As I struggle with my body image and my self-worth, I have had several friends point out to me that it is “that time of year again.” It is true that every Spring (mid February – ?) I get in The Funk. A deep funk. Most people who develop a seasonal depression wrestle that demon in the winter when the sun is cloaked from the world. Mine is the Spring. Just makes no sense but there it is.
The first time I considered running away was back in college. I thought it was due to my parents divorce but then I found that every Spring I wanted to change my major, break up with my boyfriend or escape from my life in some way. Working three jobs while going to school full-time and trying to heal from the hurt of the divorce made college a very stressful time for me, so my dark mood made sense. It wasn’t until I got married and I was the happiest and most care free that I had ever been that I started to realize it was weird for me to feel so down-in-the-pit sad.
After kids I found I would really spiral in the Spring. I finally recognized that there was a pattern and something wrong. Long story short, I diagnosed myself with seasonal depression, possibly allergy related. I took allergy meds and B12 and fended it off for two years. Then we moved to Colorado.
Last Spring I found myself in The Funk once again. Always open about my “issues” good and bad, my friends rallied and dragged me along until I was up and over the hump. This year my Funk is exasperating my desire to be more than “just a mom.” I missed The Funk sneaking up on me because I was wrapped up in how I was going to change myself and make something of myself.
“You are unhappy,” Man said when we had The Talk. “It’s evident in everything and I don’t know what to do to make that better.”
“I am unhappy but I’m not unhappy with you or the kids; even though you guys are the ones who feel the brunt of it. I am unhappy with myself. I’m angry that I’ve gotten myself stuck. I resent my present role and, inadvertently, yours. When you are out for the night due to “business” and that business is done at a hockey game, I am finding myself feeling resentment. When you are away from our family for 3 days on “business” and that business is at a college basketball tournament, I resent it. I know that you work hard and your job is time sensitive and stressful so I am glad that you have fun things in your work as well but when I go to a game or out-of-town (which I never really travel unless it’s with the whole family) it’s called “Girls Night Out” or “Moms Escape.” It’s some special thing to keep an unbalanced little lady from going off the deep end. It’s not justified as “business.” I am starting to really resent that. I resent that you can just come home and announce that you have these “business” plans and then go but if I want a “Girls Night Out” I always check with you first to be sure that the kids will be covered. And I get that it’s because they are My Job but it makes me feel bound and restricted which makes me want to get away. I want to take off like you get to do.”
Relaying the conversation with Shalah she said, “I think if I could look back on texts from you this time last year and there were talks about ‘escape.’ It’s that time of year again. Are you taking your B12?”
“Maybe you should consider getting medicated,” suggested Amy.
I know they are right. It’s The Funk. But the rest is real too. I need to pursue something.
“You are an intelligent and independent person,” Caren said. “You are just needing to be able to exercise that part of who you are.”
The thing about being depressed is that you lack motivation and you don’t want to do anything that requires effort. Since I did not feel that I could walk my kids down to the bus stop I decided to drive them down. To justify the drive down I told myself that I would head straight to the gym from the bus stop. Caren was at the bus stop.
“I’m headed to the gym,” I said but I said it like “I’m headed to the gallows.”
“Good for you! I’m so proud of you. You are really keeping at it.”
“Yeah. I’m going to the milk store afterward. Need anything?”
Caren made her order.
“How about for Baking Day? Need anything for that?”
“No, I’m good. Are you coming to Baking Day today?”
“Come on! Why not?”
“I don’t have anything to bake and I just don’t feel like it.”
“You haven’t felt like it in weeks. You have to come! What’s wrong with you? Are you mad at me or something?”
“What are you doing there?”
Caren gestured to my hands. I looked down and found that they were in my lap and I was nervously wringing them.
“Weird. I didn’t realize I was doing that.”
“You are coming to Baking Day,” Caren announced with finality. “Even if you just sit and have tea, you are coming.”
I turned my car toward the gym and drove away. As I headed through the neighborhood I saw my friend Victoria standing in the road. She often walks The Loop with Laurel and was waiting for her. I pulled up and rolled down my window.
“Hey!” she said.
“Where are you off to?”
