Quick! Get as busy as you can! It will fix things!
(This is a sure-fire sign that something is off)
After almost nine months, I think the gloom has hit me again.
I remember being depressed the first three or so months of George’s life because it was such a hard adjustment in lifestyle. And then, when I started to learn the ropes, I was so focused on being grateful for the little moments of being a mom—such as laughing with my baby and hearing his giggles or relishing the restfulness of *time to myself* during one of his naps, I was too thoroughly busy to be depressed.
Ah, so busyness is the key…?
Then I wonder, ‘Does this moodiness hit me only when I have the time to slow down?’ My knee-jerk reaction: ‘Well then, keep yourself busy so it never can catch up to you!’ But I know in my heart that isn’t the answer.
I’ve been moving very very quickly.
I had a huge fundraiser dinner event to throw before heading out to the east coast for a literary boot camp and then I returned and dissolved in a flurry of trying to get my life back into order and thanking all the people who helped send me on the trip and trying to stay connected to the other writers I’d just met and…you’d wonder how I remember to eat meals. It helps that my husband and son remind me because they’re hungry.
It’s been a strange past few days. I’m suddenly irritated by unfinished projects. I don’t have any desire to write because all writing is difficult and not fun because: I have too many questions to sort out. Too many plots to develop. Too many words that I’ve worked and re-worked so many times that I can’t honestly tell if they’re good anymore.
Fortunately my husband is patient and my son is good-natured. I’m not surrounded by outer ordeals. I just seem to be sitting inside the swirling center of my own internal funk.
I try to work harder. To press in deeper. To find something to throw myself at so that I can be productive. And then, a very dear friend of mine suggested I be spontaneous this week. She can tell that this depression is pointing at some kind of fragility in me. She knows the healthy thing is to be gentle with myself, not more iron-handed. Geeze, I don’t know when I’ll learn this stuff for myself. Why is self-care so damn hard?
My friend invited me and my husband up to her house to use her hot tub while she watches our baby. We’re going tonight.
I don’t think the complications of life’s roller coasters always need elaborate solutions. I don’t expect the hot tub to melt all my woes away.
But it will be a way to slow down and love myself.
This Post Has 2 Comments
Hannah Jasmine Hilgendorf23 Jul 2014
Yes! It is so hard to slow down, especially in stressful situations! My husband and I are in transition right now – still waiting for a call from a parish before we make a cross-country move – and Baby’s coming in as early as 8 weeks, and life is crazy and unknown. We were forced to slow down a couple weeks ago when we found that I had a small blood clot. Taking life’s uncertainties slowly isn’t easy, but I can already see some of the fruit of slowing down. Walking four miles a day AND getting plenty of rest hasn’t removed all our stress, but it gives us a healthy way to deal with it…and my husband is finally starting to lose some of his seminary weight, which is absolutely splendid.
Oh, and the funny thing about hot tubs? They work like magic for my husband. Within minutes of his sinking into one, I can see the stress and tension leave his body. If only it were that easy for all of us (if we all had hot tubs, that is!)
Elise23 Jul 2014
Hannah, this is so lovely to hear. I love that the byproduct of taking long walks each day is a healthy coping mechanism for the big stuff going on all around you. You have a lot on your plate! Thank you for sharing. I is a daily, hourly struggle to not keep on rushing. Thanks for affirming that it’s so often the right choice to slow down. I love that hot tubs are magic for your husband. 🙂