Sometimes I feel like everything is moving along ok and then I’m sunk, fast, for seemingly no reason at all. I know it’s the winter thing and the work thing, but I just feel like I have nothing to give. This morning, I slept in and would have stayed in bed all day except that I knew I “shouldn’t,” so I got up and moved slowly through the day. Having just gotten back into bed, however, I now feel quite conflicted about whether I handled that decision properly. Let me explain.
Once in a while I get the gift of a me day. Me days come out of the blue, or the gray as is more often the case recently. Once in a while my ex covers childcare or sets up something for Free when I hadn’t expected him to, and I have a day to myself on my hands. I don’t really have a lot of friends that I socialize with, especially locally, and since these me-days are so often last minute gifts, I truly have them to myself. When Newman is also available, it’s an us day, but today something came up that took him away. It’s the holiday, so I didn’t have to go to work, and there’s no-one but me to deal with.
This morning, all I had on the other side of my bed was a large stack of ungraded papers and a list of things I really, really did not want to do. I did get up. I graded some papers. I hauled my butt out into the cold to run. I showered. I blew-dry my hair. I made some lunch. I watched some of the inauguration. All good things. I still felt like there was nothing in the tank and that the list was just as long. I watched some crappy TV. Newman called to ask me to meet him for a late lunch and early movie. I was grateful he was trying to pull me out of the funk, so I went. Sitting next to him was, in fact, lovely. When we’re seated at a bar or in a movie theatre, I love to sling my leg over his and lean in to him. He promises he likes it and doesn’t find it annoying. It was pretty much the high point of my day to be close to him, to ease into a movie, to stop giving myself crap for not wanting to do anything.
I often feel guilty for not being able to talk myself into feeling good. I know that sounds ridiculous; I’m either entitled and have lost the perspective to appreciate how good I have it, or I’m depressed and making the condition worse by judging myself and not just giving in to sadness once in a while.
For the record, I do know I have it good, and the sadness always catches up with you–even when you try to fight it.
Here’s what it comes down to: I got some stuff done today, and that’s fine. I don’t feel like it was enough, but that’s not uncommon for me. Looking back though, I kind of wish I’d spent the day in bed. I mean, I had the day. I didn’t have to be on as a mom, and I have no idea why I didn’t just crash all day and give into it. Well, no idea other than the fear that it would overtake me, and I’d never want to get up again. And the fear that others would judge me, or that I would judge myself.
I know winter will end. I know this, but I’m having a tough time being positive right now. I called my mom to check in for advice. She just said it’s ok to stay in bed sometimes.
I’m going to sleep now. Wake me when it’s time to turn the crazy back on.
Outside in our backyard sits Newman’s camper. I love that camper in the summer: the space we create when it gets cranked open is all ours. I love zipping down the windows to open it to a breeze; I love that when we are traveling with camper, we can go anywhere and are free to just celebrate being alive. I love making the bed and seeing my stuff next to Newman’s; I love the close space and how connected it makes me feel to him and to the earth just outside our plastic walls.
I like to watch Newman put the camper away at the end of the season; he has a system of doing it efficiently yet carefully. He sweeps it out, packs up the supplies neatly, and puts dryer sheets and mothballs inside to keep mice away during the winter. He seals it up tight, and there it sits, taut and empty, folded into itself until summer comes again. I can look out the window and see it, hibernating, compressed, covered with a thin tarp with the wind whipping dustings of snow over it.
I feel as I imagine that camper feels: tucked into itself and sealed off. It is empty and waiting. It is a shell, one that cannot warm me in the current state of winter. I keep trying to recall memories of summer, trying to remember what it felt like to take the sun for granted and feel the ease of love and life without so much weight behind it.
I got up this morning after a huge effort. I felt all alone and tried to hold in the feeling of desperation until I couldn’t bear it any more. I had cried last night for a long time and thought it was all out of me, but it started up again this morning. Newman came down to my level, on the floor, and told me to get back into bed. We had a professional day at work, which means there would be no classes. The thought of that–being spared another day–saved me. I crawled back into bed. I slept for three more hours. Then I got up, made a call to my doctor, and drove to the store for some vitamins and healthy food.
I’ve felt this way before, which is why I knew I had to listen to Newman, to stay home and make that call. I hate being here again. I don’t want to face the possibility that my default position may be depressed. People want to help when you’re in this state, and the first thing they ask is if there is something behind it. The trouble with me is that there’s a ton of stuff behind it, but none of it explains why it creeps up this way and suddenly knocks the wind out of me. I’m in a good place in my life. I have everything going for me. I have come so very, very far. I don’t know what my story is, what it will be, or whether this latest round is one that will be short-lived or drawn out. For today, it’s got to be enough that I have started to name it and begun to take care of myself.