I think today’s posting will be quite different than the last. I’m feeling out of sorts…well for me anyway…I feel lighter. Today I woke up and read an unabashedly joyful posting from a woman clearly much younger than I, relishing the future possibilities of home and family. And it turned my mood brighter. I left her a post about what incredible optimism she has and, at first, felt a bit sad that I hardly ever see the joy in my life except as someone watching from a distance. That’s the disease…the Depression that dulls my spirit. But after considering my home and my family and how amazing they are despite my constant mood issues, I started to feel rather hopeful myself. I would love to carry this feeling throughout the day with me today, especially to drown out the memories of the last two days.
I research and write about my depression and anxiety for two reasons. First, it is cathartic. I usually write early in the morning, before the kids arise and before I’ve had a chance to let anything upset me too much. I research religiously because I have to learn how to parent through my depression. I have to read any book I can find and any relevant published journal article and frankly any source that I come across that will give me a bit more insight into this dreadful disease that prevents me from looking at my children with unfettered love and delight. But more than that, I have to do my best to create that light in my eyes for them even when it’s being clouded by sadness. They deserve my best effort and I’m admittedly forcing it a lot of the time. Not because I don’t feel these feelings, but because they get pushed away by a much stronger force I can’t always control. My research and my writing is making me stronger. I admit, I’m crawling before I can walk. Taking it slow and being the best I can for them.
It’s not exactly “faking it, till I make it.” It’s more like acting a part. I recently read about Temple Grandin, a famous Autistic woman who is extremely gifted in her field as many Autistic people are, but has social limitations. She now gives talks to huge audiences on the mind of the Autistic and how “neurodiversity,” which is what many high-functioning Autistics call it now, is a blessing we want to keep and not eradicate. She has been described as saying she had to study and learn the “give and take” of so-called normal conversation and when to use eye contact and other body language appropriate for human interaction. The exact kind of things most of us take for granted just as a part of growing up. After considering it some more, I feel like that is what the Depression is making me do. I watch other Mom’s and even my Husband who is the greatest Dad, and I kind of copy the good stuff I like. Then I practice. Some days I don’t need to fall back on this as much, because I’m feeling good. Today might be one of those days. Some days I rely on my acquired skills entirely.
Like the day before yesterday. I did not do a good job of acting my part. I was completely shut down and didn’t have the time to adjust while the kids were at school. My daughter was home sick. And I had nothing to give. It was all I could do to ask her how she was feeling and take her temperature. Lucky for me, she slept most of the day. My ability to empathize was abysmal. And when I went to bed that night I felt my failure in my bones. I promised to do better the following day (yesterday) and I did. I fell into my role, and I coddled her to the best of my ability. I made her feel taken care of. I did all I could to make up for the prior day. I apologized for failing her. As always she denied it, but I knew it was true. I had a bad day, and as long as I have this illness, there will be bad days. I can’t let them beat me though. And thanks to one of my fellow writers, I think today I will beat the illness. Today will be an UP day. So many thanks to a young woman with a big life ahead of her and enough optimism to share with me.