“The gym. I need to run.”
“You don’t want to run.”
“No. I don’t.”
“You should walk with Laurel and I.”
“Nah. I would rather be inside. I don’t like to be cold.”
“It’s not that cold and once you get moving you’ll warm up! Come on! Go park at Laurel’s. The sun will be good for you. The fresh air!” *deep breath in and then out* “Plus you are with friends!”
“Yeah, go park at my house!” Laurel was there now and started to chime in.
“Oh fine,” I scowled. I turned my car around to Laurel’s and parked in her drive way.
Damn Mountain Women won’t leave me alone today!
I stomped over to the ladies and we took off at a brisk pace. Laurel and Victoria chattered on. I pouted and had little to add to the conversation. We looped around and were back to Laurel’s.
“Shall we go again?” Laurel suggested.
“Lets!” agreed Victoria.
“Fine,” I willed my body to go around again. I needed to go longer anyway. One loop around was too short. Once we got back I headed to my car.
“Michal!” Victoria called to me after I was half way down the road.
“You know what you should do? You should skip!”
“You should skip! It’ll make you feel better!”
“I’m not skipping!”
“Do it! Skip to your car and when you are at Baking Day just skip around Caren’s kitchen!”
“Victoria, you are a nut! I’m not skipping.”
“Then sing!” suggested Laurel. “You always feel better when you sing.”
“You two! I am not skipping or singing!”
I really must get away from these mad women.
I did go to Baking Day that day. I had two cups of hot water and then made up an excuse for something that I needed to do at home. Later that day I got a call from Robby:
“Hey, I’m signing JD and I up for Running of the Green. Have you signed up yet?”
“I thought you weren’t going,” I said.
“I wasn’t but JD called me today and bullied me into it. Said I had to go. Want me to sign you up?”
“Yes please. Way to go JD. Bullying seems to be the theme for the day.”
I’m not the only one feeling the blues. I text with another friend who is also in a Funk.
“I can’t stand any of it. My kids, my S.O., my house…”
“I know. I know EXACTLY what you are feeling. We need to get away.”
We talked about how impossible that was because there was so much that we needed to do and so many who needed us.
“I should just go and kidnap you. Are you losing your hair yet? I have a spot starting to clear out on my left temple,” I confessed.
“No. Don’t be mad but I am losing weight.”
“#$%&#-ing A! You can’t afford to lose weight! Arrgh!”
“I know it. Trust me, it’s not pretty. I have those weird wrinkles like Demi Moore.”
“Rapid-weightloss-of-an-already-skinny-person-wrinkles. Are you hitting the crack pipe too?”
Remember how I said depression steals your ambition? That’s why she’s losing weight and also why I’m gaining. This friend can’t make the effort to prepare herself a meal. I can’t either really but I stand in the pantry and look at everything I can make myself:
Nope. Nope. Nope. Chips.
I take the bag and polish it off. No effort.
Another friend told Caren that she was itching all over.
“All over! I couldn’t figure out what it was and then it hit me. I was dissatisfied!”
Her husband left on one of those trips I mentioned above. You know, where they just go with out a care in the world because they know that their good wife is at home taking care of it all.
“I called my sister and said, ‘I am dissatisfied!'” It has become our catch phrase.
Oddly enough it was that same day that I was overcome with a restless buzz all over my body. The kids were not home and so I could really notice it. Had they been home I probably would’ve chalked it up to their noise and whirling about but Man was on the computer and I was laying on the futon in the office just to be near him. All over was this buzz or itch, kind of like what caffeine does to me only I hadn’t had any. When I would think of the laundry or the dishes or the bathrooms that needed cleaning the buzz would go off. There is so much that needs to be done but no oomph to do it.
I have to make a poppy piece too.
I got up and paged through old books for the right pictures and words to set on the background of my poppy piece. After I cut and glued things to canvas I returned to the futon.
“I hate this! I feel like a crazy person!”
My Man turned from the computer to look at me. He got up, stood over me and held out his hand.
“Come here,” he said. I took his hand and he lead me to our bedroom. He laid me on the bed and wrapped me up in his arms and legs.
