Friday into Saturday I was in a funk. I tried to push through, moving from one thing to the next like I could outrun it. The funk clung. Sean knows me, recognizes these lows after 18 years together, and has mastered worrying from a gentle distance. He did things to clear my path—setting the girls up with activities, passing me a plate of eggs and bacon, setting a bottle of sriracha next to it and saying “Eat, please.”
I felt myself slipping deeper, colors began to mute and I forgot all the reasons I’d been grateful for the weekend to arrive. Despite the clutch of nothingness, I ate. One solid achievement I’ve unlocked in my 40s is to listen to him more often. I still resist and make noble, stupid, or stubborn moves, but more frequently I see the food, the pjs, the invitation he offers to help me escape my own cycle.
I eat. I say yes.
I followed that yes by a dozen more.
Yes, let’s go to the gym.
Yes, let’s take a drive.
Yes, I am starting to feel better, but it’s still there.
“It’s ok, babe. You’re exhausted. It’s been a week and you get to feel like this,” he kept his eyes on the road. I took a breath and stared out the window.
For me, daring to commit completely to a relationship has been the chance to have another voice to listen to other than my own. The echo of, “You will never be good enough,” grows more faint each time he cups my face in his hands and says, “You are everything I ever dreamed of.”
I look at the girls and imagine the things I’ve said to myself being things they ever hear inside thier own heads. I press against the numbness and reach for everything Sean is coaxing me to remember.
I plot the steps ahead. I leave my phone behind when I get up in the morning. Coffee. Daylight. The fog of yesterday is gone, but I know myself and I can’t be passive. I have to actively claim a different today, which in no way suggests that people can choose happiness or beat depression through willpower. I am talking about my own rhythms and hurdles. I pad down the hall toward the stairs.
I see Ave and Fin building with LEGOs. I walk in, “What are you doing?” They launch into an introduction to the empire of little rooms and shops. I work to stay focused on what they are saying.
I sit down and begin to build. I choose beige and white pieces to add to a green base. A room starts to form beneath my fingers. It is wide and airy, with entire walls of windows, I add arches. There is a gate to pass through and I decorate it with red, pink, and blue buttons.
“Mom, that is so amazing. What is it?” Finley asks.
“I don’t know, I just thought it would be a place someone would want to be.”
“It is. Keep going.”
Avery holds her hand in front of me, offering me pieces. Fin hands me flowers and asks f I can make a bed. We keep building.
“Ave, would you go start the coffee for me?”
She leaps from her spot, “Sure.”
When I finish the bed Finley declares it perfect. I start to stand, “Can you add it to the room, mom?”
I move toward her when Ave says, “I can do that. Go get some coffee, mama.”
Their heads touch as they add the bedroom to the room and then begin plotting, “So my girl will be asleep…”
“And then mine will open her work..”
I walk downstairs to the smell of coffee and last night’s fire in the woodstove. I stoke the embers back to life and pour a cup of coffee. I settle in with my laptop and start the internet.
No email. Period.
I open Feedly and see a link to “Barbara and Stanley: A Modern Romance.” I don’t usually watch long videos, this one clocked in at 17+ minutes. I start to scroll to the next thing but decide to watch.
What followed was the oddest, most lovely, and different from my own world slice of life. I listened to the Barbara and Stanley tell their own story, why how they live works for them. Early on Barbara coaxes Stanley to get out of bed.
“I think what you ought to do is get out of bed.” He says he is tired.
“Come, you must go the gym, g-y-m, we must move or what is it all for?” He says that he will.
They are across the country from one another and are wildly different from Sean and me, yet that insistent exchange, the urgency of guiding your partner to what will bring more daylight, more tomorrows and better todays; it’s exquisite.
I followed it with a post up at Cup of Joe about a woman seeing herself though the eyes of her partner. Again, I was fascinated by the generosity and wisdom of a partner debunking the cruel inner voice.
I looked up as Avery and Finley bounded into the room announcing they were ravenous. I’d bought baking mixes at the store in a plan to fill the day with new things. They did the dishes to prep the kitchen and then they began to bake. Entirely on their own.
