Hi, my name is Tales From the Motherland, and I’m addicted to reality. Please don’t call me out for using the classic “meeting” hello; trust me, there will be plenty of opportunities to judge here. Those of you who are clever enough, or who have the same
problem addiction challenge, may already know where this is headed. Into the gutter. And down.
I’ve been spending way too much time watching reality shows on the Bravo channel. Ok, take a second and groan; I get it. A few months ago, I would have been judging and groaning at me too. But that was before I took a header off the edge and wound up in some dark spaces. Interesting what a little Depression will bring your way. In my case, it came loaded with Real Housewives living in all kinds of places, Hairdressers running amok, Real Estate agents (also in a few places) selling crazy ass big houses, and on a few occasions… Ok, I told you there would be plenty to judge; here it is: a few Kardashians. I blush, even as I type this. But the road to recovery is paved with confessions, and countless, small prayers.
a few months nearly a year a while, my sofa has been a lot more comfortable than say… going outside. Seeing people. Shopping. Doing almost anything other than being on my sofa, with my TV or computer. The walls came in around me. The rain became one more reason to just stay seated. The sun became one more reason to stay on the couch. Fall, inter, spring… almost anything was an excuse to hide. If it weren’t for a very good friend and some great sushi, I might not have gone out that one day a week either. It’s good to have someone in your corner who: sees the problem; doesn’t judge; supports without enabling, and who cares enough to stay the course. I’m lucky. It’s a big bonus if your sponsor friends are willing to overlook your addiction when you don’t feel like sharing, laugh with you when you’re dying to talk about the latest reality scandal, or occasionally pretend you’re not actually talking about vapid people, as if you really know them. It’s not easy for friends and family to stick by you when you’re struggling; it’s hard to watch, and hard to help. People tend to feel helpless, uncomfortable, impatient, or just tired of the downward trend, and that makes avoiding someone like me pretty damned tempting. That also makes the support from others that much more priceless to me, in the midst of the struggle.
And so I fell into a rabbit hole of vacuous TV as a means of escape. For a very long time, I was super critical of the very shows I’m now hooked on. And I am hooked. I know it’s all crap. It is. Major caca crap. Some of it’s entertaining, or interesting, in ways that I can at least defend… a little. Frankly, I’ve enjoyed watching really big houses (or apartments in NYC) marketed and sold, enjoyed watching how it’s done. It’s fun to see how style is determined and marketed, even if I live in Gap jeans and comfy shirts most of the time. Some of those “Real” housewives crack me up, even if Little Man mocks them endlessly. “Seriously Mom? They aren’t even housewives… except that they’re married and live in houses.” Or, “Ewww, is that really her face?” Bahaha! They crack me up, even if I have to hide the fact that I watch them, from almost everyone else. I didn’t get stupid, just depressed. I know these people are crass, obnoxious, materialistic, plastic… all the things I detest in real people. But the thing is, these Real people were a wonderful distraction from my own real stuff. Their stuff seemed so much more… entertaining.
A few months ago I would not have known who Tabitha was (or why she Takes Over). I had heard of Zoe, but didn’t know she was all that and like, well like, oh my gawd, she was like so cray cray about style, or that so many famous people were like so cray cray for her. I had no idea who Brad Brad was, or what his World looked like. Ok, I still don’t, but I do know it’s there. You’d have to be living under a rock to not know what a Kardashian was, but I can honestly say that in all these years, I’d never watched one— let alone one in New York and one in Miami. I sure hadn’t seen Honey Boo Boo (not on Bravo), and only watched it once… in my own defense. Once was disturbing enough. There’s some “Shrinks” on Bravo, who actually have some good advice, but I only saw a few of those. My real one was much more helpful. There’s a lot of fashion and a lot of real estate, and a lot of Real Housewives, that aren’t real on Bravo. There’s quite a bit of cooking as well. I didn’t feel like cooking much during this time, but some days it was nice to see what
else I could be eating, if I wanted to cook. Watching cooking, kind of counted for cooking, in my altered universe. I wanted to eat, that never held me back. However, Hot Tamales, Nutty Bits, and Ritz crackers get old, when you eat a lot of them. A lot a lot. In my altered Reality world people like Bethany live forEver After, and lots of people can cook with any six ingredients in their frige.
