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.

whoa. dude. 

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”. 


8 thoughts on “Right.

  1. totally get this! how other people can influence the way we treat ourselves… you might get this also… although its the opposite for me, i felt like he didnt care about me on the inside, so i (not in a deliberate way, it wasnt a conscious protest or anything, im pretty sure it was all subconscious) began to show it on the outside. you felt he cared about you on the inside, and that also came out on the outside…

    i used to be good, really good! before the miscarriage i was still very capable of putting myself together well… i still have a really nice wardrobe, but most days i just stare at it thinking, i dont want to get cereal on that! i prefer the mummy uniform right now lol. need to find somewhere to go! but mm. i can relate, to doing it for yourself, letting yourself be the witness…

    but speaking of witnesses… because ive been super happy with my hair lately… and while im not fishing for compliments about it, im just letting it ‘be itself’ – with some help lol – ive been enjoying them… however… the next person who thinks its ok to come up and put their hands in it is gonna lose them! i spend TIME on this yo! TIME! *swat* it makes me want to get out the flatiron… except, i dubbed that self hate and threw it away! lol.

    great post, im glad you realised that!

    • …don’t wanna get cereal on that…LOLZ!! and the hair thing – yeah, there’s a lot of merit to letting it go *wild* ha! As to someone violating my personal space by putting their hands in my hair, yeah, that’d be a fat lip courtesy of my fist. 😉

      Letting myself be the witness…oh *good one* – great perspective for me to think on.

      I thought a lot about the “inside-out” perspective too. Yeah. That’s definitely a factor I need to keep in mind before getting too down on myself. I guess I have to remember that it – whatever “it” is – will come back if I allow myself to be happy. Somewhere deep down, I apparently have felt I didn’t deserve to be happy.

  2. I’m glad you have that problem figured out. I’m still working at mine, but making progress. Thanks for the pingback, by the way. You are such a delightful blogger and I hope you keep at it. There is much community and love to be found on WP!

    • You’re welcome and thanks for your kind words. I think it’s helpful to keep an anonymous, arm’s length with the “real” world (i.e., people I actually know) for blogging purposes because I’m likely to be more honest: with myself and everyone else. This is one of the things that I learned by reading others’ words of wisdom and I’ve had the realization a few times that I wasn’t being totally honest with myself. ooooh…ahhhhh…nice! I’m grateful for the blogging community for sure.

      • I know what you mean to keep an arm’s length between your blog and the real world. My mom and therapist read mine, but I pretty much call it how I see it anyway, other than a few times when I have wanted to vent about my mom.

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