Sunday, January 24, 2010

Comfort me with Pumpkin

Let's imagine, hypothetically of course, that you are really, really anxious. Your anxiety, in fact, is so off the scale that you really think it might be a good idea to just get into bed and stay there until it passes. (It's not a good idea, by the way.) Let's imagine that you went to your doctor and she gave you an anti-depressant that works by making you feel so physically wretched that you forget how emotionally wretched you are. (They're definitely on to something there.) Maybe you've spent weeks and weeks trying to find a counsellor, only to encounter answering machines that say no one can talk to you until you're so desperate that you're ready to drive yourself to the hospital, where they would probably have you committed. Also, the answering machines all give the number of the distress line. In case, you know, you're distressed.

And now let's imagine that you got out of bed this morning and your first thought was "I am going to re-arrange the pantry." And so you did, taking every single thing out of it and putting most of the stuff back in a far, far more pleasing and orderly manner. Then your friend called and asked if you wanted to come see her sister's new baby, so you went on over and cuddled a newborn for a while. Maybe when you got home you finished the pantry and decided to make a pumpkin pie. Then you did three loads of laundry and cleaned the house from top to bottom and only had one or two tiny moments of short breath and incipient panic. You roasted a chicken, you ran the dishwasher, you knitted a little on your Anti-February sweater, you read a book, you stayed out of bed.

Maybe you are thinking right now that counsellors and drugs are just fine, but sometimes what you need to do is take complete and utter control of everything around you that can be controlled - not your brain chemistry, not your fear, not your crying in inappropriate places - but your pantry, and a graham-cracker crust, and pumpkin filling, and chicken with lemon and rosemary.

Maybe some days, having a grip on those things (and a wickedly tidy pantry) is just enough to get you through.

1 comment:

Mrs. Spit said...

When I truly could not handle it any more, truly was going to lose it, truly could do nothing, I did fly lady.

She saved my life, I'm sure of it.

A dear friend who is a counsellor suggested that it was called "fake it till you make it" and it was and is a valid and reasonable coping technique.

Does your employer have an EAP? Barring that, places like Jewish Family Services or the Calgary Support Centre (you are in Calgary, right?) often have up to 10 drop in sessions that might bridge the gap.

Your friendly local church should have something too, if you are at all religious (and hopefully if you are not as well)