Oh dear, I started this blog with the best of intentions and it all went to hell in a hand basket as my friend, Lee would say. My only (small) consolation is that she’s on the same road to hell that I am, at least as far as her blog’s concerned. I hope that this time I can do better because finally, finally, the funk I’ve been in for years is starting to lift. I hope that it’s more than a temporary break in the clouds. I have no idea why, but then I’m not really sure how I slipped into such a deep funk or why it’s gone on for such a long time. I’ve had blue periods before but, in retrospect, they feel very distinct, like stepping off a ledge. This was more like a slow slide down a gentle incline, I was in a very deep hole before I realised what was happening. Why is the way back up so much steeper than the descent?
In the last, however many years it’s been, my house has turned into a pigsty. It’s not helped by the fact that we are all packrats. My house looks like a junk shop exploded in it. I could see it happening, but had no idea where to start trying to put things right. I think the tipping point was Jamie getting an infestation of carpet beetles in his room. Now, if my house looks like a junk shop exploded in it, Jamie’s room looked like the local rubbish tip exploded in it. I’ve refused to go in it since he was 16 in the hope that he would take some responsibility for keeping it clean and tidy. With hindsight, standing over him with a horsewhip might have been a better tactic. On the bright side, the carpet’s not faded at all because it hasn’t been touched by sunlight in years. So, it took a while, and endless nagging, but his room is cleared and he did 95% of it himself. We’ve moved stuff around and offered to fund redecorating and it looks miles better.
Through all the nagging, I was aware how much of a hypocrite it made me and, when it was done, I felt not a little envious of how clean and spacious it looked. I started on our bedroom last week, slowly working my way from the book pile at my side of the bed under the window and working my way along. I lost count of how many black sacks of junk and rubbish I filled. I found pairs of shoes under the bed that I didn’t know I had! I also found feathers… lots of them! Our cat died 18 months ago and I do remember that, in the dim and distant past, he stashed a dead blackbird under our bed. I know that David removed the bird but the bloody thing must have been bald before it made its final journey to the big black wheelie bin in the sky. You wouldn’t believe how many feathers were under our bed; it was like someone has plucked a turkey under there. It’s a miracle we don’t have budgie’s lung. So far, I’ve sent about 12 sacks of junk/rubbish to the tip, 7 sacks of clothes to the charity shop and I have 4 large boxes of books to go there too- and I need more boxes! It’s not finished yet, but the end is in sight 🙂
I have now started on the room where we keep our computers as I ended up with piles of fantasy and sci-fi books that needed to be put away in here and this room was in as bad a state as the bedroom. I went through my ‘PC bits’ boxes and steeled myself to throw out all the crap that is completely obsolete, like serial port gender benders, firewire cables, old dial up modems. That gave me room to put away the stash of USB and RJ45 cables that seems to have been breeding on my desk. I had a box of boxes and padded envelopes that I’d hung onto because ‘they might come in useful’ that I haven’t needed to touch in years (what sane person keeps a box of boxes?) and so much assorted crap, I was shocked how many sacks I filled – at least as many as clearing the bedroom! Less books though, which was a relief as getting rid of books always gives me a pang. I’ve been ruthless though, if I didn’t absolutely love it, it’s gone.
This is my fantasy/sci-fi bookcase all tidied up and all the extra junk (and dust!) cleared off. I wish I’d thought to take a photo before I started. Suffice to say, there was so much clutter on there it was hard to see the books, half of which were on a tottering pile beside my bed. All of those books are much loved and have been read numerous times. I think the oldest books on there are the first Thomas Covenant trilogy, which I bought in 1980. Slowly but surely I’m restoring order out of the chaos. Having spent three solid days sorting and cleaning, I’m having a lazy day before I’m back at work tomorrow night. I’m finding it hard not look around and think I still need to do x and y and z; instead, I’m trying to look around and think ‘Wow, look at how much I’ve achieved already.’ I think that if I flog myself about how much more I still need to do, I’ll get discouraged. There is also the challenge of getting David to go through his bookcases. Most of the books on his shelves haven’t been touched since we moved in here in August 2002 and many of them have never been read. He has a very bad habit of going to charity shops and coming home with books that he thinks he should read, then never touching them. The books he has read have accumulated in a pile on his side of the bed because there is no shelf space left to put them away. I know it’s going to be like pulling teeth, just like getting him to go through his clothes was (and he only got rid of about 60% of what, realistically, should have gone). He’s also a bugger for buying junk (like old cameras) off eBay. I don’t mind him having his junk, if that’s what makes him happy, I mind there not being room for it, no place to put it away. If he can sort that out, he can buy as many broken down old camera as he wants.
Anyway, I seem to have rambled off what I started out trying to say. The funk is lifting and I want my life back. I want to get out there and start taking photos again. I want to start blogging regularly, to connect with people again and reconnect with people I’ve lost along the way, to write about whatever random thoughts come into my head, without self-censoring, rather than living alone in my head as I’ve been doing for the last few years. I want to start knitting again and have actually ordered some wool for a project: Broomstick Lace Infinity Scarf (yes, crochet, too). If I can find the time, I’d like to start working on my genealogy again. I’d hit a lot of brick walls online, so maybe some days out to various archives are in order.
The main thing, for me, is connecting with people. Today’s post has mostly been inspired by Jeff’s post on Why Do Depressed People Withdraw? This, in particular, really resonated with me:
Probably the most convoluted aspect of this whole illness is that depression itself appears to be very selfish. It’s a mental maze you find yourself trapped inside of, where all you see are your own failures and problems. But you also feel powerless to fix them. And although it is selfish thinking, you constantly strive to offset these feelings with selfless acts. You try, at every opportunity, to show kindness to others, to be generous and compassionate. Then in the end, it’s all for naught. Because ultimately each person, by evolution, has been conditioned to look out for number one. And I just don’t think depressed people have that ability. They spend a lot of time thinking about how sad they are, but they don’t have the ability to change those feelings, even though everyone else thinks they do.
Speaking personally, it also fails because I don’t have the emotional energy to follow things through. You know that road to hell I’m on that’s paved with good intentions? Yeah, some of those are my failed attempts to help others. The desire is there and it’s genuine. I may be a godless pagan, but I had a very catholic upbringing and education and those values stick, plus I’m a big softie at heart (but don’t tell anyone, it would ruin my reputation)and from being a small child I’ve always found it excruciating to witness anyone’s distress.
I wish I could put my finger on why this endless intertia seems to be fading. It would be nice to think that finally getting off my arse and doing something is what did the trick, but I think that’s the wrong way round. The depression had to lift, even just a little, so I could find the wherewithal to get started. Having started, the positive results help keep me motivated but I know that I could turn my back on it all tomorrow and spend the next five years in my head again. I think I’m just going to take it one day at a time and make hay while the sun shines.