The Shadow That Never Goes Away


And there it is again. That damned shadow with all its damned lies. It never really goes away, but sometimes–glorious sometimes-that damned shadow falls back enough to let me breathe. Let me think. Let me see the world as it really is, and let me try to do some good.

It was a good morning. In fact, it was a great morning. Andrew (my boyfriend, my best friend, my everything, the one I’ll live to be 300 years old with if I have any say in it) brought me a cup of coffee, and a cigarette. Not that I needed either of those, but he knows me. This is how he woke me up. Simply because he’s that amazing. And no, you can’t have him. He’s mine.

I’d fallen asleep on the couch while waiting on my younger brother’s laundry to finish drying last night. I passed out during a Katt Williams special on HBO (the newest one, check it out, lots of laughs) and had some crazy dreams about some musician friends of mine. Andrew was there when I woke up, coffee and cigarette in hand, to bring me back to reality where my dreams can’t hurt me.

I get up and get started on Mom’s two page “to-do” list. It’s going to be a long…long, long, long, long day. I’m already in pain (chronic pain from a back injury that occurred during a sexual assault back in 2009), but I get to work. Mom will be happy when it’s all done, and trust me when I tell you that if Mom’s not happy…nobody’s happy. Ever. Until she’s happy again.

I make some amazing progress. I remember Mom saying, “Girl, you got a lot of decorating to do around here tomorrow.”

All right. First the cleaning.

Mom’s room: check!
Guest room: check!
Laundry room: check!
Clean the cat’s litter box: ew…and check!
Guest bathroom: check!
Living room: check!
Mom’s bathroom: Aw, crap…give me a minute. All right, CHECK!
Clean the top of the refrigerators: check and check!
MORE DAMN LAUNDRY: check!
Windows: check!
Guest room blinds: KNEW I FORGOT SOMETHING…check!
Trash: not check. Make the brothers and boyfriend carry it out.
Back porch: Again, dudes can have it.
Floors: Later. I can’t breathe.
Dusting: Screw you, Mom. I’m done. (Not really…I’d never say this to her. She’d murder me.)

Then I can finally start putting all Mom’s Christmas stuff out. Years and years and years and years worth of Christmas decorations she’s collected. I don’t know if we even have enough surface area to get them all out and displayed properly.

I do my best and the house is starting to look awesome. It looks like the North Pole projectile-vomited all over the house. It’s fantastic and she’s going to love it. Dripping with freaking Christmas cheer and all that.

That’s when that damned shadow creeps around the corner like, “Hey girl…whatcha doing?”

The feelings of inadequacy creep in. Any sane person would look around the house and be thrilled with the amount of progress we’ve all made. Now, granted…Mom’s not exactly sane. None of us are, but she’s at least sane enough to see the dent in the chaos at our house.

It doesn’t stop the shadow from whispering lies in my ear.

You know this isn’t going to be enough, the shadow says. Look at the floors. Look at all the stuff you DIDN’T do. She’s going to be upset. You know you could have gotten so much more done and she would have been happier.

I’m fairly certain she’ll be pleased. BUT THAT DAMNED SHADOW.

Andrew knows me so well. It’s scary. I don’t like it. How can it be good that you see right through me?

He asks if I’m all right. I lie and say that I am. I don’t lie to him. It’s a rule I impose upon myself. I have never lied to him. This is the very first lie I’ve ever told him. In my defense, I didn’t know it was a lie when it came out. He was rushing out the door to take yet another load of stuff to the storage unit, and I really did think I was all right. Until I was alone.

That damned shadow just wouldn’t budge. It would not leave me alone. I gave up. I sat down, had a cigarette and another cup of coffee and decided I wanted to play guitar. Mom’s lists are done…I think. I just want some me time.

Twenty seconds into my “me time” and I remember a ton of stuff I should have done, just to be a good daughter, but didn’t actually do. I go back up to the main house (Mom’s house) and start on the “extras” I’d planned in my head all day. I want Mom to come home and see more done than she asked.

