Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Superstitions and Depression
I heard the typical black cat, broken mirror and ladder tales from when I was young, but other things were added as I grew up. Like throwing spilled salt over your shoulder (a practice I do to this day) to avoid bad luck, covering your mouth when you yawn (cause that's how the devil gets in), a horseshoe is hung on your wall - curve down - or else the luck runs out, and I get nervous talking about fairies and I get angry with my husband when he makes fun of leprechauns.
The only superstition I really had growing up was to never ride in a red car. And that one was family specific. My mother was only one member of our family to die in a red car. There have been others. Not to mention the people in my family who narrowly escaped death (myself included) whilst in a red car. When a younger cousin of mine (who was named after my mother) bought a red car, the entire family seemed to sit on uncomfortable pins and needles waiting for the bad news to come, and it did when she escaped a massive wreckage with her life. It's taken me a long time to even sit in a red car (and that's only because sometimes we've had no choice) but we'll never own one ourselves, I'll assure you of that.
Another superstition I take a bit more seriously, is holidays, especially around the New Year. My family knows better than to take down the Christmas decorations before January 6th (the official 12th day of Christmas and thus end to the season), and I'm usually a mess the last week of December because I'm often trying to clean the house and get it ready for New Years Day, when the state of your house (and even bank account) on the first day of the year predicts how it will be for the rest of the year. Finally, the meal we eat on New Years Day is always black-eyed peas, for luck.
I do realise that I have a strange worrisome nature, and I'll blame a lot of that on my OCD, and though I'll probably keep throwing salt over my shoulder for the rest of my life, other superstitions - especially when broken - can be hard to get through for me. Because even "normal" people think the first day of the year is special. It's a metaphorical blank slate. A time to start anew. Make resolutions, goals and changes.
So the fact that I spent New Years Day of 2013 in a broken state of depression made me feel - for hours - like all the hope I'd had for this year weighed heavily on my shoulders until it just fell off of me and disappeared altogether.
It's what depression does. It lies.
If you spill the salt, you throw it over your shoulder. If a black cat crosses your path, you spit three times. You call fairies "the good people" to avoid their anger.
But there's no superstitious cure for depression that I know of.
You simply have to take it, let it run it's course - while still fighting against it - and cling to what little hope is left. Usually when it does leave, hope comes back and the ability to look into a new year with fresh eyes is easier. It's also easier for me because I've been dealing with depression for almost half my life. I can say, "One day doesn't ruin the year," because I've been there before.
But it would be foolish of me not to acknowledge that one day of depression still hurts.