If I sit on the porch in the morning and don’t put the bird feeders out right away, the birds land on the empty frame and stare at me, waiting to be fed.
Now I understand that I am projecting emotions for them when I tell you they are looking at me and saying, “put the feeders out already.” The birds have been coming to these feeders for four years. They know I bring them in at night for eight months out of the year, so the bears don’t ravage them.
So, I put my laptop down, and got the feeders hung up.
Now I can sit here without feeling guilty. Or I can sit here feeling less guilty having not put the feeders out first thing. Why am I worried about what the birds think? They have an entire ecosystem at their disposal to gain nourishment. My offerings of seed and suet only supplement the bounty they have available in the wild.
The bird feeders are really for my entertainment, my self-care.
Yet I am projecting disappointment in myself onto them, allowing them to “make me” get the feeders out. Somehow, I don’t think it is supposed to work that way. But much of what I think is crafted in those terms. I feel guilty for something and then project that onto something I have done or didn’t do.
Before coming out to sit on the porch, I wanted to start a load of pants for work.
I knew that my daughter was taking a private call in the next room. She had told me. And I could have said, “do you mind if I start a load of clothes?” This would have let her choose. The laundry room is next door to the bedroom she is using for her call.
I should have (here we go again) asked her before she started her conversation.
Instead, I thought I could quietly go in and start a load. This backfired as she opened the connecting door to remind me, she had told me she needed privacy. Yes, it is my house and I need clean pants for work. But that doesn’t mean I can’t openly communicate what I need.
Now I feel terrible, having disturbed her after she told me she needed privacy.
What makes me do that? Am I selfish? Do I justify it in some way? There must be a reason. I exhibit this type of behavior on occasion, and it is not healthy or helpful. I am sure it isn’t making her phone call smoother.
Is it a control thing?
Somewhere deep down I may not feel in control of my life. And these acts are a way of exerting control over something. That seems sad. Like I cannot go down by myself, so I will take others with me. This is the opposite of what I believe, yet from time to time I do it.
Thinking about why I act a certain way is important as I learn to live with depression.
As I work to learn coping skills, depression is furiously fighting back, injecting new thoughts for me to feel guilty or ashamed about. This lifestyle is what I am trying to stop, yet every time I feel I am making progress, an incident like my laundry appears. Worse, I am the one instigating it.
The birds have enjoyed the feeders since I hung them.
And I will speak to my daughter after her call. But an apology is not the same as respecting her privacy in the first place. I need to do better, as I work to lead a balanced life with depression.
My concealed depression is written under the alias “Depression is not my boss.” I have certifications in SMART Recovery and am a Global Career Development Facilitator.
Diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder last year, I am sharing what I learn. If you know someone who might benefit from reading this, please share.
I very much appreciate your comments.