It seemed like a good idea at the time.
I’ve been looking at buying a car. It started with needing a new battery but I got sucked into test driving some newer, smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles and the next thing you know I started thinking about how I needed a new car, how I deserved a new car, and how I could easily afford the payments.
None of those things are true.
But now I have a car agent and I’m having trouble quitting her. Part of it is the empathy problem. She’s new to the field and I want her to have a win. I’m almost willing to go into large-ish debt to ensure that she doesn’t feel bad. My needs and requirements are secondary, of course.
This constitutes a rather large failure for the year of boundaries. I was feeling smug, too. I’ve been able to say “no” to things I’d rather not do and call out various inappropriate comments but that has been within my immediate circle. I was reasonably certain that although it felt scary, my friends would not reject me.
The fear of doing it out in the world, and the anxiety, is much harder to circumvent.
I fell back on lying. I sent her a text message saying I had to help pay for my son’s car repairs and thus wasn’t able to make another financial commitment at this time. It was sort of true. I did have to help my son out, but the total bill was two hundred and fifty dollars and I paid it last week.
Still, it got me out of a quagmire. The lying prevented inevitable arguments and attempts to persuade me to change my mind. I hate doing it though. Probably because I’ve done so much of it.
I should’ve known better than to commit to any kind of purchase this week, however. It’s not mercury retrograde. I’m not sure how I feel about astrological portents. The problem is that I’m a bit depressed and buying a car violates one of my basic rules on how to act when I am: Don’t enter into financial arrangements; you will make very poor decisions.
The last time I bought something while depressed, it was a three thousand dollar vacuum I didn’t need and had to cash in some RRSP money to pay for it. But the girls selling it seemed so nice. I didn’t want to reject and offend. And didn’t I deserve a nice vacuum?
The depression has been hovering at the fringes for a bit now but I brought it into ascendency myself; I wasn’t very good at being consistent with my meds while camping. And while that’s a fun stick to beat myself up with, when I’m done, I’ll still be in the same place. I’ll still be depressed.
Might as well let blame go.
At least it’s not a major crash. Instead, it’s a relatively minor drop. I’ve been here before. If zero is neutral and minus ten is deep down in the pit, then I’m probably at a minus three or four. Unpleasant but not dire.
I’d made plans to start surfing my mental illness waves not too long ago. Advance preparation for an event I knew would come. It never doesn’t come. Meds hold me relatively stable but I drop noticeably at least once every six weeks. I thrash about underwater for a bit and then come back up to zero. Sometimes I bounce back to a five or six before the slide starts again.
I’m not bipolar. I just – fluctuate.
But I’d made plans when I was still feeling better to ride the next cycle out. To live with the uncomfortable feelings without using maladaptive tools to mood alter. I’d do the things you need to do: drink water, eat, get fresh air, do nice things for yourself, maintain personal care, try and sleep. The idea was that I’d learn to adapt to the cyclic nature of my moods.
It all seemed a lot easier, and like a much better idea, when I was planning it from a less depressed place.
But now I’m floundering and part of me thinks the horrible ways I have of dealing with these feelings might be worth the grief it if I makes them go away.
Now that I’m down, I don’t much feel like surfing.
Revisiting that decision now, however, also violates a rule. It’s kind of like the shopping-for-a-car thing. It’s not a good idea to make major decisions when you’re depressed. I’ve committed to trying to live with the emotions, to believing they won’t last forever and won’t kill me and I will try and see it through.
I give myself the same reminder as a do when I think about re-engaging in eating disorder behaviours. I can always go back to the old way tomorrow. Stick it out for today, no matter that it’s challenge. I can backslide later if living this way gets too hard.
I will stick it out because, when I thought of it initially, however it seems in the right now, it seemed like a good idea.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
What challenges have seemed easier in the abstract than in reality?