Being vulnerable

Posted on January 22, 2007

My sleep has been all messed up, not getting to sleep Saturday night until 4:45am. I guess that makes it Sunday morning. I was up at 9am. Last night I finally fell asleep just after midnight and was able to sleep until 8:30 this morning, but I feel horrible, like my body is lead and not flesh.

I talked with my friend D last night. More on that in a separate post. D has been a trusted friend since I was a child. How we’ve maintained a friendship that’s lasted through school and adolescence and college and marriage, I’m not sure, but I’m grateful for it. D read my blog since we last talked and reminded me that I shouldn’t neglect myself here in my pursuit of helping others understand.

It’s easy for me to fall into a teaching mode about everything I’ve learned over the past 20+ years about depression and the strong relationship between religiosity/spirituality and mental health. It’s much harder to make the conscious choice to type how I really feel, to allow myself to be vulnerable, even electronically.

Sometimes it’s like admitting failure. I can’t keep my house clean, can’t give my children the experiences I think I should, can’t hold down a job outside the home. In a society that values self-sufficiency, it is a huge blow to my self image.

And sometimes I do keep the house spotless, take the kids on fun excursions without another adult present, make a sale and bring in some money for the family. But sometimes isn’t enough when I know that lurking around the next corner is a day or a week or a month where the best I can expect of myself is to get up and get dressed.

I do work in a creative field and I’ve found some small success selling the product I create. It helps to have that outlet, to know that people appreciate what I pour my soul into. Of course, criticism can cut just as deeply, and it takes a supreme act of self talk to remind myself that this is an opportunity to make it better next time. Either that or the critic had no idea what he or she was talking about.

But without this outlet, without this purpose, I don’t know what I’d do. I’d be lost.


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