The space between


Sometimes depression is like bathroom mold, slowly growing over time, until one day you climb into your shower and think “yuck, where did this come from?” This process could take weeks to months before I notice. Other times it slams into me all at once, like the unexpected flash flood we’re experiencing here in Western WA. But then there are times where depression happens in the space between those two extremes. Sorta slow, but also sorta fast, and it’s as if there’s this warning light going off in my brain saying “watch out, it’s coming!” But it couldn’t possibly be coming, the warning signs have not been present, there’s been no trigger (except the end of summer) and by all accounts I should just ‘get it together’ and ‘suck it up’ and ‘work through it.’

I rationalize, by saying, “you’re tired, you’re stressed about work starting next week, you’re angry that your partner is being less-than-helpful-and-borderline-selfish, and your child is in the terrible-twos-four-months-early.” Lots of excuses. But the gray foggy gloom has been creeping, rolling in, like something in a bad horror film.

Things yesterday that did not make me feel better:

-pre-meditating my skipping yoga to justify a nap (that didn’t happen)

-playing endless games of Candy Crush on my phone, and paying for cheats and more levels…that’ll bite me in the ass

-watching 4 hours of trashy television

-driving to the outlet mall and trying on clothes. even buying two cute things didn’t take away the gray

-buying $12.95 worth of fudge

-getting $0.40 off a gallon of gas at Safeway because I used my parent’s phone # (don’t worry, they don’t get their gas at Safeway)

The part of me that hasn’t been completely taken over by this recent emergence is waffling back and forth…do I do something now (i.e. medication) since therapy is ending on Saturday? Do I wait and see if this is just a transition phase with the weather being crappy and the nerves of a soon-to-be-back-to-work-mama? I’m feeling very victimy overall and also like I really want to cry but won’t let myself. The six minutes of stillness meditation yesterday left me starting to cry, so I distracted myself with other things. My counselor brain knows that isn’t what I should do…

How do you tell the difference between a bad mood and lingering depression? Or the difference between being nervous and having anxiety? What things lift you out of the funk?

Mental Health & Motherhood


I have had an explosively good week. It feels like my heart chakra is bursting open and I am so full of love for myself and my son and my husband and everyone around me. But it’s not like a manic feeling, more of a quiet rush of intense emotion. Maybe it can’t even be classified as emotion, it’s more like a state of being that just feels so vulnerable and raw and beautiful. Even now, in thinking of Potamus in his room taking a nap, my heart feels like it’s going to explode with love, and I want time to stand still.

And, there’s no denying the coincidence of the last few incredible mom days have coincided with the Seattle sunshine we’ve been having. I hadn’t made the conscious connection until I was speaking with a college friend who suffers from PTSD and chronic pain. I was blabbing about how right now I’m in a really good mom space and I said,

“I think I’d be a better mom in Hawaii, or California, because, when I don’t have to focus on my seasonal depression, I have so much more energy to just be a good mom. “


It’s true, though, when I’m not battling my obsessive thoughts or worry, or trying to muster myself out of bed because I’d rather stay there all day, I find myself moving simply and easily through the day, even juggling Potamus’ nap schedule and getting out to do fun connected things. Now, I’m not saying I’m a perfect mom, there are plenty of cheerios on the floor, and I ate fast few far too many times this week, but when I’m not crazy I’m not beating myself up. But it’s not until spring-time, with the sunshine and lighter days, that remind me of how much energy it takes to live with a mental illness with even myself, let alone take care of a little one.

So I want to remember this next fall-winter, as I head into a darker period. Perhaps I will go on anti-depressants or start visiting a naturopath and get on a better regimen, or try to expose myself to as much light as possible. Because these lighter nights make me feel calm, and I sleep better, and I’m not as worried or full of yawning and wanting to go to bed at 4pm.

What about you? Do you notice certain times of year or times of day when you are a really good parent?