The house filled with the scent of cinnamon and the sounds of the fire and Katy Perry. The girls danced and goofed, and I remembered why I’d been excited for the weekend and why I am so grateful for this life of mine.
This was really lovely to read. Your partner sounds wonderful, like he knows you so well. I’m happy you were able to pull yourself out and hope you keep on that path! ❤
Thank you. It’s so funny to me that sometimes the posts I worry are not really more an exercise to help me remember or understand something, are actually the ones that people enjoy most.
Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. And yes, I lucked out with my partner 🙂
Real. Honest. Beautiful. xo
I loved witnessing this interior journey. I had a difficult weekend solo parenting and I didn’t quite make it out of the muck of my mind, but there were moments, glimpses of happiness, bursts of laughter between shouting, and reading this reminds me that however fleeting, they still count.
They count so very much. I hope you are getting some space from the muck!
My first time reading your blog and I love how you write. Thank you for sharing a part of yourself on the internet so that I could read it and absorb it all the way over here in a small town in Northern California. XO
Aw, what a wonderful thing to hear. Thank you.
It must have been a weekend for the ‘funk’. I was in the bed all day Sunday with my head covered trying to keep everything away from me. I feel better today though…Hope you are feeling better too.
I am, thank you! It does feel like we are in a time of competing bad news and soul crushing reality. I think I’ll speak up more about the struggles and the triumphs…a little river of honesty. If we all do that we’ll have fresh water to drink from in a way.
Your partner sounds amazing; i’m so glad people like this exist.I’d like to hear more stories like this. It’d help convince me that the majority of humans aren’t all horrible!
I too have been living with depression (well, bipolar) my entire life. At 38, i’m pretty exhausted and over it all, and have personally given up on the idea of meeting someone with the kindness and compassion to accept that not-so-sparkly side of me that lives alongside the *super* sparkly side. So many people, it seems, only want to know about that childlike fun side, but disappear when things get real, and you display actual human emotions other than happiness. It makes me angry and sad, and very much like distancing myself from everyone permanently.
Having said that, i’m heartened to hear good news stories that demonstrate the existence of supportive, understanding people out there. We definitely need more of them in the world. I won’t be on wordypress much longer, but wanted to wish you the best, all the same. Depression is so awful. I breathe a sigh of relief when i hear a person has some support when they’re struggling. It’s so necessary! Sending peace,gratitude and well wishes to you and your lovely sounding family, all the way from Victoria, Aus.
Thank you for this thoughtful comment. I think we’ve all been fed a steady diet of “True love floats above vulnerability, risk, and embarrassment.” Some people do bolt when it seems like “work” as if that isn’t love. Sending peace and gratitude back your way.
Too true! Good point. All those things are necessary for intimacy and authentic connection to happen.There’s a lot of ’emotional laziness’ going on in the world, though. Sigh.
Aww, thanks. Cheers ^_^
Es geht den Menschen, wie den Leuten
Es geht den Menschen wie den Leuten
Thank you for your honesty! It’s refreshing…it helps to hear others doing the same thing I’ve been doing.
I hope so. Thank you!
Beautiful read. I’m glad you pulled through to good moments. I have bipolar. Sometimes moments are what we have. You’re a beautiful writer.
Moments, indeed. Thank you so much.
So much of this. I love it. It puts the experience into words so well and describes what I am hoping my already wonderful partner grows to learn in our time together. Thanks so much for sharing.
Oh, thank you!
Raw and beautiful. Thank you for sharing with us!
Thank you for reading!
This was really beautiful, and honestly what I needed to read today! Thank you. I’ve been with my husband for seven years, and while we often work to lift each other out of our funks, it’s rarely so gentle and nuanced as this. That being said, this post reminds me why I love ‘daring to commit completely to a relationship.’ It’s hard work, but then in situations like this it really pays off, right? Lovely read.
I am so glad this came to you at the right time. I think we do get what we put in most of the time and, the other piece being, we also get what we have the capacity to accept. I have definitely had times of being less receptive to support, which is mind boggling, no? How we turn away when we should turn in. Wishing you so much happiness.
