My house is a metaphor for myself. We have a lot in common, after all. We both came into existence in 1975. When we first met, I could see that we'd both been unloved for a while. Though we may look or feel shabby on the outside, we've had enough inner strength to hold up through difficult times. We each stand alone, not connected to another of our kind. We both have potential, though we both need a lot of work. Neither of us is eye-catching or attractive by current standards. We both lack many of the attributes that people find desirable. You might say a person would have to settle for us.
For the last few weeks, I've been struggling with a flare-up of depression. As a result, I have done very little with myself and with my house. I've been researching and planning, but I haven't managed to actually DO much of anything.
To extend the myself-as-house metaphor, depression is a lot like mold in a house. It's toxic. It's insidious, growing in the dark, damp places where you can't see it. It rots you from the inside out. Sometimes it makes its way to the surface, where the obvious parts are rubbed away or covered up. But it's still there, doing its damage just out of sight. True eradication is difficult; it requires a concerted, directed effort. Sometimes you have to tear down the walls piece by piece, destroying what's familiar and comfortable to reach the bare foundation. Only then can you truly correct the problem and then slowly rebuild.
Luckily, my house does not have a mold problem (that I'm aware of, anyway!). But if it did, I would have no problem putting in great effort to get rid of the nasty stuff. I would tear down the walls if I had to. I would spend the money on the right materials and rebuild everything correctly to prevent the problem from recurring.
If I would do all that for my house, why won't I do it for myself? My house is quirky and flawed. It's small, it's outdated, it's not much to look at. But I don't care. I love my plain, little, flat-fronted box of a house. It may not suit others, but it's perfect for me. Sure, my house has issues (lots of issues), but mostly I think of them as opportunities for improvement. When I look at my house, I see possibilities.
I want to see myself in the same way. I want to accept that I'm imperfect and like myself anyway.