This morning as I drove my son to preschool, I was struck by the writing on my car’s side view mirror.
Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.
That’s how I feel about my depression – that it’s closer than it looks sometimes.
Lately I’ve been feeling that maybe I’m a bit less weighed down overall. (Could I hedge that with any more qualifiers??) I still have the second-guessing, the self-doubt, and a lot of other Stuff that is stirred up when I’m around my mom. But overall, I’m not feeling unhinged and hopeless. This is all good news, of course, but…
I know that my depression is still right there. I see it in my side view mirror, out of the corner of my eye. Kind of like how I’ve described Hugo and my 7 tons of bricks – they’re always there, and I’m never sure when they’re going to creep up on me.
On a good day, as I gain a little confidence in feeling better, I look in the mirror and my depression seems to be a ways back. But I know in my heart that it’s closer than that. All it takes is one unexpected event, one obstacle in my path, anything that disrupts the flow of traffic. I’ll slam on my brakes and get rear-ended.
At preschool dropoff, I remembered that I had completely forgotten a project of my son’s to be done over spring break. It was a fun, easy project that I thought was quite clever. But I forgot. So I stood there in the hallway, looking at the note outside the classroom reminding parents that Flat Stanley was due today. Cue the tape of Awful, Negligent, Teaching-my-son-horrible-work-habits Mom.
That was a bit of a slam on the brakes. I keep returning to it in my head, and the guilt and shame seep in, but I really don’t want to be rear-ended. Not right now. I still have four days left with my parents and I cannot make it through the week if I’m starting to come unhinged.
I know you’re there, Black Dog, like the car in that picture. Just keep your damn distance.