Over the past couple of months, I have been involved in a group therapy curriculum that focuses on achieving goals through gainful activities. It also emphasizes staying in a routine and building structure. Much needed stuff to stave off depression and anxiety, or so it turns out. I was a damn mess not that long ago, and now I feel like anything is possible.
I am keeping my house clean, cooking every single night, socializing, blogging regularly, and my spirits are high. I don’t feel like I owe this to anything but what I learned in group therapy. I’ve learned to keep a planner handy, and to schedule myself activities each night for the following day. I’ve learned that it’s better to stay busy and it keeps you from wallowing.
As I have been doing increasingly better, I also find that I am changing directions, in a way. I am becoming more accepting of my traditional role in my romantic relationship. Actually, it would be easier and more succinct to say, I’ve accepted it.
And I don’t think it had sunk in that I had accepted it a long time ago, until I had a comment-conversation with the lovely blogger, Kim. I don’t know why I didn’t come to it sooner, the term “traditional” to describe what DSB and I are. In all those months of therapy, I couldn’t have an “ah-ha!” moment?
Turns out free conversation between bloggie friends might have better results than paid therapy, at least sometimes. Both of my recent therapists told me that “traditional” gender roles just do not work in a relationship. I call bullshit.
So DSB doesn’t do the dishes, or cook (very often), or clean, or take out the trash. So what?
He does work out in the shop nearly every day, takes care of the lawn/leaves/snow, and is generally an all-around handyman. And he kills spiders, mice, snakes, and all matter of creepy-crawly things. It’s basically called division of labor. Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair, but I know that he does a lot of things that I just couldn’t or sometimes wouldn’t, do. And that’s how he feels about housework.
I told DSB today that it was a lot easier to be happy than to be sad or depressed or anxious. I told him it was almost a choice to just accept what is going on around you. A choice to be happy. Another “ah-ha” moment. Now, I don’t believe for a second that you “choose” to be depressed or anxious or manic, for that matter. I do believe those are chemical processes.
But what I also believe, is that we can make our own happiness. By accepting, by loving, by getting it out there. We can make ourselves feel better, if just for ten minutes, by doing something small. And pretty soon those ten minutes here or there add up. I know that, even in the darkest of my depression (which I know will recur, and I will be ready), if I could do one nice thing for myself, I felt, temporarily, a little better.
Unfortunately, the brain often doesn’t have access to these thoughts when actually in the throes of depression. Which is why I’m writing it all down so I can read later, silly.
I really do feel like I have been saved by a schedule, by acceptance, and by love. This go-round, I won. And next time, I’ll be ready.