And…sunk

I posted here a few days ago something I’d started writing a week earlier. The descent.

On my table, next to my desktop PC that I use when I telework, sat my documents for my tax return. They stayed there as the deadline loomed.

For me, life isn’t a bleak and unrewarding path through Time. I am generally upbeat and energetic. Life is an opportunity to laugh or make someone laugh. It doesn’t matter whether it’s having brunch with a friend, doing some DIY, or reading a book on a mobile device, there are always things to enjoy.

Not so much recently.

First, work had to go. More specifically, I stopped going. I stayed home. I did nothing. Not the kind of nothing you sometimes choose to do on vacation. Not a relaxing nothing, but a tiring weary nothing. I didn’t even check my e-mail.

Second, kids…what kids? Fortunately, the two youngest girls living with me at the moment are teenagers. Parental interaction can be interesting, but it’s not always necessary. Having a little space from dad is OK. They didn’t get worried that I was out of their way and letting them get on with homework on their own. Honestly, I’m not even sure they noticed I was doing nothing at all. Is that a bad thing?

Third, sleep didn’t come. I went to bed early or late, but couldn’t get to sleep. Or I woke early, feeling exhausted, but couldn’t get back to sleep. Dizzy with tiredness, I lay there, wondering what I’d not be doing today.

One of the days off work was a telework day. I didn’t have to clean up and drive downtown, so I tried to do some work. Normally these are my most fun working days ever. No shaving! Or shower! Clothing is optional! I did four hours and gave up. And lay down for the rest of the day.

It took me some time to write my last post, which is why it was broken into two parts. I was so ‘busy’ lying around. Or looking in the kitchen and not seeing anything interesting to eat. Or putting off a shower because it seemed a lot of effort. Or watching some TV on the iPad and then realizing I’d missed minutes because I’d spaced out.

After some days of feeling down, I accepted the counsel of a friend, who you know as That Precarious Gait. I rested my mind. I didn’t fight back. I looked for a mental ‘fluffy blanket’ in the familiar things that are comfortable. Her list included: watching favorite feel-good movies, reading favorite books, getting enough sleep, long walks, drinking plenty of water and tea, and many other useful ideas.

My experience with dark times is limited. Had I started my own list, I’d have included some of these ideas, but I found more than I’d have come up with alone. I guess we all have our own kinds of comfort that take the edge off the dark days. There was one other item that should have been obvious: Checking in with friends. Reaching out to friends, even when the instinct is to withdraw further, provides support that makes a tangible difference.

— ooOoo —

(My ’emoticon’ for โ€œsome days have passedโ€ appears again.)

I started to get better.

The sun no longer glared at me; it shone yellow. The kids appeared curiously ‘interesting’; not just there eating my food. I could concentrate; I wanted to get up and get dressed and be outside. I had an itch that couldn’t be scratched by doing nothing at all.

For me, my nature is not somber. I can be felled, but I don’t stay down for very long. I am wired like that. It’s not some inner strength. It’s not courage. It’s not something that I knowingly control. For you, it might be very different. I think my kind of depression is tied to pressures and life’s turmoil. Not just the daily kind, but the extraordinary kind of confluence of events that happens rarely. Your kind of depression may be partly contingent on Life, but it may have a hormonal or biochemical element as well. Had I stayed depressed, I’d have asked my doctor for pills.

I feel deeply for those whom Life has dealt poor cards. In the most general terms, I’ve led a very lucky life. From the great people I’ve met in so many places to the opportunities to work anywhere I wanted for so long. I’ve got wonderful kids who will one day grow from being teenagers (*sigh*) into adults that I am proud of (exactly how long can be they be “teens”??). I’ve been blessed with a quirky mind that’s not too slow and a sense of humor that slices and dices Life to expose the funny underbelly (if my analogy isn’t getting too messy). So many people — most people — don’t get the same chances, or have them and more but are crippled by addiction or emotional issues.

I end this diversion off normal programming with the thought that we should all pass on a little support to those that need it. We owe it.

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About Single Dad

I married young. Now, after more than 20 years of marriage, 3 wonderful daughters, and many ups and downs, my wife has decided the marriage is over. The "About Me" and "My Background" pages on my blog have more details.
This entry was posted in Family Life, Mental Health, Miscellaneous and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to And…sunk

  1. thenarcissistwrites says:

    You are right about that! You’ve inspired me to go hug some people.

  2. TikkTok says:

    Agreed. I’m so glad you are feeling better. Depression sucks.

  3. Kelly says:

    I am glad things are turning around. Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is enough to keep going.

    • Yes! Actually, one day I ought to write about “Hope” because I found all through my life that having some kind of hope or dream (or light at the end of the tunnel) makes the world of difference between staying low and lifting yourself up. Because you have something, anything, to aim for.

  4. You describe your down period with much self-empathy and understanding. Your description tugged at my heart strings. You are an excellent writer.
    I am glad that you are now embracing the sun again.
    Whenever I feel down, instead of saying ‘what is wrong with you?’ (as I used to say); I now say ‘what happened to you?’. If there is a genuine answer to the question, then I know that it is OK to not be OK as I am having a normal response to an abnormal event.

    • The ‘what happened to you’ is a very good question, and a very good way of thinking about feeling down — once you reach the point where you care enough to ponder what’s next. (I have an answer to the question, but chose not to include it in my posts.)

