“When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams , he found himself changed in his bed into a gigantic insect.” – Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

I woke up this morning from unsettling dreams, probably thanks to going to bed with a heavy heart and troubled mind. Although I had not been transformed into a giant insect I felt like I had gone through five brutal sparring matches in a row. My face was puffy and nearly unrecognizable from poor sleep and two solid hours of heavy crying the night before. My head ached dully and my mind felt like it was in a fog.

For once I was not ravenous as I usually am in the morning. I shuffled to my kitchen, stared numbly at the bright produce, gleaming eggs, and sweet Greek yogurt…and closed the door. That’s the one good side effect of the tailspin of a depressive episode—accidental anorexia. When I’m a little stressed and agitated I snack. When things get really serious I stop eating. I couldn’t take another bite of dinner after a very upsetting phone call last night. Breakfast wasn’t looking too appealing either. This was obviously one of those “really serious” times. For a few minutes I entertained my frazzled daydreams of letting the loss of appetite become full-blown anorexia—maybe I’d become so malnourished that I fracture a rib during sparring! Maybe no one will notice my weight loss under the billowing unflattering dobok that seems to make everyone’s butt look big. Maybe I’ll skip dinner every night until this issue is resolved. Maybe I’ll finally have a flat stomach and be ready for bikini season. Yeah! I forced myself to eat a Larabar and some fruit when I got to work, dashing the notion of wasting away before my own eyes.

So as you may have surmised I’m dealing with some sh*t right now. It’s a personal problem that has plagued me for many months, an issue requiring heart-wrenching decisions that will result in tears and regret no matter where the chips fall. I am consumed by grief, guilt, and anguish over not knowing what to do. It sucks ass, and yet somehow I always put on my professional mask to make it through the day. I’ve been doing that as long as I’ve been in the world of work. There was never the option of having a complete meltdown and (1) shuffling off this mortal coil or to a lesser extent (2) quitting work and shutting down for a while. Someone has to pay the bills. Someone has to show up being me. There never was anyone to catch me if I fell so I always had to prop myself up and fake it to the world, no matter what was going on behind closed doors. I can’t afford to fall because if I do I will drown.

Going to work actually helps. It gets me away from my problem, allows me to socialize, and lets my brain work on issues that have nothing to do with what’s going on at home. I know I’ll have to fake it a little in taekwondo tonight. I want to stay home curled up in my bed surrounded by a nest of books and Kleenexes. The thing about taekwondo is that it is like the Dreamless Sleep potion in the Harry Potter books: for that hour, and sometimes that hour alone, I don’t think about everything and I forget my troubles. It will be a welcome relief.

Addendum: I went to class last night, and of course it cheered me up. My spin kicks, including the left side, never looked better. The home practice I did on Sunday really paid off!

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