blog, monthly theme

Latent Lollygagger: My Morning Shadow

This month’s theme is Curiosity

I’m lying in bed. The alarm on my watch has buzzed once, twice, three times. The sliver of sky I can see out my window is lightening, the outside world waking up. My mind is on, churns over all I have to do, it thinks about my relationships, it wonders how I will physically feel, it tries to visualize the different scenarios in which I will find myself throughout the day. How will that conversation go, how will I get from Point A to Point B, when will I eat lunch, oh I need to read that email again before that meeting.

Another buzz.

As I become more and more awake, as I watch the thoughts bounce across my brain, the moment I start to catch myself in an anxious train of thought, the moment I even start to think about being curious about why I’m thinking what I’m thinking, I’m stopped.

I’m stopped by a shadow, a shadow which has a weight, a shadow that holds me down and makes it hard to move.

Photo by Pacific Austin on Unsplash

The shadow is more active in the morning. It has been building strength all night and lurks in the corner, waiting for me. This shadow, depression, dulls the parts of my brain that sparks with curiosity.

As is always the case, the things that ease depressive symptoms are the very things that depression makes it hard, impossible even, to do.

The shadow makes it hard to do anything, let alone be curious about why it’s hard to do anything. It knows that the minute I start questioning its existence, it will lose power and fade away. It pushes me so deeply into the swirl of everything, that it’s hard to separate myself from the shadow.

It’s hard to be curious when my brain feels numb. When everything seems gray and fuzzy and heavy. It becomes easy to buy into the swirl of thoughts, to believe that I have too much to do, that everything will go horribly, that I don’t really want to do any of it, so might as well just stay in bed. Stay home. Not bother with anything. Feel guilty about not doing anything, so that I add to the power of the shadow.

I’m thankful that the shadow has been at bay for a little while now. I can still see it peeking around the corner in the morning, its cue the buzzing alarm (which needs to go off a few times even on my best days) and the ticking by of thoughts. If I can believe my curiosity before I believe the shadow, I can remember that all I need to do is to start the kettle for coffee and meditate. Just one step at a time.

And then I can be curious about what I’m thinking about, why I’m projecting or re-running events in my head, what I’m afraid of or insecure about, where I might need a little extra help throughout the day, what I’m motivated to do and what seems like a burden. I can be curious about why I think I need to solve all potential problems between 6:00am and 6:10am between alarm buzzes, rather than trusting that I can face them as they come.

I can turn to the page and be curious about my stories if I can’t be curious about myself. I can go outside and be curious about the sprouting plants in the garden or the washed up sand dollars on the shore.

But each morning, when I see that shadow poking in, I worry about it taking hold. Some mornings, I don’t notice it at all. Some mornings, I can sense it there before I’m even really awake, feeling it start to extend itself into my thoughts, trying to take over before I realize what’s happening.

I get sad that the shadow is there. I get sad that it will probably always be there. I get sad that I can write about all the ways in which I can keep it at bay and then seem to forget how to do any of them. I get sad that I let the shadow win.

I don’t always know how to be curious, how to grab onto a thread of wonder that keeps me separate from the shadow. I like to think that if I trust myself enough to do it when the shadow isn’t at its strongest, then I’ll somehow be better equipped to do it when I wake up with the shadow already on top of me.

All I can do is keep learning about how the shadow affects me, learn how to keep it in its corner, learn how to protect myself.

And I can remember, this shadow is not me.

How are you curious in your day-to-day life? Comment below or on my Facebook page.

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