There are doldrums, and there are Doldrums. And then there are Dreaded Doldrums. And sometimes the best a person can do is just ride them the heck out.
I know you know what I mean. You've probably experienced them, too. You may even be far better at this than I am, and if so, I hope you'll share your coping mechanisms and help me start a dialogue. Because I need all the help I can get.
I can usually sense the Dreaded Doldrums approaching from a day or two away, and there are things I can do ahead of time to (hopefully) make them easier. Like clear my calendar and get some books in order. Maybe some pencils.
And then the Walking Away From Communication begins. Facebook rubs my skin raw. Emails make me nervous. A ringing telephone feels like a personal violation. Spoken words hurt my ears. I retreat from people, pull myself in and talk in one-word sentences. Others begin their conversations sharply, "WHAT'S WRONG!?", like they suspect I'm angry and they're just protecting themselves by throwing the first punch.
If there are things on my schedule that cannot be avoided, I search the closet for some SuperHero duds, something I can put on like a costume and a mask to hide behind and make people think I'm OK. Often it's just my standard black tee and jeans and boots (heaven help me if I am expected to attend something special). I'll take the time for mascara, even. And I think I'm practiced at this enough to fake the world into not noticing me at all, or at least not noticing my discomfort. But when I'm wearing that Cloak of Invisibility, my mom still sees me and feels compelled to comment. "You never wear anything cute and colorful! You're always hiding!" She's on to me....
I dislike these rough patches. They take time. Days pass as I see them approaching. Days pass as I float along in limbo, feeling nothing and feeling EVERYthing (not sure what's worse...). Days pass as I stitch myself together again, thread by thread. And eventually I'm almost human once more, pretending to be creative and cheerful and sometimes almost believing that I really am. But the patchwork-ed-ness of these tears and repairs are getting dodgy. The older I get, the more threadbare I am....
Writing about Depression in an art blog seems superfluous. Like you can't address creativity without at least noticing the sad dog that follows it around. But I can't ignore it here. I can't. I'm not like those other artists / bloggers, the ones that -- day-in and day-out -- are nonstop Rainbow Brites on espresso, spewing sparkles and unicorns and big puffy hearts. How do they do that??
I envy them. I hate them. I want to be them. And I try....
The bottom line is: no one wants to read about my pain. They don't want me to infect them or expose them to my sad germs! They want me to make their day better, they want to leave here with a smile on their face. And I have to find a way to do that, even during the Doldrums.
Is that what those other Rainbow Brite bloggers have figured out? Do they have someone ghostwriting their posts while they're curled up in bed, trying to sleep the pain away? Or are they lying? Acting all cartoony and full of color when they're not? And if so, doesn't their deception depress them even more?
I wish I knew.
So for the record, feel free to read between the lines here. For every puffy heart and exclamation mark I try to sneak in, please know there's a dark hurty hole that I'm hiding. I don't want you to think I'm being dishonest. But I'm going to try to disguise my inner Sad Girl as often as possible, so that you'll enjoy your visits and come back.
That being said, chamomile or Earl Grey? And the only cookies I have are shortbread. No sprinkles. And please take three; they're small.
*Big sigh and a shaky smile*
SO glad that's out of the way! How have YOU been, my friend?