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Dancing with the B*tch

Guest Author: Annick

This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.

Living and teaching with depression – still able to do what I gotta do, but I have to adapt to that bitch depression’s timetable.  I can’t do class prep too far ahead of the class time because I will forget what I’ve done, and set off a cycle of “Hey, that’s not right.  What am I trying to say? I can’t do anything right.”   

So I sit on the couch and let the clouds roll in, the voices scream.

On the other hand, I can’t procrastinate because once I have completed the lecture slides, feeling pretty confident that I CAN DO THE THING, the two-hour self-doubt freak out arrives every f’ing time.  So I sit on the couch and let the clouds roll in, the voices scream.  The tears flow, I focus on breathing, and letting the emotions run until the bitch gets tired of its dance, and goes back into its corner.  

I can then eat dinner, put on the professional mask, and head to the university.  Walking down the hallway, I breathe deep, swinging my arms like a distance swimmer getting warmed up before the race.  By the time the clock reaches 7:00 I am good to go.  No one knows what it really takes for me to get through teaching a three-hour grad course, but for that time, the bitch stays silent in its corner.  I am tuckered out by 9:30, sitting rather than standing during the case discussions, but feeling good.  

I have learned to not schedule anything for the next day – it’s an on the couch, just happy to be out of bed and hopefully remembering to eat something day, as usual.  I am white knuckling it through depression this time around, doing the self-care and relying on therapy when things get especially wobbly.  I’ve sparred with this bitch three times before thanks to babies and chronic pain.  

I learned that the meds took away too much of what I need to feel in order to focus on why I want to stay alive.  On meds, self-esteem was not even part of the discussion because I felt nothing at all, not good, not bad – just “meh.” Meds removed the fight, the will, the desire to keep moving, to keep loving.

I come out swinging every time.

This time around I feel everything – the light, the dark and everything in between.  My life is scary and hope-filled.  I know that if it’s dark in this moment, it will be light in another.  And I will make it to that other, lighter moment.  The bitch may be sitting over in its corner of the ring, but I am not alone in mine.  And I come out swinging every time.

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