Sunday, March 1, 2009

Welcome to Our Back Porch

Isn't it inviting? I LOVE it. Maybe even as much as I love my window seat. The house has reached a point on the timeline of completion where it has ceased to be an abstract in some distant future and is beginning to become a reality in the present. I truly cannot believe that I am going to live in this beautiful creation.

It is not possible to understate the depths of our naivete at the beginning of this project. The trip from then to now has been one giant learning experience. And, strangely (at least to me), not so much about learning physical activities. It has been more about learning my limitations of spirit and confidence. I spend way too much time analyzing the mess going on in my head and in doing so have learned what activities I instinctively turn to when I need to refocus myself. I have learned that when I don't have the access or the will to engage in these activities, my self confidence to tackle and relate to everything around me spirals downward. And once the downward spiral begins it is a matter of riding it to the bottom in order to bounce and head back up again. The usual response when I mention this cycle is, "well, why don't you just (insert refocusing activity here)?" and get yourself out of it. It sure seems like a "well, duh!!" solution doesn't it? And I guess all I can say to that is this just might be the layman's description of the difference between depression and a garden variety bad mood.

My first lengthy depression hit in high school. There is a period that I recall as simply black and foggy. I have had two or three in the 20 years since then (Matt might say there have been more but that is all I can remember). Self analysis is not always such a bad thing. Over the years I have been able to recognize the onset of a depressive period for what it is and, more often than not, have been able to keep myself from falling in. If I don't catch it before it really gets going then I must ride it out with apologies to those around me.

I know it freaks some of my family members out when I write about personal stuff, especially shortcomings. But, here's the thing: I was raised in a community in which households went to great lengths to project perfect facades. It drove me crazy. At best, the most perfect families were held up as examples to live by. At worst, when problems in those families came to light they were subject to the gossip mill with a little more glee than was seemly and also, it felt like being lied to. I guess my tendency to engage in what some may call over-sharing is a knee jerk reaction to past annoyances.

If you haven't heard enough of my internal workings here today, come for a visit. I will give you a lemonade, sit you down on the back porch and we can self diagnose for hours! Sound like fun?

5 comments:

Nathan Crook said...

Michelle,

I know where you're coming from, and I'd love to take you up on the invite.

NC

Nathan Crook said...

You know, Michelle, there's something oddly incomplete with your porch, hummm, could it be missing an old weather-beaten couch? No, I don't really see you two as the porch-couch kinda people. How about semi-crushed Nati Lights rolling back and forth in a mid-morning zephyr? Quaint, but again, no. Stairs? Too obvious.

Oh, Oh, I know! a little table with two chairs, and two plates of hot cakes, with fresh maple syrup from Snavely's Sugar Shack in Republic, Ohio.

Send me your mailing address via e-mail and I'd be happy to ship you some syrup AND my favorite buttermilk pancake recipe.

NC

Michelle said...

Ha! I thought you were going to tell me something more obvious was missing. Like the stairs!

Sarah C. said...

Michelle, I totally know what you are talking about. Even though my hood was a bit more spread out--a hermits by choice kind of hood--we still had the everything-is-fine thing going on. Being disappointed, sad, or mad was just not really acceptible. I've been really practicing lately accepting being mad or sad and trying to keep it very personal to me. Because when I fail to accept that I, myself am indeed sad or mad, I start blaming all those around me for my downness. No, it's not that I'm mad, it's really that he (everyone's a he around here) did/said that horrible thing! I have a long way to go. I appreciate your example and analysis. That is really interesting what you say about engagement. When I'm feeling like I have no social world, as I often do with our relocations, I find that if I just make a call and invite someone to do something I feel fabulous--whether they say yes or no makes no difference at all to me.

Tairah said...

Your house is SO CUTE! I love it. I am excited for you your getting closer to the end.