I'll be honest with you all. I've been trying hard to write something. I wrote a funny and offensive piece about practicing Kegels with two girlfriends in a crowded bar. Then I wrote something sincere about the way we think other people see us. I may still publish them, if I can find a point to them besides an effort to display my cleverness and sincerity.
But I found during my last breakdown that the best way back to a clear mind is to call bullshit on the bullshit.
Here's the straight shit:
1. All I can think about is the stuff that I hate, the people I hate, the life I hate.
2. I haven't showered in three days.
3. I look like a haggard single mom on food stamps (bless their hearts).
4. I feel like a haggard single mom on food stamps.
5. I drink too much.
6. General restlessness threatens to swallow my soul.
Not to put too fine a point on it.
My shrink asked me if this happens every spring. I looked up last year's journal. Here's what I found:
Things I am tired of [March 18, 2006]:
*Writing bullshit that never sees the light of day
*Never eating an entire meal in one sitting
*Being worn out
*Myself; I am desperately tired of myself and all my repetitious thoughts. I’ve thought about offing myself or becoming an alcoholic out of sheer boredom.
*Being required to care
*Being mad at my mother
*Despairing about my father
*Feeling empty, alone, and broken
Thereafter, things got much, much better. But now:
Things I am really tired of and/or scare the crap out of me [March 18, 2007]:
*Hanging out at the Science Center with kids and other tired, unwashed, rumpled, bored parents who also don't want to be there
*Answering to a child's comment or question every ten to 30 seconds
*Watching myself age rapidly
*Never sitting down for more than one minute at a time during a meal
*Never reading a book for more than ten minutes at a time
*Being interrupted constantly, no matter what I'm doing, be it reading, writing, sleeping, eating, taking a shower, going to the bathroom
So it's the usual stuff, more or less. Apparently motherhood, like depression, cannot be cured, only managed. How I've managed over the past year is I dropped a lot of useless ideas about parenting and hired a lot more childcare. What's not listed in the second excerpt is my prevailing sense of unease and boredom and loneliness. It would be there, but I got interrupted to make someone a sandwich.
(A new twist on the "things I hate" list is my terror of aging and old people. To wit: I went to a dance performance last week and was disturbed by the sea of white and grey heads all around me. All these soft-bellied old people clutching their tickets, fretting over finding the right seats, looking irritated beyond comprehension when someone needed to get past them after they'd sat down. During the performance, in the middle of one particularly quiet, erotic solo, a baldy near me turned around to hiss at the fellow behind him to stop kicking his chair. "Eh?" the fellow said. "I said, would you please stop kicking my chair!" The entire audience, probably even the dancer, heard this. Lord, smite me with a bolt of lightning if my life ever comes to this! I thought.)
So, I arrive again at the manic-depressive state of melancholia and restlessness. I shall endeavor to enjoy my mercurial mood, or at the very least, learn to ride it. Sit in the nice little yoga space I've made for myself downstairs, close my eyes, and do nothing about it. To do nothing about it is to triumph. To see this period as a shift and a transition rather than a crisis requiring divorce or grad school or some other thing that will make the feeling go away, that's the real practice. I'm lost in this mish mash. There's no other way for me to be right now.