Saturday, October 28, 2006

More Love, Please

More scribbles from the spring:

A day of rattling brains, over stimulated nerves, a queasy stomach. I’m crashing again. I seem to run in short cycles of mania and depression. Good Lord, could I be bipolar? If I am, it’s exacerbated by the citalopram. During the “manic” phase I feel boundless possibility, endless creativity, ideas popping left and right. I love everything, everyone. Yes! I say. This is life!

And then there are days like today, when I can’t handle a thing. The kids nag, I want to scream. Someone makes a demand on me, I want to knock them across the room.

In yoga class today, our sub teacher Beth focused on the yama of non-harming. Non-aggression. Which is really, says Beth, love and loving-kindness.

Love and loving-kindness were way beyond my ken today, so I meditated on non-aggression. I put my boundless aggressive energy into massive muscular dynamism. I did my standing poses like a warrior. I did my chatturanga dandasana with supple animal strength. When I was all emptied out, I did legs-up-the-wall pose and then savasana.

Savasana is always a great opportunity to feel the effects of my practice. I could see something wavering beneath all that aggression and cyclonic emotion: lack of love.

There is a lack of love in my household, I declared to myself. The kids are needy, naggy, whiny. Matt and I are depleted, irritated, always trying to get away. There is hardly ever a time when we can look at each other, face to face, and complete even a short, declarative sentence, much less a loving gaze or searching question. Trying to focus on one another feels futile. I miss him. I need us to be a real couple.

I am nervous about where my aggression lies today. It’s at my kids. I cannot connect with them. I just want them to be quiet, go away, leave me alone. I want to slough them onto someone else. I can’t do anything for them. They nag me, and pull at me, and demand of me, totally fucking constantly. Audrey has another cold, so she’s been crying and yelling a lot. Matt has a stomach aliment so he’s been running to the bathroom a lot. We are sick. This household is sick.

Lord, help us.

But what if love didn’t have to be something I made up from scratch? What if I didn’t have to create it or perform it? What if the love is always there, and now it’s buried and obscured? The love is, maybe, like the pearl. Buried under a lot of crap. But always there, always shining.

Thinking this way lets me off the hook. It relieves me of so much guilt (which I am feeling heaps of tonight). It’s not that I’m a bad person incapable of loving my children. I love them fiercely. The love is depressed by all this…depression.

Which brings me to another big question: when am I going to get better? Is this what it’s going to be like for a long time? A few good days, a few bad days, a violent haze, hello schizo mommy? Should I just put aside a trust fund for the children’s future therapy right now?

Depression is so weird because it can actually erase love. Or block my capacity to feel it, contact it, dip into its river. Oh, love, I think wearily. That’s when you don’t yell, right? I am continually stunned by the way depression can close off whole rooms in my mind, without my even noticing. It makes me feel like an utter loon.

So what do I do now? Up my dosage again?

Or this: maybe I do nothing. Maybe I just float.


tracy thompson said...

Been there, except for the yoga part. (Bad knees).

Not to be pushy, but you might be interested in a book: The Ghost in the House: Motherhood, Raising Kids and Struggling with Depression. By, um, me.--Tracy Thompson

Jane said...

Yes, Susie. The love is there. Here's a little extra from down the street, just in case:



P.S. I don't actually think it's underneath all the crap. I think it's mixed in with all the crap, like chocolate in mole sauce.

Di said...

Really, Tracy Thompson's book is excellent. I have suffered from depression for 18 years and recently had my most serious episode and was not responding to medication. What worked for me was ECT (electroshock is the old name and yes, they still do it and it can be very effective).

But the mother part just complicates everything...on top of dealing with depression you deal with the guilt because you know you are just going through the motions with your family.

I think Tracy's book would be good for you to read, but see your doctor and check your meds or other alternatives.

Di said...

Just checking in to see how you got through the weekend. I was looking for a link to e-mail you, but didn't see it. Just wanted you to know that there are people out here sending you warm thoughts and cyber-Valiums (if needed!)

susie said...

Thanks, Di. I'm doing okay.