Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Still Golden (Girls) After All These Years

It wasn't long ago that I was laying in a fetal position, a big ball of regret, confusion and hopelessness, on the cold (and dusty) kitchen floor of my studio apartment in New York, located at the mouth of the Lincoln Tunnel. 

The depression that I have endured since I was a child, had come back with a vengeance, testing my strength, resolve and ability to get up off of the floor.

It was a lonely and scary time. I'd cry until my tear ducts were dry, came close to checking into a facility, and couldn't come up with one valid reason for being. Therapy, medication, Pilates, and The Golden Girls, saw me through those debilitating days. That's right, The Golden Girls.

My boyfriend was out of town last week, and it had been a challenging few days for me, both personally and professionally. The usual suspects; Why am I here? What am I doing with my life? Why aren't I working more? What's it all for? What's my purpose? I'm too old. It's too late. I can't write. I'm tired. And on and on and on. 

So last night I turned off the lights, walked up the stairs in a trance like state, took to my bed and cried. I realized that I hadn't had a good cry in awhile, and well, apparently I was overdue. I noted something interesting however. I laid down on top of our brand new comforter, instead of burrowing underneath the sheets. History has taught me that, if I went under, I might not come up for a good long time. The cruel days of yore live inside of me, and I didn't want to have a repeat performance, staying underground while weeks and months passed me by. I had to get up.

Just as easily as I dropped myself onto the bed, after a short while, I stood up and got off of it. The good news about living with depression and getting older, is that with all of the practice that I've had, I have more control over this crippling evil.

I walked downstairs, lit some candles, and manically flitted about the kitchen and living room. Sometimes, it's as simple as moving. If I'm lucky. I made a big healthy salad for dinner. I prepared a bowl of tuna fish for the entire week. I washed fruit so I wouldn't have to wash it every time I wanted said fruit. I made muffins that I won't eat but that my boyfriend will. I organized mail, receipts, and refilled the tea light candles. I opened a bottle of Syrah, and emptied the dishwasher. 

I could feel myself rounding a corner.

The Golden Girls were on the television. I was going to switch the channel, because I watched the show every night, during that lost and empty time in New York. But then I thought the timing was somehow poetic. I was alone, in the throws of an incident, and yet I felt different. In some perverse way, I wanted to go back, because in going back, I could see how far I've come. 

The girls were always there for me and they never disappointed. I counted on those back to back episodes at six o'clock. They focused me in such a way that I was able to forget the crap ass shit that I was living. Watching The Golden Girls comforted me like nothing else could. I desperately needed routine and structure, and as bizarre at it sounds, they gave me a purpose. 

Last night was different. Although I felt the familiar stabs of depression, I was better equipped for battle. During the second hour of The Golden Girls marathon, my heart softened and my mind eased. I let the past in, just long enough to feel compassion and love for it. I wasn't watching with the same consciousness as when I had watched all those years ago, because I am not the same person as I was all those years ago.

It's funny, the television rerun thing. As I grow, marry, divorce, move forward, fall back, move on, and fall back again, I can turn on The Golden Girls and there's Sophia, Dorothy, Rose and Blanche, just as I left them. They're just as funny as they were in 1985, doing what they do best; making whoever watches them feel better. Some things will never change.

"Thank you for a being a friend, traveled down this road and back again. Your heart is true, you're a pal and a confident." 

Thank you girls. 


Kathy Radigan said...

I just love this piece! It brought me back to my own young dark days stuck in an apartment and feeling like I could never do anything. I'm glad we both escaped that!! Much love to you!!

Thanks for grabbing me my dear!! I have you on my blog roll, would you rather me grab you as well!! Lol!

thegirlfriendmom said...

Hey, I've missed you as well. It is so hard keeping up with everyone. I have to find a better system. I'm glad that you liked the piece. And yes, happy to be out of that space! I'd love a visual (button) but totally get if your site is getting crowded. All is great. xoxo

mrsmomx6 said...

Oh man, do I feel ya. Loved the golden Girls, but my depression from years of abuse by my parents, always found me watching Alice, Little House, Incredible Hulk or Quantum leap. Weird huh?

Whenever I watch those shows now, I feel secure, but always get a rush to the past of being that tortured little girl, teenage girl, adult girl.

BTW...I grabbed you too! Did ya feel it?

Hope you're feeling better. We can always chat and swap stories. Misery loves company :)


Debbie said...

My friend, I can so relate. I do have battled with the big "D" and when I was single there was a period when all of my girlfriends were married or had a significant other. I was lonely and sad and I ate dinner by myself every day. My weekends consisted of visiting my mother. However, David and Maddie from Moonlighting were my saving grace. I looked forward to each episode. I was madly in love with Bruce Willis way back when. These two kept me company when I had no company to speak of. I'm so sad to hear you've been feeling blue but glad you got over it. There are a ton of us out here who love your words and look forward to your posts.

Deanna @ The Unnatural Mother said...

Love the Golden Girls. I hope today is a much better day, it has to be!

Annie said...

I have my bouts with sadness, which pisses me off because I have absolutely nothing to feel blue about. Life is good, but I internalize so much of the world around me that sometimes I feel paralyzed, unable to pull myself out. I may have to take your lead and watch the Golden Girls. Those ladies are a hoot. So are you. Hang in there.

thegirlfriendmom said...

