Sucked In

“Just snap out of it!”

I woke up this morning on the verge of a bad day. I spent the night sleepless and woke groggy after hitting snooze a bunch of times. Raising the blinds and looking through frozen crystals in the sky it was obvious we’re in a deep freeze again. Not even the shower was able to warm me up. Taking the dogs out and the old one started barking right outside the door. She doesn’t need a reason anymore, she just goes outside and barks. Some mornings it’s amusing, but not today. In the parking lot the neighbor was taking his dog out as well. Maggie lunged and snarled. Bitch. I let them pee and then shipped them right back inside.

8:10 AM, the morning staff return to work after a week off and my phone is already ringing. They’ve had some time to recharge, which is great for them. I leave home forgetting my anti-depressants and my regime of supplements. It’s -18 Celsius. I arrive at the new office and take my jacket off when I’m called to a site out of town. Back in the truck with the heat blasting. It’s not even 8:30.

And then driving through downtown I think to myself, “Ok Kevin, snap out of it.” For the first time of the day I laugh, but it’s derisive. I’ve been doing this depression thing a long time, and most people are well aware that it isn’t something you “snap out” of. It’s a cliche, but here I am getting sucked into it myself and I realize instantly my own betrayal. But while I might not be able to snap out of this funk, I start to make a list of things I can do to stop what has started as a shitty day and make the best of it.

  1. Drink Tea: I drink coffee, but I associate it more with my heart palpitations than with serenity. Tea on the other hand, is something I’ve learned to enjoy, knowing that in some small fashion it’s something I can consume to help myself. I’m not talking about the froo-froo crap from some hipster teahouse. I’m talking pine needles, spruce needles, poplar buds. Fresh and natural and unprocessed, simply steeped in hot water for a few minutes to release the goodness inside. You get vitamin C from Spruce needles. I didn’t know that, did you? There’s a natural pain killer in poplar buds. Who isn’t in pain?!
  2. Walk in nature: Leave your phone behind and get outside. Take deep breaths of fresh air. Check out the bark on a tree, one specific tree. Stop and listen for the sounds of birds. Feel that gorgeous sun on your face. Pick a couple of tiny spruce clippings for your tea that you’re going to drink later so you can mellow the hell out.
  3. Tick off a To-do list: A to-do list will be the death of you if it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Even if your emails are coming in fast and furious, screw it! Don’t add to the list until you’ve whittled it down to nothing. Between me and you, I’ll shut my phone off *gasp!* just to delay the 16th and 17th things people want me to do.

I did all of these things today. I went for my walk mid-day and felt the sun in my face. I sat down on the banks of a frozen creek and I even picked my own damned ingredients for tea. I even managed to stroke a couple of tasks off my list. I don’t feel like a million bucks, far from it. I actually still feel like crap. But my day did get better, I wasn’t reduced to tears at any point, and I’ve got a glimmer of hope that walking the dogs tonight they won’t be complete asses. I’m holding out for a future moment.

I hate to admit it, but that’s a win.


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