Feeling Blue


I haven’t wanted to write lately because I haven’t wanted to be honest with myself about how things are really going. I’ve been repeating “I love my life,” unconsciously to myself, willing it to be true. But it’s been a tough winter, and at times I’ve felt pretty down in the dumps.

Things chugged along nicely until the holidays were over, and I tried to get all pumped up about a new year in January, I really did. But the prolonged cold, extra snow and endless gray days started to get to me. The reality of our country’s political situation began to sink in and frankly, hit me like a ton of bricks. February consisted of a couple weeks of feeling pretty blue, for what felt like no reason at all, just your typical seasonal depression I figured. But I just couldn’t kick it. And then, just when I started to feel a bit better, the insomnia hit. Night after maddening night of laying awake in my bed, keeping hours I haven’t kept since college, or at least since I had a nursing newborn. Dragging myself through the afternoons, utterly exhausted by 3 p.m., only to find myself wide eyed and bushy-tailed come nine o’clock.

I seem to have finally figured out how to sleep again this last week, only to be handed some variety of flu/head cold. Add in the fact that Emmett has started the transition from baby to toddler, climbing toddler to be exact, one who requires constant rescuing from perilous situations, and all I can think about is how tired I am. Tired. So very, very tired. So deeply tired that even when I lay down flat in bed at night, my body still feels all crunched up, like your hand when you’ve spent too many hours with it curled around a computer mouse.

I look around my home, where I spend most of my time, and all I see is unfinished projects, things in need of repair and the shabbiness of some of my hand-me-down furnishings. I open up my closet, look at the meagre selection of clothing options and bemoan how I don’t have anything nice to wear, and nowhere to wear it. I look at myself in the mirror and all can I think is, “bleh.” I like myself, I really do. I don’t have a whole lot of issues with the way that I look, but this season of life, deep in the trenches of motherhood, isn’t exactly conducive to an extensive beauty regimen. It’s rare that I use the mirror for anything besides brushing my teeth and throwing my hair into a braid or two.

Part of me wants to tell myself that a little Vitamin D will solve all my problems. That once the weather turns I’ll be footloose and fancy free. And maybe I will be. The few scattered days of glorious golden light have certainly done wonders for my spirit, after all. But the more determined part of me wants to learn, somehow, to sit in all of this. To sit right in the middle of this glum, mucky yuckiness in my heart and learn how to navigate it with grace and beauty. To be okay with not always being okay. To have some perspective and see that some seasons are for feeling sad, so that the happier ones feel that much happier. Perhaps it’s just my lot in life to feel a bit blue in the late wintertime, and what’s really so terrible about that if I can learn to still be a decent human being through it all?

It’s the decent human part where I need the most work. When I feel badly, I’m ashamed to admit that even at 30-years-old, I act badly. I’m short-tempered, irritable and impatient. I feel things strongly and deeply, and I have a hard time not letting myself get carried away on those waves of emotions. I’m also an action-oriented type person when it comes to my feelings so when I’m feeling badly, I want to do something about it. I want to make a change, try something new, take on a project, or at the very least distract myself. While this impulse can be constructive at times, it often leads to unnecessary spending, getting all hot-and-bothered about something only to quickly fizzle out soon after, and often creates a good deal of conflict with my less action-oriented spouse. Sometimes I like to blame it all on the artistic side of me. A good artist always has a bit of torture that accompanies the creative genius, but I’m not sure I qualify for tortured artist status at this point in my life. Especially since I’ve yet to really produce any “art” to speak of.

Somehow, some way, I want to learn to just be. To not be quite so driven by my emotions. To not lash out at the people around me because I feel badly. To not rush around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to figure out some way to make myself feel better. I want to learn to say, “I’m feeling blue these days,” and then carry on with life. Take each day, one at a time, acknowledging the hard parts and creating a margin for myself to feel them and think through them, but also leaning in to all the many good parts.

And there are so very many good parts, easy to see even on the bluest of blue days. I am loved and supported. I have great friends and wonderful family. I have a beautiful son who I get to spend my days with. A home that I prefer to most other places in the world. A beautiful, blessed life.

Speaking of my beautiful life, I’m starting a weekly series on Instagram called #farmwifewednesdays because I’m really good at capturing my son, the farm and our house, but I’m not so good at appearing in my own photos. Sometimes going months without appearing in my feed. I don’t want to look back in a couple decades and not be able to see what I looked like as a young mama, farmer’s wife and 30-year-old woman, so I’m planning to post a weekly image of me doing my thing around here. Follow along if you’d like! 

10 Comments

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  3. Hey. I relate. December was a cold December. I’ve kicked that feeling, not sure how/when exactly. But you aren’t alone. Thanks for being vulnerable.
    Sincerely,
    Another Silverton berry farmer’s wife with climbing toddler

  4. Ahhhhhhhh, lady, I am sorry you are feeling down, but also, thank you for sharing your honest feelings because you are SO not alone. I am right there with ya, and it is a relief to know I’m not the only person struggling with this crud. I am also blaming it on this endless winter and the lack of vitamin D, but it’s probably also a teensy bit to do with the endless adjustment to the endless demands of motherhood. And shitty sleep. No one can function well on shitty sleep, that’s just a fact. Also a fact is that delving into this Montessori business has really gotten me through Feb and half of March. Without that to distract me and motivate me, I’d be in worse shape fo sho.

