If You Worry About Tomorrow

Depression. It's like cancer. Either you've had it or you love someone who's had it. And it comes in a huge variety. Like headaches. Benign and fleeting or heavy and serious and in rare cases, deadly.

Feeling depressed here and there is leaps and bounds from chronic debilitating depression that interferes with your relationships and passions and work and everything else...but mostly your natural state. Your birth right. Your happiness.

What is happiness anyways? I think it comes from the joy we find in the moment.

I'm sitting here in my bathrobe, nursing Skyla while Giovanna draws with a pen in Daddy's old notebook, pondering depression and happiness and joy. I've had a bad morning and I'm sad and I'm wondering when things will get easier and when I won't feel so bewildered by life. 

The sun just broke through a few clouds, bringing with it an immense shining of gratitude. I want to climb out of the hole but I can't find the first step. So I ask myself, what's Good about this moment? 

The sky. The lake. The abundance of trees. The sweet fuzzy head between my arms. The curly talking head to my right. The laptop beneath my fingers. The people on the other side of my phone. 

If you stop enjoying that which you once loved, day after day and week after week, I hope you seek help in a professional or a loved one or both. This is the kind of depression that needs treatment, though I'm sure there are as many definitions of depression as there are people who experience it. Likewise, depression does not arise from an isolated reason but from a complex web of experiences, past and present; the tangles in your auric field.

And then there's the anxiety that either contributes to depression or is often a byproduct of depression. Suffice it to say that depressed people have a lot to worry about, and people who worry have a lot to be depressed about. The world is just so damn scary and evil and hard. Even white middle-class Americans like myself know that things can fall apart in a second, and nothing is guaranteed. When we have our basic needs met, we have everything to lose. What's more, we have expectations. We want to know deep satisfaction and purpose and maybe even a certain version of "success." Maybe we don't believe ordinary is enough; maybe we want more. We think happiness is something to find or have or keep or achieve.

A loved one recently shared with me a transcontinental conversation with a loved one of her own, an African man who is happy in spite of living in poverty. He makes $30 per month, most of which goes to his daughter's school fees and medical care. He lives with no running water, no electricity, but plenty of death. He said that because of the struggle to survive, Africans live only day to day and don't worry about tomorrow.

In other words, they live in the moment, and not because they're trying to be zen or mindful. If they get to eat today, then today is a good day.

He said: if you worry about tomorrow, you'll go mad.

Simple truths are often the most profound, the most important to digest and understand.

May we remember this when we find ourselves in billows of stress. May we take this to heart when we become paralyzed by anxiety. May we focus on enjoying the moment rather than preparing for the future. May we practice looking for the Good so our minds stay healthy. May we turn down the volume so we can live in peace.

Just do what you can, now.

gandhi

The Most Outlandish Tale About Anxiety and Depression Ever

Scroll down to the stars to cut right to the story, which started here. Today I'm posting a wee piece of fiction as part of a blog hop, Adam's clever idea inspired by the anxiety that helps him write stories.

He says: When you think about it, having a freak out episode, or an anxiety or panic attack, or a grey matter meltdown, or whatever you wanna call it, is nothing but a series of creatively fabricated events that never happen. It’s fiction. A lot of the time, it’s really good fiction.

I've had this same realization about anxiety and storytelling; perhaps the gross tragedies unfolding in my mind (and torturing my soul) are not morbid and sick but a misdirected imagination, an overzealous desire to fabricate another universe.

But I never knew if this was true or simply an excuse for my paranoia. Until now. I feel so much lighter. How do you feel?

To start reading the story from the beginning, go to Adam's blog.

Here is my 200 word contribution, the 4th installment in the series.

***

On the other side of my window, branches and leaves whisper secrets, teasing away my exhaustion.

It's just the wind.

But if the wind is actually a man, and if the man is coming to steal my car, and if I didn't pay the insurance as I suspect, I will most likely end up sleeping on the side of the freeway. Drinking fumes during the morning commute instead of coffee. The car is far from paid off. And public transportation around here is as sparse as my eyelashes which I pluck from my eyelids when no one is really paying attention. Including me.

I drag my rattling bones out of bed to check on the car. But when I get to the front door and reach down to turn the lock, chills drip down my back like an egg cracked on my head.

It's a sign.

Better for my car be dissected and sold off in pieces than my body.

I climb back in between the sheets, checking for the jagged knife stashed between the mattress and wall before succumbing to my bed's embrace. Who needs a lover when you have a down comforter and plenty of imaginary friends with benefits?

Sleep assaults me and I am safe. Until my dreams take over.

***

Now go visit the blog of the brilliant author, Ericka Clay, for what happens next!

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The Story Behind Skyla

"Become the sky. Take an axe to the prison wall. Escape."

- Rumi

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I already had the name Skyla on my list. I knew I loved it. And obviously I have a thing for the sky (hence my blog name). But the task of naming a child does not produce immediate answers, at least not for me.

When I saw this quote on Instagram from heathercooperloves, which was a re-gram from adonnrowley, I took a screenshot. Every time I came back to it, I got tingly.

We don't have to conform to standards or fit into boxes or worry about the outcome. We are here to do things that make us feel  good. We are here to enjoy the rainbows, bask in the sunshine, bathe in the ocean, gaze at the stars. We are here to cry in the rain and listen to the clouds and cling to one another in the storm.

We don't have to take this life so seriously. Failure is a myth, the prison walls are made of fear. We can fall and get up as many times as we want. We can fly without crashing. We need not hold back or be afraid or stifle our truest, wildest, happiest dreams.

I hope I can teach my beautiful biracial daughters to live like this.

I want them to push against the boundaries built by modern society. I want them to break through the glass ceilings and make their own joy. I want them to create anything and everything they want. I want them to follow their hearts and believe in themselves, because we are all as big as the sky.

Just as we chose Giovanna because "God is gracious," we chose Skyla to remember that we are limitless potential, bound by limitless love.