I don't know if it happens to others, but I recently had a bout of feeling really sorry for myself. Not specifically about having a disability, mind, but not ignoring that fact either. It just seemed that somehow I'd become irrelevant. That there was something about me that made me unloveable. Maybe even that I didn't matter much.
It began a couple weeks ago and slowly crept up on me, stealing joy, theiving pleasure. A lethargy crept into my bones and I didn't want to bother doing things that I normally love to do. Everything seemed like a chore, nothing seemed exciting.
As it happens with the grip of self pity, it took hold gently at first. Then squeezed. The first thing to go was sleep. Then, finally it took my sense of purpose. To look at me you'd see no difference, to be inside my mind - you'd see wreckage.
Yesterday morning I decided to take control back. I decided that I would do three things, unexpected things, that would matter to three different people. I would challenge the belief that I had lost the power to do good. That I took up unnecessary space.
I began early.
First, I had a email sitting and waiting. A parent had written me, through this blog, and asked for advice on a very difficult situation. I read their email over and over again, I had some ideas but it would be a difficult thing to write. I began simply by beginning. And as you all know, and as is my internal chant when doing something difficult 'As soon as you start, you're finished'. About an hour later I was done. The email was sent.
Second, a friend of mine is going through a tremendously difficult time. A proud man he finds it difficult to seek help and often rudely repulses any offered. During crises he turns off his phone, refuses to open email and becomes out of touch. He wasn't like me, feeling blue, his sky is scarlet with pain and regret. I picked up the phone and called him, knowing he would not answer, I left him the voice mail that I wanted to leave. It would anger him, I'm sure, but I did it any way. I told him that we loved him, I told him not to catastrophize, not to give up ... to accept mistake without conceding defeat. The call was made.
When thinking about the third thing to do, Joe called from the kitchen asking me if I wanted a cup of tea. I did. He made it. Once he'd left the office I pulled up my friends at FTD and ordered the biggest bunch of flowers I could. As I live in a city, they could deliver on the same days as ordered. Credit card at hand, flowers were ordered and a card composed that said what I needed to say, and perhaps what he needed to hear.
I felt the mist that had obscured my vision begin to lift. Even though I didn't know if anything I had done would make a single bit of difference at all, but that didn't matter. What mattered was that even in the midst of a bleak patch, there were things that needed my hand, there were people who needed my voice, there was someone loved who needed telling.
There is a hole in this world that I fit into. It's an odd shaped hole. But its mine. Reminding myself of this has been good. No, the icks haven't completely left me, but they are retreating. And even here at my desk I can smell the flowers, how lovely is that?