Melancholy

I’ve been absent from my little space for the last few weeks.  It always starts with a single day and before I know it weeks have passed. Interestingly I have missed my writing. It really seems to clear my mind and help my sanity to write here, even if the post is never published it seems to help to put my words down.

Another reason I’ve been gone is I’ve a bit of a bout with depression.  It comes and goes for me but it’s never a very happy place to be.  It’s a dark hole that is incredibly hard to crawl out of.

Depression runs in my family.  I have relatives whose whole lives have been consumed by depression so I know I have a genetic propensity toward melancholy.  Even with this knowledge it always surprises me when I begin to sink.  Throughout the majority of my childhood and young adulthood I had a fairly sunny disposition.  Optimism and happiness were my baseline.

After my first pregnancy I had serious postpartum depression.  It was rough for me and even more so for my husband.  After that it seems to have opened a part of my personality that was prior to that locked up.  Luckily it doesn’t happen all that often.  I’m happy to say that with my subsequent pregnancies I was lucky enough to escape the life consuming postpartum depression thanks to a good support group and taking better care of myself.  Also, my bouts of depression have all been just that.  Bouts.

This time, though, it went on for more than a couple days.  It was the perfect storm of things storm after storm that kept me inside.  Holiday stress (my family can be hard to be around).  Kids fighting after being cooped up for days and days with no school.  An extra messy house that I can’t quite keep up with.  All little things by themselves but together just a little too much for me.

At first I couldn’t figure out what was wrong.  I just felt off.  And it was getting worse.  I didn’t want to do anything.  I felt overwhelmed by everything.  I didn’t leave the house unless I had to.  It was starting to interfere with my everyday life.  It was affecting my relationships.

One day (Friday to be exact) I was talking to my husband.  I had been picking at him over all kinds of silly things.  Obsessing really and I felt bad but I couldn’t seem to stop fixating.  I was crying a lot and he wanted to help.  We’d talked about what were the likely culprits and we finally zeroed in on depression.  (Looking back it should have been obvious but I guess we are a bit dull.)

“Go for a walk,” he said.

“What?  I don’t want to go for a walk.  I want to go to bed,” I retorted.

“But you need to get out.  Just go,” he urged.

“Well, I don’t feel like it.  And I don’t have time.  I have to get all of that stuff done.” I said.

“Then don’t.  I’m just trying to help,” he said.

And he left it at that.  He didn’t argue.  He didn’t insist he just left it and I went.  I didn’t go far.  Two miles at the most but I was a different person.  I felt myself again.

All this to say exercise is something I need Every.  Single.  Day.

In addition I decided the boys need to get out as well.  We are supposed to get another series of storms this week (we need the rain so I am NOT complaining!) so we took a muddy jaunt all day Saturday.  It was glorious.  Our friends live on 350+ acres with trails and lakes and a playground to boot.  We pulled on our rain boots and spent the day in boy (and for this mama too) heaven.

It was just what the doctor ordered.

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