Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hope Springs Eternal


The title is some line stolen from someone else, but hope has been on my mind these past few weeks, especially last week, as I was locked on the psychiatric ward and medicated, with anti-anxiety agents meant to keep my head from imploding.

I’ve been home a week, and trying to function through the new medications (there are five) isn’t very easy. They warned me it could take a couple of months to all kick in.

My husband Joe is helping me do things like housework and getting me to meetings, but he’s impatient too; as he says, “I just want my wife back!” … the one who only a few months ago was zipping around town thinking, “I love my life!” I want that wife back too.

Major depression doesn’t mean you think a lot about yourself. It isn’t about feeling sorry for myself or sitting on the pity-pot. I was considering this today. I could and I have carefully written down the gratitude lists, and I thank God for the wonderful moments sent my way.

Major depression just feels like a heaviness inside, a darkness that has nothing to do with the external world. It requires a great deal of energy to perform the simple tasks of daily living: washing a cup, putting laundered clothes away, pruning a bush. I’m finding it hard to care about those things.

I don’t sit around and think of ways to end it all, like Sylvia Plath. I’m in recovery from alcoholism, so I have a whole kit of tools in my toolbag designed to help me function in life one day at a time. The addict in me says I really want a massive dose of morphine, and then I would feel fine.

Before I found sobriety, the disease loved my depressions. It told me all was hopeless, really, and I didn’t belong here. Hence, there were many suicidal, self-destructive actions.

Those days are gone now, because there is always hope. The AA program fulfilled my hopes, and blessed me beyond what I asked for. I made a sign, which is today’s photograph, for the Midstate Fair’s garden-sign competition. I worked with old wood and with sunflower seeds spelling out the word HOPE. It won a big blue ribbon, but that’s beside the point. Hope to me means keep trudging, keep thanking God, and believing this too shall pass.
Here’s a poem I wrote this morning. It’s not titled.

I woke at 9:15 for a 10 o’clock appointment
threw food at the dogs, hurled salmon at the cats
and dressed in yesterday’s clothes, yesterday’s hair
mascara smeared halfway to my nose
but I have my earrings on
and I can conquer the world.


Chris Alba (c) 2009

23 comments:

Patty said...

I HOPE that the medicine begins to work for you. How many women get discharged from the psych ward and got out and win a blue ribbon!?! That is awesome!

I can do anything in a nice pair of earrings too. Look out world! It is all gonna be OK. Prayers to you :)

clean and crazy said...

we all have times like these, you sound like you are getting better, hang in there, and keep coming back!!

Tall Kay said...

The good news is that Joe is willing to wait for his wife to get back. Without hope, we have nothing...I love that sign you made. Can you make me one too?

Karen said...

One day at a time, Chris.

the walking man said...

Hope springs eternal in the human breast; Man never Is,
but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home, rests
and expatiates in a life to come.

-Alexander Pope,
An Essay on Man, Epistle I, 1733

Looking to a better afterlife is the place where hope is well received but for now I think it is the power of love that carries us through the depression.

Your love, your old man's love and time saved to love is also an expression of hope that the days ahead are more filled with light.

Madison said...

I wish I owned a pair of those earrings.

lakeviewer said...

Your writing is strong and powerful. Your mind, is a bit impatient, as it wants to get back to its 'normal' state. Patience doesn't come in a pill.

Scott W said...

Sending prayers your way!

kberman said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you as you continue the search for what will help you. It often takes a long time and much patience to accept that life does get better and easier. I love Emily Dickinson's--

HOPE is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I ’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Come visit sometime--kathyberman.com

Monkey Man said...

Sometimes I just hope I can have the faith to carry me through. Walking Man is so right on, Love and the support of our friends, loved ones and fellows can help us through.

Madison said...

I'm praying for you.

sarah said...

an older recovering man once told me, inch by inch it`s a cinch...Sarah

Mom of Opiate Addict said...

It sounds like you keep getting up and trying, that is more than half the battle. Sending light your way to help the darkness fade.

Gabriella Moonlight said...

Oh Chris, I am thinking of you and sending you helaing and Hopeful thoughts that all will work out and the universe is supporting you. Much love and peace to you!!!
Take care!
Gabi

DreamDancer said...

Place an unrelenting grasp onto Hope... claim it! Good luck and blessings to you.

Akannie said...

Hello dear one...

Adding my prayers for you to the pot....look forward to a nice email chat when you're back rightside up again.

Love you, Annie

Shadow said...

i love that with earrings you can conquoer the world!!!

i heard you're back to hospital. you're in my prayers for the veil to lift real soon.

Jessie said...

i know that cold, dank place

i locked my earrings away, then walked inside.

best to you -- i'm going to read your 55 now.

smiles,

diane d said...

Thank you for pointing out what depression IS and IS NOT. So many people would tell me to just "cheer up", "just get up and do it". No one understood that I couldn't. Thank you!

Syd said...

Chris, you are a brave spirit indeed. I like the poem. It captures that brave spirit.

kberman said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you. I had clinical depression for two years when I was 10 years sober. My husband of 15 years left me 3 months ago for another woman. But that tsunami of emotions have enabled me to take a 5th step of guilt and shame I've had since childhood.

I feel free at last. My recovery date is 11/24/76.I know that God can heal anything. And I know how much patience you have to have during this medication process.

I will be praying for you. Love, Kathy kathyberman.com.

Karen said...

Hope all is well, Chris. Where are you?

~ Tabitha ~ said...

What an interesting and thoughtful blog you have here,EnchantedOak :)

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