That shadow tells me I can’t. I would ordinarily reply, “Oh yeah, watch me, bitch!” If the shadow was a person I would say that. But the shadow is just a thing. It’s just a phantom hanging around the dark corners of the house, and I can’t fight it. I bow down to the shadow like a coward. I believe I can’t do all that I want to do. I give up before I start.

That’s when I sat down to write. I just wanted to share with all of you how quickly this depression thing can turn your day from awesome to awful. I wanted to show, in as close to real time as possible, how destructive this monster is sometimes.

So, I’m sorry, Mom. I got your lists done, but all that stuff I wanted to do just to be a good daughter going above and beyond…well, that crap might have to wait. You’ll still love me. And I will always love you.

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Categories: Dealing with Depression, Dealing with the Blues, Guest Author, Guest Authors, Special Projects

3 replies

  1. Wow, some power, some story, or worst of all a real life scenario. I’ve not been through this myself, as my childhood and upbringing was different, but at least you know what your shadow is, and you are able to open up about it.

    If it’s just a story, great, but if it is real life, keep on facing up to your shadow. I know it’s tough, shdaow boxing, and I know how the damn thing witll constantly try to take control, but remember the old maxim of your greatest friend is your greastest enemy, and he, she, or it, is the one that keeps you on your toes

    Not only that keep in mind another maxim–illegitamus non carborundum– or in translation…Don’t let the ba…stds grind you down. I know you can’t beat it, but you can be it’s master; somtimes; and if you can do that , it can be suprising good if unwitting friend.

    Like

  2. It’s real life all right. About as real as it gets these days. The trouble comes when it’s someone else’s fucking shadow that won’t let me be. The not living up to my own standards is bad enough, but I have to deal with not living up to another person’s standards. I feel trapped between who I am actually and who I am in someone’s head. I never know which way to turn, look, what to think, how to feel, but I know that my behavior is constantly called into question, and I’m told I need to start “acting right.” Life lesson learned. You’re never going to be good enough, Jennifer. Now, I wish that certain someone would let me go if I’m really that bad of a person. If I’m really so terrible…why stick around? Just to keep telling me how awful I am? Nah, I’ll pass this time, thanks.

    Thanks for your encouragement! This is exactly the comment I needed to see today. You’ve made the day a bit more bearable, for which I am (and Mom will be) eternally grateful. Now…back to being the lazy bitch that never does anything and “doesn’t play the game.”

    [Note: I wasn’t aware that life is a game which one plays, but as that’s all I’ve heard recently…that I don’t play the game right…I’ve been forced to believe differently on the subject. Wish I had an updated rule book on how to play this damned game….]

    Like

    • I would say that life is a game, but that you and you alone decide upon the rules. There are as many rules as you decide, and the choice of book wherin such rules lie is in a format decided by you and by no one else around you.

      I used to try and play by other peoples rules, and that only led me to suicidal depression and 60 paracetamol tablets, but then I’ve been lucky.
      Lucky to have had my marriage proposal eccepted by my wife Miki.
      Lucky to live on an island that is full of othjer misfits that don’t quite fit in, and
      Lucky enough to realise that “they”, who or whatever “they” are don’t matter or that “everybody says” is a load of old codswalllop, and finallly
      Lucky enough to find a way to deal with the shadows, or alteast keep the damn things at some kind of bay.

      My message to you is quite simply to say Fuck them all. Create and live by the standards you want, think what you want to think, and, when the shadows close in around you, think of the things you have got and of what that you can do, rather than of the things that bring you down.

      Any depressive know’s of these shadows, but if we can bear in mind, even for a brief momment, that they have no body, no substance and no power of their own, they we can at least stick give them one or two fingers, if not completly keep them at bay

      So as you look towards Christmass, with all it’s pressures, don’t evn bother trying to seek perfection. Do the things you want to do when you want to do them, and with whom you want to do them with. As regards the naysayers and the shadow, wel blow them a rasberry as they enviously watch from the side

      regards Chris

      Liked by 1 person

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