Tag: Depression


Damp Paper

We’re in between seasons here. Cold winds sneaking through sunny yellow days, snowboards and planters vying for space on the balcony. At the grocery store, seasonal fruit is limited to spongey apples and some mandarins that look everything brilliant and orange but taste like damp paper. My days lately have had a lot in common with those mandarins…

…and there I stop. My thoughts have developed a sudden habit of darting away when I get too close, when I try to form their likeness into words, and I can’t manage heartfelt honesty right now. It’s heartbreaking, as is the way I snap under the pressure of mothering some mornings. The way seedlings and ringing phones make me crumble. The way I lie in bed wondering if today will be a make up day. This is not a year I want to remember, but I wish I could put it into words all the same.



Today was a better day.

Perhaps that’s all the explanation I need to give for the last few weeks. That, and the fact that I’m finally putting letters together on a page without abusing the backspace key most disgracefully.

We’re on Day 4 of a settimana bianca in the Alps, and the wild incongruity of cautious, southern-bred me whizzing down slopes on a snowboard is doing me good. I love feeling like the wind, or at least the wind’s unfashionable second cousin who occasionally goes sprawling in a ploof of powder. It’s like breathing caffeine. Not even my ridiculously painful snowboard boots matter when I’m taking off down the mountain into a more alive version of myself.

Growing up in Texas gave me no context for cable cars and snow-tufted lodge gables, and I’m okay with that. This week can just be, free from associations. It can just be the glitter of fresh-faced sunrises on the snow. Pots of hot chocolate for breakfast. The soft crunch of boots and whirring of ski lifts. Funny bruises. Adorable preschoolers shuffling in misspelled lines during ski school. Pure air in our faces. At least one Better Day to remember this vacation by.


A Week

It’s been A Week.*

A holding my miserable, asthma-stricken baby nine hours a day kind of week.

A bad words on the brain kind of week.

An OMG, when did I get this flabby? kind of week.

A glance at the laundry pile and curl up in bed kind of week.

A fog inside and out, and you know I mean metaphorically kind of week.

A thank the powers that be for caffeinated gum kind of week.

A kitchen floors perpetually sticky from my leaking brain residue kind of week.

A life smells like vomit kind of week.

A wordless kind of week.

But I’m finally back.

*Technically, two weeks. But whatever.

P.S. – Thank you all a thousand times over for your encouragement. It’s exactly what I needed some days to remember that pesky business of inhaling and exhaling.


The Death of Chipper

My mental dialogue lately has been about as opposite from chipper as possible. (In fact, I completely despise the word “chipper” and would love nothing better than taking a sharp, rusty eraser to it. Case in point.) I’m partially proud of myself for not letting this negativity spill over onto my blog and partially guilty for not having the balls to write through the rough times. Either way, I’ve missed you, sweet Internet.

I seem to have come down with a raging case of Incurable Motherhead that has left me flat on the freshly-scrubbed bathroom floor wondering if I will survive the month. The choices do not look good from here: 1) Live in abject squalor, forego cooking, and largely ignore my family so that I can make a foray into the world of writing… or 2) Continue to be a tolerable housewife and mommy while stifling 97% of creative impulses because free time? Doesn’t exist so much.

You mamas whose children are finally in a less-needy stage of life—Was it this hard for you? I feel terrified that if I give up on my daydreams now, I won’t be able to pick them back up once life has settled enough to allow for them. I’m likewise terrified that if I don’t find contentment now, my girls will grow up with an aloof and unhappy mother. Occupied, distant, unfulfilled, absolutely not the kind of parent my little girls deserve.

And now you all need antidepressants. Apologies.

I’m unsure where to go from here—should I redirect my lagging energy away from cleaning or blogging or venturing out of the house or occasional grooming practices?—but I assure you: it will not involve the word “chipper.”


