One side effect that I have of depression is a warped sense of reality. I see things a little different than most folks. When I look at the after dinner dishes I don’t see a few plates and cups that need to be placed in the dishwasher. I see a mountainous pile of flatware, glasses, pots and pans that will take me forever to clean up. I don’t see a garden with a few weeds that need to be pulled. I see a never ending battle that will never be won. I see things larger than life, or reality in this case. I lack the ability to break life down into smaller, more manageable, parts.
My house and garden are the biggest culprits of this. My side yard is a mass of knee high grass and weeds that can’t just be mowed over. Under the grass are piles of rocks, bits of wood, pavers and other what nots that I’ve thrown over there. There’s a whole ton of junk that we’ve cleaned out of the garage, but have no way of taking to the landfill. Literally if you mowed my side yard you would find an old and busted lawn mower. But when I look at it I see something that can’t possibly be remedied.
Deep down I know that if I had just a little bit of help and one long weekend I could get my yard and house looking decent enough to tame this beast. I am trying my best to use coping skills, but there are days when the simplest tasks (laundry) are far too daunting. I had to take a moment and count to 10 last night before tackling the dinner dishes. There weren’t really that many.
We are trying a bit of a new approach to helping me have a little more quiet time in the day and it helps a bit. The trusty husband has been putting the boy to bed at night. He is much more calm and collected and it seems to be working. The boy is falling asleep a little quicker and isn’t rocking nearly as much. It may be possible that the boy picks up on my anxiety during bed time and is turning that against me.
For now, I am at least recognizing the issues and working to get them solved. It is a slow process, but I’m determined to get my fun back.
We recently started having me take over night time preparations for seamonkey and it seems to be working for us too. I think it’s natural for the SAHP to reach their limits at the end of the day, so a changing of the guard is good for both parties even without depression in the mix (obviously worse with that in there too).
Certainly its a good thing that you recognize the issue and are working on coping mechanisms. Maybe commenters will provide you with some things that work for them. For me, I take a deep breath, look skyward and repeat a few key phrases reflecting on the fact that this is the life I prayed for and that this is (typically) a small thing that will pass.
I eventually had to give in and get a woman to come and watch my little guy and help with the house cleaning one day a week. (I have a friend who does two mornings and I’m thinking of changing to this) and I find that my whole outlook has improved. I adore my little man, wouldn’t change anything for the world, but sitting in my car with a cup of coffee by myself (maybe in your case it would just be getting to weed the garden alone) reminds me of who I am and that I can cope.
We found a college girl who is relatively inexpensive and yet saves my life once a week.
You aren’t alone, we all have to learn how to cope..although I am right there with you and the dishes. I just say to myself “One step at a time. One step at a time.”
Take Care! I love your blog.
I’m so sorry life is not fun. I often think this and wonder why life is so much about ‘have to’ and not ‘want to’. I actually dreamed last night that the weekend was coming and it depressed me because it was just another 2 full days of errands and house-organizing, etc. At least during the week I escape to a different kind of ‘have to’. One where I get breaks and free Starbucks coffee. I even get to pee all by myself! (Only those with small children understand the loss of privacy that goes on and on and on…) I wish I lived closer and could give you a break or a great big hug! Or even a really good bottle of wine. I would even share my secret stash of Sweet Hope chocolates with you!
Is that why I can’t clean my house? Maybe it has been depression all along. Seriously, it weighs on me and I shut down in a big way when I look at my house and the things that need to be cleaned. It is also never ending. Thanks for your honesty.
El- I am sorry for your depression…I have a pads issue and am trying really hard to get off the meds…but I get what you are saying…I did finally get a woman to clean every other week and a lawn service to do the lawn to free up DH some time…he and I have always had the bedtime routine be his…it gives him time alone with the kids and gives me a needed break..I have to say that most nights he does the dishes too. It sounds like we found our selves some good guys
I truly feel for you right now. I really struggle some days, and if I was battling depression on top of it, I don’t know what I would do. My brother also battles depression and he said the same thing. Each task is overwhelming and he has a difficult time putting together a plan on how to tackle it. He described it by saying that his brain feels like he’s trying to think through a fog. Good for you for recognizing the issues!
Oh my gosh, I do the same thing. I think of all that has to be done and then suddenly all I can do is sit there and stare at my computer, I don’t even want to deal with all the work. One thing that helps with dishes is we have a tv in the kitchen and I ‘bribe’ myself by watching something entertaining while I clean. (Music works too). And for laundry, I watch my soap or Ellen on Tivo. Or call a friend while I fold clothes. Hmm, this probably explains why I never get to the yardwork … no good distractions out there!
I think having Dad do bedtime is a great idea. It’s good bonding time for them and gives you a break too.
The biggest hurtle in fixing a problem is recognizing there is one. Most people don’t have the guts to do a reality check such as the one you have done and express it to others. Most often then not it’s a chemical imbalance and seeing a Dr. you trust can alleviate some of the darkness that you’re feeling. Natural remedies are great if they are working but if not…why do you continue to suffer? If that dark cloud could be lifted from your very soul and life lived to it’s fullest would you resist whatever it would be to fix it? Why?? You deserve happiness and fulfillment and by not seeking help you are cheating yourself of precious moments that are right in front of you and are just clouded. Become an advocate for people who are sadly darkened by helping yourself first! You deserve a happy and fulfilling life…don’t sell yourself short by not fixing the problem. You are so loved and things really are too good to miss in life. It’s very short…too short to miss!
I love you!
Like many of your commenters, I have also been there. SAHP is a potentially dangerous place because, as you suggested, tasks can be endless. There is always another load of laundry to be done or another meal to fix or clean up. And at the same time, it may feel like you are not really doing anything.
I have def. felt that way. The worst part for me was that I could not justify taking a break because
a) what I was doing was not that hard except it was all the time
b) the kids got off schedule when I left it to my husband and so I got payback for taking time off
and c) it would be really expensive for someone to take care of kids while I did wussy things like slept or painted my toenails or had coffee with girlfriends.
And so for those reasons, I didn’t try to get help. Also because trying to find someone seemed like more energy than I had to spare. But I will also tell you that I pretty much broke because I was unwilling to let anything go.
I don’t know if that is where you are, but that is where I got. So maybe I am just writing this for myself and you are all, “the hell? I was talking about dishes, Anne, not mommy appocolyse.”
But if not? I can’t tell you strongly enough to get some free time for yourself. Sure, kids and husbands will not like it at first. But they will adjust.
Take care. Dishes are hella easier when you are coming back from a movie with your girlfriends.
When my kids were all too young for school and we had a couple in diapers, it was my husband’s job to brush all their teeth at night. I wanted to know I always got that one brief period to just sit it out.
He didn’t like it. But too bad. I changed 80 shitty diapers a day, so I say he can brush all three kids teeth at night. ;o) At least that was my mood back then, and to boot I had hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, night terrors, and I was breastfeeding. Menopause at age 29 is a bitch.
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