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Monday, December 03, 2007

An emotional trifecta

Some of my recent posts have given the impression to some concerned readers that I might be depressed. I might be. But I think I'll blame my emotional prose on all the book-writing I've accomplished recently (which drudges up a lot of feelings), on this time of year (a little old-fashioned seasonal-affective disorder), and the fact that I'm just about done nursing Baby in Chief (a hormonal whack-job, to say the least). Each of those issues alone can create a lot of stress. But they are all coming at the same time, unfortunately.

Yes, this is a lovely time of year with all the festive music and the lights and promise of packages and sprinkle-covered cookies. All of that goodness holds the promise of mountainous highs. At the same time, it also can bring on chest-crushing lows. I'm really looking forward to the arrival of family--the family we regretfully did not spend Thanksgiving with due to the 2,500 miles separating our houses. The anticipation of their arrival, the joy of a family holiday is exciting. But then there is the added responsibility. The extra responsibility of ordering the holiday cards, writing notes on and sending the holiday cards, picking out the right gifts, wrapping the gifts, mailing the gifts, decorating the house, baking festive goodies. All that stuff is piled on top of all the regular responsibilities of parenthood, of being married, of running a household.

I know I'm not the only one with this extra long to-do list, but toss in the hormones and all the feelings I'm revisiting as I write my book and whammo. I'm not complaining. It's just nice to know that there are actual reasons for me feeling so off. Then again, I guess it could be a teeny bit of depression. Last weekend I read online: It's not my problems making me depressed, it's my depression making me depressed.

I sort of like thinking about things that way. Maybe instead of feeling overwhelmed by the piles of toys, the sink full of dishes, the car full of wrappers, or the holiday shopping, I'll just blame that overwhelmed feeling on my depression. Thinking of it that way actually takes the pressure off a bit. It's nice to have a scapegoat, even if it's an artificial one.


  1. Hey Suzanne!

    You could always take the year off from the holidays. :-) Maybe wait until February to visit your family or something?

    If people have a problem with that, then... they'll get over it. eventually. ehehe

    I sure remember the hormone changes associated with cessation of breastfeeding. That was right when i found out my son was going to need a bone-marrow transplant (fortunately a misdiagnosis) and my bf was dumping me. Good times.

    Well, I love ya and I can't wait to see you when I come down and visit. Just you watch!


  2. If I skipped the holidays that would be even worse. Mostly, I just wish that all of the tasks associated with the holidays (and life in general) didn't paralyze me quite so much. I keep trying the mind-over-matter approach, but it doesn't seem quite that easy.

  3. Hmmm . . .speaking as someone who has suffered from major depression brought on by weaning my first-born, I hope you aren't depressed, obviously. But I remember feeling overwhelmed by absolutely everything, hanging my head in tears at the end of each day, not wanting to go to sleep because I would have to wake up to a new day. Feeling like it would be better to be dead and my family would be better off without me. I hope if you start to feel like THAT, you will recognize this scapegoat for what it actually would be - a tasmanian devil, say, that will wreak absolute havoc on your life until you seek help.

    O.k., I realize this post is a bit dramatic - but since you are my dear friend and you know what I went through, I don't want to let you think of depression as an artificial scapegoat. Even if it is only a possibility that you are depressed, or your depression isn't clinically "major depression"

    Of course, be kind to yourself - but be sure to take care of yourself too, you know?

    There's only one of you!