Monday, March 18, 2013

Issues 1 through 5

Issue 1: Well, I "should" be working on my research paper. Hey, I don't even have to write the whole thing, because it is a group paper. And I've started it.

Then I got this brilliant idea to ask the other two members of my group to upload what they had so far, and I uploaded mine. The good news? They had something; they were started. This paper should be a success. The bad news? I quickly concluded that they were doing better research and better writing than I was. I haven't touched my paper since.

Oh, well. The paper will still be there tomorrow (and even if the paper isn't, the deadline still will be). Or in a "few" minutes when I get around to it.

Issue 2: I was asked to fill in and play guitar and sing with the worship team on Sunday, yesterday. I did. Technically (i.e., Wednesday night last when I agreed to do that), I'm happy to help, happy to serve, and even enjoy playing with a group. Practically, it was not pleasant. I was having a "grumpy" morning. Aka depressed. So what does one do when waking from an emotionally stressful dream and going to church to play music when the dear older ladies say how happy they are that one is singing up front again? One smiles her fake smile, no attempt to smile the eyes. The I'm-here-but-I-don't-want-to-be smile.

Sundays period. Sunday mornings, more specifically. I'm sure I could easily get someone to say it was probably spiritual warfare and an attack from the dark side. But really? That is a great way to intimidate me or even make me feel helpless, but that seems to be about it. So maybe I'm just depressed Sunday mornings, mysteriously, without demonic involvement. Okay? I don't know why. I mean, it doesn't help, even thought I know that my pastor is in support of people getting professional help when they need it, when certain "Christiany" subjects come up. The beloved application oft repeated in Bible studies, "I worry so much and it doesn't do any good. I need to trust God. When I trust God, I feel better." (Really? That's so great. Just rub it in. Linger on the words "anxieties," "worry," "fear," and "trust," wont you? I could use a little more guilt in my life. Oh, but I can't complain, because you are quoting scripture. And it is a valid application. So I'll just write on my blog.) And then Sunday even the book we are following that has questions about the Bible passage, it got in on the game, too, asking me (I'll change it a little; wouldn't want to plagiarize on top of my complaining - and I don't want to reference it, either, since that wouldn't be fair to the poor book. So I'll very slightly change it), "do you have peace in your life? If not, is it because you are sinning somehow?

Sure it is. It's all my own terrible fault. Oh, yes, remember, I picked to have depression. And then each Saturday night I think to myself, oh please, can't I feel miserable tomorrow? Life is too easy. Oh, yeah, and can't I need some really expensive medication to help continue my financial failings? And I really want to need a counselor, too, because it is just so much fun to need to be free from work for that time so that I can drive all that way and use all that gas and collect all that stigma and on top of it, pay somebody to help me handle my life. Yup, I love it this way. Fills me with great joy. And it is all on purpose. And obviously, it is all sinful. Thanks a lot, book, for hinting at that. I needed another reminder.

Lets see, did I finish issue 2? I think so.

Issue 3: My therapist will be there this week, but then she is taking a week off. Which is when I try to tell myself I can handle it (because I can, and if I can't I'll have to figure something else out). It is good; I shouldn't be too dependent on another person.

Unless that is the only way I can function.

Issue 4: Well, this one has a good side. I was reading and reading and reading yesterday afternoon and evening. Got in the way of sleeping, and of course, in the way of dishes; almost everything comes before dishes. Even my research paper (though that might change).

The good thing is reading the book, Against Depression, by Peter D. Kramer of Listening to Prozac fame. A book I have not read, because I still think it would probably make me upset, even though his main topic in the Prozac book doesn't really have much to do with me. Against Depression doesn't make me mad. Well, take that back, it makes me mad at depression, but not at the author or the book. I have read the first section of the book; there are two more left. But he speaks of how our current culture has romanticized depression and seen it as a fount of creativity and depth, while really, it is a destructive disease. The author talks about how every day with depression could be harming a person's brain. So I read away, thinking about how long my last stretch of depression lasted, the one I'm still not completely out of (unless I'm in a new bit of trouble, but I still want a whole good year to let me know that the past stretch is truly over). The one that is still potentially harming my brain cells day by day.

