There is a reason I live on the water. I’ve always found peace in it. I love the creatures that share their lake with me. I love the gentle motions of the boat. I love the sounds of the docks, the ducks, and the older boats creaking as they rock. But I was reminded tonight of one of the biggest reasons I love being near the water.
I’ve been battling depression on and off – mostly on – for the last couple of weeks (for years, actually, but the last couple of weeks in particular) . It has had its peaks and valleys, but I would say I’ve been in a general state of “down”. The valleys seem to come at me in two ways. Sometimes they sneak up like a cat on it’s prey, pouncing before I really know what hits me. Sometimes the come roaring in like a train with whistles blazing and bells announcing the pummeling that is on its way. Either way, as those who have been there know, we cope the best we can each moment at a time until we are able shake of the cat, crawl out from under the train and get a much needed deep breath.
One way of seeing the oncoming ordeal is to learn our own triggers. As I sit in circles with others recovering from whatever was trying to kill them, I often say that “people” are my “drug of choice”. People are also my greatest triggers. I can get very high off of people and I can sink very low as a result of them. It’s not just bad or mean or ill-willed people either. I can be triggered by the nicest, most loving and generous people I know. And regardless of their disposition and intent, the trigger is rarely if ever their fault. It almost always comes back to a through distortion or past memory or other something deep in the recesses of my brain that is just waiting for an excuse to surface.
Today was one of those train kind of days. I realized early on that it was going to be a challenge. It’s been a difficult week of sleep. There have been several challenging days of relationships. There were just enough things that popped up first thing this morning that I felt myself drawn to the edge of the track, looking for the the bright light coming right at me. And when it hit, it hit pretty hard. I went through my list of things to keep myself safe from me. I reached out to people, but people aren’t always on the page you need them to be on when you need them to be there. There were more people I could have reached out to, but frankly when people are your trigger, reaching out to more of them at some point seems counter productive. (There was a friend a few states away who was consistently there for a Facebook message when I needed a response from something other than my own voices yelling inside my head).
I cried. I slept (or tried to). I wrote. I’m not even sure what I wrote, but I line after line in my journal. I would type for 20 or 30 minutes, sometimes just putting out lists of everything that was popping into my head – only to select it all and delete it. I eventually talked myself into eating. The fog began to clear a bit and I eventually made my way to the back deck and stuck my feet in the water.
After a few minutes, I did something I hardly ever do (mostly because it’s not incredibly safe). In the dark of the night, shirt shorts and all – I just dove in the water. It was a strange blend of cool refreshing and warm comforting. The water seemed to hug me while the cool night air touched my face with little fingers of life. Water is life. Everyday there is a baptism of fresh cleansing life out my back door waiting for my submersion.
This is why I live where I live; so I can always find life when it feels like it’s hiding from me.
(Disclaimer: as “cleansing” the water feels, it’s still a lake and fish and turtles and all sorts of other stuff do all sorts of other stuff in it. There was a nice clean water shower to rinse off in before I climb into my clean sheets for the night!)