I was sitting on the bus when a man, his wife and a friend got on. They bustled into their seats and I heard the man say "these machines make a big difference to your psychology - how long you have to wait". He was referring to the digital reading on the bus stop which shows how many minutes before each bus arrives. There followed a display of fireworks inside my head. How amazing if we had this device in many areas of life. Can you imagine someone telling you how long your last, current or next low was going to take? I would approach that low so very differently.
I've been slipping for a few weeks. For me it feels like a comedy sketch. Let's picture someone like Les Dawson dressed as a woman, being sultry and undressing for bed. Removing his blouse to reveal just one shoulder and pouting (many laughs), removing his skirt to reveal thick and wrinkled stockings (many laughs), removing a wig, teeth, maybe a false leg. At this point, if it were a comedy it would still be funny for the audience but in reality by this point I feel hollow and humiliated.
If I knew how long the depression would take to navigate its tour, I would nestle in. I'd say "Oh it's you" and sit with it in its ugly attack, enduring it with much more grace than I currently manage.
But I don't. We don't. We cannot predict. And so how can we find this comfort? How can we bring the steadiness of a timetable into our depressions?
By applying the sticky balm of expectation. Expect the low to come. Expect it to be a master of trickery. Expect it to trip you up. Perhaps dive to the floor one time and say "Ha! Too slow!".
Expect it. The bus will come and it will go. Expect both. Stay open.
The room above the garage
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