April 7, 2011

The Pencil Sharpener and the Trash

This morning, I went to empty out the over-full electric pencil sharpener. There was so many pencil shavings in it, it had solidified in several places. I had to empty it in stages, putting my finger in to the mass, and coaxing it out slowly. Then, I had to bang it forcefully against the trash can to get the shavings out of the grinding mechanism.

I was pretty proud of myself for getting it all emptied out without cursing or getting frustrated that it was so difficult. In that state of pride, I went to put the cover back on, piece the top together with the latch, and stuck a pencil in the sharpener.

Nothing. It didn't work. I think I broke it.

So I look at it closer, and I notice a gap between the bottom of the cover, and base of the sharpener. There's also a little button that needs to get pushed to complete the electrical connection to the device. It was missing a piece. The piece that fit under the cover, and pressed the button.

I didn't see a piece fall out, I didn't see any other bits. But it was obviously missing. There was a quarter inch gap, and the sharpener wouldn't work without that piece. So I went back to the trash where I dumped the shavings, and went through the trash bit by bit. Ew.

Still, I managed to not curse, not get mad. Just go through the trash, just go through the trash. It had to be there somewhere and cursing or getting mad wasn't going to make it easier, I told myself. I remembered the monks who use cleaning toilets and scrubbing floors as practice. Just go through the trash.

After going through a bit of the pile, I reached last night's meal of burritos, refried beans, and salsa. It couldn't have fallen this far, could it? But it wasn't anywhere else. Plus, I didn't even know what I was looking for, since I didn't remember seeing the piece fall off. I imagined what the piece must look like, and kept digging around. In the muck. In the goo. Ew.

But after much digging, and several mantras later, there was no denying it. The piece just wasn't there. Or, I simply wasn't seeing it. I started berating myself - how could I have been so dumb to drop that in the trash? Why couldn't I find it? Now it's broken, and I'll have to buy a new one. One more chore to do! My husband is going to be annoyed, and think I'm an idiot. My kids will be disappointed. All I wanted to do was clean out the pencil sharpener, and look what happened.

I was deflated.

As I was looking at the machine, mad at myself, kicking myself for adding more to my to do list, and going through all the things that were wrong with this particular situation - about a pencil sharpener! - I saw the solution.
Not sure how it happened upon me, but it did. I had put the cover on upside down.

I flipped it over, and it fit perfectly. There was no missing piece.

Let us reduce our suffering by having the awareness to see problems from multiple directions, and letting ourselves have patience before assigning blame, projecting into future problems, and worrying what others might think.


Anonymous said...

Hi, I love your blog. A few years ago, you wrote about your experience with Celexa; specifically, the withdrawal. I'm wondering how you're doing now and how long it took? My daughter is on her 6th day of withdrawal and she is a mess and it's scaring me. I showed her your posting last night and it seemed to help her but I just want to know that there is an end to this madness.

Tammy said...

Hi Anon,

It sounds like you and your daughter are having a rough time getting through withdrawal together. Celexa withdrawal is hard. There is an end to the Celexa withdrawal and you will eventually get there. Most of the people who posted on the original Celexa post say it takes one to two full weeks to get over the main symptoms, and another month or two to get through the mild left-over side effects.

It took me a few months to feel like "myself." But then, I had to deal with "myself" which wasn't easy either. Off and on since, I've been working on the original issues that brought me to need to take Celexa in the first place. Withdrawal is over, but it's still "with" me as something I learned from.

One thing that Celexa does is mask or suppress feelings. During withdrawal, feelings are strong. Focus on feelings, validate your own and your daughter's feelings, whatever they are. Let her scare you. She is probably more scared than you are, but she is having a hard time expressing it since it's probably so intense or mixed with a bunch of other emotions. Be afraid together, and then be brave together (can't be brave without first feeling afraid). She is lucky to have you to be brave with her.


Tamara Littles said...

I stopped Celexa cold turkey after 10yrs. My last refill I was given a generic version that instantly caused anxiety and didn't seem to effect my depression and I decided it was time to stop. I did well for about three weeks. None of the physical side effects discussed by many people. Then last week the depression hit!!! I had forgotten how much I HATE myself! At least the celexa covered that feeling up a bit. I'm in a good place in my life. Just finished grad school. Start my dream job in two weeks. Have a supportive boyfriend for the first time in my life. I want to be AUTHENTIC but I am also terrified of losing everything because I feel so emotionally out of control. Does the depression and self loathing fade at all? Do some people just have to stay on meds their whole life. Need some advice very badly!