Soft fingers of depression tickle my brain. It happens annually when winter turns to spring and again when summer slips into fall. Countless other people diagnosed with bipolar and doctors, nurses, and therapists confirm the seasonal reality of transformation from mania to depression or vice versa.
I ate nothing the last two days. My head obsessed that I didn’t deserve to eat. I’m a bad person, and I didn’t deserve it. An old tape played, and I let it. A very close friend begged me to eat. I didn’t. I emailed another old friend, and he asked me to eat, to be kind to me. The close friend calmly asked me to eat, and I promised to eat dinner.
I courageously reported my situation to my caseworker. He suggested I make a piece of toast with butter and smell it. I didn’t have to eat it. I simply had to breathe in its odor.
I popped in a piece of good bread. I smelled it toasting. When it finished, I slathered butter on it letting it drip down the sides, and then I held it to my nose. All I could sense was creamy, toasty goodness. It filled me.
It filled my head.
For a few seconds, I wasn’t lost in hateful thoughts learned so very long ago. For a bit, I was full of scent. Delicious scent.
I cut the toast into four strips like an old neighbor lady did for me when I was very little. Billie. Yes, she had that name, and she was a marvel. She washed her long, gray hair only in rainwater caught in a tub under the eaves of her house, and she braided it and wound it into circular buns on each side of her head. In her refrigerator, she kept a green glass jar of water carried from a nearby town. It appeared there mysteriously for me. She made chocolate cookies like no other, and the recipe died with her.
I don’t want to die today, so I nibbled a strip of buttery, wholesome toast. The taste moistened my mouth, and I bit a larger piece off the strip. Soon, it was done, and my stomach cramped slightly. I put the plate down and leaned on the kitchen counter.
Those sneaky, sleepy tentacles of depression tried to ruin the lingering taste of toast.
I resisted. I picked up another strip and bit into the solid, buttery bread. My mouth again signaled my brain that this was right. This was good.
I deserve to eat.
Is the depression going to abate or increase? I don’t know, but I will keep watch. I will eat despite what I was taught.
I will care for me.