Motherhood = Lack of Sleep = Winter Blues

Recently, I found myself in the midst of some very blue days.

I felt extremely sad and lonely and my homesickness for Denver (city life) was ultra-strong.

I had already noticed that when I lack sleep – and I’m always lacking these days – I feel depressed. The depressed feelings were just starting to become more obtrusive – lasting longer throughout the day and for more days in a row.

And then, yeah, couple weeks ago it got pretty bad. I was beginning to actually get tearful at times. I haven’t felt that way in a long time, but it’s becoming apparent that this happens to me every couple of years.

Now? I’m almost better again. I’m back to my enthusiasm about my current entrepreneurial endeavor, but it’s at a healthy, non-manic level.

So yeah, I meant to write some posts about depression while I was feeling so blue, but it’s possible that the storm may have passed for now.

Either way, I’m reading Andrew Weil’s book Spontaneous Happiness. Thank you loving hubby for ordering it for me at the library!

And I’m really going to work on getting to bed earlier. Honest!

Like all moms, I’m sure, it’s extremely hard for me to get to bed at a decent hour. I never have time to do the reading and writing I want to do when Sebastian is awake.

Every night I face the dilemma. We make dinner, get the baby to bed, and then, against my better judgement, I stay up too late.

But, I’ve got to take care of me if I want to live my best life.

Maybe a miracle will happen and I’ll suddenly start going to bed between 9 and 10 pm, getting up at 6, exercising, having tons of energy, and living happily ever after!

A girl can dream!

But for now, I’m taking my vitamins, walking as much as I can during the week, and making it a goal to hit the sheets before 10 pm!

What time do you go to bed? What time does your alarm clock (or your kid) wake you up? Does lack of sleep give you the blues?

 

What Is Your Measure Of Success?

One of the hallmarks of depression is supposedly low self-esteem. I would have told you during my years of clinical depression that my self-esteem was fine. I liked myself. I thought I was an inherently good person. I never did what I’d observed in a few others – verbally berate myself as stupid and worthless – I considered that to be pathetic behavior.

But looking back, I cannot deny that my self-confidence was nil. I felt petrified by my fear of uncertainty and incompetence. This fear prevented me from learning what steps to take to achieve in my endeavors and from knowing how to socialize with others. These qualities unfortunately lead to a downward, self-perpetuating spiral of depression. You feel terrible, you feel unable to do anything, you do nothing, you feel worse.

For me, turning thirty has been a welcome transformation in my life. I have a lot more confidence in myself, both in that I can take steps to minimize my ignorance about whatever activities I wish to take on, and also in that I care less what others think of me. One of the easiest ways to damage your self-image is to get caught up in shoulds. I should have a career, I should have children, I should volunteer, I should be able to keep a clean house, I should be able to throw fun dinner parties.

I’ve stopped listening to that inner voice that tells me I’m not successful enough by measurable standards. So I’m not good at having a career; nor am I good at domestic skills. Where does that leave me? It leaves me the compassionate, interesting person that I am! It leaves me here in the moment feeling gratitude for my miraculous, mundane life. I’m learning that it is enough just to be. And a thousand times better when you pair that being with a connection to those you love.

I love being married. I love being a daughter, a sister, a teacher, and a friend. I think I will love being a mother. I love connecting with others, something I wasn’t able to do when deeply depressed. This is what it is to be joyful. This gives me not only confidence, but faith that I will be successful in life whether or not I have physical markers to show for it.

At least, this is what I tell myself. : )

On Depression and Recovery

I am a firm believer…

  • that life is neither wonderful, nor horrible, happy, nor sad; it is each of those things, simultaneously, in every waking and sleeping moment on Earth.
  • that I cannot control my thoughts, that they will sometimes tip toward the side of happiness and joy and sometimes toward hopelessness and despair, despite my intentional efforts.
  • that I can, however, practice techniques which help me to live in the moment, instead of dwelling in the past or the future, and to release the hold that the tide of my thinking has on my emotions.

I believe that realizing and accepting that life is, in every moment, both beautiful and terrible, awe-inspiring and ugly, generous and unfair,  is essential for peace and recovery.