Friday, February 24, 2012

Sometimes the problem is you

I’ve been off lately. I’m not sure how to describe it, I’m not even sure how long lately is. Last summer I was in a pretty bad place, my emotions were all over the place and I couldn’t get it under control, I figured I may need meds or something to help me through it but I went the therapy route first cause I’m wary of drugs in general. I figure the stress of the past two years had finally gotten to me and I was overloading, therapy helped, I’m no longer a victim of my emotions, so yay for therapy, I guess.

And yet, I’m still off for some reason. I’m walking through my life in a kind of haze right now, I’m doing all the things I need to do, or rather most of the things I need to do. We’re taking steps forward as a family, we may be buying a house soon, the husband is well, everything is peachy. But I’m so unhappy. I don’t understand it. I look at my life and think I have everything I wanted, it’s not perfect, but it’s good. I look at my husband and I remember how much I loved him and still I’m so unhappy. I love my children so much, so much, that I’m not sure I want them to grow up with me, not like this. I don’t know where I am anymore, I don’t know how to fix it.

I try to fix it, I try and I try and I try, but I’m like a fly banging on the window over and over again, unable to get out. It makes no sense. I alternate between being determined, almost pig-headed, about making it better, and hopeless that it will ever get better.
I keep thinking it’ll be better once this or that happens, like it’ll be better once we buy the house, or it would be better if I could move back to Houston, or I would be better off divorced or whatever other fix it scheme I come up with at any given time, but rationally I know that the problem isn’t the place or the people, the problem is me.

I just don’t know how to fix me. I can change the world around me, I’m strong enough, determined enough and calculating enough to do that, but I don’t know how to change myself. I don’t even know what the problem is. Maybe if I could figure that out I could fix it, but I don’t know how. And yet I have to figure it out, the idea that unhappiness is just part and parcel of the human condition terrifies me. Baseless, uncontrollable unhappiness. How does one live like that? And what on earth am I teaching my children? Because I can act cheerful all I want, I can play with them and laugh with them but the undercurrent of sadness is always there and I don’t want them to grow up thinking that it’s normal. I hate writing these posts, it’s like I’m admitting to defeat but invariably I feel better after, like it’s not such a terrible secret if I can share it here. 

And yet, even as I write these words I’m thinking, what have I to be so unhappy about? I have my family, I have my health, I have love, I have stability, so what on earth is the matter with me? And that, my friends, is the million dollar question.


  1. I'm sorry you feel this way friend. I don't have much advice, but I will say-maybe medication is a good option. You've been through a lot, your body chemistry might just be off and no amount of therapy or self-talk can fix it. Try the medication & think of it as that - medication. You'd take meds if you had the flu or a headache, right? 

  2. Yet another gut-wrenching post but one you've offered up with vigor and honesty, so that in itself is a not-so-small step for mankind.
    Perhaps it would be trite to venture that beyond the mountain of stress, emotional angst, shifts in daily family life both Stateside and Cuneo-side, the passing of Fabrizio, the realization that the babies do indeed get bigger, compounded by shorter days and truckloads of snow for miles -- beyond illness and periods of remission and normalcy, we mothers, beleaguered, bogged down, clinging by a thread at times, often sink into these terrifying doldrums.
    We are mourning the person we used to be, we are mourning the things that have happened and will no longer be a mystery -- like who we'll marry and what our first or even second homes will look like, where they'll be and what life will be like at 30-something-plus.
    Surprises are around every corner it seems and yet there is much that has already been revealed. Who we will eventually become and whether we will ever feel the way we once did, those are the big mysteries.
    I would personally dissuade medication. It would be a strange thing, under the circumstances, were you mind and body not to feel under seige these days.
    Take it one day at a time -- exercise, that awful nag, does help. And when you feel like your chest and head are about to explode, focus on a tree, the sky -- even the falling snow-- and breathe.

  3. I'm sorry to hear you've been hit so strongly with malaise. It must be so frustrating to not be able to pinpoint it or problem-solve it, as I'm sure you're dying to do. 

    {I'm a little shy to post the rest of this comment, as you might not want to be the subject of someone's arm-chair analysis. I'm really not trying to do that. Just trying to toss an idea out there, in case it strikes you as helpful. If it's not, then just ignore me.}

    I just wonder if maybe the malaise comes from a sense of not having something for your SELF. (Do you watch Mad Men? Betty Draper comes to mind with this.) I think it often happens for women that they pour so much of themselves into creating a home and a family and raising children - and that is fulfilling in so many ways - but they often forget to take time to invest in something fulfilling that is solely theirs. It doesn't have to be a career per se (though of course it could be) could be a hobby like photography or writing or crafting, or it could be something athletic like yoga or kickboxing or hiking...but some pursuit that belongs solely to YOU, that gives you a challenge, but also rewards and encouragement, room for growth as well as self-esteem.

    I only suggest this because I notice that in your list of all you have: husband, children, house on the horizon, etc., you didn't mention anything like a personal purpose beyond your role for your family. And that's okay! Some women don't need that at all. They feel their entire purpose IS their family and that really does make them feel complete. But some women secretly need it, and believe they don't have the right to ask for it or demand it - they fear doing so would be selfish.

    I think you recently saw my post about finding all I need. It's true that my husband and I are home for each other and that are needs are very simple. He didn't mention his work, and in truth I KNOW his work gives him a great deal of satisfaction and he would be unhappy if he didn't have the job he has now. And for me...I need my husband and my dog...and I need my writing and photography. I need my creative outlet; without it I get angry and stressed. I don't need much in life to be happy, but I would be miserable without any one of those three things.

    Anyway, I don't know if this is where you're at or not. But whatever is causing the malaise, I hope you're able to uncover it soon and figure out a way through it. Best wishes to you!

  4. Dear friend, you put on such a strong face, you are so 'together', it is hard for even those who are close to understand what you are going through. I had no idea you had been experiencing all of this, I even just assumed the therapy was a part of the husband's getting better. A support system for family that was offered and that you took advantage of. Yet I understand you, because although I chat and write about myself on a blog, I never really let anybody in on my real feelings. At least not until I have processed them and they are a thing of the past. I wish I had understood all this better, been closer to you even if we live far apart. I am sorry you have felt scared and alone and if it can be any help, I am sure you will find your direction. Just putting it into words, articulating the feelings, telling the world means you are processing your emotions and that means you are already have way towards finding a solution. And I think this first part is the hardest: admitting there is something out of synch.

  5. Oh, you are too hard on yourself. You carry a lot of weight on those shoulders, that I know. And you know how I feel about therapy. :-) xx