Monday, March 23, 2015

Not OK

I've been feeling a bit down lately. A bit sad and a lot tired and a bit overwhelmed by life. And ashamed because who gets to feel like this with a life as good as mine? There have been a few tough days. But this afternoon I went outside and helped Espen practice riding his bike. I noticed how the plum tree is starting to flower, and that the hydrangea has pushed up a few green shoots. I devoted 45 minutes to weeding a garden bed. I felt happy and more like myself than I have in weeks. While I don't think breathing fresh air and getting my hands dirty actually makes my problems go away, I do feel like at least part of the solution might lie among the simpler things in life. More pink cheeks and grubby fingernails to come.

Last week I posted the above picture and text on Instagram, and I wanted to share it with you too. Not without a little trepidation, because we don't really live in a world where it feels terribly acceptable to be having a hard time. Especially when the struggles you're dealing with are all internal, like mine are.

Really, there's nothing wrong at all with me. I have a pretty fantastic life. My children are sweet and loving and pretty wonderful. My husband is beyond loving, supportive and kind. My faith is deep and sustaining. Any want or need I might have is generally promptly fulfilled. And yet I keep having days where all I want to do is get back into bed. Days of being tired and grumpy and impatient. Days where the thought of planning meals for the week and then shopping for the groceries needed to make them has been so overwhelming it has brought me to the brink of tears. Days where it's hard to see the point of doing anything productive because the things I do matter so little anyway. Days of feeling inadequate. Unfocused. Off my game. Days where my sweet husband has held me and listened to me and wiped away my tears.

We're not really sure what's going on with at the moment, but we are exploring a few possibilities. I've been really, really tired a lot of the time (ask my kids how often Mama conks out on the couch in the afternoons), so we're looking into what we can do to improve the quality of my sleep. Another option is depression and/or anxiety. I dealt with both of those as a college student, so I'm definitely pre-disposed, but I've been fine for almost 10 years now. And the final option is that it's just a passing schlump, a "phase I'm going through", if you will. We'll see.

This all sounds very grim and serious, and I want you to know that there's no need for alarm, I'm going to be fine. I have a great support system in my family and a few close friends. A lot of the time I feel perfectly happy and normal. Some days are happy and productive and fun, and some days are long and exhausting and hard. Most days are a little bit of both. Some days we eat a glorious home cooked meal, and some days we get takeout. Some days I vacuum and mop the whole downstairs and play with the kids in the yard, and other days I play Threes on my phone and feel guilty about how much screen time the kids are getting and how I'm a terrible mother.

Why am I telling you all of this, you ask? It's because I feel like it needs to be OK for people to struggle with things like depression, anxiety or just general schlumpiness. It needs to be OK if we're not happy all the time. Nobody is. And for it to be OK, people who are having a hard time need to be willing say "Hey, I'm actually not OK" without having to feel ashamed or afraid of the consequences if people know. Because people who are depressed or anxious or struggling with other mental health issues already feel ashamed and afraid enough as it as. What they need is for someone to hear that and know that and love them anyway. To let it be OK that they're not OK.

So this post is me telling you "Hey, I'm actually not OK right now." Is that OK?


  1. Of course it's okay! When you posted it on Instagram, I was sorry to hear that you are going through it, but it's also a relief, in a way, to hear stories like this - we soooooo need more honesty in this world! I feel like the more honest we can all be with each other, the more we will say, "Hey, me too! I'm going through that, too!"
    And if book club needs to be postponed, or moved to a easier location where you don't have to clean and cook (because, let's be honest, that can be stressful!) we will all TOTALLY understand.
    Love you, my friend.

    1. You are always so sweet and kind, Kristen! And I completely agree that we need more honesty, especially honesty about the tough stuff. We're always going to fall short if we go through life thinking that we're the only ones with flaws and weaknesses because no one is willing to admit that they are human too.

      And I am SO hosting book club at my house on Friday. I've been looking forward to it for weeks. :)

  2. Hang in there, Friend. This post brought tears to my eyes, I know how you feel! I applaud you for being open about it. It isn't an easy thing to do.

    I would recommend having your hormone and thyroid levels checked. After my big bout with crazy anxiety and stuff, turns out I had non-existent progesterone levels, and my thyroid was all out of whack. It made a huge difference. Just a thought. I know there are many causes and reasons, but just throwing it out there. Hugs, Tamsin.

    1. You are such a sweet, sweet friend, Carolyn. I miss you! I actually had another friend suggest that it could be my thyroid, but I just had it checked and it's totes normal, yo. I'm glad you found something that was so helpful to you, though! Feeling like yourself again is the best feeling.

  3. Found you through the Ravelry bloggers group.

    I'm so impressed that you were able to pin down the 'nothing wrong outside - must be something internal'. Even with a personal history of depression/anxiety that's never easy to do.

    Just to add to the 'might be this or that...' list, depression often follows a seasonal pattern. I suggest it because you observed that getting out and soaking up the sunlight seemed to help.

    Best of luck!

  4. Thank you for posting this. I think that more of us out there feel this way and it helps every time that I read or hear about it. I suffer from depression and have and do experience exactly what you were describing. I am so happy that you have such a great support system, that makes a huge difference. I am sending you happy thoughts and thank you again for posting.

  5. Thank you for your beautiful honesty. I don't think I need to get into details; I think it's enough to say I love everything you've written. I am very glad to hear that you have such a wonderful support system and are in-tune with yourself enough to know that you're not okay. It does no good to ignore/deny it when you know things aren't right. Sending you all my best.

  6. thank you for being brave enough to share this. It is important for all of us that suffer from anxiety, depression, or whatever to be able to share it and not hide it under the bed (or in my case under the covers).
    Just give yourself time, and know that you will be ok. You are ok.