He also talked about people getting suddenly really better, getting truly healthy again. And I've gotten close enough to that to know some of what he is talking about. That miraculous moment when you realize that you haven't wanted to kill yourself much in a while, that you actually enjoy life, that existing doesn't take so much work, that you can actually handle washing the dishes more than once in a rare while. It is really amazing.

So if I can still remember what better feels like (I don't mean before depression - that was too long ago. I mean some of my better moments this year), perhaps I can trust myself when I know that what I felt Sunday was getting up with the fog of depression back in place. Not as dark as it once was, but truly there.

I think it is there today, too. And I think it and probably OCD and certainly perfectionism are involved in a plot to sabotage my part of my research paper, for the moment by keeping me from it.

Issue 5: Work. Technically, me and my coworker can handle 6 one-year-olds and 8 two-year-olds in a room together. That is the max of legal, but still legal.

Guess what; I can't handle it. Not like I want to be able to. Not keeping calm. Not avoiding yelling. Not without loosing my temper. Not keeping a peaceful classroom. Not giving the best care.

Just in case you didn't know; we've had this kind of numbers three days a week for the past several weeks, but generally not that many for the entire 4 years I've worked in day care before that.

But the whole, "It's legal" thing makes me think I should be able to handle it. But I'm starting to think I really can't. I mean, I can get through, with stress taking its toll on all of us, but I don't like it.

So do I approach my boss? I think I should. Pull out my last tiny bit of optimism and ask for lower numbers. But lower numbers means less income for the business - at least short term. Soooo... yeah. That is issue five.

Well, that's enough for now, I think. Maybe I can get a bit in on that paper before I go home for a late supper.


  1. You have a lot on your plate! I can relate to so much of this. I have a hard time with Sunday mornings, too. I feel guilty if I don't go to church. But sometimes church still gives me trouble--I still have trouble with feelings of guilt, with feelings that I don't measure up to others, worry. It's never an easy, peaceful experience for me. And I don't think it ever will be. I'm trying to be OK with that. A minister told me once that I probably think about things (spiritual questions) that most others in the church never consider. It's just who I am.

    Your work situation sounds stressful. I hope there's some way that the number of kids per class can be dropped.

    That book sounds good. I will have to add it to my list.

    Hang in there, Abigail. You are a strong young woman who has already overcome so much. You can take on these obstacles, too. I'll be thinking about you!

    1. Thanks, Tina. Your encouragement helps me face my "full plate."

      I think that, at least for now, I'll just have to live with the church experience bothering me, too. I'm committed to going, so I'll just have to live with the feelings. But I might do less with the music. I don't know yet.

  2. You have a lot going on. A lot!

    I hear myself in some of your words. I too sometimes feel sarcastic towards those types of religious questions like "are you happy and at peace and if not, are you sinning?" I too feel like saying, Yes, I ask for OCD and medications and therapy and stigma and trouble dealing with everyday "little" stresses.

    Those questions just go right to my guilt part. I have so much I feel guilty for (and no I don't enjoy it, world, thank you very much). Don't you despise how the world acts like "well if you KNOW you're doing something you don't like, why don't you change it?" Yea... that too adds to the guilt so now I feel guilty for feeling guilty and not being able to stop feeling guilty.

    Society does indeed romanticize depression. I work in a college library and believe me, I've seen everything come across my desk. One of the most offensive books was one about how we should embrace depression because it helps our creative juices. Ugh.

    1. Adding guilt to guilt to guilt. Yeah. And how the world acts like I can fix my own mental illness. I even start believing it, which just adds guilt again. Really don't like it.

      Yeah, you would have a great view of the books on depression. And I keep thinking of the story of the king who didn't want to hear the cries of someone being burned at the stake, so it was transformed so that he heard beautiful music or poetry or something. I don't remember where the story is from, but when I hear people advocating depression as a good thing because of the creativity and art it produces, I think of that and think, don't you people understand the suffering involved? That it isn't worth that?