Guest Blog by Patti Lynn Henry: Life Taking Shape
This is taken from her blog which appears at www.pattilynnhenry.com
I can’t believe it’s taken me three weeks to write here. Originally l had intended to post weekly about whatever witty topic or revelation crossed my mind that day. However, things haven’t been moving quite that quickly in my brain in the past few weeks – or, well, ever. To say that the last month has been a slow one would be misleading. Despite going through both my usual routine, and instituting a variety of other projects and habits, life for me has felt pretty stagnant.
Is this just a phase? Probably. It’s something I’ve experienced more than once and have always managed to come out of it more aware and richer for the experience. But only in hindsight can I have that sort of clarity and appreciation for the battle that I’ve been fighting daily to get out of bed, off the sofa, out of the house, and out of my own head.
Is this depression? Maybe. It’s a hard thing to define, so I try not to classify myself as “it” or “not it.” I don’tthink I’m depressed though. Sure, some mornings I audibly argue with the world about how badly I don’t want to get out of bed, and throughout each day I sigh heavily and roll my eyes and slump my body into a heap and let my energy pool on the floor around my ankles and watch it, uninterested, as it slithers away – yet I still find myself generally optimistic. I laugh daily, feel intense love for other living things, make plans, experience life, center myself, and enjoy simple pleasures. Those are not the signs of a depressed woman.
So why am I explaining all of this to you? Well, I guess because the reason I started the blog was to let my friends, and anyone else who finds it vaguely interesting, know what’s going on in my world. I’m still deep inside of my introverted hiding space, but I can see the light at the other end now, which is a relief. Even when you put yourself in there, it’s scary to be in the dark by yourself.
With numerous influences including several friends, my recently obtained psychologist, several podcasts both serious and light-hearted, a documentary titled “Happy,”and a book by Augusten Burroughs titled “This is How,” my head has been swimming with thoughts – coherent bits of information and topics to analyze and try out, like I’m a child playing with a set of shapes, trying to figure out how to put the square through the square hole, the circle through the circle hole, and the triangle through the triangle hole. Step one is recognizing that the objects I see are solid. I still have a lot of work to do. Sometimes I focus too much on the question of “why?” I spend so much time wondering why the square doesn’t fit through the circle that I get stuck. What I need to do is keep trying new combinations until something fits.
All that said, it’s been a pretty great month. I’ve been journaling and reading more. I’m volunteering. I’m taking yoga classes. I’m meeting new people. I’m setting goals for myself, focusing on my mental and physical health instead of on what I wish I had or didn’t have in my life. Things will continue to get better, and I’m looking forward to the day – hopefully soon but it can’t be rushed – when I can step out of my sheltered head and into the world again.
Patti Lynn Henry is a writer and cancer survivor who lives in rural Minnesota.