The Vortex Nipping at My Toes

For the past 10 years or so, I’ve been working through depression. Counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, antidepressants. My counselor, a wonderful person who will be retiring in October, has pulled me through some massive issues; I’ve learned to make use of the cognitive behavioral tools so I no longer feel the need to never express anger or to shut myself up physically and emotionally; and after several attempts at antidepressant therapy, I’ve gotten on a very low dose of Prozac which I’ll be on probably for the rest of my life. How do I know the Prozac works? I went off it when I felt too normal to be on an antidepressant. It took months to regain balance. When I’m not on that very low, maintenance dose of Prozac, I feel a vortex nip at my toes trying to pull me down into a whirling pit of inhumanity. That’s a bit dramatic, but anyone who is destined for lifelong Prozac or Zoloft or whatever understands that ever lurking threat of loss of balance. I picture the vortex in my head when it threatens me. I imagine myself in an empty room, an infinite room – the walls may be white, but they’re so vast I don’t feel them. But in the corner of that infinite room on the floor is a small, ever moving, ever changing whirling inverted vortex. It’s sneaky. It can reach out and try to pull me in. It can lurk trying to trip me up or let me fall in. I have to constantly be vigilant so it doesn’t trick me into oblivion. More drama.

The past couple of years has been both bad and good. I’ve been maintaining, working at being the person I want to be. At the same time, however, I have not been taking care of myself the way I should be taking care of myself. I’ve been living in my parent’s basement while we work at putting in a new house. It’s not easy living in my parent’s basement. I haven’t taken the time to write or even read the pile of books waiting for me because I feel so temporary, in the air, displaced. My space is not my own, and I never knew how important having my own space was until now. I’ve been locked into waiting mode. In the meantime, I’ve worked to keep my relationship with my husband alive, to keep a relationship with my parents so I still have parents when we finally leave; I’ve worked at everyone except myself. I’ve gained weight (a lot), and I have not been exercising. Every year pain and mobility becomes more of an issue. The pain increases and the mobility decreases. That’s been an exponential crisis this last year and a half in my parent’s basement.

This week the house is starting to get built. It’s a modular, so the house itself is in a factory somewhere getting built, but we have excavation and dirt and next week we’ll have cement. We’ve waited so long for this.

Perhaps being inspired by our new dirt, I’ve gotten back in the pool. This time, I’m taking a class once a week called Aqua Mixx, which is a combination of core exercises, aerobic exercises, and “weights” in the pool. I like it. I’m also getting in the pool once a week and running. That’s been interesting – difficult. When I get out of the pool after running for a half hour or 45 minutes, I can barely walk. It helps to get in the whirlpool afterwards. I’m sore the next day, but pleasantly so. I’m going to try this combination through the end of the year at least, twice a week. Staying to exercise after a 10-hr work day makes for very long days, and adding the drive-time and my current levels of fatigue, “difficult” is an understatement. But it makes me feel good to be doing something again. Good enough that I could open up my little laptop and write this.

New house, new goals, new hope. I still have to be patient, but more importantly, I have to be more mindful of my own needs, physical, emotional, mental. I can do this.

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