Medication and Expectation
When am I not myself? This is a question from the movie "I Heart Huckabees." It's meant to be a delightful and absurd question. The characters just keep repeating it to each other, and this earwigged it into my brain. But in my adult life it's one of many little statements that help me. Because I have a very bad case of the "shoulds." So bad they they delve into the, "what am I doing wrong that is keeping me from living the life I am supposed to live-s". For example, listen that sentence, if you repeat it like a mantra you will see that they sort of answer each other eventually.
What am I doing wrong? Unknown
What should I be doing? Feels like something else.
Who defines should? I do.
And how do you know you are doing what you should? You don't, but some things you feel in the moment or in retrospect to betray who you are.
But how can one not be themselves?
For my brain, it ends there. The phrase is a sea wall, keeping the shore from being battered too hard and too often. But it's something I struggle with. I tend to frame it a few ways. 1. Life is neither what I thought it would be, nor what was promised me. I'm sure the second part can come off a little entitled, but to be clear, I mean it in the sense of the America experience I was told I was a part of is a story that doesn't stand up to questioning. The promise that hard work (how do we measure hard work, by the way?) is the real currency through which you buy a good life, is less a promise and more a carrot that dangles in the wind. Oh and the world will become more or less uninhabitable in my (currently only theoretical) children's lifetime.
I used to insist on positivity on these matters, but the more you look and listen, the more you see that positivity is a coping mechanism, the way so much of life is. And being depressed, is sometimes the right attire for the event you were invited to. But as far as soundtracks go, the "bummed in the brain mix tape" is a little cloying to those who are just trying to get the most out of their one and only life. We must keep going, so how exactly does one go?
I've been at my temporary promoted position for almost 4 months. I've received high marks, and personally feel like it was a good reminder of how being organized with your documents and communication really can make a big difference (a very important lesson for Shipwreck and my life in general), but I also got so over worked because I was unfamiliar with when and how to say no, and how to schedule space for self-care when work seemed to overflow into everything else. And I had a pretty bad month this September. Culminating in one of the worst weeks, mental health wise, that I've had in my whole life. I keep track of these kinds of things, assigning a number every day as well as a short list of what transpired, and at the top where I wrote my descriptions for each number I say, a prolonged series of 3's and 4's should result in a changing of my medication. Which is exactly what I did. That and I started therapy.
I share all this to simply say, it does feel a bit odd, at this point in my life, that I know more about myself and what I want and about the world and what it wants than ever. And yet, I feel ever-presently unsure of how to navigate it. I have always been an indecisive dancer. One to waffle and sigh and put off making a decision until that became a decision of it's own. But a couple months out from returning to jobs I asked to work, and then a few months from there to moving to a new town, and all the frightening and truly exciting things that come with such a big leap, I'm thinking long and hard about what a life is. And how I can be myself even when the answer is "when am I not myself?"