Thank you! Yes, I’ve also been know to resist support. There is a vulnerability in letting others guide you that can be so terrifying even when you need it. . . even when you trust them! But that moment when you can let go, accept the help, and start moving forward again is like the most satisfying exhale. . .
Wishing you much happiness as well.
This post pulls at my heart (and mind) because i’ve had those funks. Was diagnosed with mild depression but sometimes it feels more than that. Hoping for more beautiful, happy days for you ❤️
Thank you, to you as well!
Thank you for posting this. I have found it inspiring and motivating to listen to my partner more. He works so hard for our relationship and this post helps drive home that rejecting his help is working against both of us while accepting it brings a kind of harmony that makes room for life. He can’t enjoy me nor I him, if I am too busy trying to “resist and make noble, stupid, or stubborn moves” to prove myself when I am already battling my illnesses and sense of self-worth as a result (which also takes a toll on him). Helping myself by taking his help is helping both of us.
Thank you for posting this beautiful written entry. I really needed that reality check as I have been slipping on this lately.
We all need them. Thank you.
Your hubby is awesome. It took many years, but I know that when I start to slip toward the dark side I need to sleep. The problem is when I start in this mood I fight going to sleep. I have to almost actually yell at myself. “GO TO SLEEP’. I am glad you have someone understanding in your corner.
I admit I would love to evict that negative voice from my head. I am still working on that. Hang in there, Life is really amazing with all of it highs and lows.
The trick, when I can manage it, is to see it coming and pull out all my secret weapons—eating right, getting outdoors, working out…
The trick is to see it coming. I can feel it too. But sometimes life is in my way and I don’t (as you say) pull out my secret weapon fast enough. 🙂
I am so much better now.
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Friend is another himself. Have a good partner, you take life too if they are not alone.
I like how this seemingly innocuous snapshot scene of a Saturday morning says so much. My kind of writing. It’s all in the layers.
I love the texture to your writing – you say so much, so simply. Love your blog!
Thank you so much.
I had fun reading it. Beautiful.
I loved this. I live with my boyfriend who struggles with these issues as well, and often it’s hard to believe that anything I can do is helping. Reading about how your partners little ways of helping you out of your funk gives me hope that I am doing the same thing. Thank you.
Also, from one writer to another, this was wonderfully written.
Thank you for sharing your story. Inspiring and a goal to reach.
I like it. It reminds me of my husband and me. The validation when I am tired, or depressed, or angry – he does that, too. He isn’t my first husband, but he will be my last. It just took me a while to find him.
Yes, keep going. And keep writing.
Finally understanding the blogging world..and just posted my own. I really appreciate your topic and I admire you for admitting depression cannot be avoided with willpower. I look forward to reading more from you.
Lovely about face! 🙂
You write with a wonderfully compassionate voice, I hope the funk doesn’t last too long! Tomorrow is a new day.
What I think is beautiful is that u realize that you’re not feeling your best, and u wanna work on it to get better instead of moping and isolating yourself and affecting everyone else too. Idk why but I think that’s really strong.
What an amazingly real account of someone’s true reality with depression. Thank you for your willingness to share with the world.
very moving post honest and brave and strong
This is really great! You captured what it is like to be depressed so well.
An honest and lovely piece of writing, thank you for sharing <3
wow I loved this so much, I found it just as I am in my own “funk” Thank you for your beautiful words.
This was great. It was as if I was reading this from my man’s point of view. Thank you for sharing. That takes a lot of strength.
Thank you so much for sharing such an honest piece of your life. Your partner is amazing for helping guide you out of the darkness. You inspired me to let my partner help me more and to push through my own daily struggles with depression and anxiety. <3
This means the world, thank you. Good luck!
I really loved this. Although my life is very different (i don’t have children and I have only been with my partner for almost 2 years) it spoke to me on so many levels. It was lovely to read, Thank you xx
Thank you so much. I am so glad you came. xx
I too have many moments, days, like you had. Tough to hang on. So glad you have an understanding partner that knows you so well and is ready to step in and help. I’m happy for you that by days end you could see some bright ess