“This is exactly what I need,” I said in to his chest. My face was smashed up against him so that my lips were sort of protruding out to the side. “This is perfect,” I mumbled.
He kissed my forehead.
“I’m sorry. I know you don’t understand and this stuff bugs you.”
He kissed my forehead again.
As I laid there in my Man Cocoon I recalled a quote of Marilyn Monroe’s.
“If you can’t handle me when I’m at my worst, you sure don’t deserve me when I’m at my best.”
Lord, he handles me at my worst. This Man is so good! He really, really loves me. He deserves my best. Help me be my best!
Robby picked Caren and I up for the run yesterday morning.
“I can’t believe that it is @#!$&-*&%$# snowing!” Robby bitched.
“Caren, you should totally start charging Robby for cuss words.” I pay Caren $1 for every swear word I say.
“Nah. That wouldn’t work. Robby doesn’t care that she swears.”
“No I don’t! And I checked the weather this morning and it said that it was going to be @#$!$%-ing 60 degrees today!”
“It will probably be sunny and beautiful once we get down hill,” Caren said.
“Yeah,” I agreed. “This is probably just my cloud.”
“Now that you mention it, it is only snowing in your neighborhood,” noted Robby. “That’s part of your problem you know. You need some sun. Vitamin D!”
We picked up JD and I broke the news that I was not going to be able to run or walk because I hurt my ankle over a week ago and it was getting no better. After further discussion Robby diagnosed tendonitis.
“You have to ice it every day,” she ordered.
“I told her that,” Caren started. “She only leaves it on for like an hour. You have to do it all day,” she said to me.
“I don’t like to be cold. It physically hurts.”
“You big baby!” Robby accused.
“You do, Michal. You have to ice it all day and keep it elevated,” added JD. “It can really become something serious if you don’t. Then we will have to bring you to these runs with a walker.”
“Fine. If I have to use a walker though I’m going to decorate it. There will be sparkles and glitter and I will have different ones to go with different outfits. For Fun Runs I guess I will have to make them sporty though so…tennis balls on the ends. I can’t wait to be old. I’m going to be an awesome old lady!”
We met up with Alima at the run. We found a bar for me to set up camp and wait for their return. It was a great spot where I could see the runners coming and going. After the girls were done we moved our party to another bar with a roof top.
“We’ve got to get you in the sun,” Robby demanded.
Once there, Alima went out as a scout until she found us an awesome spot with couches. I didn’t have sunglasses so I plopped my self down in a shady corner.
“Oh no you don’t,” started Robby. “You are sittin’ over here in the sun. Move down JD, Michal has to sit in the sun.”
“Good Lord, woman! I’m getting in the freakin’ sun!”
We all had a great time sipping Bloody Mary’s and snacking on corn chips. JD was dancing up a storm and Alima had us all in stitches with her signature moves. On the way home the lecture continued. Caren, Robby and JD insisted that I go home and put ice on my ankle.
Robby pulled up to my house:
“Now go up there and wrap yourself up in a blanket, sit on your deck with ice on your ankle and have a glass of wine or hot tea, I don’t care what but sit out there and catch the last bit of daylight that we have.”
And I was. Sort of. I fixed a bag of ice for my ankle and a hot mug of water. I laid myself out on the couch under the window and then sent a picture to Robby of my iced ankle.
“That’s close. I want to see you in the sun with a glass of something,” she responded.
I looked at the window. There was some
sun on me.
Well this I could tell you: I am loved. All of my friends and family truly love me. They love me so much that I am being bombarded with nagging.
Phone call from Sister:
“Are you taking your B12?”
Voicemail from Lauren:
“Are you screening my calls so that I can’t call you ‘crazy’ to your face? Call me back.”
E-mail from Amy:
“I know I’m probably on your Poop List but I’m just checking on you.”
Those messages were all follow ups from their pep-talks. That’s what these ladies think they are doing. Pep-talking. Not nagging. Nagging, bullying, badgering, bitches all because they love me and want me well.
Well, I am a badger too! A Honey Badger! So you can charge me for every cuss word on here, Caren, because Honey Badger don’t care! Woo hoo! I love you all, you crazy bullies!