Monday, August 22, 2011

A Normal Bad Day

I think I may have a yearly cycle in addition to the usual monthly girly one.

I woke up with a case of the "don't wannas"—an idea I was fairly certain I'd shared before. Indeed, almost exactly a year ago, I wrote this:
After going along for several weeks feeling more or less okay—and even semi-enjoying my little homemaker gig—I suddenly find myself in a near-constant state of "had it up to here."
This is exactly where I found myself this morning. As I scowled through a stripped-down version of my routine, I also noticed the twinges of sadness and heart-heaviness that I cheerfully refer to as "depression lite."

The thing that separates depression lite from depression classic (for me) is that I remember being happy.

Just a few days ago, I was totally happy! I'd been going along fine—feeling pretty healthy, moving every day, attempting to say kind things to my stretch marks, showering my husband with affection, enjoying my work—and then the boulder rolled back down the hill.

Well fuck, I thought, staring at the hugeness of the struggle in front of me. That I have to tackle again. For the bazillionth time.

Oh, and Westley seems to have a cold.

For a few hours, I gave up. I put on a bunch of TV for Westley. I didn't shower. I read the kind of essay that usually helps me feel better except that today it made me feel like shit because I used to be smart like that, damnit. I ate two handfuls of chocolate chips and a big spoonful of Dijon mustard.

Then I called Rob.

I wailed about never being recovered, always having that fucking boulder to push and gravity to fight. Rob listened without trying to fix anything while I complained. Then he promised, "At least one of your e-mails will make you laugh."

I felt my jaw relax as I smiled. "I guess it's normal to have a bad day and feel like crap. People have those, right?"

"Right." I think I heard him smile on the other end of the phone.

The day improved slightly when I acknowledged it as a "normal bad day," and not, say, proof that I was destined to feel awful no matter what I did.

Despite Westley's cold, he and I managed to have some fun. (The kid is almost never sick, so when he is, even a little runny nose can knock him on his ass for a day.) And Rob was right about the e-mail. This is what he wrote:
So I tried out the "reading on the treadmill" thing this morning and it was okay. For one thing, not wearing headphones left me in a position to realize that the song playing at one point was the unplugged version of Warrant's "Cherry Pie." Let me say that again: the unplugged version of Warrant's "Cherry Pie." You know, so we can appreciate the musicality and poetry of the song.



Amanda said...

I was nodding my head in solidarity throughout the post and then that e-mail...Let me just say I was having a bad morning, a follow up to a bad night ON TOP of a nice shitty week...but that e-mail made me literally LOL.

Hope you feel better soon. And when the boulders come rolling again, as I know they inevitably do, may you have e-mails like that one because sometimes it just takes a laugh. If only just to get you through the next hour.

Tara said...

The unplugged version of Warrant's "Cherry Pie". Ah, that's the best thing I've heard this week.

It sounds like you and I handle crappy days the exact same way. It becomes all that can be seen. Acknowledging that about yourself can be incredibly freeing (or at least that's the theory I'm floating). This is something that I still find myself really working through. During my "spells" I am constantly reminding myself that it's just a bad day, they happen to everyone, and it will pass. Easier said than done, right?

I know it sounds silly, but there is a Spoon lyric that I use as a mantra when I'm feeling bummed out and down. "It can't all be wedding cake." It's so simple and cliche, but it works to remind me that life is all about striking a balance. We can't fully appreciate the good without the not so good. It's trite, but true.

I hope you are having a better day today and that Westley's cold is passing. (Poor kid, a summer cold is the absolute worst.)


Amber @ Not Mommy said...

I have a really hard time not equating a bad day with the end of the world. Logically I know it will get better or worse, or different. I know it won't last forever. But even in the middle of "Depression Lite" I fear the slip into deep dark "Full Flavor Depression".

I'm pretty sure having a child keeps me further from the slippage than I used to be...because I HAVE to get up and function, even if just a little bit...but boy oh boy have had a case of the "don't wannas" lately.

I hope it passes quickly friend.

Permanently twenty three said...

Just discovered your blog and it really resonates with me. Don't all SAHP's have those kinda days? Man, I do. Hang in there. xx

Allison the Meep said...

It's like you got inside my head and wrote what I've been feeling so much lately.

The Depression Lite is something that's been heavy on me, and has gotten me to the point of wondering if I need to be back on Zoloft. But then I go and have a random good day mixed in there, and feel like maybe I'm just kind of crazy as opposed to the full blown crazy I was a few years ago?

Being a full-time caregiver is really, really hard. And isolating. I feel like I was completely unprepared for what I would feel when I had kids, in terms of depression and hopelessness as becoming my normal.