This morning it was cool. I love cool mornings in the middle of august. I got up with the girls and let them watch a video and eat strawberries while I sat on the couch by the open window, reading and drinking my coffee. Heav. en. ly. I got a chance to clean up some yesterday; the kids’ rooms cleaned and vacuumed, the kitchen and living room passable. It makes such a difference for me to wake up to a clean(ish) house.
I was talking to John late last night about the fact that I’m trying very hard to fight off this feeling like I’m about to slide into depression. I don’t have external reasons to be down, really. Things are getting easier for me: the kids mostly sleep through the night, school starts in a couple of weeks, Sophie will be in preschool two afternoons a week, money is getting less tight. I know that hormones play a big role for me, as I tend to get hormone-related migraines and depression and acne. But it’s not that this time. I can’t say what it is. It may be that I love having a baby and Willow is talking and running around with the big kids. It may be my upcoming birthday. Or not. I don’t know.
One thing that I did say to John, though, is that I think that something bothering me is the fact that I spend the bulk of my time thinking about the other people in this family: does everyone have clean clothes to wear? shoes that fit? something to do? the right things to eat? a ride to practice? clean sheets? You know. The list is endless. And, no one does that for me. Or not to the extent that I do for them. I know. As my brother says, "pity party for one." It isn’t so much that I want to or need to be taken care of. It’s that if someone is going to the trouble to see that I have what I need and want, that means that they really care about me. When the people I care for don’t go to the trouble to see to my needs, I let it make me feel unloved. It’s a little like rejection, and rejection, even from someone you dislike, stings. When you feel it from the people you love most, even when it isn’t really there to feel, it’s incredibly painful. And I wonder if this is part of why mothers feel depressed. Can you live a life of service and be happy if there are things you are longing to do but you must either postpone or not do them at all?
In my case it quickly becomes a slippery slope. I feel horrible and depressed and full of self-hatred. Then I think about how, really, I have no reason to complain. That gets added to the pile and I feel worse for feeling down in the first place when I really have it so good. When interpreted literally, it sounds something like, "I am depressed because I’m depressed and I don’t really have a reason to be depressed." And isn’t that silly?
But, after watching a few episodes of Six Feet Under with my honey last night, and waking up to a clean house, and having enough money to pay the bills and buy food and stuff this month, I do feel a little better. And, I will try to take care of my own needs more, so that I don’t have to resent anyone when I don’t get to do the things that are required for my health and sanity. Because I’m living the life I chose, and I see that it is good, though hard. I want to live it and be happy, to look back and remember joy. Time to stop; I sound like a fucking hallmark card.
Oh, you’re such a kindred spirit. I could just hug you. I have the same thing! I call it “non-specific anxiety” and mine, too, is enhanced by the influence of hormones. And mine is a slightly different flavor from yours, but like you, simply recognizing it doesn’t make it go away, which really pisses me off. Why can’t I just say, “I know I’m feeling sorry for myself and I know I need to stop”? And then just stop. But, like you, recognizing it not only doesn’t make it go away, but sometimes just adds to the pile of crap I feel bad about.
It must be a female thing. Oddly, as Mel Gibson said to Helen Hunt in What Women Want, “…they worry. A lot. A LOT!” They, in this case, being women.
If nothing else, it’s good to know you’re not alone, right?!
BTW, I’m very jealous of your cool weather. O, how I wish we had some cool. We’re a long way from cool, though.
I get this as well, and I’m not even a mother yet. But I have this need to take care of everyone and everything and I won’t even let my husband worry about his fair share of the bills. Sometimes I think that I bring all this anxiety upon myself because it makes me feel important. But if that’s true, than I really am an idiot.
I think it’s definitely a woman thing. We carry the world on our shoulders; it’s the only place it fits.
I’m not the only one (sigh of relief)…
I know what you mean. I’ve tried to talk myself out of depression so many times. It’s like I’ve fallen off the side of a cliff, but I’ve managed to grab on to a branch at the last minute. My hands are sweaty and I can feel myself slipping, but I keep grabbing hold – trying to pull myself up.
I’ve got such a great life – I should have a big, fat dopey smile permanently fixed on my face, but I don’t. I don’t even know why. I look around and know that my life is wonderful, but I still get down in the dumps.
I SO know what you mean about going to sleep and waking to a clean house. That is why I was vacuuming at 11:30 last night.
My fingers are crossed for you. The clouds parted last week – I just finished with my funk (hopefully for a few months).
You just got three (now four) posts in a row from people named Kathryn or Katie or Katy… because my name is Katy, which is short for Kathryn. What are the odds?
All I can say is AMEN!
“I am depressed because I’m depressed and I don’t really have a reason to be depressed.” … I hear you. Boy, do I.
No answers to offer, just sympathy and empathy. Hope things look up soon.
That is exactly why I didn’t have kids. I am way too selfish.
It is the curse of moms everywhere, I think. You do and do and do and nobody appreciates all the zillions of things you do every day to make everything better for them. Like my mom said “We go on vacation, but I never get a vacation.” That must have made an impression on me.
I didn’t realize until I was about 25 how much my parents had done for me. Then it just flattened me. I literally had to sit down because I could not breathe. If I could have bottled that moment and sent it to my parents, I think they would have liked getting it in the mail.