Constant Cloud Cover
Several days ago I was noticing how snappy I've been with my husband and apologized to him. I don't want to be this way. I have a hard time tracing exactly why I'm being snappy. I read something or hear something that doesn't sit well with me. I'm irritated about it. Everything else becomes more irritating. I feel like I have no control and am at the mercy of my beautiful tiny tyrants. I have a short fuse and it doesn't take much to annoy me. Especially with him. I think maybe because he is my safest person. I know he won't leave me so he sees the worst of me. It really sucks for him. I asked if I'm like this all the time mildly and just more so when depressed or if I'm only like this when I'm depressed. He said it's when I'm depressed. I asked how long he's noticed this for and he said, "maybe the past year?" Which kind of killed me because I felt great for the six months after Juniper's birth. Were those six months not how I remember them? I know the last six months have been challenging to say the least, and the last two have been nothing short of murder. He then revised his statement saying he was just pulling out a number. But the thought of me being depressed for a year, or even six months, just gutted me. He said it's not constant. At that's how I feel about it. Depression isn't a constant every minute of every day thing. It's heavy at some points and seemingly gone at others. Some days are really bad. Some days are really good. But still. Ugh.
Lately I feel like I’m army crawling and I just don’t want to and I could easily just go upstairs and get in bed and never come out. Trauma sucks. Grieving sucks. But then the kids and dogs would die and that’s no good. So I do the bare minimum. I mean, I do more than that. This morning we went to a park with friends and the kids played in freshly fallen snow. Chased ducks. Climbed in the woods. Played on a snow covered play structure. My toes were cold and I was cold but I was with two other mamas and I loved seeing our kids playing.
Now I’m back home and I just don’t want to do life. Bina is a pistol of wants and “that’s not fair.” Baby got a catnap in the car so now no nap. I just want like one hour. Just one. The kitchen is buried in dishes. There are dog hair tumbleweeds. A onesie sitting in Oxyclean from yesterday turning the water purple. And I just don’t want to deal with any of it. I want to leave this cloud covered frozen state of Michigan and move to the sun. I want to be at my mom's in Arizona. I don’t want to do this life here. Not like I want to end my life; I just don't want to do my life in this location specifically.
My brain has been misfiring like crazy. I can't remember things. I can't remember people's names. My words get all jumbled on the way out of my mouth. I feel like I'm going through the motions and doing a pretty okay job at it. And I have moments of feeling passionate about things and very much alive. I have moments where I can see all the beauty of my life and my children and yet feel utterly dead inside. I hate that. I hate this. Yet, this it is.
I posted photos from our snowy excursion and then thought about being real about some of my feelings. Then thought better of it in case somehow my blocked family members manage to get my information and then go off on how awful of a mother I am and oh my poor suffering sheltered children. But then I was like, you know what? I don't care. I started this platform to share my experience in the hope of helping others. In the hope of giving others the chance to go second. So if the toxic people in my life silence me, then the abusers have won. I will not be silenced. Cue the song from the new Disney Aladdin movie and for the love please silence that dumb Mike Bloomberg commercial that plays first. Long live this post and authenticity and if people abuse my authenticity, that's on them.
Yesterday I had over a new mama friend who is struggling with PPD. I met her through a moms group I started almost a year ago. There have been several mamas struggling with post partum mood disorders and adjustment to life as a mama. It has been so rewarding to walk alongside these mamas and love and support them through their journeys. Such a privilege. This group is exactly what I hoped it would be for new mamas. Makes me so proud. And at the same time I feel dead inside. It's such a weird, paradoxical feeling. Living in the tension of feeling fully alive and also dead. Being a human is complicated.
Now I'm thinking of my children and how my Bina has been super mama's girl lately. Yesterday we snuggled on the couch while baby sister took a nap. Then she got up and went to her art table and started working on something. I thought to check on her or ask what she was doing but thought better of it. Eventually she came back over with her little masterpiece. A picture she drew of me, the sun, and a big flower. She had placed a bunch of heart stickers one on top of the other on the drawing of me, over my body. She said she did this "because we love you so much." She is a treasure. My kind and empathetic child with big big emotions. I never want her to change. Never want her to be someone or something she is not. I just want her to be the fullness of her. She doesn't comprehend depression or the events that transpired two months ago, further betrayal that took place after that. But my kid does see her mama. Sees how much she loves her mama. And wants her mama to know it. The kindness of God in a the body of a four year old. She is magic.
So maybe I just need to get out of my head and the dead feeling. I don't know. But it just feels so heavy and like it won't lift as long as we are still in Michigan under constant cloud cover and freezing temperatures. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is in full force at the end of February, even with days of sun sprinkled in here and there. The gray just feels so incredibly suffocating. The snow that was so magical is just so much work. It's work to go outside. To drive anywhere. To push the stroller. All the gear getting to and from the car and where we're going. All the gear to bundle up and then take it all off when we get back inside. Oh for the days of just opening the door and running out barefoot. I am so worn down.
I love my little family. I love David, Sabina, Juniper, Jake, and Bella. I love our neighbors. The communities of mamas I have built. We have things to look forward to like spring around the corner and preparing our summer garden. Upcoming trips. A Wild + Free group beginning in June. The start of our slightly-more-structured homeschooling journey beginning in the fall. And yet oh how I just want to escape the clutches of Michigan. If I could just lift my house and our community and plop it down near my mom in Arizona. That would be perfect. Right? Who knows. Who. Even. Knows.
One day at a time. The wreckage is not the end of the story. "Surrender to the process," God spoke to me as we were in the midst of our domestic infant adoption journey. I had no idea what I was surrendering to then. Surrender is so hard now. We are under constant cloud cover. And it doesn't feel good. I embrace the tension of this season even as I so desperately want out of it. Up and down. Back and forth. Wrestling and wavering and fumbling and bumbling. Messy house. Beautiful humans. Together we plod on. Tomorrow is a new day.