Our son is not a tennis ball or I want my old life or a list of random things

I do it all for this little guy

I do it all for this little guy

Co-parenting is hard. I often feel like we are on a tennis court (or what I imagine it’d be like on a tennis court) and Potamus is the ball bouncing back and forth between us. It’s like “thwack, change his diaper,” and then Boof runs to the line and “thwack, now you feed him, it’s your turn,” and back and forth it goes. The game is exhausting. I sit down to write some emails and hand the kid over to Boof, saying “here, take him for a few, I’ve got to reply to my grandma,” and then he’s like, “I’m going to the store, can you watch him now?” Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Potamus and Monk-Monk. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Potamus and Boof.

I can’t imagine how much harder it would be if we were divorced or separated, especially if we hated each others’ guts. And while I’m happy to not have to parent alone, as a single-kind or as a single-in-a-marriage-where-moms-raise-the-kids-alone-because-she-was-born-with-a-uterus, the game of tennis is exhausting. Very rarely do I find us having moments where we are playing on the same team, or parenting together, doing things together, except, on the rare occasion, eating at a restaurant. And I wonder, is it always like this?


I can’t help but then begin to feel resentful and start imaging greener grass and history through rose-colored glasses. Like life was sooooo amazing before (not). Sigh. And when I’m in these crabby, sleep-deprived, resentful rants, I can only see the negative, like asking Boof for help making the house look nice for company (asking specifically for him to vacuum and clean off the table) and find him folding laundry and re-arranging the garage. Grr. Or how my mother-in-law didn’t even try to put Potamus down for a nap today, even though I asked her to, so I had to halt my day-0ff errands to take him home and put him to sleep. I have tunnel vision and it’s focused in on the negative. I want to see the good, but I’m so…stuck.


There’s a job posting at work and I feel conflicted in my gut about applying. It’d be a promotion, full-time (35 hours a week) tenure track faculty counseling with a pay raise and the opportunity to teach extra (like over the summer) if I want. It’s literally my dream job. But I’m exhausted. And I’m tired of applying for new jobs every 7-12 months for the past 3 years. It’s like, I want to settle in and get comfortable and start to make some difference. And yet, if I want another baby (yes? maybe?) then this gives me more security and a good pay-raise and still the benefits of what I’m doing now. But the other part of me just wants to stop constantly moving around (even though it’d be right down the hallway) and really get good at something before I move on. The other part of me thinks that that would just make me stuck and resentful down the line. Sigh. Applications aren’t due until the 28th, so I have some time to get over my negative drama…it’s not like they’ve even offered me the job (I could say no).


I had coffee with a lovely friend of a toddler and 6 week old. It was nice to be in an adult environment with someone who gets it…the complexities of marriage and parenting. Bitching about our husbands and then talking them up all in the same hour long span. Whining about lack of sleep and whiny independent kids who won’t mind, and then misting up over how sweet the babes are when they are sleeping, and how quickly it all does go. Those moments feel real. And we talked about how we are up against a tsunami of expectations as a modern-working-mom, with a house to run and a career to mind and children to raise and love. And how we both wanted to just leave our kids with our spouses and rent a Hilton hotel room and sleep. Don’t those fluffy white down comforters sound nice?


I am convinced that I am a good mom of a baby.

I am convinced that I am not a good mom of a toddler.

I hope this changes (the latter, not the former, that was awesome). I hope that I really buckle down and learn to enjoy this new stage of development. Because this was my fear all along. That I would look at this little person and think ‘dear God, when will they be 8 and can hold on a conversation and sleep in peace and go play with the neighbor kids.” I don’t want to be so frustrated with his lack of communication skills (the whining is CRAZY right now) or irritated at his pain (those poor teething gums). Where I have empathy for other families and clients, I sometimes have less-than-enough empathy for my own little guy. And my husband. And dog.


Boof passed the 3rd section of his CPA exam! I bought him a smiley face balloon in hopes for celebration and to make up for my shitty attitude in the past 24 hours. I think we’re going to get some beer to celebrate with friends tonight!