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The Bar of Soap

I don’t want to eat. Do I really have to go to lunch?
I guess I should go.
At least I get to spend time with J for lunch at one of my favorite places in Austin.
I can always look around when we’re done.
I can always look around instead of eating.
At least I’m out. I’m trying.

There was nothing I wanted more during the deepest, darkest throes of my depression than to curl up under my desk and sleep. All the time. Unfortunately due to human needs (eating) and financial needs (being able to keep a job), that just wasn’t an option.

I remember walking through the store that day during the lunch rush. I was happy to be at Whole Foods with J for lunch, enjoying the bustling crowd. I was also depressed. Bad. It didn’t matter that all my favorite foods and desserts that I love were there, I didn’t want them.

We sat at the high top table and I people watched and was glad to see him enjoy his bbq meal as I nibbled my kung pao chicken. I bit at rice, I grabbed at chicken. My meal went back to the office, full.

When we were done I wanted anything but to go back to work. Not because it was work, but because this felt like a tiny escape. A tiny distraction from the sad. When all of Austin is bustling around you in a few thousand square feet of space, it’s hard to stay in a hole.

We wandered around as I looked at this and that. I almost felt like a ghost on the Haunted Mansion ride, floating around in circles in a stupor.

Then we came to the soap. I had just finished using a bar of chocolate soap from my precious Addye. She spoiled me–something I never used to do for myself. I never used bar soap before that, but I loved it. I was hooked. It was my special little corner of my sink–just for me, and no one else.

I stopped. I inspected the large display of scented and natural homemade soaps. They were all divine, but in the end I was proud of the big bar of green tea soap I brought home with me.

*********

That was months ago. I’m not even quite sure when. Maybe October? Maybe later. I just know it’s when things were bad. Right now it feels like so long ago but really it wasn’t. And that’s ok.

Tonight I washed my hands and looked at the bar of soap. What was once a giant rectangular bar was now a small oval, hanging on for dear life. Bit by bit, it’s gotten worn down and it still hangs on. Bit by bit, the depression has worn me down, but I hang on. Bit by bit, I’m getting better and I hang on for hope that it’ll pass.

It’s funny how you can measure life with a bar of soap, but I can. I looked at it remembering back to when it came home with me. How long ago that seemed and how hopeless that light would be back, that I would never be the outgoing and loud Jess that I was. But was it really that long?

Progress is measured in minutes, not years.

It’s been a long road but me and my soap are hanging on. I’m working to kick my depression’s ass (pretty well, I might add–knock on all the wood), and my soap is sticking in for another couple weeks.

And maybe it’s like my best friend lovingly pointed out. Maybe it’s the depression washing away right along with the soap. I love that girl.

**********

It’s not a race, it’s a marathon.

Sometimes that’s a damn good reminder when you are fighting a beast that is mental illness.

thanks Kim, Addye & Adrian for inspiring me to write real

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