Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Midwinter's Rant

ARRRRGH. I’m so sick of me. I haven’t been this sick of me since I was a teenager.


I really didn’t need to be haunted by the ghost of my teenage self this year. But, boy, that’s what it feels like. All of that, “you really are crap; people really do hate you; nothing you touch will ever turn out right; throw the towel in now, but no you CAN’T can you? Can’t even give up properly, you idiot . . .” Yeah. That. I didn’t miss that.

And the weird, bizarre thing about it is that stream of abuse runs in perfect counterpoint to my rational, optimistic mind. I can see that life’s not a disaster. I can see that my loved ones don’t hate me. I can see all of the good things in my life and appreciate them and enjoy them. I can even live in my rational, optimistic mind for the majority of my days. It’s just that there is this constant, flowing stream of hate and despair in my heart, running right along beside it. Where does it come from? Is this just part of living in, as my daughter once called it, "a fallen, whiny world"?

I don’t know what to make of it. I really don’t. Is this sin? Is it depression? Is it temptation? (Is it the truth?) Does what it is vary from moment to moment, depending on how I respond to it? I don’t know. Up till a year ago, I would have said that it was adolescence, left behind long ago, unmourned and unmissed.

I know I can ignore it for hours on end – sometimes even days at a time. But I also know that it can suck me in for days at a time and I have to struggle to make my way out. Sometimes I even have to struggle to struggle, if that makes sense.

Wow. I do know that it hampers me. It wraps around my legs and trips me up.

I know that music and prayer and exercise and writing keep it at bay.

(I know that I am tired. I know that I feel I don't deserve to feel tired.)

I know that it keeps me constantly second-guessing myself.

That’s why music and prayer and exercise and writing help, I think. Those are things that I’m sure about, things I don’t second-guess. Because I’m sure that music is beautiful. And I’m sure about the One I pray to. I know that exercise is good for me. I know that I’m a writer.

Loving my kids and my husband: that helps too. Another thing I’m sure about. They’re mine and I’m theirs, and I am to love them.

It’s very good to have things I don’t doubt, even if I sometimes doubt if I’m doing them well. The difference between being thirteen and being thirty is that I know that doing the right thing is better than doing the wrong thing, even if I’m not doing the right thing as well as it can be done. Huh. But, yes, I think that’s maturity. Because I used to be so scared of screwing up that I’d never even start. Now, more often than not, at least I start. I’ve learned to say, “Help me, Lord. I’m going in,” instead of, “Help me, Lord, I can’t.”

But, really? The, “doom, doom, doom” beat that sounds in my ears whenever anything goes the slightest bit wrong? I just hate it. The feeling that it’s all a loss and I might as well stop trying, that feeling of hopelessness that shows up whenever I make a small mistake? The one that’s completely out of proportion to reality? I could live without that. I really could.

I really, really, really could.

I wish it weren’t winter anymore.


betsy said...

Oh I KNOW this one (why should that not surprise you?). Here I speak not as a psychologist, nor as a spiritual director, nor as your mother (though I do have a response to your post from all of those positions of my heart) but rather as a fellow-Christian: when this happens to me, I have found that telling that voice to "shut up and go where Jesus sends you" and then angrily and vigorously doing GOOD is often a sufficient answer.

becca said...

Thank you, Jess. Thank you, Betsy. I am feeling like this right now. And it's 11. And I HAVE to be there in time for that 8:30 meeting tomorrow. And I'm reading blogs. Now to go and do the good (and sometimes strange) thing of sleeping.

becca said...

Not at all that I am trying to trivialize your post Jess. I do feel sick of myself and that constant barrage in my head.

I miss you.

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

You certainly articulate it well. (This does not surprise me, since you most definitely ARE a writer.)

I can't remember if we've talked about Kathleen Norris' book Noonday Demon? If you haven't read it, it might help. It helped me differentiate between acedia and depression, and decide how to proceed.

I know it isn't for awhile, but next time we have dinner I'm happy to listen if you need an ear. Love you.

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

I should not write comments while battling the stomach flu. Kathleen Norris' book is called "Acedia and Me". She references Noonday Demon. Sorry!

Jessica said...

Mom, Becca and Emily: thank you. Very much.

Ruthie said...

This is the struggle of us Christians. This is Pilgrim's Progress. This is me!