    A few other things that have helped pull me out of the slump, at least for the day:

    (1) Your cottage pie recipe (YUM–husband said we need to put it on our “make regularly” list, and Pehr gobbled it up too) paired with these garlic knots: http://redstaryeast.com/multigrain-garlic-knots/ Having bread dough rising on the counter and looking forward to a good meal later takes an otherwise ho-hum day up a notch. I love recipes that require you to open a bottle of wine, and drink the part that didn’t go into the stew of course. ;) So anyway, thank you for the hand you had in making my Monday a little better.

    (2) Getting exercise & fresh air every day–something attainable and easy, like taking a walk with P–and attending an exercise class once a week. I’ve been getting up early on Tuesdays for a 5:30am TRX (suspension training…it’s like a cross between pilates and HIIT but with the added challenge of doing most of the moves in suspension) class, and let me tell you, I am NOT a morning person and it’s really hard to peal myself out of bed and drive to the next town over in the dark, but that dang class makes me sore for a WEEK, so I know it’s doing something for my muscles, and most importantly I get this insane energy boost that lasts for days. I couldn’t believe the difference that one hour once a week made in my overall energy and moral. It feels good to take that time for myself.

    (3) I have been indulging in the guilty pleasure of watching The Bachelor every week whilst either sipping a yummy “fancy” cocktail or eating an ice cream bar. This ritual takes my mental health up like nine notches, I am not messing around. Sometimes husband watches with me and we make fun of the crazies and laugh. Other times he heads to bed and it’s just me and a quiet house with no one needing anything from me, and it’s glorious.

    There are so many other things I know I could/should do to take care of myself better…learn how to meditate, take vitamins, do yoga, drink more water, eat less spinach-artichoke dip, reach out and connect with my friends and family more, journal, etc. etc. etc. but most of the time I have juuuust enough energy to make it through the day, giving P what she needs, making sure we all eat something decent for sustenance and we didn’t run out of diapers or dog food.

    Sometimes the most simple tasks feel utterly overwhelming, and then I catch myself feeling overwhelmed and realize–there are people who don’t have 1/10th of the blessings and privileges I have and they’re struggling to put food on the table and I have no right to be stressed out and down in the dumps about my situation (because feeling depressed wasn’t enough. A top-dressing of guilt was definitely necessary)!! It’s kind of a nasty cycle and the best way I’ve found to break it is to go to bed with a good book and let the words lull your eyes closed, and tomorrow is a new day…one in which perhaps you’ll have the energy to get some bread dough rising on your counter, and take a walk with your sweet baby. <3

    • Tonia,

      I’m so glad you can resonate! And I’m so glad you all liked the cottage pie. It’s a favorite around here; we love it, especially Emmett! The garlic knots look wonderful, and there really is something about making homemade bread that does wonders for the soul. I also echo your sentiments on implementing Montessori principles and how it’s helped you as well as sweet Pehr. I’m actually writing a post about this as we speak. I’m so looking forward to the weather clearing so we can resume our daily walks, and have made it a goal to head back to my Saturday morning yoga class- easier now that we’re down to one nap. Exercise is a huge help! And as far as TV goes, my weekly indulgence is Hallmark Channel’s “When Calls the Heart,” which is so wonderfully cheesy and happy-go-lucky, it’s all I can do not to smile through the whole episode. I usually watch it Monday afternoon during nap and it’s a nice way to catch my breath and ease into the week. Anyway, thanks for reading! Three cheers for spring and sunnier days ahead!

      Kali

  5. Flora Gilmer

    I feel like we all struggle with being “content” with life. We work so hard to strive for bigger and better and more of everything that we think that what we have is not enough. I am often reminding myself of my blessings and my priorities. I am better at this in my 50s than I was on my 20s and 30s. I felt like I needed to prove something then. Take a deep breath, sweet niece, you are sacrificing some of you right now for your family…. that is an honorable thing! Love you!

    • Thanks for reading Aunt Flo! I am so lucky to have such love and support around me. And also so happy to have a beautiful family to sacrifice for. I like to think that we can redefine what being content and happy looks like. That being “truly” honestly happy includes both the peaks and valleys, and real contentedness encompasses a good deal of discontented moments.

  6. I feel you. Perhaps you should not try so much to make yourself feel better, but rather just accept your feelings for what they are. I find time alone to be really healing and powerful for myself. Maybe if you could just dedicated 2-3 hours a week (have someone watch your son) and take it for yourself. Either be in an empty house. Try napping. Or taking yourself to a café, to just be and breathe. To something for yourself. Self-care is important. Especially in this current cultural and political climate. If we can’t care for ourselves, how are we to make it through? Hang in there.

    • Kristina,

      Thanks for sharing your self-care secrets! I so appreciate you taking the time to reach out. I totally agree, taking care of ourselves so we can take care of others is paramount. I get one night a week all to myself, which is pretty great, and I’ve found that getting outside and going on adventures with my boys fills me up so well. I think I was trying to say (probably poorly) that I’m working on accepting those feelings by “sitting in” them, but it is hard for me not to want to at least try and “fix” things. I’m working on it. :) Thanks for reading!

      Best, Kali

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