Last week we received our final delivery from the corporate furniture rental company. Aren’t those words sad-sounding? Corporate furniture rental company. So stark and barren. So lacking in warmth.
I was excited about this delivery because (a) it would mark the last time these strangers would show up at my door; and (b) a rug for our living area was arriving with them, and I was planning on it really tying the room together. The piece de resistance, if you will.
What I’m saying is that there was a lot riding on this rug.
The deliverymen left the rug, as I asked, rolled up and leaning against the wall. I admired the pattern and grew more giddy. I vacuumed and mopped the floor. I pushed the furniture aside, bad back and all, and slowly unfurled this thing of corporate furniture rental glory. I pulled the furniture back into place and stepped back to admire the effect.
The rug stinks.
I mean that literally: the rug smells bad. Not like shit–I know what that smells like. Not like a dead animal or B.O. or anything specific. Just…musty. Like an old warehouse. Which is probably exactly where it came from. And I don’t know if Febreze can solve this scent. As I wrinkled my nose in growing distaste, I noticed more. Like…that the rug could be bigger? And could lie down flatter? And could just STOP SUCKING SO MUCH?
Here is the difference between a bad day and depression: on a bad day, a bad rug makes things worse. On a depressed one, it ruins EVERYTHING FOREVER.
The walls have been closing in on me more. It reminds me of the time TH and I went to Niagara Falls and ventured into a haunted house and one of the final features was a pitch-black room that, we came to realize, had no exit. This was scarier than any ghost or minimum-wage worker in a hockey mask. This was terrifying. Claustrophobia-inducing. Panic attack-birthing. Then, I screamed. They let us out, and I ran the hell away from that den of horrors (and to the nearest bar, I imagine).
These days, the solution isn’t so simple.
The depression that reared its head in the form of anxiety back home is different in our new one. In Atlanta, I would wake up wired, running on adrenaline and cortisol, going through the motions like a well-oiled machine in a familiar environment. Here, I’ve been tired. So tired. As previously mentioned, I don’t even need Xanax to wind down at night–I fall asleep almost as soon as I hit the pillow. I feel weariness lapping at me like the waves on the nearby beach, which I visit at least by car daily and you’d think that would help. But it doesn’t keep me from falling asleep over Dr Seuss, Little Brother tapping my face and yelling “Mom-MEEEE!”, my alarm clock through the fog.
Here, depression looks like anger. It looks like an even shorter temper with the boys, and don’t get me started on TH not replacing the toilet seat the way I asked. It sounds like a raised voice and resembles a flat affect. A lot of “I don’t care” and “whatever you want.”
It looks like rebellion: thoughts of jumping on a bus (I’ve never taken the bus; wouldn’t even know the first thing about how; and yes, this pisses me off too) or hopping into a cab and heading for the airport. Except I’m so tired. And I can’t find my passport. Or TK’s water bottle that I left at his school, the thought of which wakes me up in the middle of the night. My 3 am anxiety alarm clock. And is that a possum scratching on our roof?
It looks like Valentine flowers arriving a day late and tossed, in their box, upside down by our front gate, and my inability to see their beauty because how could anyone just toss my flowers around like that and I don’t even have a vase here.
It looks like feeling stupid all the time, but especially when I drive a block on the right (wrong) side of the road this morning and the car behind me honks then passes me on the two-lane street.
It looks like everything feeling like too much and being too difficult.
The other morning I walked the boys to TK’s school and, as we waited for the morning bell and line-up, I saw another mom of a kid in his class walking down the steps. My mind immediately went to an ugly place–those pants aren’t doing her figure any favors–and I looked around, wondering if anyone else noticed. I looked for camaraderie in the worst way possible, which is what a lonely person does. What an insecure person does. What a depressed person does. A minute later, she was sitting near me and a couple of the moms struck up a conversation about all the information we’ve been given and the expectations laid on us and our kids and this mom, she looked at me and said, “I mean, damn. I don’t know what the hell is going on most days!”
I wanted to kiss her. I immediately loved her. We were the same. Who cares about pants?!
So there is this: the kinship born of being in the same boat, confused and uncertain even when this has been your home for years. There is the flurry of morning activity over text and email and Voxer and Signal even as it fades away into quiet later, because that morning activity is my connection to so many who know me, who get me, who love me. Even if I wore bad pants the first time we met, they hung on. And they will hang on. They hear me and respond and there is no falseness, only deep and true connection, and if they came from somewhere then there are more like them, even here.
And there are more like them: there is the instant and forever friend, giver of the wine and “grace” bracelet, and there is sitting barefoot on a couch drinking wine and sharing life. There is the Friday night in a house full of kids and their parents, friends from another continent and life and now ten years later we are picking back up, deeper than before.
There aren’t solutions, but there are people. There is grace. There are prayers felt and understanding given and forgiveness offered. There is a counselor recommended and the possibility of increased dosage and a hair appointment made. There are runs outside and a new pool for laps. There is this messy new adventure we’ve been called into and the ensuing low tide I’ve been navigating and there is this: the moment I step outside on our balcony and think first how ungrateful I am because who could be “sad” with all this, and then I remember that depression is not the same as ingratitude. It is so much more, so much harder, so much more complicated. And grace knows this. So I look up, and the sunset is so beautiful: gold, pink, orange, and purple, and only because of the clouds are all these colors showing up. It’s like a bruise, I think. Which, when you think of it, may be something only a depressed person could see. And it’s beautiful.