After reading another blogger’s post (thanks Rose!), I thought about a key realization I had at the end of last week.
When my depression was at its worst, I had one hell of a time getting dressed, let alone showered and teeth brushed – and washing the hair – oh c’mon. When I have to be on campus or at meetings, I am always professionally dressed and well-groomed. Even on days when I feel frumpy, my wardrobe has been designed to save me from myself. That said I can tell you that I had not felt good about myself in at least 6 months when the worst of the depression hit. It was like I was punishing myself (for what??)
AH HA! When I dug a bit deeper I realized I was on to something important. What was the root of my not caring about my appearance (mostly) and not doing what I needed to do for myself to feel good. I like getting dressed for work. I have fun with my wardrobe. I like pedicures and brazilian waxes (I do my own, thank you very much).
Well, that’s all a lot of work and I finally figured out that I was punishing myself for the affair in a newly recognized way.
Somehow I had tied all of my external expressions of worth to the need to self-punish without even realizing it. Sure, major depression doesn’t seem to prompt people to jump up and get “pretty” when they can hardly move, but this was different and beyond depression. See, for the most part, my husband has stopped punishing me. I haven’t though.
I also realized how much primping I did during my affair and recognized that I did a lot of it to delight my AP, although I had lots of fun returning to my girly self. The net-net is that I realized I needed to have another reason to look and feel good outside of a delighted lover’s reaction. Sidebar: he appreciated me like no other man has and something really lost and important was reawakened in me. For that I am grateful despite feeling eternal remorse for having the affair in the first place.
I recognize that a portion of the time I was really, really depressed that it would be expected that one’s self-care may take a hit. However, I was happy to have peeled away the scab to be able to see the real wound underneath. The wound became infected and went systemic and I had no idea it was even there. The infection rewired my brain.
It was time to stop the weight gain at 10-12 lbs. It was time to get back to whatever primping I wanted to do, for no other reason than because I like it. It was time to start eating better and stop with the chocolate assault. I do not want to buy another effing wardrobe. I have been looking at pictures from as recent as two years ago and I looked awesome. Why? I was happy in ways I hadn’t been before. Time to organically get that “thing”.