Thank you Sharon. Little Fairy on the Prairie was the bomb. I'm sorry for crap shit as well. And yes, I did feel you grabbing my button. xo

thegirlfriendmom said...

Deb, you are too sweet and it feels amazing to have such talented and thoughtful women in my corner. Oh, the dinners alone. I knew it well. xoxo

thegirlfriendmom said...

Thanks Deanna, it's a roller coaster but I'm buckled in. Going to see your sis this weekend! xo

thegirlfriendmom said...

Thanks for the boost Annie. I know that I'm not alone and I want others to know the same. Get you some Golden Girls... it's amazing how well they stand the test of time and are still relevant!

Nate ShenkitUp said...

I hate depression. One of the worst things about it is the fact that, unless you have experienced it, it's hard for "normal" people to understand.

Sometimes a good cry makes everything feel better...but dont tell anyone I said that since I'm a boy and boys don't cry ;)

1TootieFoodie said...

They don't make shows like that anymore. I use to watch them too and my roommates and I watched them in college!

thegirlfriendmom said...

That's very true, Nate. It is hard for someone who hasn't had the experience to understand. And boys do cry... they were lying when they said that they didn't. Thanks for stopping by.

Alison said...

Boohoo.....I almost cringe at reading this because I can relate too closely to your feelings....I remember loving Golden Girls as just a small child of 9 or so. Funny how that show has a way of comforting and drawing you in. XO

Tracy Balderach said...

You are such a beautiful writer. Thank you for your honesty, your perspective and the inside snapshot to your thoughts. Of all things, it seems like you have grown so much and can embrace how to move forward. Blessings to you! Tracy

Becky Jane said...

My faith is what sustains me...although I do enjoy a good chick flick and a box of tissue once in awhile!Happy Thursday!

thegirlfriendmom said...

Alison, Sorry to make you cringe but I'm glad that you feel the same about the GG.

Tracy- Thank you so much for the compliment. And for stopping by.

Becky Jane- Happy Thursday to you as well and yes, faith is certainly one way to get through the rough patches. Thank you again for stopping by.

Michael Ann said...

I loved this piece. It comes straight from the heart and I have to say I really appreciate your sharing this very personal story. I too have had these awful times and still struggle with the basic questions of life. "Why am I hear?" and "What is the point?" Life is hard. Frickin' hard. Even when you supposedly have what you need and want. It's a struggle and I guess we just have to grab the happiness when it comes, and really appreciate it.

I love how this time, after your cry, you got up. This is what I do too. I have never succumbed to actually staying in bed all day, as much as I think I would want to. Something about the cryfest enables you to get it all out and then hopefully, get up and move forward.

I also like your connection of past t.v. shows to past feelings. I am that way with music very much.

Thank you again for this heartfelt post.

thegirlfriendmom said...

Michael Ann,
Thank you so much for the compliments. And life is fuckin' hard! Oh, wait, you said, Frickin. Sorry. And yes, I'm trying to grab the happiness. Sometimes it's just a question of stopping and taking in all that you have. Gratitude people! Again, thank you for so much for the kind words and for stopping by. It means a great deal to me.

Rosann said...

I love that you share this raw emotion and written in such a beautiful way. I pray you'll be feeling joyful again soon. I've found what works for me during bouts of depression is leaning into my faith, having a good cleansing cry, and going for a nice long run while listening to music that moves my soul. The running is aggressive enough exercise that with each foot smack against the pavement, I imagine myself stomping those awful feelings right out of me.


Laura@Catharsis said...

First, let me say I am impressed at your resolve not to bury yourself beneath the covers. I've suffered from life-long anxiety, which may be partly depression, which causes my body to go into overdrive, wrecking everything in the process. I only really recognized it when my son had his stroke and my panic attacks escalated beyond controllable. And to think about how far I've come is incredible. Mental illness sucks, man, because on an intellectual level, you know your feelings are a product of some chemical imbalance, not reality, and yet every emotion you endure sure FEELS very real. As for the Golden Girls, they depress me for some reason, but there are some shows that I think might bring me out of a funk. Hope you're feeling better and keeping on.

thegirlfriendmom said...


Thank you for the kind thoughts. I am feeling better, thank you, and I have my spiritual life to see me through the challenging times.

thegirlfriendmom said...

Oh, Laura, I'm so sorry that The GG's depress you and I'm sorry that I brought it up. Yeah, the whole intellectual part of it sucks, because it all feels so real! Thanks for reading and your kind words. As Bonnie Franklin said, "One day at a time."

Anonymous said...

I just happened to wander in here (from bloggymoms) and I kinda fell in like with you :o) I understand this post! It rings so true to my past, and sometimes current states of mind, just minus the Golden Girls. I also, was for a while, a girlfriend mom. While I was pregnant (I never had really planned on having kids in the first place, surprise!) I had to forge relationships with then-boyfriend's 15 and 17 year old boys, and 13 year old daughter. It was defiantly something that didn't come natural! We all made it out alive though, lol.
Nice to find you!


thegirlfriendmom said...

Hi Candace,

I'm glad that you found me and that you can relate. It's comforting to hear that being a girlfriend friend mom didn't come naturally to you either. It's truly challenging. I hope I survive!
Thanks again and I hope you come back.
The GM