Thursday, September 24, 2009


What the heck is Luxury anyway?

One of the issues I deal with as I continue to kick depression in the teeth grow into the wholeness of my being is reward. In depression, nothing is rewarding. Neurologically, nothing produces a nice shot of dopamine. Nothing resets the parasympathetic nervous system to healing mode. Nothing feels good. You keep aiming for your North Star but every achievement feels just as shitty as failure so why bother going to all the effort to keep steering when you can get the same mediocre buzz from a decent episode of True Blood?

I have to teach myself how to feel reward. I’m only just realizing how bad I am at rewarding myself. One of the reasons I don’t recognize reward is that I immediately describe it as a failure of my own moral fiber. The feeling of luxury becomes the feeling of selfish indulgence. I could be bettering myself! I could be achieving my goals! But instead I’m doing something that, gasp, just feels nice!

This has to stop. We need down time. We need to exhale in order to inhale. We need rest in order to thrive. Recently, I caught myself framing my experience negatively and chose to reframe it as reward. I just wanted to see what this might be like. The result was pretty cool.

Which would you rather live?

I haven’t been taking care of myself. Since I got back from Michigan, I haven’t cooked the food I know makes me feel better. I keep trying to write, but end up watching bad television on Hulu while constantly looking at Facebook and Twitter, checking email. And then last weekend, despite all my intentions to write, I ended up spending Sunday reading a fantasy novel.


I have been taking care of myself despite being under the weather since returning from Michigan. I haven’t been hungry at all, some kind of bug?, and this has presented certain challenges to getting enough protein. I haven’t been up to cooking hot meals, so instead I’ve worked to eat healthy snacks. I realized that after a week in Michigan, I’d jumped right back into work. No time off to reflect or recover, no time to adjust for jet-lag. This weekend was the first opportunity I have had to do nothing. Or mostly nothing. I still managed two loads of laundry, and I took out all the trash. But for the most part, all I did was blissfully read a fun novel, the first time I’ve done that in three years thanks to the reading glasses I bought in Michigan. How wonderful to have a beautiful Sunday afternoon just to read. Luxury.


Karen D said...

As Yvonne wishes for herself, so I wish for her also.

Giulietta said...

Hi Yvonne,

Thank you for your comment! Great writing in this blog. Like the two scenarios you present. Very clever. I truly believe we have a right to enjoy our lives. I wish for you to be able to re-frame your experiences more and more as a reward! Yes, the result is very cool.


LaY hOoN said...

As Yvonne wishes for herself, so I wish for her also.

Jamie Ridler said...

As Yvonne wishes for herself, so I wish for her also.

What a powerful reframe, Yvonne.

Jenni said...

As Yvonne wishes for herself, so I wish for her also.

I love the indulgence of a weekend in a novel. Decadent. :)

bright blessings!

Lucy Ladham-Dyment said...

As Yvonne wishes for herself, so I wish for her also.

Cindy said...

I also struggle with neurological depression and really related to what you wrote. I, too, have been learning to do things that feel nice and to enjoy my life. It's not the easiest thing I've ever done, but it's certainly one of the most rewarding things I've done recently.

As Yvonne wishes for herself, so I do lovingly wish for her also.

Barbara Hall, MA, MFT said...

How great to lovingly take a Sunday afternoon for yourself just to read - yay - and eat healthy snacks. I love snacking, and it can be just as healthy as a full meal. As Yvonne wishes for herself, so I wish for her too!