Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Resolved

I have never made a real New Year's resolution except once, when I was nineteen and vowed that I wouldn't spend another year being battered and humiliated by my mentally unstable monster of a boyfriend. It took me a few months--four months, three days, eight hours and thirty-two minutes, to be precise--before I managed to make a break for it, but the break was successful and I thought to myself, This is the most important resolution I am ever likely to make, so let me just stop while I'm ahead.

Sure, each year around the holidays I give myself a little pep talk about whole grains and cutting back on buttery cheese, about daily yoga and me-time and having more patience with the kids. Not a heartfelt resolution; more of an exercise in hopeful thinking. But this year, today, I am making a new resolution. I am resolved to come to terms with my biggest problem and seek some help.

So, here it is: I am depressed. Mildly depressed, but depressed nonetheless. I feel aimless but anxious, unenthusiastic and detached. I find myself smiling too late in conversation because I have to consciously remind myself to do it. I have become quick to take offense and even quicker to argue, especially with Jeff. But even the arguments peter out like a leaky balloon when I just sigh and leave the room, unwilling to expend the energy to work through it.

I have been telling myself for about two years that I am not depressed, that I am sleep deprived and hormonal and overworked and getting older and over-caffeinated and stressed out but I’m OK, I’m fine, or at least I will be fine once I get a break, get some sleep. And you know what? It was a little bit true. After two weeks away from work, several long naps and a week at home with lots of easy-going relatives on hand to play with the kids, I felt a tickle of happiness and motivation that was bright and clean and lasted a fair while—less intense but much longer than those short but searingly joyful moments that pepper every day I get with the kids (those moments when Olivia leaps into my arms, her face awash in pleasure, or when Josh looks into my eyes and tells me in his sweet, raspy voice that he loves me). Feeling a mild enthusiasm sustained over whole hours reminded me that that’s how I used to feel, if not all of the time, at least most of it. I had enough energy and ambition to look forward to challenges. Now, I mostly avoid them. Whether it’s situational or physiological or psychological, it’s here and it’s real.

I am loath to admit this, but the last time I felt really good, solidly happy for a whole day, was the day Josh was born. And this has led me to wonder if my desire for another baby might be influenced by how content, and how present, I felt while pregnant. But maybe that’s a whole post on its own.

I don’t yet know quite what to do about it, where to go next, but I am, finally, resolved to do something. Even if all I get is a better understanding of why I feel this way, give it some structure, that might be enough for now. I don’t want medication (trying to get pregnant, fear of dependence on pharmaceuticals), and it seems unlikely that it would be of much use for me anyway. But my resolution for 2010 is this: If there are basic medical issues triggering this—thyroid, iron, vitamin D, whatever—I will make the time to dog my doctors and get to the bottom of them. If the recommendation is therapy, I will make the time to go. If the prescription is more sleep and more exercise, I will make the time for those. And if I fail in this, I hope someone out there will remind me of this promise and shame me into action. Because I think this one may actually be the most important resolution I’ve ever made.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Jen said...

Love you, sweetie--I'm here for you however, and whenever, you need me.

6:42 PM  
Blogger Thalia said...

I wonder this about myself, too. Nothing terrible, just nothing quite right, either. I look forward to seeing this resolution bear fruit.

6:13 AM  
Blogger Bittermama said...

It takes a lot to get to the point of being genuinely resolved to address it. I had similar feelings to yours about medication when I finally admitted that I had some sort of possibly post-partum induced depression in the year or so after our second was born. For me, it worked to focus on healthier eating and sleeping and make some big changes and shake things up in my life.

6:30 AM  
Blogger Sweet Coalminer said...

For me, realizing it and admitting it and admitting I needed help certainly helped it fall away. As did being firm about time for myself. So far I haven't managed to try anything else, but it's strong of you to recognize it and face it head on.

ps, my word verification, no kidding, is "boner".

2:34 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

Go you! I agree that may be one important resolution. It is so hard to make the time/energy to go after such nebulous health issues that are seriously pervasive in our lives. Wishing you luck and strength to get it solved! I've been there and know that no matter how tricky, giving yourself permission/motivation to focus on it will at least improve the situation.

9:56 AM  
Blogger FeyIndigoWolf said...

I think that sounds like a very, very good resolution. There are so many ways to deal with depression. I really hope you find the one or more than one that works for you.

6:09 PM  
Blogger tonya said...

Your post really struck a chord with me. I feel exactly the same way.

I actually start the medical route last year-- following up on my chronic iron deficiency, thyroid, and taking my Vit. D (which testing showed was only barely in the deficient zone).

Also, being firm with my 3.5 YO and insisting that I *will not* get up at night... to put that blanket back on or close his door. He slept through the night until last April, and then it all went to hell, along with my sleep for 9+ months.

Really long-winded comment when what I actually wanted you to know is that you are not alone, and I hope you find the path that works best for you. I (so far) have avoided meds, but am starting to think that I need to try it because the other stuff is not working all that well for me to dig out of this hole yet. I am rooting for you!

10:16 PM  
Anonymous tracey said...

"I have been telling myself for about two years that I am not depressed, that I am sleep deprived and hormonal and overworked and getting older and over-caffeinated and stressed out but I’m OK, I’m fine, or at least I will be fine once I get a break, get some sleep." You talkin to me ?

You are all of those things and unfortunately, you can still be depressed. As if the list needs to be longer :) Just wanted give you a shout out of encouragement, sounds like you have a great plan to take care of yourself. I am pursuing several myself and am more motivated to do so after reading your post.

Here's to a healing 2010.

Tracey

7:27 AM  

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