Hanging in there…by a thread.

The difficult and stressful week I was expecting has definitely materialized. On the plus side, some items on my jam-packed calendar have gone well, and a number of tasks are checked off. Also on the hopefully plus side, we have a plan of action from my husband’s sleep doctor, which could lead to improvement in his depression down the road.

On the minus side, our youngest had a sticky teen romance break-up , which – even though I’m NOT into helicopter parenting – really did have implications for me in terms of the volunteer work I do at our high school, and which therefore created emotional duress at a time when I really didn’t need it.  On the extremely minus side (as in zero degrees Kelvin) my husband’s mood went from surprisingly up and pleasant at the beginning of the week to total emotional collapse last night.

It’s been a very long time since this has happened, but his breakdown immediately felt miserably familiar.  I automatically went into crisis survival mode: hugs and concern (but not too much concern, which can be counterproductive); firm straight talk to remind him of reality: he has clinical depression, it will get better, and there are certain things he MUST do in order to help himself get better.

It was a painful, exhausting experience, made all the worse by the fact that as it happened I was dealing with several “absolutely must be done right now” tasks.  It led to some musing as I completed these tasks, continued with as much reassurance as I could offer, and tried to get to bed at a reasonable time so I could be up early enough to manage the next “absolutely must be done right now” task at 7:00 this morning.

Here’s how my musing went: Bern and I do this stuff (helping people survive depression in a loved one) on a consistent basis.  I’ve spent a lot of time researching, reflecting, and offering practical suggestions for people in the exact same situation I’m experiencing right now.  And yet when I have to deal with a crisis myself, I feel like I’m flying by the seat of my pants.  Am I saying the right things? Doing the right things? And how long can I keep this up, when I’m fighting seasonal affective disorder myself, and am weighed down with work, life changes, and some other seriously stressful issues.  At what point will I just give up?

Sigh.  The answer is I probably won’t just give up.  I’ll keep plugging away, doing my best, and trying not to be resentful that this is my lot in life.  And I’ll reach out to others for support (thanks, Bern, for being the best support group ever) and try to create breathing space for myself, in which I can rest and restore.

-Amy

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