mind over mattress
if we could play word association and i mentioned the word ‘bed’, you might have the following responses:
• sleep • sex • cuddling • sick • insomnia • reading • watching t.v • headboard • comforter • duvet • pillows • murphy • bunk • twin • queen • king • sheets • room • dream • tired • nap • rest • snore • morning night • relaxing • talking • feathers • cushion • soft • firm • spring • mattress.
unless you’ve experienced it or love someone who has, this one could easily slip your mind…
1. severe despondency and dejection, accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy.
2. a condition of mental disturbance, typically with lack of energy and difficulty in maintaining concentration or interest in life.
i’ve personally witnessed this ten letter word misused in casual conversations — “they didn’t have that shoe in my size!…i’m soooo depressed”. sometimes it’s belittled and treated like a chipped nail — “she says she’s depressed. i personally think she’s…. lazy, because she misses so many work days.” depending who you speak with, you’ll be sure to hear an assortment of opinions. some good, and others are just plain stupid (excuse my lack of a better word). even in this day and age, it carries so many misconceptions and stigma.
“smile. be happy” − ”just get over it already“ − ”you’re so sensitive” − “why do you take everything so personal” − ”stop crying already” − ”shakeit off” − ”pull yourself together” − ”think happy thoughts, and you’ll behappy“ − ”why are you always so negative?” − ”you’re being over dramatic right now” − ”you have so much to be grateful for, why are you sad?” − ”can’t you just snap out of it?” − ”when are you going to be your old self again?” − “is this how you want to live your life?” − ”well then, i guess you need to try harder“ − ”there’s children starving in africa and people dying of cancer. there’s no reason why you should be depressed” − ”just be positiveand everything will work out” − “happiness is a choice.” − ”stayingmiserable isnt going to get you anywhere” − ”i can’t believe you’ve been in bed all day. you need to get up and get out already!”
it’s these statements which leaves people (like myself) feeling misunderstood and alone in their struggles.
ain’t nothing like a having a bed to surrender to
there’s something comforting in knowing it will support my aching body and heart. when i’ve given all that i’ve got, i’m left with very little. maybe just enough energy to do the bare minimum. at that point, i really just want to crawl into bed. preferably mine, but anything with a semi-firm mattress will do. the second my head hits it, i instantly feel i rush of relief. a very similar feeling when i (actually) made it to first base playing baseball. ohh–i hated gym class more than anything! i’ll confess, i was “that girl”. the last one standing because nobody wanted to pick me for their team. i may just be the most pathetic person ever to attempt sports. so while reaching that base was insignificant to others (because sadly, i never made it to second), i literally exhaled. seriously, i’m not even kidding. i exhaled because i made it. in that same matter, i feel i’ve reached my safe place when i hug my pillow. i bury my face into it and it soaks up my tears. the comforter (which by the way, i think is an appropriate name) swallows me into an abyss of feather-filled puffiness. i get into my typical fetal position and i embrace my weakness. i accept i’ve done my very best to fight this battle. i’ve tried so hard to stay strong. to push forward with every little ounce i have. i’ve smiled beyond the sorrow, i’ve dragged myself hour after hour, day after day in fulfilling my obligations. i continue to push forward with all my might to cope with the the pain, and constant worries. then one day, “i… just… can’t… any more.” –those are my exact words. it feels like i’ve held my breath underwater forever. and while others may cheering “just a little bit longer…you can do it!”, i bring my head up for air. i’m struggling to catch my breath. i’m in severe distress and that’s when the bed lures me in. when i’m in that state of great vulnerability, i feel safe and my pain seems pacified. i like to believe it’s part of my recovery process. most people struggling with depression would agree. we so desperately need our rest. it’s not just emotional exhaustion, but our bodies take a beating too. i could literally stay there forever if we could. it encourages and satisfies my desire to give up for a while, and so i give in.
fast forward a few days later
that same bed is completely transformed. maybe i changed too, but i certainly feel betrayed sort of speak. she (or he…the gender is debatable, right?), was my best friend. after all, it heard my prayers, caught my tears and excepted me just as i was — unshowered, dirty hair and a complete mess. it embraced me and brought comfort during my times of distress. when i closed off the world, that bed was mine. i become attached to it, because i felt this is where i belong. just as i’m reconnecting with my on-and-off buddy, i feel the knife in my back. i feel trapped, sometimes even handcuffed to this furniture. even when i finally feel the need to clean myself up, i can’t move. i want to go out. i want to do something fun and crafty with my daughter. go on a date with my hubby. chat with a friend. visit my sisters. have a play date with my niece and nephew. write a new post on my blog. work on opening up an etsy shop. cook a yummy meal. do the laundry (and fold it too). i want to do of all this so bad, but now i’m a captive. it’s like i signed my body and mind over to this bed. as you can see, we have a love/hate relationship.
eventually, my caring husband will open the blinds and the warmth of the sun will touch me ever so perfectly
i feel a tiny bit courageous and i attempt what (almost) seems impossible for me. i have to say that getting up after a few days, is so darn hard! almost just as hard as when i toke my first steps after my awful c-section. the physical, mental and emotional pain is intense. i feel incredibly weak, nauseous, sad and fearful. i hold on to that little ray of hope. i complete each task one at a time. in between, i also take breaks–that’s how distraught and overwhelmed i feel. with the help of those who love me, i regain my strength little by little.
it’s a big milestone, when the bed no longer has control over me. until next time, that is. it’s a constant battle. one i’ve fought since my late childhood. so far, i can’t say it’s gotten easier. it’s just that i know the drill. of course, i’m currently working on my coping skills, but it’s tough. i have a long ways to go.
*i recently came across this non-profit organization. i think it’s a great site for those struggling with depression, anxiety or any form of mental/emotional distress. also, it’s a wonderful way for spouses, family and friends to educate themselves for the sake of their loved ones.