The Valley of Strange

I’m not often intimidated by an empty page. First sentences are some of my favorite things in the world, if you want to know the truth. Ending a piece… well, that’s where the palm-sweating and cursing grumbling come into effect… but I adore sitting down and unlocking the possibilities of a blank document. At least, I did before this January broadsided me.

My brain hasn’t checked out exactly, but it has locked itself in a steel-plated door marked “Authorized Personnel Only” to browse classified information without me. I’m no longer authorized, it would seem. Even personal letters I’ve written over the last few weeks have fought tooth and nail and blunderbuss to avoid being committed to paper. I have four (or five?) drafts of a special story collecting dust on my hard drive, and I’ve actually ignored a couple of writing offers. How can I explain? My brain is being a poopy-head?

I have been trying to carry on the illusion of professionalism by sitting at my computer instead of giving in to the power of the nap (as my body has been screaming at me to do… stupid body), but that first sentence is always just out of my reach. So instead of writing, I’ve been immersing myself in others’ stories. Others’ spacious and hearty lives, others’ intricacies and hues and incredible feats. And somewhere between empathy and actual motivation to get off my chair and live is the Valley of Strange.

Perhaps you’ve been to the Valley of Strange too. The scenery is fairly typical—sticky counters, dust piles under the couch, forty-five stacks of papers that were important two months ago—but none of it looks familiar. It’s like waking up to a lavender sky fleeced in turquoise clouds. Shoes are misplaced, words are forgotten, emotions are hazy. No moment registers quite like it should. Breathing just feels… strange.

I keep thinking of a comment Stephanie made last week, about how this sounds like an important time in my life. I sure do hope she’s right, because otherwise, I don’t know what to make of being locked out of my own story. I have to hope that something big is happening in my brain behind those closed doors, that there’s a mountain of AWESOME on the other side of this valley. Yes, awesome with a capital everything, plus clarity and purpose and enough Red Bull to fuel my explosive motivation. Yes, please.


Drink More Pie

The new year so far has been set to Radiohead and Frou Frou with too much black eyeliner and madly-swirled daydreams with sprinkles on top to prove it’s not moping. I’m not fooled though. It’s been hard to face these lumbering gray skies and the remains of last year lying belly-up in the recycling pile. Too many days on that calendar are circled in charcoal and navy, and I’m still not sure I took the right steps to climb out of my mental sludge. 2008 knows, but it will never tell. So I do what little I can to welcome a fresh-faced year I’m unready for: pour myself a mug of hot peppermint tea, light a cluster of candles, and write to discover the good.

A surprise pops up when I glance over a post from one year ago. Despite my pulverized post-partum emotions, 2008 granted me nearly all my weakling hopes. To enjoy my girls, to branch out in cooking, to get confidence in Italian, to take better care of my body, to befriend others, to start down a new spiritual path, to fill myself with others’ words and to fill others with my own… each resolution blossoming quietly while I looked the other way. I would feel sure I floundered through last year if not for the wealth of gifts I hold on this side of it. Several new friends. Morning dates with The Message. Pages upon pages of whimsical love letters to my girls. A recipe treasure trove. Italian vocabulary sets to go with snowboarding, doctor’s visits, board games, babysitting, school, and pie (most important of all, that one). I am rich.

Another surprise: After thinking and thinking and drawing blanks and finally giving up on a word for 2009, I bumped straight into it—Drink—one accidental word to tie up all the loose trails of thought that have wound through my head lately. Drink stands for being present in my own life and rushing headlong into meaningful experiences. It stands for choosing adventure. It stands for refusing to let fear shrivel my decisions and for indulging my ever-present thirst to learn. No resolutions this year, just this one word to live out.

Well, okay, maybe one little resolution: More pie. Yes, that will do.


The Old Man is Snoring

Because sometimes Shel Silverstein says it best…


I opened my eyes
And looked up at the rain,
And it dripped in my head
And flowed into my brain,
And all that I hear as I lie in my bed
Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.

I step very softly,
I walk very slow,
I can’t do a handstand–
I might overflow,
So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said–
I’m just not the same since there’s rain in my head.

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