In the spirit of over sharing because that’s how I’m rolling this week:
Once upon a time I had a serious issue with depression: like years and years of depression that went untreated. But then I had a lot of therapy and a few years of drugs and some more therapy coupled with intense body work until finally my depression went away and only rears it’s angry, ugly, reclusive head when I’m overtired or overwhelmed. It’s also seasonal and I can count on the first week of the fall time change to totally kick my ass. Isn’t it cool how I was tired, overwhelmed, and subject to a time change all at the same time. (Got that trifecta of bleech over with!)
So what do I do? I become reclusive and do the bare minimum socializing and interactions because being with me at these special times is a little like being with Debbie Downer. I can find the rain cloud in your bright sky. I can poop all over your birthday cake. I can manage to make that smile turn upside down.
That is until I started being all grateful and shit.
I made myself keep up my “#instagram #gratitude” project over that first week in November. And a couple of those days it was a damn thankless chore. Gratitude? Because it was flippin’ dark by 5 and I work until fucking 7 and it’s tricky to get together with friends for early school night suppers? Yeah…whatever…Gratitude? Sure I’m grateful I procrastinated the shit out of a deadline and missed a window of opportunity to return to school this spring. I’m old dammit and time is wasting…no one to blame but myself.
By Wednesday, I lost my hair shirt because I was in earnest following the advice of a psychic I had seen a couple of weeks before. (bite me) She explained I needed to do some psychic clearing/cleansing and the best method is a salt bath and scrub. I was a little disenchanted by her advice because surely she realized—psychically—I don’t have great access to a bathtub. My last big hurdle with my stupid back has been safely and confidently getting in and out of a bathtub. If there is a big grab bar, I can do it and feel safe lowering and raising my big clumsy ass body. I love baths so much that my only hotel room requirements are (a) no bedbugs and (b) a bathtub.
I am a huge believer in the mind/body/spirit connection when it comes to emotional health. I also believe in bodywork and the act of cleansing the body can detoxify the mind so I was motivated to clamber in and out of the old pink tub in the rickety yellow house.
Did I mention the stopper doesn’t work? The mechanism is disconnected from the hinge thingy inside the wall so if you put the stopper in you can’t delicately flip it back up to watch the toxins from your body and your psyche was away. Nope you’re stuck with a tub full of sullied water. Fortunately, I’ve weathered tubs like this before (oh for about 7 years before remodeling) I’m skilled at pulling the stopper up and out with a short thin paring knife. In fact I think Moen should make special knives just for this task.
Getting in the tub was easy. Hell, if I can plank for over a minute I have the strength to lower my body into the tub. It was getting out that scared me. The baths I’ve taken since my accident in February were all carefully maneuvered with either help (in Las Vegas) or grab bars (a couple of nights in Denver). Monday night, before I even dabbed a big toe in the pink tub at home I did a dry run. Why yes I did climb into my tub fully clothed sans shoes and socks. I made sure I could maneuver around and brace myself to a kneeling position and then a standing position. I even had my phone in case I got stuck and had to call Mr. B to drive over and pull my sorry broke back ass out of the tub. I was thrilled when everything went smoothly and I managed to get out of the tub without a twinge or lose of balance. I even had a plan to make sure the tub surface would be dry under my hands as I braced myself up to a standing position.
That first bath was heaven. Heaven. I felt like a new woman. I felt the depression lift up and loft away like one of those scary smoke things in Harry Potter. I felt enveloped in a shimmering white light of healing and protection. It was the best bath I’ve ever had. Even better than the bath after a disgusting twelve-hour day on a Cambodian chicken bus.
Almost every night that week I reveled in my isotonic solution and allowed all my dark stuff to float out of me and then down the drain. I meditated, visualized, and practiced all sorts of delicious Cognitive Behavioral theraputic exercises. By Thursday I stopped feeling like Debbie Downer and more like myself. I even accepted a dinner invitation and didn’t rush out of the office to my bath tub.