Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Shelly's Blue Period

Suddenly, all of Picasso's work from 1901-1904 makes complete sense to me.

In the spirit of "keeping it real", I feel like I should 'fess up and tell you that I am feeling moderately depressed. I am not usually depressed, or if I am, I can somehow think my way out of it. Summon the Pollyanna within. Figure out a reason to smile or be grateful for things going as well as they have.

But right now, I feel more like I can identify with those women hugging their knees in the Prozac ads. I don't like this. If anyone reading this has depressive tendencies, I feel the need to validate you. You have a tough row to hoe. Hang in there, and I hope you can get help, because being depressed sucks.

I can't figure why I can't think my way out of this one.

The sun is shining outside, and we have a lovely view of Lake Washington from my house. There is a bald eagle soaring right above me, as I type, not even flapping his wings, just coasting. Lucky fellow. The city looks marvelous. The snow-capped mountains look crisp and clear. I've had THREE friends stop over today (bearing food, no less!), I've got loads of friends willing to help with the kids, no questions asked. My garden is blooming. I don't have a chest tube anymore. I've got a great husband. The only cancer I have is so small, one surgeon couldn't even spot it on the scan. I'm good enough, smart enough, doggone it, people like me. What the hell is my problem.

I spent most of the last two F#@&ing weeks in a hospital. I spent most of the last two F#@&ing weeks in severe pain. I spent most of the last two F#@&ing weeks in a hospital bed, not allowed to get up, since I was attached to suction on one side and an IV on the other. I wasn't even allowed to go in the bathroom--they brought that to me! Sayonara, dignity. I had four invasive lung procedures, none of which proved particularly effective, for all the trouble. Each time I thought I was "better", I'd have to go back for another longer stay. Now, I probably can't go to my college reunion next week. Now, it doesn't really make sense to take my 2-week Ohio trip, since I'll have CyberKnife smack in the middle of it. I am tired. I am sore. I can't exert myself or I might blow another hole in my lung and repeat this process. I don't feel like eating. I don't feel like doing any around-the-house projects (Pollyanna would tell me this is my chance for those very things!) Like the amp in Spinal Tap, I like to live at 11. Yet I am living at a paltry 3. And: The only cancer I have is so small, the surgeon couldn't even spot it on the scan. But...lest we forget, I did use the word "cancer".


I'm trying.


  1. Dude, Shelly, I would totally go the other way and, instead of trying to buck up, I'd embrace this blueness. You've been fighting a long f*#%ing fight--even if you HAVE been feeling so healthy for much of it--and sometimes you just gotta wrap yourself in a cozy blanket and mourn and nurture your soul. Eat comfort food if you can (apple pie?), watch movies, read a trashy novel--anything that's deliciously, over-the-top self soothing.

    Here's the key: I don't see this as giving into the blueness, as letting go. Rather, it's like saying, "Okay, Blue, you're here. I'm going to stop fighting you or putting myself down while you're here. Instead, let's have a chat for a little while before you go on your way." And then, after a bit, that ole Blue will move right along.

    You can ignore all this, of course, if you're not in the mood for, well, anything. I don't typically like to "dispense advice" because, personally, I don't like being dispensed upon. But I'm just sayin' I don't think you should feel down on yourself for feeling blue.


  2. Erin's right. I don't know if its so much depression as a natural response to some pretty shitty stuff you've had to deal with the past few weeks. Its bound to get to you after a while. Depression usually comes from avoiding stress/grief/etc., so just roll with it and you'll metabolize this just fine.

    I'll hope to see you next weekend in Gambier, but if not, its only 5 more years till the next one :).

  3. Oh, Shelly. I don't have anything stunningly eloquent to say, so I'll just tell you that this will pass. But your pals above are absolutely right to tell you to go easy on yourself. As one who has dealt with depression on and off for years, I know that when you're deep in the hole it's difficult to imagine how you'll get out. But you will! You, of all people, certainly will! You'll be rocketing to the moon before you know it.

    You're on my mind, Sweet Shel.


  4. My friend who's survived many cancers has this tattooed on his arm (in Hebrew):
    All things shall pass.

    Je t'embrasse.