I looked in the mirror and saw a few more grey hairs: those coarse silver/white ones that stand straight from the top of the head like a ship hoisting a surrender flag. I’m 53. I expect a touch of grey. And the 15 or so usually only last until my next salon appointment. But this time the grey in my hair was not alone; it was also in the pit of my stomach.
I know this feeling well: depression.
I am very open about my long-standing battle with depression. It is part and parcel of chronic health issues. And usually I fair well and know how to self-care and communicate with my physician.
But … damn. Really, 2020? I was just finding my footing after 2019 kicked out my legs with the death of my father, family warfare, caring for my mother from afar, losing one of my jobs …
It is difficult not to be pulled down into the grey. It is difficult to remember that we cannot help others if we are not surviving ourselves.
My outlet is photography. I don’t own a fancy camera–and because I have double vision and contrast issues my pictures are mediocre. But I enjoy the moments with nature. The time when the focus is off me and on the bird, beast, bug or blossom.
On Thursday, I walked in the woods. With Covid-19, there are fewer cars on the Peninsula, and as a result more birds have shown up. I followed a soft grey vireo who flitted among the branches. When I focused the zoom, I saw the white-ringed eye (like the liner of Marlene Dietrich) and pulled in a deep breath to keep the lens from shaking. With that breath I pulled in light that broke a little of the grey.
I’ll make it through this. I will get by.