“Bree, Bree, he’s back! Come here, quick!”, were the words that I woke up to on Tuesday morning of this past week. Not exactly sure what my roommate and best friend, Joanna, was talking about, I shot out of bed, (I usually wake up around 6:30 and lay around until 7) and ran after her into the completely bare kitchen.
Another reminder of how hard the past months have been on us.
My feet felt the deep gouges in the antique wood floors as I made my way over to the newly replaced kitchen window glass and looked out it. There, amongst the debris of what used to be our kitchen furnishings on the back deck, was the cat tree that was too big to fit in the 790 sq. ft. Pasadena bungalow.
Immediately I noticed something out of place.
Two gigantic, gorgeous yellow eyes stared up at me from the middle level of the cat tree. A small brown and white tabby cat, with obvious scars along the bridge of its nose, stared back at me.
Instantly, I recognized him as the cat that we had intermittently been seeing hanging around the outside of our house. His yellow eyes were round, like a sad owl, and I could tell that he wanted me to go out there to him. He wanted the human interaction.
I hurried out the back door, with my own cats trailing curiously feet and stopping at the threshold, to the cat where he was curled up in the tree. Immediately I could hear the purring as I approached.
I sat there petting the little tabby for a while, with his head butting against my hand and happy meows being emitted.
Besides the obvious scars on his face and body, he also had patches of pink skin peeking through where chunks of fur had gone missing. I could feel his little ribcage move so closely under the skin, and could tell that he was severely lacking proper care. We instantly brought food and water out to him and watched him hungrily gobble it up.
That moment was so important for me, personally.
As I stood there amongst the mix of my broken kitchen belongings, with this small cat weaving in and out of my legs, thanking me for feeding him probably his first real meal in days, something stuck. Something resonated. Something in me shifted.
A lot of times, Depression and Anxiety cause tough times become even tougher in your mind. They cause you to feel that you have an impossible mountain in front of you, one that you know you won’t tackle easily, if ever. Depression and Anxiety cause any little situation to blow up instantly and leave you to deal with what’s left, making it nearly impossible not to cut yourself on the shards that remain.
The past months have felt that way. Small things expanded and compounded on top of each other, causing me to retreat farther and farther into myself.
The cherry on top, though, happened a couple of weekends ago when our house was broken into and vandalized.
We were lucky, some would say, because nothing was stolen and our two cats remained unharmed. But the damage left in the wake of the break in was a lot more than broken furniture. Joanna and I are shaken. To the core. And likely to stay that way for a while.
This development, among other distressing situations, had been successful in creating the perfect storm within my mind. Depression, Anxiety, guilt, hopelessness, exhaustion had become the unmovable boulders residing in my brain, impervious to any moment of happiness. My sensitivity to smells, touches, small ticks that no one else notice have been magnified and caused quiet panic. One comment acted as a bowling ball straight to the foundation of my teetering self perception.
I am weak. Weaker than I let on.
Seeing the little tabby cat on my back porch, so thankful for a small act of kindness shown to him, made me realize a lot. It is easy to get wrapped up in our own personal tribulations, our own personal hell. Sometimes, Depression causes a tornado of negative feelings to swirl dangerously in your mind, preventing you from seeing anything else.
And sometimes, all it takes is something small to jolt you from that incessant nightmare.
Frisco, is what we’ve been calling him. So pure and innocent and hopeful. Just the perfect amount of sunshine needed for this dark time. A reminder that sometimes, your problems aren't the biggest ones out there. That sometimes, the smallest amount of hidden happiness can entirely shift your perception.
I still struggle, on a daily basis, but my problems are now filtered through an additional lens of perception. There are other, bigger things going on out there, and sometimes taking yourself out of your own mind and helping can, in turn, help you.
Let your compassion, your kindness, your heart, shine through to others as much as you can. Allow yourself to remain soft and gentle in a world full of hate and conflict. Remember to help and guide others to the light however you can.
It may end up lifting you even more than you realize.
As always, Keep Your Heads Up, My Loves.