Drifting vs. Rowing

Drifting vs. rowing… I liken life as a journey. On journeys, as in life, we have choices. I have always been a very directed and active person with regards to where my life is going and making it the way I want it to be. Very much a “rower”. Not content to sit back and drift and see where life’s current will take me…I’m NOT just along for the ride. The fact is that if you don’t direct where you want to go and want you want your life to be, you will end up where someone else decided you should be.

Needless to say, losing Willie has knocked me on my ass as far as being able to row, or even see the shore to reach. Grief settles a fog over every part of life and makes it so hard to navigate the waters. After a time, for me, depression moved in and it was like the rowboat sprung a leak and now I had to row, navigate AND try to bail the water that was ever rising threatening to sink me.

As some may know, I took myself off all medications for depression and insomnia about 2 and a half weeks ago.

The decision was an easy one really. Deciding to go ON medication in the first place was a huge struggle for me and one that I faced every time I took a pill.

I have dealt with depression at different times throughout my life and have always managed to get through it and deal with it with various manners of self-care… Yoga, meditation, running, writing… these have all been my “go-to” ways of coping and managing emotions. Being on anti-depressants felt like I had tossed the oars into the water and I was drifting… Placing my hopes on the whims of the current to carry me to the shore. Being off the pills is a lot like rowing against the current and sometimes feeling like I’m so unbalanced that I’m just spinning in circles but it also gives me the much needed empowerment of being the one in control of where I’m going. Not having that control and power was fueling the fires of weakness and futility that were stifling hope, for me.

I am starting to feel a shift in the current though this past week. Feeling like the water inside the boat isn’t rising so fast anymore and it’s manageable. The fog of grief is as thick as ever still and I know that’s not going to change for some time yet. But not having the feeling that I’m sinking is something at least. The depression is still there but not incapacitating like it has been. Not really hope yet but something close to it.

Starting to be able to discern what’s grief and what’s depression is a big step. They both might still be with me but at least I know what’s what – and that helps. Now I know when I need to take a day and put the oars away and bail… just get the water level down again so I can row forward…and when the water level is ok and I can try to get through the fog of grief.

The acceptance that grief will be a part of life… that I have to learn how to live with it and also figure out how to just “be” when the times of joy do happen… this is the journey… rowing again and not drifting now.


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