Everything All Over Again

I wrote in my last post that I feel a sort of dreary repetition as I recover from this last depressive crisis. Just to really lean into that, I’m going back to a job I left a year ago. At that time I had an offer for better pay and more responsibility and I thought I was moving on to bigger and better things. Now, of course, it feels ridiculous to be going back, tail between my legs, humbled by my own body. It is the right choice, though. I never disliked the job itself, so it will not be unpleasant and I know what to expect. I had performed well there, so was happily welcomed back. I didn’t even have to interview, but instead received an immediate offer from the recruiter. So if I can get over my own embarassment, it will be a welcome change. 

Right now I am in training (since the gap in employment was so long), re-learning, remembering, and catching up. Tonight I realized that I’m basically doing that in a lot of other ways too:

  1. Re-learning how to trust my thoughts and instincts: Increasingly frequent, eventually almost constant, self-punishing thoughts is one of the first signs I am relapsing. After, when I am through the worst and trying to put myself back together, I can look back and recognize the lies, but it causes me to doubt myself for many months, even over silly things. 
  2. Remembering that caffeine triggers anxiety and migraines: I quit the daily caffeine habit, but still have “treats” of sugary coffee drinks or the occasional Pepsi, probably about one every 10-14 days. I had a coffee today and felt fine while I was at work and concentrating, but felt anxious and restless and strange as soon as I was home and sitting still. I just need to let this go, no excuses.
  3. Catching up with the details of life I couldn’t handle: I can track the path of destruction through my life by how messy it ends up. For a minor setback, I might get behind on dusting and miss a few social events, but, you know, it’s mostly okay. Things get a little worse, the house gets a little messier and I might put off things like haircuts and oil changes. It descends from there until I eventually find myself at home in the same pajamas for four days, eating possibly expired ramen noodles, ruining friendships and relationships even when I know better. (I’ve picked fights or made excuses to break up or ignored well-intentioned gestures, and probably worse. Most of my exes are wonderful men who deserved to be treated better. (Except for the abusive ex-husband who cheated on me. Even my particularly rich guilt complex knows that asshole caused his own problems.)) Coming back is just the same process in reverse. Right now I’m taking care of personal hygiene, shopping for and eating relatively healthy meals, and even cleaning up after cooking those meals. The bathroom is clean, the sheets are fresh, and I can get myself to work on time. I know most people can manage all of that stuff every day, all the time, but clearly it’s an accomplishment for me. 

So, basically, I’m still a mess, just in less obvious ways. I’m trying hard to be kind to myself and not feel too much pressure to be “better” all at once or in any particular way other than “not wanting to die today.” Sometimes I can do that and feel proud of the small victories. Other times it is hard not to feel the weight of expectations (from myself and others and also the perceived expectations of others) and notice how short I am of meeting those expectations. 

Right now, though, I don’t want to die today and that has to be enough.