Kat Atwell is a freelance writer, blogger & stage presence telling stories that deliver laughs, validation & community.

Mental Health | Wellness & Self Image | Experiential & Reviews

Just keep swimming.

Today was a down day. I slept for crap last night. I'm so tired of the not sleeping stuff. Prior to having my daughter, I used to be such a good sleeper. I could nap on commend. Now? It's elusive, unless I'm heavily drugged. And, as anyone who has had sleeping issues knows, trying to will yourself to sleep is about the most self-defeating exercise in futility ever. Ever. Hyperbole. The most.

I know I mentioned it last night, but that roller coaster I crawled onto yesterday zoomed right into this dark tunnel of bad metaphors. I need the humor tonight. This morning involved tears, and exhaustion, and mindless eating. It then was compounded with guilt for not being a great mother, and not being able to will myself out of it.

If you know someone with depression, treat them with gentleness and acceptance when they're experiencing lows. They need reassurance, and physical contact, reminders that they matter, and you have to be prepared for a lot of apologies. Or, at least, you do in my case. My depression turns into a lot of inner cruelty. For some folks, they get aggressive as a way of pushing others away from them. My brain fights to convince me that I'm a waste of space who serves only to make others miserable. That's healthy.

Here's my first apology: I'm sorry you have to hear about the ugliness. It makes people uncomfortable, I know. I don't want to put anyone out, or make anyone feel bad...ick. It's gross, right? I know.

What I do appreciate is the fact that I've developed a lot more awareness of these down times. I know what I shouldn't be doing. I need to get off the couch. I know I need to rest. I know it's OK to cry, and to not feel ashamed about it. It happens. It's a part of who I am. Without my down times, I don't fully get to appreciate the up times.

I knew the best choice was not to sit on the couch crying all day in the presence of my daughter. I knew that I needed to do something else other than spend the day watching mindless television and surfing the web. Because, the truth is, if you know a sad person who is locking themselves into staring at a screen, chances are they are paying about zero attention to what they're reading or watching, and beat the shit out of themselves internally.

So, this evening, I took myself to Tattered Cover. It's a local bookstore in Denver that I used to worship like a church. Tonight, when I visited, it was quiet, and I spent about an hour just wandering around, and admiring everything. I love knowing that every book in there is a dream come true. Someone fought for that book to be written, for a story to be told or art to be shared. It's uplifting. Sure, I can't afford crap right now (but if anyone wants to buy me the Rabindranath Tagore book of poetry that was, like, $18, do run with that feeling). The trip helped.

Afterwards, I visited one of my best friends, and we sat around for, like, three hours, talking about stupid crap we did when we were younger, our extended families, and what I really want out of life.

I don't know the answer to that. However, I do know that sitting with a friend and not talking about everything that sucks in my brain is very, very helpful.

Around 10:30, I drove home, and discovered that a dress I'd ordered online had arrived, and I love it. Oh, I really, really love it. The online shopping thing has been around a while, but I'd never purchased clothes until now. It's such a beautiful dress. I'm excited to wear it on Monday, actually, and I rarely say that about any clothes I wear.

I'm also pleased that tomorrow is a new day. Hopefully something will emerge with a brighter light. As long as I have hope, I know it'll be OK.


Feeling my way through it.