Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Loneliness as a learning experience

"So I leaned into the loneliness, and when I did, I felt an enormous wave of love wash over me. I was feeling lonely because of the incredible love I have in my life, in this home. I missed my husband and my son so much, and in that longing for their companionship, I began to run through my mind all the times that I longed to be away from them--all the times I lost my temper or took out my frustrations on them.

It was icky and nasty, and I leaned into it. "

quotes from Neghar Fonooni, in a recent newsletter

When Hulky and I are apart, I get lonely very easily, but I have realized that there's a lot of love in that loneliness. Without the love that we have in our relationship, I would not feel so sad at my partner's absence. I have found the time to be motivated, improve on myself, run some personal experiments, all while looking forward to seeing him again.

"When we lean into [loneliness], invite it to stay for dinner, give it the room it needs to breathe--then we experience the freedom that comes from opening up to what's in our hearts. When we allow the discomfort the space it needs to dissipate, we can stop resisting, and start living."

Last night, loneliness caught up with me and I stayed up very late, watching Jurassic Park III. I ate a bunch of ice cream (Ben & Jerry's, of course) and cuddled up under the most fuzzy blanket in the world. I emotionally checked out and just let my brain rest. It was needed. Today is back to the grind and I'm feeling ready to take on a few more small projects before Hulky gets home on Friday.

If Depression was a pool that we wade in, and sometimes drown, I probably only get to my knees on the worst days in recent years. More often, it's just ankle-deep, and sometimes I just stand at the edge with small splashes on my toes. It's always present, I always see it even if I don't feel it. Just like loneliness, I am sometimes able to let depression just exist and explore it. It is in those times that I remember depression and feeling depressed are not the same thing. One can linger for weeks at a time, the other typically passes much sooner and is a lot easier to work through on your own.

I might think of my periods of feeling depressed as episodes of healing. They are short enough that I can't really do any deep-wading and I tend to make some helpful internal observations during those times. This is very relevant after seeing the movie "Inside Out" which was adorable, by the way. The primary message I got from it is "Sadness has a purpose." Sadness allows us to process our feelings and It's when sadness lingers and becomes Depression that it can be a problem, when we end up stuck wallowing instead of using grief as a way to heal.