There's a reason I take Tylenol PM every night, sometimes 1, sometimes 2, depending on the way things are going. It's not to get to sleep. It's to stay asleep. During these times of unemployment, when I don't take the TPM, I get startled awake around 5 or 6 in the morning, my heart is pounding, my stomach starts churning, my brain starts swirling. What if...? When will I...? Why did I...? If I were working, I would think , "Oh shit, I have to wake up in an hour or 2 and go to work." But without the Tylenol PM, my brain thinks horrible thoughts and prays for sleep to come back to me. Sleep becomes my refuge, my safety raft to run away from reality. I often find myself still in bed at noon when unemployed, too depressed to pull myself out into reality.
Today I told myself "You have to get out and walk." Autumn has hit Missouri, and it's truly beautiful outside. In the 60s and 70s and perfect for a walk. I have been promising my dear blog friend that I would get out every day for a walk. Some weeks I have made it 3 times. It really helps when I have something to mail because I miss my apartment's pick-up at 11 (see above) and must force myself to the mailbox in the strip mall a mile away. That makes for a 2-mile walk. I often text my friend and let him know I am out and about, and he always texts back that he will walk with me hand in hand from a thousand miles away. I was hungry today and had 3 pieces of mail to go out. Noon became 1 and 1 became 2. I eventually got some turkey and cheese to stave off my hunger. By 2 I decided to take a shower and wash my hair. That is my cue the walk notion is over because I don't want to get sweaty with clean hair. The things I need to mail have no deadline like a birthday. And I was no longer hungry. I let my friend down, and I let myself down. But I can't seem to get out of my house.
I drove back to St. Louis last Wednesday for the funeral of a dear 95-yr-old priest who had lived a wonderfully full life and only stopped going to church 2 weeks before he fell ill and passed away. You can't ask for much more than that. He was the priest at my church long before I got there and had retired by 1978. He then took over as the priest at the Episcopal Church for the Deaf which worshiped at our church as he knew sign language having been raised by deaf parents. I can't tell you what it's like to go "home" and be greeted by people who know and love me. As many of you know, it was harder to leave my beloved church friends than my husband 4 years ago. It was a joyous service. But driving back meant that I had 4 hrs (2 there and 2 back) to think. And thinking isn't good. So often, especially nowadays, I feel totally worthless. As if my life is worth less now than ever. My kids don't need me any more. I am not a wife (and, therefore, helping my ex with this or that). I am not a home owner so there are no projects to get done so the house won't fall apart. And now without a job, I am totally worth less. I am left with this hollow feeling inside. Back to "What if...? When will I...? Why did I...?"
I would never ever ever ever ever consider suicide. So don't worry. But there are times I feel that no one would notice if I were not here. Life would be easier and better without me in it. Only those who suffer depression can truly understand that notion. I talked with a dear friend last night, the one who drove me to Montana 4 years ago, and we both understood this feeling. N either one of us would ever consider suicide, but we knew the feeling of no one missing us if we weren't here. She, too, has been unemployed this entire summer and just recently ran out of her St. John's Wart and could not afford to buy more. Even though this is OTC, I did not want for her to be without so I purchased several bottles and mailed them to her last week. It forced me out of the house and on a walk. It gave me a purpose, a reason to get up and go for a walk. She said she cried when she got them in the mail. It made her feel as if someone cared. A simple gesture. I think it made me feel even better that I could do something for someone. It's not as simple as volunteering at a nursery and holding a baby or building a house for the homeless or cleaning up the highway in an orange vest. All those gestures would take a lot of effort and organization and planning. Going for a walk and mailing something so needed to a friend was easier and made me feel special. It probably did more for me than it did for her. It made me feel worth something... for a brief moment.