It wasn’t long ago that I was laying in a fetal position, a big ball of regret, confusion and hopelessness, on the cold (and dusty) kitchen floor of my studio apartment in New York, located at the mouth of the Lincoln Tunnel.
The depression that I have endured since I was a child had come back with a vengeance, testing my strength, resolve and ability to get up off of the floor.
It was a lonely and scary time. I’d cry until my tear ducts were dry, came close to checking into a facility, and couldn’t come up with one valid reason for being. Therapy, medication, Pilates, and The Golden Girls, saw me through those debilitating days. That’s right – The Golden Girls.
My boyfriend was out of town last week and it had been a challenging few days for me, both personally and professionally. The usual suspects; Why am I here? What am I doing with my life? Why aren’t I working more? What’s it all for? What’s my purpose? I’m too old. It’s too late. I can’t write. I’m tired. And on and on and on.
So last night I turned off the lights, walked up the stairs in a trance-like state, took to my bed and cried. I realized that I hadn’t had a good cry in awhile and well, apparently I was overdue. I noted something interesting however. I laid down on top of our brand new comforter, instead of burrowing underneath the sheets. History has taught me that if I went under, I might not come up for a good long time. The cruel days of yore live inside of me and I didn’t want to have a repeat performance, staying underground while weeks and months passed me by. I had to get up.
Just as easily as I dropped myself onto the bed, after a short while, I stood up and got off of it. The good news about living with depression and getting older, is that with all of the practice that I’ve had, I have more control over this crippling evil.
I walked downstairs, lit some candles, and manically flitted about the kitchen and living room. Sometimes, it’s as simple as moving. If I’m lucky.
I made a big healthy salad for dinner. I prepared a bowl of tuna fish for the entire week. I washed fruit so I wouldn’t have to wash it every time I wanted said fruit. I made muffins that I won’t eat but that my boyfriend will. I organized mail, receipts, and refilled the tea light candles. I opened a bottle of Syrah, and emptied the dishwasher.
I could feel myself rounding a corner.
The Golden Girls were on the television. I was going to switch the channel, because I watched the show every night during that lost and empty time in New York. But then I thought the timing was somehow poetic. I was alone, in the throws of an incident, and yet I felt different. In some perverse way, I wanted to go back, because in going back, I could see how far I’ve come.
The girls were always there for me and they never disappointed. I counted on those back to back episodes at six o’clock. They focused me in such a way that I was able to forget the sh*t that I was living through. Watching The Golden Girls comforted me like nothing else could. I desperately needed routine and structure, and as bizarre at it sounds, they gave me a purpose.
Last night was different. Although I felt the familiar stabs of depression, I was better equipped for battle. During the second hour of The Golden Girls marathon, my heart softened and my mind eased. I let the past in, just long enough to feel compassion and love for it. I wasn’t watching with the same consciousness as when I had watched all those years ago, because I am not the same person as I was all those years ago.
It’s funny, the television rerun thing. As I grow, marry, divorce, move forward, fall back, move on, and fall back again, I can turn on The Golden Girls and there’s Sophia, Dorothy, Rose and Blanche, just as I left them. They’re just as funny as they were in 1985, doing what they do best; making whoever watches them feel better. Some things will never change.
“Thank you for a being a friend, traveled down this road and back again. Your heart is true, you’re a pal and a confidant.”
Thank you girls.