Real TV—Reality, has kept me from totally losing it. That may be a sad state of affairs for lots of you, and it would have been for me a year ago, but when you’re already sad, when things look really bleak, you find distraction wherever you find it. For me, it’s been Bravo… for countless, mindless hours. These Real people have been my sweet spot, even if it was the lesser of two not really sweet spots. Facing depression each day, or watching other people who I could kind of feel above. When you’re down, you just want to feel up… even if up is only above some pretty questionable downs. I was fully aware, that it wasn’t a good thing, but honestly it was better than some of what was going on in my head.
Let me be very clear here: I’m not making light of depression. In fact, lightness has been distinctly missing, for me, over the past year+. I’ve always been able to get up and move forward, but there I was stuck on a sofa, watching what I’d always called crap, for nine months or so. Stuck in a dark corner of my own design. Issues were really big, but they just got bigger, and the best solution at the time, seemed to be avoidance and isolation. If I ignore it, it will go away, I reasoned. If I sit here alone, I don’t have to look at any of this. If I watch TV I won’t feel the pain. What I discovered however, was that isolation begets more depression. Avoidance doesn’t make it go away. Piles get higher; issues stack up; and as you spiral down, it’s just that much harder to get up and rally. Making appointments involves committing to going somewhere. Errands seem more challenging when you’re down, because they involve going out and running into people. People want to chat. Chatting sucks when you just want to be back on your sofa. It’s that much more challenging, if people have always seen you as a consummate chatter, a very social person, a jokster and performer. People expected that of me, but I just wasn’t up for my usual song and dance.
I’m using the past tense, because I think— I hope, the worst has passed. I’ve turned a corner… in a positive sense… versus, say, going round the bend. It’s hard work, frankly. I hate to pull the age card, but it probably applies here. Age certainly doesn’t help, except in the sense that I get it; I’ve been able to sit with my feet in the fire and breath, knowing that sometimes you just have to do that. You just have to get through it. You can bounce back. But, I don’t bounce as high, and it hurts my knees when I do bounce. The issues seem bigger, as we get older: Kids grow up and leave; parents get sick and die; marriage can be challenging in the face of big life changes; and, personal health stuff is harder to swallow, when I’ve always Energizer Bunnied my way through things. But going and going and going, just isn’t what I do—as well, anymore.
So, I’ve let Bravo, and Hot Tamales, and some good friends keep me going.
I’ve allowed myself the time to just wallow and whine and cry and crawl… slowly back up. I’ve appreciated the countless kindnesses from expected (or hoped for) and highly unexpected sources. To friends near and far, who have been there: I am eternally grateful. To Smart Guy, Little Man, Middle Man and my Principessa, I have appreciated your patience, love and support— even when you weren’t sure what you were looking at. It was a loving gift each time Little Man threw a jab at the plastic people I was watching, instead of throwing a jab at me. Each smile from Middle Man lights my way. My girl has sent me countless hugs and sweetnesses, often without even knowing how much they meant. Smart Guy stayed the course. Hard work for both of us, but an investment worth protecting. My dogs have overlooked my surly moods and my glum faces, and have cuddles and wagged and leaped with joy, whenever I walk in the room. They’ve let me cry into their furry hearts more than once. It’s hard to not appreciate that kind of love and loyalty.
And then there are the unexpected sources of light… the amazing blogging community, who unwittingly supported me, unaware that I was truly hanging on for life some days. You’ve emailed me, you’ve followed and liked and shared me. I don’t say that facetiously. I say it with humility and love. I have only met 2 of you in person, and yet so many of you have made me laugh, have applauded my efforts, thanked me for touching on something you connect with, and have pointed out things I needed to see. Your honesty, humor and kindness has been a beacon some days. None of that was something I foresaw when I started this whole blogging gig, but talk about perks!
So, now it’s a continued climb up. It’s some very good days, for a blessssed change, with some days when I just retire to my sofa and take some extra breaths. It really is baby steps, when you hit bottom. And in case I’ve sugar coated at all: I hit fucking bottom. Bottom. I never want to be there again bottom. So, I’m in recovery. I’m putting it out there and making this one bold confession as part of my commitment to me. I’m thanking all of the people who supported, and I’m moving on. Moving slowly, but moving on. And as for my posse of Real friends, well, recovery takes time. I’m spending less time with them and more time with real people. Who love me. Bravo for that!
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