As a mental health professional, I have self-identified a new diagnosis of COVID/State of the World Depression, and I have been suffering from it. This form of depression is tricky because you can’t really reality-test your way out of it…you can only cope with the symptoms. Make yourself get up every day, make yourself attend your on-line classes or work meetings, make yourself watch the news or not watch the news, make yourself not eat Doritos and drink wine all day and night.
There’s a lot of pushing through lately, which is exhausting.
Of course there’s always pushing through in life. But usually there are more opportunities to balance out the challenges with positive experiences…seeing friends and family, traveling, eating out, getting a massage once in a while. Those positive experiences are harder to come by now, while the negative experiences are huge and all around us all the time.
Which brings me to my cure…my solution to reexperiencing joy…
I have wanted a cat for many, many years. My husband has not wanted a cat. However, after thirty-plus years of living together, Ken gave in. For my best birthday present ever, he gave me the go-ahead to get a cat, and within twenty-four hours, two kittens were a part of our family…one mine and the other my son’s.
Oh, my, what a difference they have made!
As these months of the pandemic have gone on, I’ve been staying in bed later and later, both because the world (and on-line therapy) makes me tired and because some mornings it’s hard to identify what I’m looking forward to that day (a classic COVID depression symptom…analogous to Bill Murray’s experience in Groundhog Day or Adam Sandler’s more recent interpretation in Palm Springs). But this past week, I am up and going by 7:00 because I can’t wait to come downstairs and see my new babies.
We have them shut into a small part of the house because they were feral, so we’re working on getting rid of fleas and getting them used to the indoors. So pretty much any time they’re awake, at least one member of my family is sitting in the laundry room or the hallway outside the laundry room playing with them or watching them play with each other, smiling and laughing at their antics. You can’t help smiling when they are running around in circles or tackling each other or trying to climb up the side of a box. Their enthusiasm and curiosity and reckless abandon are contagious and bring an infusion of pure joy.
As I write this blog, I am sitting on the floor and they are wrestling and running around me, occasionally taking a break to come explore the computer and watch me type, wondering what in the world I’m doing. I wish I had my camera right now because they are on my shins peering over the laptop, which is resting on my thighs, and watching my fingers move.
So there’s joy when I watch them, and there is also a huge dose of love that wells up in me. It’s heartwarming to see the love and comfort they give to and get from each other. They sleep cuddled up together…always! They also fight and wrestle a lot, but they end those battles snuggled up, one kitty’s paws draped over the other. Which infuses me with love.
So I guess I will say that even if kittens can’t save the world, they have certainly made mine infinitely better! Love and joy (and cuteness)…a cure for most anything that ails you. I highly recommend it.