Tokyo, Japan

October 27, 2019

Walking in the Rain

This week, as the third tropical storm in two weeks has borne down on Japan, I've found my old buddy Aunt Dee hanging out in my apartment more and more.

Staring from the couch. Leering in the kitchen. She's even getting bolder, following me onto trains, and hiding around corners on small little alleys in less-traveled parts of Tokyo.

And it is exceedingly annoying.

The days here have turned dark and short, especially with all the rain, and it's times like this that my depression often turns up like some sort of seasonal ugly sweater sale.

My week and work, on the other hand, don't care if I'm experiencing depression, and I'm reminded of the funny interaction between "meaningful" and "feels good" that a therapist sketched out for me all those years ago.

That "feels awful but deeply meaningful" is a possible state - and probably the best one I can hope for when depression is around. So the best thing I can do in these times is to just keep doing things I believe in, know that it will feel pretty shit throughout, and know that some day, the storm will pass, and things will feel better.

And when that day comes, I'll be able to look back at the things I did, and not just how I felt.

This leads to weird afternoons where I cry while ironing for no reason (I actually love ironing), followed by trips out to hone my Japanese skill, write things like this letter, and work on my books.

And at the end, I feel exhausted and sad and sort of bleak and hopeless - just like I did this morning.

I never really know why I share moments like this - except that they seem to resonate with a lot of you who also experience depression or know people who do. So if that's you, and you have ironing-crying days like these, hey, I'm right there with you. :)

Also, can somebody figure how Aunt Dee keeps getting in? We seriously need to change the locks.

Have a heart-felt week,

-Steven

p.s. The best thing I saw all week was, unexpectedly, from right here in Japan. It's a story of a tea caddy. And maybe more.

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