I have a good friend that often says she doesn’t care.
Sometimes when she says this I feel judgmental, believing she should care. Other times I feel intrigued, wondering what would happen it I didn’t care either.
I think what she is really saying is she is not going to allow said person, event or thing to upset her. She is not going to get wrapped-around-the-axle like another friend describes herself doing.
My dad used to say, “I could care less,” when he was done with us and/or our behavior. (Grammatically speaking he should have said I couldn’t care less, but in that moment I wasn’t about to correct his English.) I knew what he meant was we were on the edge of trouble. I felt hurt when he said this. I wanted him to always care about everything pertaining to me. He usually didn’t. Maybe that is why I care so much today.
Recently, several days in a row, I came home from work and went straight to bed. I thought I was tired. Tom determined I was depressed. That’s the thing with depression, the depress-e doesn’t recognize it, someone from the outside does.
I was depressed. And to my surprise, being truly honest here, I enjoyed it. I felt relieved because when I am depressed I allow myself to care less. I didn’t worry about getting dinner ready or stopping at the store to pick up last minute items. I didn’t feel bad about not returning the calls I needed to make to friends and family. I didn’t care about the half finished house projects waiting for our attention. I didn’t feel not good enough or not important. Because, I didn’t care.
I had unwrapped myself from around the preverbal axle. This was a come-to-Jesus moment.
“Really?”, I asked myself in astonishment. Was this was how I was going to set boundaries? Am I going to take care of myself by going to bed at 5:00 and pulling the covers over my head?
Looking back, my early-to-bed was a break I needed. Kind of a deep breath in my schedule. I have taken this liberty a couple of other times in my life, always around big transitions. Deciding to end my marriage, moving into Pittsburgh and selling our families home, and recently Landon’s wedding.
Sometimes I just need to give myself a break. I depress myself to stop myself. Stop moving. Stop producing. Stop initiating. Going to bed accomplishes this. My mini depressive episode. I now trust this behavior in myself; as long as it is only a couple of days. My internal clock needed to reset.
I wonder if this is an option to getting sick. I used to do that. Every 7 years I would end up in the hospital. My doctor pondered this phenomenon out loud with me, “What’s up?”
There are many ways to stop and regroup. This seems to be mine. It gets my attention and prompts me to make changes. I need to care differently. I need to care at least as much about myself as I do for someone else. I want to hold myself to a softer standard of accountability checking in with my energy level, my interest and my availability.
And after all that, I may decide, that sometimes, I just don’t care.