      The funny thing is, for me, even having lived in Australia for twenty years or so, the expression “embracing the sun again” is maybe the ONE thing I won’t do. And I don’t mean that as a criticism. Only that I am never going to be tanned. I burn, burn, burn, when out in the sun. Even in winter. *sigh* So, a sunny outlook is good, but anything that says “sun”, no, grrr. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Hugs to you my friend xo

  6. anne says:

    SD, I am having a mini-sink myself- waking up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep or read or get up and work, or do dishes… I think we go through phases, and our brains say “Enough!” to the stress and strain. That is my theory. I am glad you reached out, so glad you wrote about it, and really glad that you left a little clue trail for others to follow. And now you feel better!!

    • Hi Anne,

      I’m sorry to hear that you have been feeling down. We all get this at one time or another. You always seem so steady and capable. I guess, like everybody, there are times when it’s too much.

      As you know, I bounced back from my funk and fug. I had hoped it wouldn’t last long. For me, it usually doesn’t. But then, I’m fortunate to have friends that helped.

      You live in a lovely part of the country. Shouldn’t there only be paradise in paradise? ๐Ÿ™‚

      Would you to talk some more? A problem shared….

      Cheers, SD

      • anne says:

        Hi Sd, actually, just getting back to my blog, and blog friends like you really perked me up. It is a great support, to read that others are in the same messy soup we are… And you made it through!
        I think feeling overwhelmed is part of the package of being a single parent, growing up ourselves and being responsible parents too. Reaching out is important… Hey- I am feeling a little blog entry based on this conversation. Thanks SD. Hang in there- giving ourselves the rest and break is ok!!!

        Cheers,
        Anne

        • anne says:

          And 6 months later, how are you doing, SD??? I have not seen you lately. Still blogging a bit? Working lots? Back in winter mode yet? Big hugs, hoping you feel great and alive during this dark time of year!
          Cheers,
          Anne

          • Hi Anne,

            I am doing OK. Not all good. Not all bad.

            I’ve had some finality these last few months — the divorce was finalized. Am I Separated Dad still? Divorced Dad? Decisions, decisions, and time to make them as Winter is here (What do the Starks in Game of Thrones say when winter has actually arrived? A minor plot hole…).

            It has been three years since I have published anything on this blog. I have a couple of low-priority ones that I use for science commentary and they have seen some occasional words. My story here is not yet finished, so I will be back sooner or later with…clarity.

            Thanks so much for your supportive comments!Today happens to be a good day for me to see them!

            Work is the same. The Government wants the project completed for an improvement and expansion to, say, the Widget Program. No, wait, not yet. Yes. But…oh, no. (Pause for effect.) What, it’s not done yet — we’re sure to replace you. But, no, please stay — you have an interesting way of getting stuff done. In fact, now that I think, how did you do that?? Yes, there’s no end of people who can push forward then stop and a start a project with tangible outcomes. So I do what I’m told and I’m still there. The tall poppy with a stoop…

            Winter is fun. Except for ice. Can we have cold and snow, but skip the whole ice thing? Really? We have to have ice sometimes? *sigh* Mother Nature is a meanie-butt sometimes. ๐Ÿ™‚

            And you, Anne, are you at full speed and full enthusiasm at all times? We’ll cut you a few percentage points for being over … 30. But not more. ๐Ÿ™‚

            Cheers, SD (or whatever new initials I need).

            • anne says:

              Dear SD,
              I think each transition in life deserves a time of mourning as well as celebration. Your finalized divorce is a huge “thing”, whether you are happy, relieved, sad, relieved, or ecstatic- or all of the above over the course of days or hours. I hope you found a way to mark the transition in a meaningful way for you.

              I turn 50 in May, and my son graduates from high school on my birthday. It is a transition for me, in so many ways- I still think of myself as being 14, how is it I have a son who is 18? He has been through some difficult times, and I have had a hard time with his transition from boy to man-boy too. I have decided that the best birthday present is to have him graduate from high school and have a plan for his future that he is excited about. But selfish me will still resent that the focus is on him that day unless I write about it a whole lot more!

              I work on government contracts as a consultant, so I understand the decision processes there- and often, the people in charge of the decisions are… interesting. I can only get through the frustration by having gratitude that I don’t work there, despite their awesome vacation and retirement plans.

              I am not always enthusiastic, in fact, I was DEDICATED to blogging EVERY day, writing about ways to inner peace for single parents so that it could be a book eventually (my escape plan from consulting). But after day 17, my “writing flow” kept being so disrupted that I lost momentum, and here I am, 30 days later, thinking, “well this is embarrassing, but I must get back to it, with honesty and explore the growth opportunity in admitting my own lack of fortitude”. I don’t even know where I left off. I was gathering steam and followers, and then — plop. I sat down and stopped the forward movement.

              I LOVE Game of Thrones, could re-watch it, over and over, and am waiting and waiting to find out what happens to Sansa and John, and the 2 little brothers… And their mom- geeez that is gross. We have had a non-winter in my state, it was 60 degrees yesterday. I am sorry I bought ski passes now.

              So, SD (Single Dad?), how goes it, what helps you feel better, a day or a week or an hour at a time? You are a hilarious writer, your stream of consciousness style is very engaging, and there are many who obviously like to read it. Does it help you to feel better to write? I encourage you to get back to your blog… Ha- you and I could even collaborate on a book on divorce and single parenting, from his and her sides on all the topics that we face (finances, teenagers, child support, PTA, potlucks, and how to get out of bed and back at it). That would be totally energizing and fun to think about.

              ok- I am back to my blog now, determined to find a path through the nettles and back to inner peace. Comment there if you can!

              Have a fabulous day today, SD
              Anne

  7. Not sure how my stalking you missed this, but even though it’s super late I am sending you big hugs xo

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