Dog paddlin’ along

My therapist has this vision of me in the water, holding onto a buoy for dear life. This buoy is labeled “Depression”. Meanwhile, all of my support network– my family (at least the ones that care) and my friends– are in a boat, rowing in the water, calling for me to swim out to the boat. The water is just a little wavy, but I’d rather hold onto the buoy than to take a chance and swim out to the boat, where the love and support I want and crave is floating not too far away.

I thought that image was so powerful, and it did hit me right on the head. Sometimes, I do tend to hold onto the Depression buoy and just sink into the pit instead of fighting and trying to swim out to where I need to be.

Another interesting thing my therapist said: If I stay on that buoy, I will die. She was not surprised that I went into the partial hospitalization program. It was just another way of me holding onto the buoy a bit longer.

I had that talk with her a couple of weeks ago, about the time that I wrote the post about me decluttering my computer desk. I got one section of my desk area completed. I still have a long way to go. But, I am just dog paddlin’ along.

I’m trying to tell myself that I don’t need to do everything perfect. I don’t have do everything. What matters most is my family- my husband and my twin sons. They’re the ones who need me most right now. If I can’t take care of myself, then I can’t take care of them.

When I was younger, I was totally afraid of the water. Completely. I would not put my face into the water at all. But, my grandma taught me how to float. I did have the unfortunate experience of a swimming teacher who made me jump into the water and made me dog paddle over to the other side of the pool. I was a terrified 7-year-old, but I did manage to do it. Ironically, I grew to love the water, and became a competitive swimmer in middle school (freestyle and butterfly races; and synchronized swimming.)

So, as with my younger experience of facing my fear of swimming with dog paddling, I need to face my fear of falling into the depression pit/failure by dog paddlin’ through life, one stroke and kick at a time. It’s going to be messy, and I have to deal with that. But I need to get into that boat.


12 responses

  1. Ditto FXSmom. lol. I’m afraid of water! I can’t swim in a pool because I’m allergic to chlorine but I love wading in the ocean. But the ocean is so huge and so vast, it creeps me out because I have this fear I’ll be swept away from NJ to England! lol

    You know, it took me a while to get over my fear of water. I don’t know what I’d do if I were allergic to chlorine. I can see how the ocean’s tides would scare you!

  2. This was an absolutely wonderful post. I still don’t know how to swim. lol but yeah…I think I can doggy paddle.

    Wow.. thank you! I love your writing, so hearing your praise means much to me.

  3. Wow, that is a very powerful analogy. So powerful in fact I can’t come up with anything funny to say at all.

    I was knocked for a loop when my therapist told me her analogy, too. It is quite powerful. You don’t have to say anything funny; just your coming here to comment makes me smile.

  4. Ironic thing, every “helpful” or well meaning friend/family member could tell you all of this and more, but you are your own person, with your own mind and thoughts and need to get to these conclusions yourself! I’m so glad to see you are making baby steps toward recovery.

    We call all be in the boat, calling your name, and you will swim over at your own pace, when you feel safe. WE love you and are so happy you are realizing that you don’t have to do everything, you don’t have to be everyone, and you don’t have to be perfect. You are perfect just being Michelle.

    That is so true, JQ. I am taking very tiny steps, almost too small for me to see, but I hear from my DH that I am making progress, so that’s good. Thank you so much for the encouragement!

  5. Poop, I thought we were on a bus…..
    Were rooting for ya BTM!

    I think the bus broke down after Greybeard skipped town 😦 Thanks for the cheering section, Wulfgar! I appreciate it a lot!

  6. YES!!!!! Could you please kiss your therapist for me?

    Will be here in the boat cheering you on.

    Hi sweetheart… not so sure on the kissing, but I could give her a high five. 😉 Thanks for the cheering. I am getting better at hearing it and paddlin’ toward the sound.

  7. I mean, short version: If you stop fighting, you’re gonna be consumed. And no boat large enough will be able to pluck you out. So keep fighting.

    Excellent point, J. It doesn’t matter how large the boat is if I don’t keep fighting. That is a great point for me to remember. So, when are you going to publish your first book? 😉

  8. ALRIGHT!!!! You go girl!!!

    been wondering how you were doing…power has been out since IKE hit so i couldn’t check up on you….glad to see God was listening, and sounds like you are too. keep paddling.

    >So, as with my younger experience of facing my fear of swimming with dog paddling, I need to face my fear of falling into the depression pit/failure by dog paddlin’ through life, one stroke and kick at a time. It’s going to be messy, and I have to deal with that. But I need to get into that boat.

  9. Hi sweety, depression is hard but just take your time one day at a time…
    I like to picture you not fighting to swim over to the boat, but of you relaxed and floating straight towards the boat.

    I think if we can find a way to relax and float we will do better. As soon as I figure it out, I’ll let you know, & if you figure it out before me let me know.

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