The question I didn’t know pool toys were the answer to

“Even when everything’s going your way, you can still be sad. Or Anxious. Or uncomfortably numb. Because you can’t always control your brain or your emotions even when things are perfect.”

Jenny Lawson in her new book, Furiously Happy

My brain decided it was about time to remind me of this truth last week, even though I had just finished Jenny Lawson’s book over the long weekend and could have sworn my brain was with me when I did. The sadness had already been creeping in at the edges for a few days, the exhaustion was setting in, and the things going wrong in my life were nowhere in sight.

I dragged myself to the office I’m always cold in and tried to tune out my coworkers’ complaints about how hot it was. I wrapped my scarf tighter around my neck and head. I put on the glasses I wear to block the fluorescent lights and tried to focus on what my computer told me was going on in the outside world. My job is to know as much about US politics, business, and healthcare as possible and to filter it into digestible updates, blog posts, tweets, etc.

But I couldn’t.

I barely had the energy to sigh, let alone decipher a new regulation about Medicare reimbursement for colonoscopies.

—–

Depression won last week. I sank into it, let it convince me to sleep late, let it keep me away from the gym, let it suck the warmth out of the sunlight.

Then one morning I woke up, and everything felt dif- no it didn’t. Everything felt the same. I still couldn’t order myself to smile, to lift weights, even to amble along on an elliptical machine. But I did push myself to the pool.

I may not be a skilled swimmer, but I am a master at not-drowning. I made myself keep it up while the aqua fitness class finished its routine. I waited for them to leave, and when no one else was around, I snuck a couple of their foam barbell things back in the pool. I tried them out, tested a few moves, fell over, splashed, tried again. And I laughed. I played, and I laughed, and I knew joy hadn’t left my life. It had just gotten stuck somewhere else for a little while.

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