Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Depression and Perfume

If anyone has been paying attention, I haven't been here. I haven't been here for a while. In fact, I was here, and then I wasn't.

I've talked a little (elsewhere) about depression. I'm in several groups for writers. Some of us have joked about depression being a necessity for writers, but even with knowing that we feel (enabling us to bring pages to life for others) it doesn't make going through the dark hours any easier.

Depression is a tricky thing. Sometimes we're clawing to the top (and almost out), then we fall right back down into a suffocating hole. Some days we know are going to be coping days so we grit our teeth and hang on. And then there are the days when, if we are honest with ourselves, the empty gray of depression has us very very lost, but we can sometimes fool ourselves into thinking we are coping.

Last year (and for part of the year before that), I was very lost. I had some reasons. Four of my sweetiepie birds died (it still shakes me to think about). I had some big health scares. People I love dealt with big things. People died. I was struggling in many ways. It felt like every month brought one more thing to deal with, and even knowing that we all deal with those one more things I still felt very alone. Correct that: I felt very lonely. (I don't mind being alone, but feeling lonely is miserable.)

Before I fell into the world of perfume oils and niche (indie) perfumes, I had things that could keep me going, but I could drop interests when I felt like it. The few times I struggled with debilitating depression, I had stuff that I knew I could set aside, walk away from, lose. It scared me that I was okay with that. But after I discovered this small fun little world of fragrance, I had this thing that despite myself would keep me coming into the present. My very worst days worried me the most, not because I was thinking of ways I could hurt myself, but because those were the days I wouldn't wear any perfume at all. I had several of those days in a row, and that's when I said, "Whoa, you need to do something. Danger."

To many people, that may seem frivolous and silly, but perfume was my life line to some degree of normal. Deliberately turning away from perfume was a blinking red beacon that I was in trouble.

And so I made myself, in the deepest darkest of gray, put perfume on. Every day. Even when I wanted nothing more than to fade into the ground, to not move, to crawl under the covers and never wake up. I would go to my perfume chest and make myself pick out something.

Then, one day, I crawled into bed and decided to stay there. No perfume. No shower to feel clean. No brushing of teeth as a reminder that I am alive. Just covers and darkness. And tears. As I lay there staring at the ceiling with tears slowly slipping into my hair, I snuffled. There in the gray, I smelled the mix of the small box of perfumes I had stashed by my bed. Mindlessly, not being aware that I was doing so, I began to pick out the notes. Peony, yes, I think that's peony. Lavender. Rose. Is that maybe a touch of tuberose? Lemon? No. Grapefruit. Why am I smelling this right now? I don't normally smell this when I go to bed. I looked over. The box was the same (undisturbed). Nothing had changed that I could see, but somehow they had reached out to me. I crawled out of bed. Showered. Put on perfume again.

I can't list off all of the names of what I wore. I can't even tell you everything in that small box. By Kilian. Carnal Flower. Testers from people all over the place. Guerlain. Old classics. Several Betrand Duchaufor creations. Possets. Sample packs from Lucky Scent (if you do not know Lucky Scent, you want to). More packs from The Perfumed Court, The Posh Peasant. My empty sample of Lea by Calypso St. Barth (I really do need to just buy a bottle of that some day). My travel case of samples a friend gave me with mimosa and sparkling flowery perfumes. L'Artisan and Parfumerie Generale.

Every time I wore perfume, I didn't feel as isolated or lonely. I slowly have been making my way back here. We're about to move and life is going to be hectic again, so my posts may be sporadic, but even if I never write another post I wanted to say this: Sometimes the smallest things can save us. If perfume brings you joy, embrace that. You may never know when it reaches out to you and becomes your lifeline.

Since the last time I wrote here I have sampled, tested, hoarded, wrinkled my nose at, and sniffed multiple lovelies (and not so lovelies). My hope is that when we get settled in our new location that I will be able to bring them out and share them with the world.

Until then, even while packing and moving, I'll be wearing perfume. I hope you'll join me.

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