Getting through the holiday season as someone who is in recovery from a major depressive episode may seem fairly challenging (to put it mildly). Pair that with the increased physical effort and energy I still don’t really have, I wasn’t anticipating the impending epiphany as a result of finally uncovering my bedroom floor.
The floor… Let me paint a picture for you… My bedroom has always been messy, all the way back to early childhood. The varying states of ground cover my floor has seen has ranged from quick clean-ability to post-apocalyptic wasteland. To clarify: this has NEVER involved old food or anything that might decompose, just clothes, papers, books, clothes and more clothes. My mother once went so far as to “clean” my room for me while I was at school, only to “sell” my possessions, clothes and furniture (!!!) back to me for 5¢ per item. (Kind of brilliant...take note, frustrated moms everywhere!)
Back to Christmas 2014… As I spent the last two days before Christmas making my bedroom presentable enough for a holiday guest to sleep in, I started to feel --- uncomfortable. Physically, yes; this was the most strenuous thing I had even attempted in the past few months. But the cleaner my room got, the more uneasy I felt. My therapists, at this point, would say, “uneasy is not a feeling”. Okay, the actual feeling was apprehension, which falls into the larger category of fear. Wtf??? How can tidying a room induce fear? Rationally, it makes no sense. Luckily, having completed a 12 week intensive therapy program, as I sat with this dis-ease, dawn began breaking on said epiphany. The intense clutter of my bedroom had been like a cocoon of “safety” for the last however long it had been there. A cocoon of non-change, if you will. A cocoon that meant I didn’t have to take responsibility for anything, which allowed me to hide from life, my feelings and the heartbreaking truth that my mom really had died. In the course of 40 odd years, for reasons I’ll go into in another post, I’ve become quite skilled in stuffing my feelings, rather than dealing with and feeling them. This time, instead of pushing them down, I allowed them to wash over me, to really feel this fear. In doing so, I was able to figure out for myself, that all the clutter was my safety net, and that this safety net was keeping me stuck, and sicker than I actually am now. Holy sh*t! Epiphany realized.
This is one of the best and most valuable gifts I could have received this Christmas – another realization of what makes me tick. And with that, maybe, just maybe, the ability to be a better, healthier, more insightful version of me in 2015.
Happy New Year from my hope ladder to yours.