I watched Good Will Hunting last night with Anna. Have you guys seen it? I still love it, maybe a little less so – because my crush on every person in the movie has faded with time, but mostly I got stuck on that part where Robin Williams tells Matt Damon that it’s not his fault until Matt breaks down and cries and then – I think, is healed? And then he goes and gets Minnie.
I want to see the next chapter though – not because the movie is that good that I could watch their lives on an endless loop, just because I want to know how Matt works out his relationship with Minnie. Like, was that hug all of it? All of it over, all of it sealed up and perfected again. Made whole. When he sees Minnie again, does he open up to her, vulnerable and honest about his childhood? Does she understand him completely, even though they are from completely different backgrounds? Is he successful in his job, does he even find one? Is he back in Southie right now with Ben, has Minnie married someone else? I want to know. I want to know all the things.
I want all of the examples of broken people that are healed and what happens next. If they had successful relationships. If they ended up happy. If they ended up at all? I don’t even mean just for love, really – just, everything. When I was pregnant, anxiously awaiting labor, I interrogated every mother I knew. How long was the labor. Did it hurt. Were they okay. I mean – obviously they were okay but I wanted all of it – every minute of every experience. All the blood and pain. I used to sit on the train headed into Boston and count the people on the train and think, “You are all here because someone gave birth to you, so it can’t be that bad. I can totally do it.” I played games with myself to lessen my anxiety. Overall, I thought if I soaked up enough knowledge about it, it would make my own birth process easier. I think that’s what I’m doing now – wanting to know how every person that has struggled with what I’m struggling with – depression, self-doubt, anxiety – has made it. I want a step-by-step guide on how to get to where the happy people are.
I know all of the stuff too, that you’re probably thinking – I’m where I’m supposed to be, this is just temporary, that this too shall pass, or the perspective talk – that things could be worse, that I should be grateful for the little things, that I have people that love me – I know. I really do. All of it. I would still rather lay in bed and watch 10 hours of the West Wing though. I mean, when it comes down to it, what’s true about all of the advice you’re thinking I haven’t gotten yet is that I don’t care in this moment and you are stuck reading my complaining because this is a one-sided conversation.
I asked about 150 people, some of whom are likely reading this post, what to do. A task list. And I got some of the best advice I could have asked for. Books (that I am now reading) – podcasts (that I have been listening to) – quotes, love, recommendations for meditation (that I am practicing) – and it’s all helping. I started going to church. I’ve been running, more than I have in a long time. I’m slowly going down a list of spending time with people that offered, and feeling grateful with every exchange. I’m doing everything people are telling me to do, which is good, because in this state, I actually do need to be told what to do, so Anna doesn’t come home to me in bed on Season 7 (I think that’s when Josh and Donna get together, when Alan Alda joins the cast?) without having washed my hair.
I’ve also been listening to a lot of ABBA – because there’s just nothing that doesn’t make me happy about those fucking beautiful Swedes.
(this bout of depression therefore has a high likelihood of ending in a disco party. something to look forward to?)
I thought about sharing all of the advice I got, because I have huge love for all of the women that gave it, and I thought it would be helpful, but this is the one I keep coming back to:
stop trying to prescribe things to yourself. Self care doesn’t actually mean you need to create a list and check it off with yoga, meditation, eating or exercise goals. Self care actually just means those moments when you don’t have to care for anyone else. As single moms, it’s hard to find those moments because you are “always on.” But if you can squeak it out – self care can be wallowing, it can be drinking wine and watching TV, it can be time spent doing nothing. Try not to over-prescribe to yourself. Just look out the window for a while. You’ll feel better in a bit, because you are awesome.
And this morning, about three months after I should have, I went to the doctor. And made an appointment with a therapist. Because knowing all the right things and doing all of the right things just isn’t working right now, for me, and it’s not because there’s something wrong with who I am as a person, but I need to keep telling myself that, and I think until I don’t have to, enlisting the help of professionals along with my tribe of super awesome friends and family is a good idea.
I have to go now, though. The West Wing is on.