Saturday came hard.
I had really looked forward to the weekend. On Friday I finished 'Behaviour Self,' a four day training on dealing with, and understanding, behaviour in people with intellectual disabilities. I had a wonderful audience and I enjoyed teaching them. Driving home after the last class felt good. I relaxed in the car and Joe and I chatted about the week and we each had a butter tart as a treat - gifts from the group. I went to bed feeling that it had been a good week and things had been accomplished.
And then came Saturday.
I have always had problems with depression and bouts of feeling utterly useless. In with that toxic brew my mind slips a dram or two of dread and a heaping tablespoon of hopelessness. I opened my eyes on a very different emotional world than the one that had been there when I closed them. The whole day was agony. We went out, did things together, but I did them without any sense of joy. Finally, giving up on the pursuit of a nice day, we went home.
I know that I choose how I feel ... at least that's what I'm told.
But it sure doesn't feel like a choice.
And I couldn't choose my way out of it.
At least I know enough to just endure and wait. These things rarely last more than a day or two and even more rarely hang on for a week. I feel for Joe when I'm like this, those who have met him know that he's a cheerful guy with a fairly positive outlook. I feel, at times like these, that I burden his soul with the weight of my sorrow. He manages to get through me getting through the darkness.
On Sunday I woke up feeling better. I was relieved to find that I looked forward to the day. We were actually fairly productive. We went out and got Joe some new shorts, which he needed. I was surprised and delighted that the Bay now carried Burton's men's clothes. I knew I was doing well simply because I was delighted at something so simple. We shop a lot at Burtons when in the UK and Joe found a terrific pair of shorts on the racks yesterday.
On our way home we stopped for an iced tea and sat on the patio on Yonge Street just a block from home. At the next table were two men, one a little older than us, the other a little younger. The younger fellow had had a very bad night and was talking, clearly upset, with his friend. I really felt for him, I could see that his day was crumbling in front of him. He admitted to his friend that he was having trouble getting back on solid emotional ground. Joe glanced at me knowing that I understood exactly where he was coming from.
I noticed, right away on seeing the two of them at the next table, that the younger fellow was wearing very cool Union Jack shoes. It seemed that we were having a fairly British Sunday and that pleased me - especially since we'd watched the Royal Flotilla and generally got into the whole Jubilee spirit. I warred inside a little bit but then, when there was a moment's silence between the two men, I asked, trying not to be creepy, where he'd got his shoes. I did this for two reasons, one, I wanted to know, two, I thought that maybe a distraction coming out of the blue might help.
He immediately grabbed on to the question with a kind of desperation. Like a life line had been thrown to him. He'd bought them just the day before at a shop just down the street. He described, in great detail, how to find the shop, he talked, in great detail, about how much he liked the shoes and how comfortable they were, he talked, in great detail, about how cool he thought they were. He pulled up his pant leg so we could get a really good boo at the boots. Both Joe and I honestly told him that they were great looking shoes.
On their way out, we were sipping our iced tea not in any rush, he stopped beside me, patted me on the arm and wished me a nice day. I felt a real warmth in his touch, like he wanted to give me a little bit of what I'd given him.
I don't like dark days.
I don't like surviving rather than living.
It was a risk to try and push the clouds away over someone else's head.
But in this case, I'm glad I did, because I noticed it was sunnier on the way home.