Monday, January 16, 2012

where I have been

Oh, there you are…!

and here I am…

and you look so far away and yet so close
because so many days have been like holding a telescope the wrong way 'round.

Making the days of splashing and beaching and camping and swimming and reading and family time and relaxing
seem so close
and so far away
all at once.

So close I can almost touch it.

So close that some days, the wall of glass lifts and I feel the good that is this, my beautiful life.

Other days…most days…
the world has moved away like it's on trolley wheels and set up stage
on the other side of the wall.

And no matter how hard I've tried, or how much I've willed it, I can't seem to make it through the glass. To feel the good and the beauty and the fine I see, right before my eyes.


is depression.

This is crippling anxiety

and dim, shapeless fear.

This is fog and muddle,

hopelessness and panic and sad.


is the part

when the world slides away, or you think it does.

When you find you've somehow stumbled and ended up deep in the hard dark;

when you realise you are, in fact
spectacularly unwell.


is when you call for help.

You do. You do. You must.

You call for the counsellor. 
She in turn calls the Black Dog Institute to see how quickly the Depression Clinic can see you. She calls you during the week to check how you are. She calls on the weekend. She says, "Call any time."

You call for the naturopath. 
She gives you herbs and checks on you within two days. She wakes up, she says, thinking about how you're doing. 

You call for the doctor.
You visit him and he in turn immediately calls an acute care mental health team. They come a few days later, visiting you at home. (Imagine a S.W.A.T team, rappelling—with the kindest eyes—through your window). They in turn call psychiatrists. They find one who can see you as soon as possible. They call you back the next day. They check up. They check in.

You call for the psychiatrist.
He is calm and calming. He suggests medication. He says, "Know this—this is treatable. There is every chance you will get better." He says you need to come see him, every week for a while.

You call for your sister.
She takes you out for the day and has you do silly things, like let her teach you salsa dancing in the movie theatre, right there in front of the screen and with all the people arriving, while you wait for the previews to start. She makes you laugh, and she listens, and together you buy matching t-shirts that you wear for the rest of the day. She drives you home when you miss your train, all the way from Sydney, a three hour round trip, just to see you home safe.

You call for your mother.
She checks in almost daily. She visits and pays attention to every word you and your children say. She says how much she loves you, loves you, loves you.

You call for your children.
You talk of worry holes and how they can grow. You tell them that you are sick, and getting treatment, just like someone with diabetes, or a broken leg. Then you tell them you have to cancel a promised, planned, so-exciting overseas trip to see family, because you are so unwell. And they understand. They understand. They love you, love you, love you. Love pours from their sweet hearts.

You call your husband's family overseas.
Well, your husband does. He tells them the trip is postponed. He says, "But we love you so much." And they say, with immeasurable kindness, "We love you so much too. We understand. Just work on getting better." You feel their love palpably; it flies all the way over the desert, over the ocean, right there to you.

Most importantly,
you call for your husband.

And, with trumpets blaring, he comes riding in. There, do you see him? On his white steed, galloping. Armour resplendent. Spear raised. Flag flying.
He comes for you.
He is there, every single moment you need him. He is your white light. Your saving grace. Your true love.

And there are more calls you can make.

To friends—you remind yourself you have them. They will come—you know they will—when you call.

You have the sea too, and the mountains, and the rain.

The dog, who lies on your feet by the couch. The kitten, who lets you lie next to her and hold her paw. The frogs, who have made a home in your pond. The cat, who lets you kiss the top of his head.

Online friends. There they all are: she and she and he and she. Here is love and care and kindness, waiting.

And yourself, of course. You have you.

Calling out,
and keeping on calling.

You tell yourself: Remember, please.

The sky at dusk. How your body feels after a swim or a bike ride. How the sun feels. How the clouds look as they tumble over and over themselves, riding the mountain. The sound of rain on the roof. Your husband's eyes when he kisses you. The feel of your children as they come to wrap their arms around you.

Remember, please, that the fog lifts.

Believe, that it will lift again, and again, and rise until one day…
you will be so busy smiling, the skin beside your eyes crinkling,
so busy laughing with your children and cooking and learning and loving…
it will take you ages to notice the fog has completely gone.

Love to you all.