“I'm afraid, madame, my days are sacrosanct.”
~Lestat de Lioncourt, Interview with a Vampire (the movie)
Do you have something that is sacrosanct? A place, a practice, a time of day? Because I need one to stay on an even keel, and maybe you do, too.
For me, it's my daily bath. Considering our other bathtub leaks, my personal bathroom has become the family bathroom. But everyone knows that if it's after dark and that door is shut, you BY GOD DO NOT GO IN THAT BATHROOM. Mommy will be soaking in a high, hot bath full of epsom salt and Dead Sea salt and unguents and ambergris and blissful silence, and she will be reading a big, epic book, and she will be wearing a terrifying clay mask that makes her look like a demon, and she will not be kind to anyone who makes any requests other than PLEASE GET OUT THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE BECAUSE ALIENS?
All day, I look forward to that hour of comfort and peace. I can't wait to step into the too-hot water, ease in, and feel my muscles unfurl. I read big, sweeping epics that require a level of mental focus and immersion I don't have during the rest of the day. I take my time and salt scrub my feet, and when I'm done, I go straight into my bed, with the heated mattress pad turned up. This ritual has become the perfect way to transition from the eager thoughts and energy of daytime to the relaxation and quiet of night, and although I generally have trouble getting to sleep, it's a lot easier now.
The thing is, you need-- no. DESERVE. No! REQUIRE something sacrosanct. Whether it's your office or studio, your hour of running, your time at the nail salon, your weekly pottery class, your evening with the piano, you need something that belongs only to you, something over which no one else holds dominion. My daytime is an endless stream of tiny tasks and requests that interrupt my thoughts and remind me that people depend on me, but during my bath, my time is 100% my own. I find my mind sorting itself out, relaxing, unloading all the little reminders I carry on my shoulders. The body is cleansed, and so is the mind. I'm... a lot kinder, afterward.
Depression and anxiety can make you feel like you're not in charge, not of yourself or of your reality. It's easy to feel hopeless and buffeted about by factors beyond your control. Maybe you don't care about anything, or maybe you care too much, but the point is that you are not deciding what to care about at all. The world is assaulting you, making you into a plaything of a stormy sea—or at least, that's how I feel. Like I'm trying to swim but can't stay above the water. Like I'm too heavy to float, and I can't figure out which way is up or how to get to shore, and I need some way to feel lighter and find my direction.
In short, it sucks.
Taking some time to feel things, to relax, to connect mind to body in a space where you don't have to wait for the next interruption? It's a gift you give yourself, and you don't feel guilty for it. Even if you have to wait until everyone else is asleep or get up an hour early, this kind of mental island is as necessary as eating and drinking.
If you don't have something sacrosanct, I urge you to find it. No matter how little time and space you have in your life, there has to be 15 minutes you can carve out, even if it's just listening to an audiobook on the way to work instead of putting up with talk radio that makes you feel shitty. There's so much you have to do; there should be something, every day, that you can't wait to do. Something you do just for you.
Even if you have to fight for it.
I'm pretty sure Lestat would approve.