Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dealing with Depression On the Road (part 2) - Chronic Illness and the Full Time RV Life

Imagine waking up one morning and you are no longer the person who went to bed the night before. Imagine being the best at something and then one day it stops. 

This has happened to me. I am the worlds only primitive, pre contact aboriginal garment expert/maker/restorer in the world. I studied and researched this area because of my heritage of mixed Native American/Norwegian and had discovered there were only two people in the world who had as much backround as I did. I was lauded by the few people who are actually interested in this area of study and was very proud of the work I had done. 

I have dozens of period appropriate hand tanned deer and elk hides and had produced several garments that were stunning examples of pre contact design. I have pounds of seed beads, shell beads and sinew thread with which I diligently created two example garments that had not been seen by human eye since the early 1800's. 

Then one day it stopped. I'm not sure when exactly. I know it had something to do with when I became ill, but I have always had one health problem or another so I can't say it played an important role on my destruction. 

I also had this very popular blog that you are reading now. I posted, at the very least, once a week for over 5 years. That stopped. 

I had always been a clean freak about my RV. I was so meticulous I joked that my DH wasn't allowed to live inside with me. I would deep clean at least every six months and organizing my storage areas was my passion.


Now I saw everything I ever did as being futile and irrelevant. Dust bunnies began to grow and projects on dress forms went from being covered in sheets like sad ghosts to being undressed, the regalia being bundled into the overhead loft and the forms taken to storage several miles away.

I had a small online ecigarette business that suddenly became a burden and an actual dreaded experience. I developed a phobia about checking my orders and an unreal dread when I had to deal with anything to do with the business. Going to the Post Office became a nightmare filled with horror.

I made tribally inspired jewelry that sold well on my etsy site. I was actually starting to get the prices I demanded for my work. Overnight I lost all interest and shut the shop down, the jewelry making tools hastily conscripted to whatever drawer that was handy, instead of being carefully organized as they always were.

Even in the evening watching TV with the DH I was always a person who had a project at hand working well into the night. I had always been this way, either knitting, or cooking or making jewelry, all the while chatting up a storm if anyone was around and content to while away the hours crafting and creating if I was alone.

Suddenly I was a different person and didn't know who I was anymore. it was as if I woke up and saw the futility of everything. I now could only see death and despair, the real meaning of life became that you are born, struggle and then disappear, with no one noting your passing. Everything was a cruel joke. 

My lifelong spirituality that had got me through being tortured as a child and had held me stable and strong as a reluctant single parent and got me through my DH's major illness evaporated and left me mindfully naked and ashamed of everything I had ever done. Somehow I had failed miserably and was weighed and found wanting in my own mind.

I spent day after day just sitting and staring out the window. Not even thinking, just staring at the wind in the oaks and the palms. Vacant. Sad, as if a good friend had died. In retrospect, that friend was me, but I wouldn't see it for a couple years. 

I am just now coming back. I don't know if I will ever get back to what I spent half my life studying to be. But I know I have to find myself in order to come out from under it. 

I know I am very different than I thought I was.. the scales are falling from my eyes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Depression is a complex thing--your gifts are many...I hope you will find your way out of the darkness and find your creative spirit. I too have struggled with depression. Good luck.

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