kaberett: Yellow gingko leaf against teal background (gingko)
[personal profile] kaberett
These are the steps of the morning: get out of bed. Daylight bulb. Teeth. Shower. Dress. Select jewelry; select perfume. (Try to remember, to summon energy, to brush my hair.) Breakfast. Pills. Is everything in my pockets? Is everything in my bag? Do I need a coat?

-- it's not that simple. It's never that simple. Sometimes "get out of bed" gets broken down into minute steps. "Shower" is almost always smaller than that: pyjamas? dressing gown? towel? bathroom. remove clothes. hang towel on rail. stand staring blankly into space. eventually remember how to step into the shower. eventually summon motive force to do it. is my hair up? do I know where my shower cap is? should it be on my head? did I actually remember my towel? fuck. hot water: hot water helps. now what? choose shower gel. spiky or warm? was it cold outside? did I get daylight when I opened my eyes? rinse. turn off water. try to remember how to get out of shower. wrap self in towel. stand staring blankly into space.

Some days, I can run through on autopilot. Some days, every motion is a choice (and every choice is hard). This is what living with executive dysfunction, exacerbated by depression, is like.

This is why I have choices built into my routine that offer respite, fleeting joy, a chance to check in with myself: what kind of shower gel? which perfume? which pendant? Safe, small choices, that encourage me to reflect on how I'm feeling, what I'm going to be doing that day; that remind me (perfume from the boything; jewelry from loving careful hands) that I am loved and valued and somewhere in the world exist people who want me. (It's hard, some days, to tell the splinter from the bruise.)

And come the evening I curl up in my bed, with a wodge of dead tree and some ink, in one form or another, and I write. (Paper is more patient than people.) It's notes, often; I'm still only rarely in the habit of talking about brainstate and emotion in any but the baldest terms; I tend to make notes for future reference but very little of my working-out happens there. But you can tell: because things get shorter and more terse when I am miserable; by the concentration of Ten Good Things (which happen in the diary more often than they happen in the DW!); by these signs shall ye know them.

When I need to - though I am falling out of the habit, and need to build it back into daily routine, but see yesterday about habits - I have meditation, too.

Weekly, mmm. Counselling, sort of: this is where I miss church. (Have I talked about the echoes between Mass and counselling? I ought to, if not.) In Switzerland I would spend half my weekend exploring the city, and half walking in the surrounding countryside; I've still not settled into a proper weekend routine in London, partly because I was trying to avoid the Den of Christians and partly because I was rather more in the habit than was perhaps sensible of leaving teaching bang on five on Friday afternoon, and joining the hoards through Paddington getting the first train they possibly could out of London. (I'm looking forward, a lot, to having my own kitchen, and getting to make cooking part of my daily-to-weekly ritual again: the sounds and the smells, the feeling where the holes in the taste are, the feeding people. Communion. I'm looking forward to having the energy to learn my adopted city a little better.)

And yearly? I've said I don't particularly do new year's resolutions, and nonetheless I have a beginning-of-the-Gregorian-calendar ritual, newly established, and it is this: last year, an awful lot of you chose words as your focus, your fulcrum, and I thought, and I realised that the previous year's had been "recovery", and that 2013 wanted to be "reclamation". The choice for the year to come was easy, in that it seeped into my life around reclamation, flagged itself not at all subtly via Borges' short Undr, and generally jumped up and down until it was absolutely certain I couldn't possibly ignore it: and it is wonder. As reclamation changed for me over the year, so I suspect wonder will, but I am enjoying the ways it has slipped in quietly, without needing me to search for it, with comfort and quietude and certainty.

The beginning of the Gregorian year is not my only yearly ritual, of course. Because: I live in academia, with another year, that runs October-August (and I'm still not quite sure where September went, except perhaps to preparation and good intentions). Because: November is my month of mourning, between All Souls' and St Celia. Because: at the equinoxes, I take stock, and then I change my dose of antidepressants. Because: midsummer and midwinter, light washing into and out of my life. Because: Heiliger Nikolaus, the sixth of December, that reminds me where I am from. My approximate anniversaries, strung through the year like moments of sweetness, like bursts of, yes, wonder.

I still find it unsettling to realise how hugging myself in the bathroom, lost and all forlorn, somehow strings moment into moment into being, into brightness and beauty and confidence. I curl myself around these rituals; I draw strength from them; and I am building myself a life.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-12-31 12:52 pm (UTC)
naath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naath
I'm amazingly bad at annual things. They sort of... sneak up on me. I guess I'm very out-of-touch with the date generally.

Fortunately I'm better at daily things. This year we are aiming for daily slaying of the washing up beast; which had rather slipped into "weekly" before Christmas... (if I owned fewer plates this would be a larger problem, which is both good and bad).

(no subject)

Date: 2014-01-01 05:12 pm (UTC)
cadenzamuse: "I call on all heaven with its power" prayer over picture of outer space (at tara in this fateful hour)
From: [personal profile] cadenzamuse
Yes. Especially as to communal meals as Eucharist.

Also showers = HAAAAAAARD. I don't know why, but I pretty much have to break a morning shower down into the same tiny steps you do. Or I either shower after strenuous exercise (running, Habitat for Humanity house-building) because I just want to be clean and less sore and it doesn't require thought or piggy-back off of Partner's shower and join him, which is much easier and more fun. :D

I desperately need more structure to my days, because they make daily ritual and work possible. This is the single biggest reason I hate being unemployed--forget the constant worry-tension of being both poor and broke, forget the loneliness of not seeing coworkers every day. I need consistent, externally imposed structure desperately, and having it reduces my depression; my feeling of woozy, out-of-touch confusion; my loneliness and lack of energy.

I am grateful for the church year giving me meaningful yearly rituals: a year beginning in plunging darkness and increasing light, a late winter/springtime of checking in with myself and breaking old habits. Saints' Days, feasts, fasts. The rhythm of the Gregorian year just doesn't have as much rhythm to it, or as much stability.

At any rate, you are insightful as always, and I'm glad you have strong rituals and rhythms to ground you.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-01-02 01:45 am (UTC)
calissa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] calissa
I am very much creature of habit and thus enjoyed hearing about your rituals. Again, I notice the poetry in your writing. I really need to take more time and effort in my own writing.

I'd be interested in hearing about the parallels between Mass and counselling if you feel moved to write about it (though I confess I have never attended either).

Wonder is something that is really important to me and so I am super excited to see that you have chosen it as your word for the year. I would love to hear more about how this unfolds for you, if you feel comfortable sharing it when the time comes.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-01-02 07:16 am (UTC)
birke: (Default)
From: [personal profile] birke


kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

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