I’m Depressed. Or a Genius. Or Just Human. It’s Hard to Tell.

My thoughts have been twisty and turny for days now. Sometimes content. More often angsty. Sometimes not very present at all, like my brain is on hiatus even more than usual, which is really saying something since I’m usually working with one cobbled together from dried toothpaste, discarded snack wrappers, and the petrified crusts of toast that breed inside my couch cushions. MacGyver ain’t got nothin’ on a mom brain, man. 

It’s just, lately, I’m stuck somewhere between inertia – just sort of face down on the floor and done in and rather ppffftttt – and thinking I need to be more Nike; all gumption and grit and mind over matter and push-through-every-hurdle-life-throws-at-me – Just Do It personified, you know? Whatever It is.

And I’m extra hidey right now, too, like I’m not ready to be done with the hibernation of winter, and I want to stay huddled in a dimly lit, subterranean den lined with fluffy pillows and soft blankets and equipped with two of those fancy, plexiglass tubes from the drive-thru bank — one that connects me to the library so I can request cannisters stuffed with fantasy novels, and one that connects me to the bakery for fresh cinnamon rolls and the occasional cannister-shaped pie. So tell me, please, is that another wonky resurgence of depression, hard to recognize like the last one, or is it just genius and we should install a massive, worldwide network of plexiglass tubes, STAT?

It’s not that things are bleak. The opposite, really. My family is lovely in all the usual ways, by which I mean my 7 year old crawled into my lap last night to snuggle and to lick me, like an enormous, gangly puppy who can’t possibly show the depth of his love without saliva, and then I repaid his devotion this morning by betraying him when I woke him at 7:30 instead of 7:00 even though, “You knew, Mom! You KNEW I wanted to get up at 7. I always want to get up at 7, and you RUINED EVERTHING,” and tears, and wailing, and not enough time for Minecraft before school, and, “How could you do this to me, Mom? HOW?!” 

Which is the question, really. How can I do this? To any of the people I love and to myself? This constant being human, and making mistakes, and so truly, utterly, completely lacking perfection; how can any of us do this to each other and survive? 

And how do we tell the difference between Something’s Wrong and Needs to Be Fixed (like, helloDEPRESSIONvs. We’re Just Human and This Is Part of It and Welcome to Life, you know?

How do we know when it’s time for a medication check and when we need, simply, to submerge ourselves in Love and Grace and practice relentless forgiveness, especially of ourselves?

I don’t know. 

I wish I did, but I just don’t.

Greg took the kids to the beach on Friday. It was a perfect Spring evening; sunny and warm, and the kids played in sand by the sea. By the time I joined them on Saturday, the storm was raging with sideways rain and driving hail, and our big family felt small – teeny, tiny – inside the little redwood house Greg’s grandpa built while we watched the wind and the waves at war. The kids were afraid we’d blow away, and me, too, a little bit. But Greg reminded them that the house has weathered this before, and will again and again.

Which is maybe all I need to know.

photo 4 (26)

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
46 comments
  1. It could be that you’re a little depressed, or it could just be that you’re an introvert who, by virtue of the fact that you have a husband and five kids, is sorely lacking the alone time you need to recoup.

  2. Love Beth. Love.

  3. […] hate to interrupt my recent slew of compelling non-writing followed by depressive brooding – particularly since you were all so beautifully transparent and wonderfully kind and wholly […]

  4. I love you. Dearly. I have 5 sons, from 11-nearly 4 years old. I have battled with depression and I am doing/going through pretty much exactly what you are describing. I have been wondering about medication again. It seems so wrong to feel horribly ungrateful when I know of all the daily blessings big and small that I have been given. I don’t want to go small group tonight and put on a smile and act like my kids don’t drive me fricking batty. But I probably will. Drinking a little bitty bit of wine, going to go for a walk, jog/ whatever I feel like all alone. But I do love your strength. Your reality that is all of ours. Thank you for making me laugh and be grateful and know that there is a small of army of moms like us. Thank you for the voice of validation. I really do love you, just not as creepily as it sounds when I write it! Hah. By the way, Pink is an awesome singer, and just listening to her relieves my stress as well. FYI, you know. 🙂

  5. Sunshine! You need sunshine!
    Sometimes “just do it” means turning on all the lights in the house so that you are sitting in the light, not hibernating in the dark.
    Being the mother of five kids and just getting out of bed in the morning is a LOT of “it” that you are already doing.
    My kids are all grown up and out on there own now, but I remember those days of feeling those feelings of “How can I do this? To any of the people I love and to myself? This constant being human, and making mistakes, and so truly, utterly, completely lacking perfection; how can any of us do this to each other and survive?” The answer is that you love them and they love you even though you are imperfect and the things you do for them every day (even if it is the horrible act of letting them sleep in for an extra half hour) will give them memories of a childhood wrapped in the security of Mom’s love. Hang in there!

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