I like the idea of there being a middle. I know there is a beginning...oh how I see it coming and recognize it at the Arrivals gate. So if there's also a middle and there's a beginning then clearly there must be an end. Which is a nice warm fuzzy to curl up with at night.
I'm being dramatic. Of course there's AN end. But is there ever a The End? An end not followed by a uspecified period of "okay" and then, inevitably, another beginning? Another middle...another end?
I actually kind of like The Middle, though I'll have to backtrack to explain why. After an end (yes, its fucked up. There is stuff after an end, always). After an end there is a process. Sometimes - not always - a small moment of triumph. If it was short-lived, or not so...sharp, as usual. There are hours (usually days) of introspection. I had a customer service job once, where after every fuck up the team would sit down and have "an autopsy". What went wrong? How, in hindsight, could we have avoided it? Fucking process improvements, that's what I need. A workflow chart for my interpersonal relationships. So that's how I think of these hours/days of introspection...an autopsy. My team leader used to call them, "Come to Jesus meetings."
Was I exercising? Were there changes in my sleep pattern I could've identified earlier, and if I had could I have cut it off at the pass? What were the external factors - added stress at work, children having difficulties, some conflict with my family or partner? If so, how could I have utilized my self care practices to get through them without a spiral? (This process usually ends with something like "I should do more yoga" or "Why aren't I drinking the recommended 8 glasses per day of water?") Sometimes I think this autopsy is helpful, and sometimes I think it's an ingenious torture device, and sometimes - okay usually - I vacillate wildly between these two options for a time that, at the time, feels endless. The line between introspection and rumination is razor thin.
After THAT fun fest I generally convince myself I've learned my lesson and comfort myself with the knowledge that climbing back on the wagon - any wagon - burns a lot of calories. But then...well, then the doubt creeps in. I start thinking about Icarus or some crazy shit from a 101 - any 101 - Mythology, Literature, Religion, Science. Neural pathways and whatnot. Peer-reviewed studies. Centuries-old meditation practices. The best knowledge our world has to offer on easing the suffering of Depression. Now this is where the crazy comes in. Because these thoughts seem on the surface to be completely reasonable, and the time and effort it takes to eek out just how much is reasonable and how much is crazy...eventually I say 'fuck it' and go about my life. Every time. But now there is doubt. Now that I've had my end...it simply becomes time to await my next beginning. My next spiral. The Triumphant Return of the Tally Marks. Hours slept. Drinks imbibed. Voices Raised. The never ending search for Red Flags. The endless, exhausting self-care that is little more than Keeping Score.
The beginning can sneak up. The end is generally easily recognized & quantifiable, but fraught with anxiety about the next beginning. But the middle...
The middle I know like the back of my hand. I can recite it like poetry. Sometimes it recites me; we're that close. I don't enjoy the middle - that's the wrong word - but it is in a strange way very comforting. Because the middle is where the work is. The middle is "If I exercise every morning I'll feel better" and managing to half-ass it a couple times a week. The middle is no coffee after 3:00pm, even if that means I'm frantically pouring a mug at 2:59. The middle is a yoga DVD before bed more than 50% of the times I made that a goal. The middle is committing to only one glass of wine, having three, but feeling pretty good about not having five. The middle is progress. (Incidentally, the middle is usually blog posts)
I'm learning that I have some small measure of control over the middle. The beginning and the end seem arbitrary...I wait for them. In the middle there's really no waiting.
Kicking Suicide in the Teeth
6 days ago