It was a sour Monday morning. Nothing was sitting right, and I was exhausted from a full weekend. The task of caring for my kids AND brushing their teeth? Unseemably daunting. Throw in a laundry list of errands, laundry itself, and very busy evening of activities to cap off our day, and I wanted to quit before I started.
I was grouchy.
I longed to call and whine to my husband. There was no way I could do this day. It seemed cruel that he had to be at work. I felt inexplicably lonely, and when I gear myself up for a downward spiral, he’s the only one that can really level me out. Plus, I just like being with him, but togetherness remains a luxury too often unknown to parents, right?
I was on my own. So I found my bootstraps and struggled into them, and got myself to the grocery store. Which was packed full of back-to-school paraphernalia. Guess which first-time mama of a Kindergartner is having more than a few mixed feeling about the start of the school year? I want to be light-hearted and joyous about it, but I’m too busy trying to figure out ways not to attack the bus driver for stealing my baby away into the depths of a scary unknown world full of things like backpacks and recess. In this intensely logical frame of mind, I was most certain that the snack packs of Goldfish crackers on the shelves were mocking me.
It was at that moment I started to miss my mother. A lot. Excellent. These random bursts of actively aching for her don’t come as frequently as they once did, but when they do? Holy stymieing heck. I pitifully searched for the proper jar of applesauce through my tears and felt even more sorry for myself.
At least I had to buy paper towels that morning. I do love shopping for paper towels.
What was wrong with me?? Could I blame PMS? A quick mental check of the calendar resulted in a resound NO. Crap.
And there was nothing particularly horrible that had happened. The truth was, I was just miserable. Melancholy as it is best defined.
A big fan of my current anti-depressant/anti-anxiety pill, I am thankful to have discovered a relatively side effect-free solution to the diagnosis I have long struggled. I love that while my medication enables me to more effectively cope with life situations, I still feel.
I feel normal, healthy things like pain and frustration.
The tricky part of still being able to feel is, of course, feeling. And the fact of the matter was, I was feeling like crap that day.
I got in my van, rested my head on the wheel and just started praying. Praying for peace, for a shred of less rage-y feelings, for…and then it hit me: I was depressed.
Not depressed as in call-my-doctor-to-pursue-a-med-change kind of depressed. But I will always remember learning in school that part of the DSM depression diagnosis is “symptoms lasting longer than 2 weeks” (or something there-like).
This means that sometimes people have sad feelings and it’s normal.
This means that while my sad feeling that day were hard, chances were, if they didn’t last endlessly, they were okay.
For some reason, the 1961 Shirelles’ song started playing through my head, “Mama said they’ll be days like this…”. Raised on a steady diet of golden oldies from my own mama who loved this genre of music, I’m figuring this tune was a message from her. And she was right.
Because, you see, there are days like this. Sometimes, depressed feelings are part of life. I’m all for treatment of more serious conditions (obviously, because I do it myself), but outside of this, some days are just bad. No good.
And giving myself permission to simply be depressed on that suck-tastic Monday was incredibly freeing. It was alright to hold the kleenex box close and accept my I wouldn’t be channeling any cheery Mary Poppins-like vibes. Life could be bad that day, but I could still be okay. There will be days like this–teary applesauce aisles and all.
****This post was written prior to Robin Williams’ tragic suicide. To be clear, I am tremendously in favor of pursuing medication and therapy when depressive symptoms are pervasive, and share this post as I feel it may be helpful to others.***
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