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.