Rabbit Holes and Gratitude Lists
Note: Sarcastic, funny Audrey has taking the day off today. She is slated to return tomorrow.
I feel like I’m taking another free-fall into the rabbit hole, but I’ve managed to cling onto one of the twisty roots along the side and I can still see light filtering in above me. Fuck this, I am not hitting the bottom again. There may be cute chipmunks down at the bottom of this hole, but there are also cute chipmunks outside of the rabbit hole. See? See how cute they are in the sunlight OUTSIDE the rabbit hole?
I don’t really know what the hell is wrong with me. I can’t seem to get a grip. The start of 2012 was tough: a lot of old feelings resurfaced and as I sat alone on New Year’s Eve, I realized I still miss H I M, NEB, aka emergency exit parachuting dude. I rang in 2009, 2010 and 2011 with him, and I had no reason to believe 2012 would be spent without him. I suppose the non-depressed side of me could turn that notion on its head and say “Thank god you’re not spending another year with him.” Some days, though, I’m just not there yet. Some days, I feel terribly alone. And paralyzed.
This morning I was driving over the Henderson Bridge into East Providence (to buy dog food), and I was overcome by this overwhelming panic and uneasiness. I literally said out loud in my empty car: “How the hell did I end up here? In this small little state with no leaves on the damn trees, where people talk funny and I don’t even have an office to go into each day? Why am I here?” I mean, I could literally up and leave and do my job from anywhere. But here I stay. For how long is up to me. (And I know from experience, it’s not WHERE we are, it’s what we make of WHEREVER we end up in life. But again, it’s hard to wrap your head around… especially when you’re desperately searching for an escape hatch.)
I think these feelings have been exacerbated by seeing a dear friend struggle through a terrible loss, a fresh loss, as in 5 days ago. It hit a nerve with me — seeing her sadness and pain on Saturday afternoon — and, well, here I am clinging to the side of this damn hole holding on for dear life. The person she lost holds a special place in my heart. Even though she doesn’t know it, she gave me strength as I walked down the mahogany paneled hallway of the psych hospital on the day of my intake in late October. With each step forward, I wanted to take 20 steps back. But then I remembered that this person had been in these same hallways and I gotten help. It’s almost like I felt her hand on my shoulder, gently guiding me to my much-needed destination. I did not know her very well, but I will never forget her. She helped me that day.
I spent my lunch hour today in an empty church, crying, praying and then feeling a bit more at peace. (Have you ever cried in an empty church? Crying really reverberates off the walls, believe me.) It made me feel less alone, and it opened up my heart to the possibility of things. So in the spirit of loss and life and putting problems into perspective and trying to extricate my self-pitying head from my ass (and plus, I need a distraction as I cling to the side of this hole), I’ve decided to make a gratitude list. (And my friends who know me and are reading this are probably saying Gratitude list? Church? Was Audrey abducted by aliens?) Anyway, I digress.
Drum roll, please:
1. I am grateful for my friends, both near and afar.
2. I am grateful that churches stay open all the time, so in case I need to cry, I have a place to go where I won’t feel so alone.
3. I am grateful for my job and my income, the roof over my head and the food in my fridge. And the education that allowed me to get to this point.
4. I am grateful that I’ve made mistakes. How else do we learn? Perfection is totally overrated.
5. I am grateful for my family; I know they love me, warts and all. I love them, too. Their warts make them much more interesting (and bloggable).
6. I am grateful for the unconditional love of my pets. They have served as large, furry Kleenexes lately, and for those of you who don’t think animals go to heaven are just wrong.
7. I am grateful for my health insurance, which affords me the ability to get help with my mental illness.
8. I am also grateful for my therapist and psychiatrist, who have been endlessly patient and supportive.
9. I am thankful for my relatively good physical health. I need to be more grateful and use the two good legs I have to exercise more or just take a walk and drink in the world.
10. I am grateful for this mild New England winter.
11. I am grateful for anti-depressants.
12. I am grateful to be alive.
13. I am grateful for clean water, electricity and a modern sewage system.
14. I am grateful to WordPress for giving me this much-needed outlet.
15. I am grateful that I can write and that it makes me feel at peace with the world.
16. I am grateful for chipmunks and other furry woodland creatures.
17. I’m grateful for having one of the best sisters in the world.
18. I’m grateful for having the capacity to give and receive love.
19. I’m grateful for my sense of humor. Without it, I’d be in a padded room by now.
20. I am grateful that Season 2 of Downton Abbey debuted last night on Masterpiece Theater. So, so good.
21. I am grateful for books. They soothe my soul.
22. I am grateful that I was able to write this list, perhaps I’m not as far gone as I thought.
I could probably go on and on — that’s the point, right? So much for which to be grateful, right under my nose. Make your own list. It just might make you feel better.