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In Sickness and In Health

When I think of Victorian England, I have this fleeting images of glamorous Victorian ladies in their fancy dresses and sophisticated afternoon teas.

I’m currently fixated on watching a Netflix series called Ripper Street, set in Victorian England.  The plot revolves around 1889, 6 months after the infamous Jack the Ripper murders.  What intrigues me about this series is not the glamorous Victorian lifestyle that emerged from this time period but rather the sense of hope and humanity amidst the dank and depressing state of existence for the people of Whitechapel.

I guess I am a sucker for the underdog.  I cheer them on when even my own state of existence seems hopeless.  I am after all a romantic and always see the best of humanity.  I have hope when all seems  lost.  I am not saying that my life is a state of one depressing mini dramas and that I see parallel life patterns played on the cinematic screen, what I am saying is that sometimes life has a way of masquerading in television dramas.  I once had a nightly routine of watching Star Trek The Next Generation over a period of a year and noticed that my waking life oddly reminded me of episodes that I would watch the evening afterwards.  I looked forward to watching these episodes to compare notes.  It was a strange and confusing time in my early twenties.  My life was a state of flux and I took comfort in validating my life is stranger than fiction through television shows.

I dream of the haunted house with the top attic being haunted again.  This time, the entire house is filled with my daughter and her friends.  My step son and ex boyfriend are living in the house as well.  I sense that my husband is in the house but I can’t quite locate him.

I am panicking because I can’t find the one person who will understand why all these people are in my house.  Why they are all inside my head.

I get the foreboding sense that the 5th floor of the house is haunted.  The hallways are ice cold and the bedrooms are haunted.  Each room represents something sad and tragic that happened.  I warn everyone in the house to not step foot on the 5th floor.  I avoid going up the steps but yet I find myself being drawn to that floor.

What I do remember from this dream is that everyone is attempting to shower or use the   bathrooms.  They are all used up except for the 5th floor bathrooms.

I wake up needing to go to the bathroom.  This dream follows me through out the day like a bad headache.  My head is pounding from the pressure.  My eyes are heavy from the lack of proper sleep.  I wish I knew what my subconscious was trying to tell me.

My daughter struggles with anxiety and depression.  It follows her around like a dark cloud keeping her in her place.  It muzzles her and she is reduced to  a quivering nine years old child.  Every once in a while, I see the child wanting to emerge into an adult.  This other side of her, like the ghosts in my dreams, are always present in the background.

My life takes a different turn than my daughter.  I have the luxury of time on my side.  Years of practice on my side.

We both use the creative side, the wild side of our nature to keep the barking madness at bay.  Cerberus howls and nips at our heels.  And at the oddest moments, propels us to write and create the stuff from our dreams.  To play music from our soul and to create the things that we can’t quite name.

The only thing that I know is that my namesake 3maiden, I have emerged from the other side. Persephone has awoken.  I am now heading towards crone-hood.  That right is mine.

The way I see depression is this.  Depression is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong.  Just like if there is a sickness inside you.  I see depression as a barometer to what is truly going on inside the gray matter we call our mind.  Mind, body and soul.

What I don’t want to do is wallow in self pity and be reduced to a crumbling mess in the corner.  The only thing I can do is pick myself up from that corner and keep moving forward.  Keep reaching out and practice breathing.  Slowing down my thoughts.  Slowing down and listening intently to my heartbeat.  Closing my eyes and facing the haunted rooms.  What will I find in those rooms?  Myself trapped behind the mirror wanting to break through?  What past life keeps coming back to haunt me.  Over and over again.

This is why I meditate.  This is why I write down my dreams.  This is why I write.

I want to break free from this cycle.  I don’t want to be passive and silent anymore.  I want to reach deep inside myself and break free.

What will I find?  That nine years old self, just like my daughter?  Just like my mother?  How do we get from the past to the present.  Understanding that through these works come recognition.  Comes the idea that life happens when we make it happen.  That growth is a natural thing.

A good friend of mine once told me that growth is like outgrowing a pair of old jeans.  Your body is no longer comfortable wearing them.  The only thing to do is to get a new pair of jeans.  When you outgrow your old self, the only thing to do is shed and grow into your new skin.



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