May 7, 2013 by Julia
This one might not be very well-written, folks – I’m just gonna put that disclaimer out there now. I’ve been writing various things all week, but none of them seem right, and now all I can see are problems. The best way I know to fight through that is to just post something, even if it doesn’t meet some imagined standard. I think that’s half the charm of blogging. Sometimes it’s more about putting ourselves out there than it is about the quality of writing.
I’ve mentioned in a previous post or two that I struggle with depression at times, and that I’m currently on medication. It’s counter-intuitive and possibly imagined, but I’ve started to suspect something happens to my brain in the springtime. It was this time last year that I felt the need to see a psychiatrist. I love nature, and being outdoors with the kids in this gorgeous weather is what I want to do most days. But as things around me start to bloom, and the days get longer, my thoughts get dimmer.
I’m going to describe what depression feels like for me. Most of the time, I don’t take these “down” feelings very seriously, because it’s hard to distinguish them from the normal ups and downs of life. I assume most people are stressed out, and busy, and discouraged at times. But I don’t know if everyone feels as overwhelmed as I do. I mean that sincerely – how overwhelmed is everyone?
I can handle the things right in front of me that must be done: grocery shopping, baths for the kids, the constant straightening up of toys and unloading of the dishwasher and taking time out to play. But if I am on the floor playing with trucks, and I look around at my food-splattered kitchen cabinets, and I see the grime on the baseboard, and I think about the things in my pantry that should be thrown away, not to mention my spice cabinet…well, I cry. I literally start crying. I can’t handle the big picture.
And sometimes I’m just like, okay, make it through until the kids’ bedtime, and then I can crash/do whatever I want, which might be to simultaneously watch TV, drink a glass of wine and read stuff on my I-pad mini. So I get through the hardest parts of the day, and I get to that moment of relaxation…and instead of being satisfying, lately I find that I couldn’t care less about the shows I have recorded on the DVR, wine is no longer having such a relaxing effect on me, and I am too tired to keep reading. I don’t know what to do with myself. There are a million projects I should be doing (like cleaning our bedroom, which is always pushed to the back burner because no one ever has to see it), but I feel incapable of doing them after surviving the day. The flip side is, I can’t think of what fun stuff I would enjoy, either. That is the worst to me, as silly as it sounds. I need to look forward to things.
I am probably eating too much cereal and am definitely getting too thick. When is it officially time to stop squeezing into pants that are now too small, and go buy new ones? I kind of stopped wearing makeup, and my crappy hair is always in a ponytail. I don’t feel like going out at night. It’s much easier to crawl into bed.
These feelings don’t seem to stem from something lacking in my life – I am not reacting to an obvious problem or tragedy. In fact, I have so much that I’ve longed for, and although we’ve been stressed about making ends meet financially, we are doing okay. I feel incredibly blessed to have my family, friends and home. So really, the only thing to blame is my melancholy disposition. And maybe the fact that life is just hard, no matter what.
Yesterday morning as I was unloading groceries from the cart into my trunk, a middle-aged man walking by said to Jack, “Keep smiling, young man…as you get older that’s going to get a lot harder!” He coughed out a bitter kind of laugh, and quickly added to me, “Have a good day, ma’am!” Oh, I will, after that – thanks. As I drove away, I mentally insisted that life is hard for children, too. Remember the feeling that you would never finish grade school? But then, maybe it’s worse when you’ve done most of the hard work expected by society, and you still feel dissatisfied. So basically, because of this man’s comment to my twenty-month-old, I’m having an existential crisis as I drag the bags of groceries to our front door. Again, I ask: is this normal? Maybe so.
I do find that writing it out or talking to someone in person helps. And most days I still know – I believe – that things will be okay. I mean, I’d love to spend a day in bed, but no part of me wants to give up, or anything as dramatic as all that. Despite all the commercialization and overuse and bastardization of the British motto “Keep Calm & Carry On,” I still love the original and take it to heart. Sometimes that’s all you have to do, and things will get better without you even realizing it.
I have no brilliant way to segue into this clip from Singin’ in the Rain. I’ve been saving it up for some kind of themed post about music or movies or happy musical moments in movies, but really the rest would be filler at this point, so here it is, all alone. All I can say is, it cheers me up every time I watch it (and the kids love it, too).