How Barb Got Her Groove Back

I got my groove back today. After spending the long holiday weekend holed up in my house avoiding humans and trying to comfort my cats when fireworks exploded nearby, I found a groove today and got lost in my work.

Do you know that feeling? Getting completely absorbed in what you’re doing? I love it but have, for some reason, been denying myself the pleasure for far too long.

Deadlines work wonders, though. Nothing like knowing that a client who is also a friend is expecting something to push me into gear.

Yesterday, I couldn’t get myself off the sofa long enough to do more than retrieving BandAids for the scratches Cordelia left on me when she turned from purring lap kitten to pointy blaze of fur, as the neighborhood asshats set off another round of fireworks.

Today, because I had an early meeting with another human being I was showered, dressed, and out the door by 7:30. Then back at the desk by late morning banging away at the website that is launching this evening.

Yesterday, I was hypnotized by a television show I am not entirely sure I even like. One more episode, then I’ll get to work. One more episode, then I’ll take a nap to get rid of this headache. One more episode and — damn you, Netflix! Why do I even turn the stupid thing on?

The day before yesterday, I sat frozen in terror about my finances. Completely incapable of moving to my desk to do some of the work for which I could invoice clients, thereby relieving some of the aforementioned terror.

The day before that, a friend posted on Facebook about how frequently he suffers mind-numbing bouts of depression over weekends — particularly long holiday weekends. Naturally, I chimed right in to commiserate with him. I suggested it was the lack of guardrails of normal routine that might be sending us into the ditches on these so-called special weekends.

It was crystal clear to me. I was in a funk because I didn’t have any structure. I didn’t have any plans to see anyone or do anything outside my house. I had actually planned to work in uninterrupted bliss over the four-day weekend, but instead, I wallowed and then felt shitty about wallowing. And freaked out about the money I wasn’t making and paralyzed by the thought of everything I had on my list.

The weird thing is that there was nothing on my to do list that I didn’t want to do. There is very little about my work that I don’t actively enjoy — when I can make myself do it.

This is what depression looks like on me, folks. I don’t show it to the world. I don’t know if that is an avoidance tactic or a safety mechanism. Probably both. I might be healthier if I could let more people see that everything isn’t always perfect.

On the other hand, the fact that I had a meeting this morning with someone who doesn’t know me well got me out of my funk and into the world and primed my day for great productivity.

I have such envy for people who spend time doing nothing — that recharge kind of nothing. Kick back in a hammock, staring at clouds in the sky, listening to birds, reading a book — just hanging out kind of nothing.

My kind of nothing comes with guilt over what I should have been doing. It’s not nearly so relaxing. Thirty episodes of a television show that I only vaguely care about is avoidance, not rest.

I hear you thinking — so don’t turn on the TV, stupid! Schedule down time, so you don’t feel guilty about taking it. Set up meetings with people early in your days so you get up and out before you have a chance to get lost in whatever is going to derail you today. Some of you may even be thinking — for God’s sake — get some therapy!

Silly goose — that’s what this is! That’s why I come to this blank page. I don’t know how I feel until I see what I write. So — write more — right?

I hear you. I hear myself! Here’s the thing about this disease of mine: It shows me exactly what I need to do to feel better and then often renders me incapable of actually doing it.

So, circumstances conspired in my favor today. I got my groove back due to appointments I had made long before I knew I was going to spend a four-day weekend puzzling over the fact that my recliner seems to the left a bit, pondering the fact that Tom Selleck is now playing someone’s grandfather and applying Neosporin to cat scratches on my midriff. (Damned fireworks!)

The best part of a day like this is that it almost always leads to more. Remembering what it feels like to be in the zone like this energizes me to do it. That’s the other side of my disease. When I am somehow jolted back into functioning, it sticks. So maybe the worst is over.

So, with apologies to Terry McMillan — that’s how Barb got her groove back.

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