Frump of Mind

woman sticking head in fireplace ovenThe first time I heard someone express a desire to “stick my head in the oven,” I thought, what a sad, defeatist attitude. What good could possibly come of that, unless you had a gas oven?

But now I get it: I’ve been depressed the past couple weeks. It’s a situational depression that will go away soon, rather than clinical depression requiring medication or therapy, but, if I felt like this all the time, I would be checking myself into the nearest psych ward.

And when I’ve thought about sticking my head in the oven this past week, it wasn’t in a “the kids are driving me crazy” sort of way, but rather, for the first time, a “maybe the kids would be okay without me” sort of way. I don’t mean to be melodramatic; as I said, I know this will pass, it just hasn’t, quite, yet.

A lot of exciting or friendly things have happened recently, and each one cheered me up for about ten minutes. Each time I thought about them was good for another ten minutes of cheering up, so I thought I’d share them here. If you have any good advice on fighting post-surgical or otherwise-situational depression, somewhere between eating chocolate (not drastic enough) and hospitalization (too drastic), please let me know.

Here’s how I’m fighting the frump of mind:

A Mom to take advantage of:

My mom came yesterday to take Spot (18 mo) and Susan (3 1/2) for a few five days. I felt guilty when she offered. Of course I would love to have a break from them; although I can take care of them, it is really hard right now. But how hard does it have to be before it becomes right that someone else should have to take care of my children? I still don’t know, but when I found myself sitting on the floor, Spot in my lap still unsure why nursing is no longer on the program and Susan decorating her face with marker “freckles” AND when those two normally normal things suddenly seemed unbearable, I guess that was hard enough.

Mom told me to “take advantage of this time.” Did she mean by blogging? Well, at my doctor’s appointment yesterday I was told to take off the sling only for “desk work.” Sounds like blogging to me!

Presents

Speaking of blogging, a good friend of mine from high school had this sign made for me after she read my Love you when you’re clean and sweet-smelling post. I recently visited Andrea and saw her new baby Easton. I’m happy to report that he was both clean and sweet-smelling. She should keep him.

I’d hang it in the girls’ room, but I’m afraid they’d jump on the bed and knock it off the wall. Because they’re ladies like that. Maybe the dining room.

Speaking of blogging again, I just got some cute hairbows in the mail from Gourmet Mom-on-the-Go. You can think bloggy giveaways are silly and shameless self-promotion, until you actually win something yourself, and then, just as Toni says, even if you haven’t actually won the lottery, it’s a great pick-me-up!

My girls found the bows and have been wearing them ever since, which is why I could only find one of each pair for this picture.

I also got this book in the mail from my good friend Tara as part of a get-well-soon package. Funny, practical, and so nice to know that someone is wanting to save us from all-McDonalds-all-the-time.

It included floam for the kids and even a check to pay me back money I had forgotten she owed me. That’s true friendship right there (both my forgetting and her remembering).

Finding a Dream Place to Live

We’ve been drooling over Utah’s version of Pleasantville for months now, even though we really can’t afford a cardboard box on an outlying street under a bridge. A couple nights ago we found a tiny townhome in the BEST location ever. Made an offer today.

Our dream cardboard box looks nothing like this, but we could walk by here every day, if we wanted.

Forgive us our trespasses

I got really upset last week. My sister Mary had posted some of my recipes under her name on a new family recipe site she’s created to make sharing our favorite, modified recipes with each other easier. I got on my high “copyright,” “plagiarism,” “hard-work-taking-those-pictures and revising-and-writing-up-those-recipes” horse and made her feel bad. And THEN, yesterday? I wrote a post in which I showed some blog buttons that I have made. And my friend Tara said, Wait, I made that button. I heard (unspoken) words like “hypocrite” and “scraper” and “not-good-blogger-etiquette-r.”

Who hates that feeling (however deserved) of knowing that they have done something wrong? Do you get that awful, headachy, sick feeling? In Mary’s case, she did what she did because she thought she was helping me (remember, ole’ one arm over here) and that I wouldn’t care. I did. In my case, I thought there was a clear distinction between graphic and button — and had meant that I’d taken a graphic and created the html code to turn it into a hyperlink. I wasn’t clear enough.

My sister made amends, I made amends. One of the great things about blogging is that posts can be edited, or even taken down, if necessary. But even after Mary groveled sufficiently for the hardest of hearts, I still felt just a bit of nice self-righteous superiority. Hello! I would never do something like that. And then I did, and even though I fixed the problem and said I was sorry, I couldn’t blame Tara if she’s still just a bit miffed. Although I would never hold a grudge.

Luckily, Tara is superior to me in every way, so I’m sure it won’t take a mistake (which we’d be a long time waiting for) on her part for her to realize how easy they are to make.

Amen.

WFMW: Sex Therapist

psychiatry-couch.gifI have long wished that I could be a spokesperson for Getting the Help You Need. To reduce the stigma that some people feel still attaches to those who are depressed or anxious or addicted or in need of any kind of medication, therapy, or other help to be happier people.

I loved Dooce’s testimonial to the benefits of Getting the Help You Need. Absolutely required reading for anyone who has ever felt remotely out of control. (And who hasn’t?)

We had a friend in Cairo whose father had severe headaches for 12 years after losing an eye and getting a glass prosthetic. When he finally went to see a doctor, they found that his glass eyeball was a size too large. Easily fixed the problem, and bingo, no more headaches. Only think of the 12 YEARS of pain he suffered through.

Though I often feel sad enough or unmotivated enough or anxious enough to take a long “nap” in the middle of the day, which is usually just me with my eyes closed under a heavy blanket, fantasizing what I would do with a million dollars (it’s relaxing), I think my body is regulating my serotonin or whatever pretty well. But if it were not, I would be on the phone to my doctor this minute.

Especially if I were experiencing any other stress in my life, like moving or having kids or not being able to have kids or having a husband or not being able to live with my husband or changing jobs or changing life phases, etc.

So, I am pleased to tell you that I have finally decided to take my own advice. Recent events have shown, again, that marriage is fragile. Dick and I are coming up on the 10-year mark, and for our anniversary, I would like to go to counseling. The In Real Life kind, not just the talk about our sex life on the internet and get really good advice from fellow marrieds kind, though that sparked a lot of good interaction between us.

I talked to Tara about this while we were in Arizona last week, and I admitted that there is one big drawback to the counseling plan. She said, the cost? And I hadn’t really considered that aspect. We can see a good therapist through our church for about 75 dollars a session, which is a lot of money, but not much more than your average couple would spend on a regular date (although not Dick and me; we go to the dollar theater and Mexican hole-in-the-wall type places, but we could save up).

No, the drawback I see is that I already know of a bunch of things I could do to make our marriage better (stop the mean voice, work on my appearance and outlook through exercise and, I don’t know, maybe some lipstick or something, support him in his work, church obligations, and hobbies, stick to our budget, etc). I don’t need a counselor, so it goes, to tell me how to have a better marriage. Why pay good money for what I already know (even if I don’t do)? But maybe that is the same argument other people use to avoid getting help they need.

So we’re gonna go. And while we’re saving up, we’re going to re-read/work John Gottman’s The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work that Grampa Dave gave us for our fifth anniversary. Here’s an online quiz you can take to gauge how well you know your partner. And there are a bunch of other great quizzes and questionnaires on Martin Seligman’s Authentic Happiness site. Dave gave us his book too, along with that Tale of Two Brains dvd. Think he wants to see our marriage succeed?

I think counseling and couple-help books will work for us, even if we are doing pretty well. Could always be better right?