Friday, May 2, 2008

Hard Times

You'd think, this being a personal blog and all, that when things are hard in my life, I'd want to write more, to get them out, to process them, to think them through. You'd think that...if you'd never been through even a mild clinical depression in your life.

This is what depression does to me: It makes me tired. It makes me care with blazing intensity about some things, and thus not have the energy to lift my chin to even nod in the direction of other things. Writing about it all means thinking about it all, and thinking takes energy, too. I don't have it to spare.

Which is a pity, because I could use the free therapy. It would be good to 'talk out' some of the things that are behind this feeling right now. It would be good to be able to explore why it is I'm so disappointed with where my life is and what it means. It would be good to be able to consider the idea of regret, of how all those years of someday-I'll-do-its can't be brought back so that IT can actually be DONE. It would be stupendous, considering the week I've been having, to be able to find the energy to articulate how hard it is, sometimes, to be Mom, and do it even moderately well.

But, oh, just thinking about it all makes my fingers numb with not-wanting to type it out or work it out.

Not that I necessarily would, or perhaps should, even if I could. Because on top of all this depression silliness--even on days when The Tired isn't so prevalent--is the reality of blogging. Those of you who do it know what I mean. This is a public forum; what I say can and will get back to the people I'm saying it about...if not now, maybe later. And, despite the much-hated color scheme on this blog, it all comes out (figuratively speaking) in black and white. Everything I write gets infused with so much gravitas; writing about something makes it seem like that something is the only thing. So I write this post about depression, and you all picture me hunched in a ball or something, endlessly rocking back and forth. Because that's the picture I'm giving you of this moment.

Meanwhile, as you read this, I'm walking down the hill to Vons, to pick up stuff for dinner; while I'm there, I'll run into one or another neighbor or friend and we'll gossip for 10 minutes. Then I'll go pick up the kids from school, where I'll let Em's friend C's grandma buy them "Friday Treats." If it's popsicles, I'll buy one for myself, too. And I'll hold N's hand as we walk home, and he'll pick me a flower from the side of the road as we go, because he does so every day, and Em and C will tell me all the latest school gossip. And I'll smile and I'll laugh and I'll have a genuinely nice time. Nothing to worry about there.

Or maybe, as you read this, I'm making dinner, and the kids are bugging me about something, and I'm snapping at them to get the heck out of the kitchen and let me finish what I'm doing for once in my life for crying out loud. That's not depression; that's life with kids. Nothing to worry about there, either.

Where I know it's depression and not just life is in how hard it is for me to deal with the not-everyday. I know it by how, when N's teacher pulls me aside in the morning to tell me about the ways in which she's worried about him at this point in the year (which are different but no less real than the ways in which she worried about him earlier in the year), it doesn't just eat away at me all day, but it translates into me absolutely LOSING it while doing homework with him later that afternoon, me actually bursting into tears and thinking, "That's it. He really is just stupid." (And then thinking, "I can't say that on my blog...What if he reads it some day? It will destroy him." So, Future N, I need to say this: You're not stupid, and I don't think you're stupid. I think you're brilliant. I did once let in a little bit of despair about your intellect, for about an hour, when I was in a bad place. That's it. But because it's written here doesn't make it so.)

What I mean to say is that I know it's depression because of how easily and quickly the usual coping mechanisms fail me in ways both major and mundane. I know it's depression because writing this has taken two hours, most of which was spent jumping up from my chair to go outside and pull a few weeds and work off the nervous energy talking about this sort of stuff brings up in me when I'm living it. I know it's depression because I don't feel a whole lot better now, for getting some of this off my chest.

And yet, it actually has helped some. Like I said, it's not just black and white.

Because so many of you are family or close friends--people for whom reading the words, "I'm depressed," prompts you to worry about me in a deeper way--let me say this: I am depressed, but it's nothing big or wild or unusual or out of control. It's just another in a series of hard times, and it's not even an especially hard one. I've been there and back enough times to know what bad looks like, and it doesn't look like this. If I didn't have a blog, you wouldn't even know to worry. So don't worry. I've been through it before; I'll get through it this time; I'll go through it again.


Green said...

Your N is so Not Stupid.

I don't know you, but I like you as much as one can like a blog-friend, but I will not worry; instead, I will care from afar, and hope the Cloud of Depression moves on soon.

Ambre said...

You've been depressed before, you knew it would come again. Just do what you've gotta do.

Signed, your friend in "been there, done that, got the t-shirt" ville.

Ambre said...

Oh, and btw, hugs.

Anonymous said...

That graf you wrote about N? About how you had to wonder if maybe he was stupid? Me too. Today, in fact. My kid. IEP meeting. Ugly. Ugly. Ugly. Depressed? Does the inability to stop crying make it so?

po said...

There are times I've tried to tell myself that the ability to FEEL THINGS so strongly is a blessing as well as a curse (during those times that it felt like the worst curse out of a medieval fairy tale). You feel the bad stuff so strongly, which sucks, but you feel the good stuff strongly too, which is wonderful.

There will always be good and bad stuff, and usually one takes a back seat to the other. I hope your good stuff gets behind the wheel again soon. Lots of hugs!!

(And yeah, if I thought that there was ever a day that Matthew would read what I've written in my blog about him, I'd delete the whole thing faster than you can believe.)

Susan said...

Wow. I know what this feels like, and you've captured it so perfectly. Weird to have someone make an aesthetic judgment on so personal a post? Maybe. Sending cyber hugs.