Solitude

Depression has been stalking me since Sunday, and it finally caught up with me tonight. I just feel so heavy, like a huge weight is sitting on my chest. It’s hard to draw more than a shallow breath.

I put on Miles Davis (Kind Of Blue) and am trying to read May Sarton’s Journal of a Solitude again. I think it would be good for me to make peace with this solitary life instead of fighting it all the time. I used to crave solitude, desperately, like a brown and withered plant craves water. Now I drown in it after only a few hours and reach, gasping and sputtering, to the TV for company. It stops me from feeling so alone, but maybe it also stops me from feeling.

In the second entry of her journal, Sarton writes: “I go up to Heaven and down to Hell in an hour, and keep alive only by imposing upon myself inexorable routines.” I’ve been feeling the need for routine lately. The job gives me some structure, forces me out of bed by 6:00 a.m. five days a week, no matter how weary I am. When I’m busy at work, the days go by fast and being productive gives me a lift. The last few days there hasn’t been as much to do, causing both the clock and my spirits to drag. I build my weeknight routine around two things: support group on Monday and therapy on Wednesday. I figure I should be able to handle being alone on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but some nights are easier than others.

Weekends are the hardest. I’m still trying to find the balance there. Too much open-ended time is an invitation to loneliness and depression, but last weekend I kept myself so busy that I felt I hardly had a chance to relax at all. One routine I’m thinking of adopting is turning Sunday into cooking day, making meals that I can freeze in individual servings to be reheated during the week. That’s a solitary occupation that allows me some creativity and room to let my thoughts cogitate. I hadn’t done much cooking in a long time – Mike was the cook in our household, whipping up amazing seafood dishes and unique Asian-inspired meals – but I’m finding myself drawn to it again and wanting to expand my culinary repertoire. Besides, I’m sick to death of frozen dinners.

At my therapist’s suggestion, I’m also putting a bedtime routine into place. One hour before I need to be going to sleep, I turn off all screens (TV and computer), dim the lights, and read in bed for the rest of the evening. The idea is to transition my brain from active mode to sleep mode. So far I can’t see any improvement in my sleep, but I do look forward to having that hour with a good book every night.

Four pages further on in the Sarton journal, I find this: “The value of solitude – one of its values – is, of course, that there is nothing to cushion against attacks from within, just as there is nothing to help balance at times of particular stress or depression… But the storm, painful as it is, might have had some truth in it. So sometimes one has to simply endure a period of depression for what it may hold of illumination if one can live through it, attentive to what it exposes or demands.”

Indeed.  But I’m thankful I’ve got therapy tomorrow.

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~ by hourbeforedawn on February 15, 2011.

2 Responses to “Solitude”

  1. Loving you Lira ❤

  2. Thinking of you. Wishing I had strength or words to share.

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