Just Add Sunshine

Apparently, the posts about the Emotional Train Wreck and Mind Control were for me.

I sooooo needed to hear them again, to really mull them over.  Writing about them made me realize that I’ve been almost completely emotion-driven over the past months.  I’ve been letting my feelings dictate what I do.

“I don’t feel like tidying up tonight.”

“I don’t feel like cleaning the toys again.”

“I hate this stupid laundry.”

“I’m so tired of arguing with my children.”

Well, no wonder everything has been so hard.  I’ve been talking myself out of things before I even begin.

 

Writing about being powerless has also made me realize that the concept I used to love had become another burden.  I loved how when I admitted my powerlessness to change and finally gave up, God stepped in and helped me.  I guess I had assumed that I only needed to be powerless once, and then everything would be smooth sailing.

It turns out that I am powerless to even enjoy being powerless any more.  I didn’t even want to go back there.  I was feeling ashamed that I was so powerless, so unable to keep on walking in the truths I’ve learned over the years.  I couldn’t embrace the concept because I hated that I needed it.

Oh, the silliness of it all.

 

Realizing how I’ve been letting my emotions drive me, how I haven’t been monitoring my thoughts and kicking out the bad ones, how I’ve been striving to improve myself on my own without actually working to improve — well, it all added up to me surrendering to God.  Again.  I don’t know how I’ll keep doing it every day; I wish that one act of surrender would blanket my whole life, but it won’t.  I suppose I need to accept that, too.

A couple days ago, the sun came out.  The worst of the winter days are behind me, and I can see the hope of spring ahead.

 

 

The Stuff is Too Much for Me

Self pity is one of my worst tendencies.

It’s the easiest for me to fall into, the hardest to relinquish, the most enticing, and the most life-sucking.

It creeps up on me the most when I think about the things I’m not good at that need to get done:  Tidying.  Decluttering.  Organizing.  Regular maintenance.

You see, I’m not that kind of person.  My brain doesn’t naturally function in those capacities.  Thinking through anything organizational or administrative is so counterintuitive to me that it takes enormous amounts of energy just to decide what to do, let alone do it.  Halfway through any tidying job, I’ll become exhausted and need a break.  Often, I don’t get back to it for weeks, months, years……  And in the meantime, I’ve been trying to ignore the mess I made while trying to clean up.

I’m a stay-at-home mom, so these are the things in my world that I need to do that are hard for me.  You see, if I were employed elsewhere, I’d be in a creative job, with nothing administrative about it.  But I’m at home, and I  can’t just ignore my weaknesses.  Every now and then, I need to wrestle them into submission.  The house does need to be somewhat tidy.

And then I begin to feel sorry for myself.  Because even when I do tidy, it’s so hard.

I’ve read lots of cleaning books over the years, some of them helpful; others, not so much.  My favourites have been It’s All Too Much by Peter Walsh and The House That Clean Itself by Mindy Starns Clark.  According to Mindy, housekeeping should just be something we do, with no emotions attached.  I cried when I read that page.  She really gets it.  I had no idea that housekeeping could be a neutral thing.

I’m still not there yet.  I think I need to read her book again.

Right now, I really need to do a big toy purge.  With five kids, each with birthdays and Christmas in our materialistic society, we really have so much.  Too much.

And right now, as I think about it, I’m starting to feel discouraged and sorry for myself.  It really is all too much.

And I begin to feel angry with my mom, with my in-laws, with everyone who has ever dared to give any child of mine a gift.  How dare they make my life so difficult?

And I feel angry with my kids, for wanting to keep everything, for not cleaning up after themselves, for protesting and arguing with me every. single. night. when I tell them to put their stuff away.

Housework is still very emotional for me.

Darn it, darn it, darn it.

So, how can I get past this?  Perhaps the answer is in my first couple paragraphs.  Isn’t it funny that I began by talking about self pity, and then my brain immediately went to housework and toys?  Maybe the first step is to stop feeling so darned sorry for myself because I have too much.  It is what it is.  And if I don’t like it, I should change it.

And maybe, even though I don’t think I can be happy about the mess, I can look for something else house-related to be thankful for.  Lord, please help me.  I can’t do this on my own.

 

 

Why I Will Never Be “Free” from Depression — And Maybe That’s Okay.

I had an absolute meltdown on the weekend.  Once I started to cry, I couldn’t stop.

What kept going through my mind was, “It’s all too much.”

The messy toys, the commitments of the day, the stupid dirty kitchen, the clutter that I can never seem to overcome…  It all piled up into one seething pile of resentment and frustration.  And all of it taunted me, saying, “You can never get a handle on things.  You suck at life.  You’re a terrible mother.  I pity your husband.  You should just give up.

Give up.

Give up.

Give up.”

So I did.  After angrily tossing piles of clutter willy-nilly in bags, then realizing that I couldn’t even think straight enough to sort the stupid stuff, let alone see it through my tears, I gave up.

And I hated my house and myself for giving up.

But I didn’t want to cry any more, and giving up made the tears stop.  So I sat at my desk, numbly checking my Facebook newsfeed, and waiting for my husband and kids to come home from the party that I was supposed to take them to.

Did I eat anything?  No.

Did I take a nap?  No.  I was tired of napping when things got rough.

Did I do anything to make myself feel better?  No.

I was too busy beating myself up about having the meltdown in the first place.  I wasn’t worthy of feeling better.

I knew, in the back of my mind, though, that I was being unreasonable and mean to myself.  I knew that things would probably look better the next day and that I could then apologize to my husband for yelling at him.  I even knew that he’d probably forgive me.  After ten years, he’s almost used to me.

But I was still so ashamed that I’d had the biggest meltdown in years, and I guess I couldn’t quite forgive myself for it yet.

When I think back on it today, I realize a couple of things.

1) It had been building for a while.  I have regained all my old habits of telling myself mean things.  My self talk has become really negative again.

2) I let myself get over hungry, which is always a recipe for disaster.  My mood is integrally connected to the fullness of my stomach.

3) I’d been less vigilant about my sugar consumption.  Even though I made that coconut loaf with agave syrup instead of white sugar, I still shouldn’t have eaten so much of it the day before.  And all that white flour in the recipe probably didn’t help, either.

4) It has been ages since I’ve had a good look at myself.  I haven’t been to a Celebrate Recovery meeting in over a year (or two?), my small group hasn’t been meeting lately, and I haven’t had a good heart-to-heart with one of my best friends in a couple weeks, either.

That big meltdown has made me realize that depression is always an option for me.  And I can’t let myself choose it again.

For my kids, for myself, for my husband — I have to keep saying no to despair.

I can’t give up.

And if I’m going to choose life, I need to become intentional about it again.

I’ve let my recovery fall by the wayside, and it’s no good.  I need my sanity.

So here I am.  Freely admitting to the interwebs that I am overwhelmed.  Still, again, always.

It’s time for me to take back control, by relinquishing it to the One who loves me.  By admitting that I am still powerless.  My own attempts at saving myself have failed.  Again.

Here I am, back in recovery.