Piercing the veils of depression…
Spent much of the morning feeling through a little depression. I usually notice those feelings first in a sense of separation, personally from others, and or from some material success or another.
Stories of solitude, failure, despair, and doom begin to creep in. Lately I tend to more quickly notice the correlation between this depression and an absence of physical motion.
In my recent state of quarantine and Journey to Zero (roughly the last six months) I’ve been largely unavailable to the Feldenkrais, osteopathy, and exercise therapy that were my primary sources of movement in years past.
In their place is a consistent duality of posture – fully prone in bed, or seated upright in the chair – broken only briefly each morning and evening for a period of 15 to 30 minutes when loving hands move my legs through a range of motion, pushing against spasticity and increasing lagging flexibility.
Taking overnight measurements of oxygen saturation and heart rate recently has revealed the strong likelihood of a diagnosable sleep apnea. The go to remedy for this seems to be machinery and a facemask which, while likely promoting good health, also comes with the additional baggage of “one more thing” to manage. In the context of quadriplegia, these things add up.
My working theory is that these issues have emerged as my scoliosis and rib cradle collapse have been exacerbated by the accumulated lack of movement. Last night Courtney offered a little torso massage and Ayurvedic aromatic oils treatment as we prototyped some potentially less invasive treatment options. I slept better last night.
This morning, Caroline brought her years of expertise in body mechanics and movement therapy, taking the torso manipulation and nurturing to the next level. Sometime in the next few days we will be recording a short video for the other care partners to learn her techniques and we will run the experiment of the more human contact, hands-on treatment in favor of defaulting to expensive machinery.
I’m curious and optimistic. Of course I’m always optimistic. 😉 Even when depressed.
On one hand, it feels good to recognize the possibility of increasing blood flow as an intervention to depression. On another hand, there is also the aspect of actually doing the work to pierce the stories that obscure the very real powers of creative effort and engagement.
Commensurate with the depressed state, my bowels were slow this morning (which is really just a euphemism for stopped ;-), leaving me in the distressed state of autonomic dysreflexia for most of the day. Laying down for 45 minutes helped, also sitting in the hot sun, but inevitably the discomfort persisted, even to this minute.
So it’s been a day of focusing when I can, fortunately on the rituals of weekly review, weekly reading, and correspondence. The house has been open to the hot summer air with a nice breeze blowing through from the front fountain, across the living room, and out the office window. Music has been playing throughout the day creating an atmosphere of energy and activity.
I had breakfast outside with Caroline who prepared an exquisite egg dish for us both that included the good chicken eggs from the fridge, and two duck eggs that she brought from the farm. She scrambled these with a homemade aioli to exquisite outcome.
Lunch also was outside, smoothie and coffee, and the Cooper’s hawk that seems to have moved into the neighborhood. I’m very much enjoying the budding friendships emerging with both Caroline and Courtney in this new turning of the wheel. It is one of the fine privileges of needing care – the relationships that are possible can be quite deep and rich.
Tonight Courtney will help me shower, do a little more rib cradle support (Caroline didn’t like the term “rib cage” so I came up with cradle instead.) And we’ll do some more oils and – I expect as it’s often the case after a nice hot shower – a satisfying evacuation. With luck this will precipitate a more restful evening and tomorrow can be applied more fully to the aforementioned creative effort and engagement.
For now, in the midst of a damp and tense physical discomfort, I will have to suffice myself with gratitude for these new friends, those old friends who are still with me, and the possibility that my longtime practice of seeking to give love will continue to mature and more and more material ways.
God gets to know things, we just get to ask questions…