Lightening the Load


March 4, 2015 by Julia

Hey, everybody. I’m pretty depressed this week. This winter has finally cracked me; it was bound to happen sooner or later. (She says in an Eeyore voice.) March seems to be the true breaking point; looking back on February, I see canceled events, countless snow days and sick days, and a wasteland of dismantled plans, all through a vibrating sheen of cabin fever. I wonder how the pioneer women did it, with the isolation and the cold and the repetitive household duties. I can barely handle three days at home without some sort of “getting out of the house” activity, usually involving people outside of my immediate family.

Last night was book club, and it was raining ice, and I decided it was unsafe for me to drive forty minutes to hang out with the ladies. So I stayed home and watched HBO in bed, feeling down. But it turned out the roads were fine, and they had a great time, and even discussed the great stay-at-home vs. work-outside-the-home quandary with my cousin Christina who is due to have her baby boy this month. I love those kinds of conversations. I am sad I missed it. I am still beating myself up for making the wrong decision about the roads – but this is the nature of winter weather. Snow likes to make fools of us, with our forecasts, and our underestimating that is liable to land us in a ditch minus a bumper, or our overestimating, which deprives us of life outside the home for no good reason. (It’s the no good reason part that gets me – if school is canceled on a truly bad snow day I am fine; not so much when everyone preemptively cancels based on a forecast of snow that never materializes.)

I also missed Christina’s baby shower two weeks ago, driving an hour to find that if I didn’t immediately turn around and drive back home (without even stopping in to drop off her gift), I would get stuck at my mom’s house for the weekend. Which would have been fine for me…but not sure how my family stuck at home would have appreciated it.

We are approaching the time of year when Spring feels like a distant possibility rather than a certainty. We make plans and they get snowed on. It’s enough to make you give up on plans altogether, except for the fact that I get stressed out when social events are spontaneously sprung upon me, and would probably never see friends or family again if it weren’t for plans. But I don’t trust plans anymore. I don’t even feel like making the effort. Snow will make a mockery of my plans. The fruitless planning has exhausted me.

I am in that mood where I know that I should make social contact with other adults, because then I would feel better. But I cannot get myself out of the house to see other adults. Part of it is a mental block. Part of it is limitations outside of my control: sick kids, snow days, dealing with insurance confusion and the burst pipe disaster. Part of it is sadness and worry for loved ones going through a hard time right now.

And I eat and eat. I feel gross, but I long for comfort during the long days at home. I am ashamed of how I look. And it keeps on snowing. And our burst pipe has been fixed, but all of the other needed repairs in our living room are at a standstill because our insurance agent has been swamped and hasn’t come to take inventory yet. (He will on Friday.) So we are living on a bare concrete floor, looking at holes in the wall and ceiling, and stepping around piles from our storage closet that had to be emptied out. Our TV flickers with static on one side from the water damage, and our rolled-up, frozen rug lies in our front yard. Patience. It will all be taken care of eventually.

And then I feel so tired out by the fact that everyone is suffering in their own ways. I am not special; I don’t even have any particular disadvantages (other than sporadic depression, I suppose) and yet I want to prove to everyone that it sucks, it really, really does. But why should anyone care? We are all sick of snow around here. We’ve all had to miss or cancel events, and we’ve all dealt with school delays and sickness. Is it better to complain? Or are we supposed to accept that it’s part of life and suck it up, acting as though none of it really bothers us? My opinion on whether or not to power through with positivity changes every day, just like my moods. Sometimes a good cry really is the best medicine.

My husband and I pass the stress baton back and forth, one holding up the household while the other vents or collapses, and then switching roles. I am grateful to have a marriage where we can rely on each other for support. I wish there were more days when we were both doing well at the same time, though. Life just keeps throwing crap at us. Again – normal crap that everyone has to deal with.

So I’m just putting this out there, as an act of faith, hoping that by saying “I’m depressed right now” in a public forum that I will become less so. I do believe it will lighten my load, and I do hope that it might help anyone feeling the same way to be less alone in it. We really do need each other, all of us, without fail – rich, poor, privileged, oppressed, blessed, cursed. Even when every depressed instinct is saying, “Eat, withdraw, hibernate.” This is me reaching out into the world…from the safety of my laptop. It’s a start.

Joey Chou

Joey Chou


6 thoughts on “Lightening the Load

  1. Liz says:

    This is the worst time of year! But this is also the time of year when we can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s freezing rain right now at my place, but at least it’s above freezing! ha. my standards are so low. the birds came back though so it has to get better soon

    • Julia says:

      Winter in March really is the worst! Thank you for reading. We are supposed to get 10+ inches of snow tonight…I assume school is already canceled. Hang in there!

      • Liz says:

        Yeah I used to live further south and there my birthday (april) was always sunny and things were blooming. No longer. 😦 My husband has hope that this was the last big storm though!

  2. coffeejot says:

    Hang in there! Looks like next week is supposed to reach the 50s, this snowstorm may be the last hurrah before spring. Also, don’t feel like you need to include some many disclaimers about feeling the way you feel – it’s okay, even if other people are worse off. Everyone is allowed to feel how they feel. 🙂

  3. vjthurston says:

    Hang in there, girlie-girl! Party time is coming!

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