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Does Depression Lurk Amidst the Sounds of Silence

Posted Jan 02 2010 5:35pm

I found silence today in the form of extra sleep.  I sleep a lot sometimes but this was a conscious response to my tired brain and weary body.  I said nothing to the family, unusual for me to not ask for this gift of time or bemoan it’s desperate need.  I simply took it.  I returned to my room and curled up under the covers and let my mind wander into oblivion.

Sleep didn’t come quickly but took a gradual stroll into a vivid dream state.  I heard my husband come into our room and ask if I was okay; I opened my eyes assuredly as I muttered a convincing “uh huh”.  I remained aware of the dogs running around chasing each other,  stopping only to alternately jump up on my side of the bed to nudge me to come and play.  I let them paw and push but did not move.  Eventually, they went to sleep on my bedroom floor and I drifted off.

My dreams were alive in technicolor brilliance as I found myself in a house filled with friends.  There was a secret basement made up of rooms for each of my family to revel in.  A computer lab and gaming room for Kate; a gathering place with a small bar, televisions turned to ESPN and couches for friends for Jackie.  There were toys and Christmas decorations strewn around the warehouse like room and a wonderful desk and writing materials most certainly meant for me.  A hidden passageway lead to a backyard designed for fantastic cookouts and gatherings especially for my husband, James.  Ahhh, a sweet dream it was. When I woke, I was relaxed and hungry and surrounded by my dogs – better than the groggy start to my earlier day.

I followed the sleep with a web seminar about a life coaching course I will begin on Monday.  When I finally went downstairs I was at peace just sitting quietly with my husband.  The television was on but no one was watching-background noise and nothing more.

The day has been filled with quiet time and that is indeed a wonderful gift.  I gave myself time to reflect on the past month and it’s chaos.  I also thought about setting goals for the months ahead – mere thoughts, no real decisions today.  In between the quiet moments I called my grandmother, mom and daughter to say I love you and Happy New Year. I just touched base no need for lengthy conversations.

No one seemed to mind my quiet, it was simply accepted and graciously so.  I called for dinner to be leftovers or something of one’s own choosing.  I did not declare that I would not be cooking as I didn’t wish to defend the decision.  I just did not offer the choice.  Everyone survived and I did not stress about their capacity to do so without me.

Lessons learned:

The world still revolves when I choose to stay still and it is okay.

Depression does not have to be cause or consequence of sleeping in or tuning out.

Time for myself is as necessary as it is a treat.

Questions to ponder:

Will I be able to do this again, even when everyone is home and thus aware of my withdrawal?

Will we all think it is a natural thing and not a “bipolar reaction” to some unnamed stress?

Are we capable of turning off the television even when it is just white noise?  Not sure about this one – there is a tv in almost every room of my house.  I do not lack external stimuli.

Actions to put into motion:

Turn off the television and find myself again and not just in a dream state, perhaps in a book or better yet in my writing.

In Peace and Quiet,

Bipolar Chick

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