Broken Record

I used to have things to say. I used to care so passionately about a topic that I was driven to get the words on the “page.” I used to publish post after post after post and not think twice about all that writing. I used to be so prolific.

Now a days it’s a struggle to come here. I can’t find the words. I don’t have great posts swirling in my head, ready to be written. The ones that are up there have all been written before. I feel like I’m stuck, a record that plays to the same spot and then jumps back, constantly repeating itself.

My moods court depression, but never commits. I struggle to honor my feelings without wallowing in them. I’m never sure if a negative thought is realistic or pessimistic. 

For me depression is characterized by a lack of a hope. My self talk circles around familiar narratives of despair and overwhelm, of being stuck and unable to find a way out. It’s hard to know if a situation is as bad as I perceive it, or if my thought processes are just falling into the deep ruts of hopelessness that they have traveled for so long. 

The political situation is dire. I am still learning how to stay informed without panicking ineffectually. (I do believe panic can be a productive emotion, but panic about political situations I can’t control is not productive.) The truth is I had not been great about regularly reading the news and staying informed before; a lot of my exposure to current events was via article shared on FB. Besides the years I subscribed to (and read) The Week, this is the first time in my life I’ve consumed mainstream news media on the regular. I have not yet figured out how to digest so much content in a meaningful way. I have no clue how to repurpose it in the context of my own thoughts and commentary. 

Even if I figure out how to do that, I don’t know if I will. I’m not sure I have the iron stomach to make this blog political. A terrifying prospect in today’s media climate.

I find myself retreating ever inward. I text less. I see my friends rarely. I don’t even speak with my husband much. I write the same posts over and over again. I read blog posts but rarely comment. I obsess about the minutiae in my kids’ lives because I have nothing else of substance on which to train my gaze. I listen to audiobooks and podcasts in the car. I play solitaire. (How am I not yet sick of solitaire?!) If I have a lot of mental energy I play Lumosity. I become engrossed in a couple of shows. I avoid phone calls.

It’s not as bad as all that, I can just feel myself retreating. On one had it has it’s positives. I no longer pine after a more active social life; I’m totally happy to stay home and watch a show. This really has helped me feel more content. But I also know that much of my attitude, and behavior, is in response to stress. A constant, low grade stress, that eats away at my very being.

Perhaps part of it is that things at home are somewhat easier. And in the meager space that is afforded when my kids play nicely in the tub for an hour instead of requiring my constant supervision, I’m not sure what to do. So I do nothing, and then I feel downtrodden. 

Do I feel downtrodden because I do not yet having anything to fill these new spaces? Or do I do nothing with these pockets of time because I feel so downtrodden. It’s hard to know.

The one thing I do have working for me is perspective. I KNOW that this too shall pass. I know that I will eventually wake up one morning and the sun will seem a little brighter, and the work day will seem a little less long, and I will appreciate my kids more at bedtime. That day will come, and and I don’t need to work too hard for it. I just need to get through all the days that come before that one. 

And be ready for all the days like this one that are sure to come after.

6 Comments

  1. I never comment but had to today. You’ve exactly described my predicament. I’m a SAHM of three under 4 and I’m pregnant. Though I love my life and kids, my goal is to survive each day. That’s it. Put my head down, try to model good character for my kids, try to balance housework and mothering, and survive. Facebook became a time suck so it had to go. Phone conversations contribute to chaos so I’ve for the most part cut them out. Date nights and girls’ nights are way too much effort. My husband and I sit in companionable silence most evenings because we are both just WEARY. The political climate is wearisome too, and being immersed in the news is hard on my mental health so I have to strive for balance there too.

    I know this is a season. One day I’ll find that my kids are a bit older and suddenly my passion for other pursuits will be back. Maybe this is true for you too. You have a LOT going on (I read your blog and am exhausted by even your description of your schedule!). I think you’re in survival mode (I think I am) so let’s get through it and then see what it looks like on the other side.

  2. WOW. I am surprised.
    Because I have been so impressed by the changes in how you are seeing and reacting to things now than even 2 years ago. Your approach and what appears to me to be growth/change in how you see problems and your responses.
    These seem to me to be cycles of life given jobs, children, life. But maybe it is easier for us to see not only the changes in you but the relevance to our lives. The normalcy.
    Re politics and writing about it … I will not push you one way or another. I will support either decision you make. ~~~ Your writing helps ground me as things unfold; I hope you continue to write.

  3. I’m sorry you’re feeling so down. I wonder if part of your feeling downtrodden is kind of a guilt because you’re used to always being so busy and then when you actually have a little bit of free time and you just chill you feel guilty for not “getting anything done.” I know I experience this. When there’s a never ending list and you don’t “accomplish” something with the gift of extra time you feel guilty.

  4. Do I feel downtrodden because I do not yet having anything to fill these new spaces? Or do I do nothing with these pockets of time because I feel so downtrodden. It’s hard to know.
    –THIS I struggled with a lot last year, and still do, to some extent. I don’t know if it was a manifestation of or actually contributed to my depression last spring/summer but I know exactly what you are talking about. I think it may just be the emotional upheaval of getting used to a new stage in life?

  5. Being overwhelmed or even feeling it, makes me stressed and even depressed. To me, I fell like I’m failing – somehow – even if I’m not.
    I don’t have a lot of advice for you but I will tell you, I admire you and even inspired me to be financially better. When you paid off your school loan – that struck a chord with me. You’re awesome and get things done.
    And on the political front, I am 100% on board with you. Right now, I feel this loss of hope but Mr. Obama’s speech this past week, woah.

  6. I was thinking about the small tiny amounts of “free” moments that you seem to feel you are not using. Make a list of things to do towards a larger goal that can be done in 5 minutes or less and post it where it is easy to see so it takes no thought to pick one. Sort one shelf in medicine cabinet, review what is in door shelfs only of refrigerator and toss expired stuff, sort one drawer (or half of one) and discard junk, clear one ‘hot spot’ where things accumulate. OR self pamper items: sing a song to yourself, apply moisturizer, shut your eyes and visualize a favorite place, pluck eyebrows, untangle a necklace, tidy your purse … just little things. A written list posted makes it easier. Been there, done that. Over time you see changes and it is encouraging. It is hard because you are not accustomed to having these tiny spaces in your hectic world, be gentle with you!

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