Well, that didn’t work.
I was very hyped up for a while, but in waiting for the next e-mail to come, two, then three days passed, and I lost all momentum. Then after several days, all the e-mails showed up at once, but by then it was too late.
I’m going to try something a bit different. When I was a teenager, I used to write something like this. I’m not sure why I stopped, but I think I can pull it off again. Once I’ve got that momentum, I’ll see if I can keep it going.
First, let’s talk about the elephant in my room. Or rather, in my brain.
I recently made a book purchase, then added Jenny Lawson‘s Furiously Happy to get the free shipping. I’d acquired her previous book in audio form and looked like a lunatic going for walks in my quiet suburban neighbourhood while cackling at nothing.
I haven’t read more than the first few pages, but something clicked as I read her escapades with her non-functioning sleep schedule. While I recognized that it’s highly unlikely I have any of the diagnoses she received, I also recognized that I am not alone.
I am not the only mother with depression.
Jenny is far higher functioning than I am. Obviously. She’s published very successful books and writes regularly and frequently for several massive audiences. But she does mention not getting out of bed for weeks. And she mentions her daughter learning about her situation. (I might have a more enlightened discussion on this once I finish the book, and I’m looking forward to it.)
My son is too young for me to explain to him why there are so many days when I just don’t see him. I fall asleep as he wakes up and wake up after he has fallen asleep.
This is not because I’m third shift or even because I’m a night owl. If anything, I’m a morning person. I hate being awake at night. The days I manage to wake up in the morning are my best days, the days I enjoy the most. They just seem so few and far between.
So why not just wake up in the morning? What is it they say on Tumblr? Oh, my sweet, summer child. If only I could.
I lose my days not because I want my nights or prefer my nights or enjoy my nights. I hate being awake at night. I feel limited in what I can do, lost in the quiet darkness, stymied in any attempt to accomplish anything. Many of these “days” that I’m awake only at night, I am also asleep most of said night. I’m awake only a handful of hours at a time, and they are useless hours. Even those days I am awake during the day, much of them are spent napping or silencing an angry brain.
I lose my days because I am, quite simply, broken.
As in a broken limb, broken. Not because I am worthless, despite my brain’s attempts to force worthlessness on me every moment that I’m not actively whipping it with effective distraction. And over the past 15 years, I have become very, very good at distraction. It might just be my only remaining skill. Unfortunately, it’s not a very marketable one.
I look forward to the days when I’ll be able to explain this to my son. Maybe he’ll wake up in the middle of the night, terrified by dreams, and find his mother sitting on the couch, eating popcorn, and watching some gentle-voiced comedian on Netflix, ready to comfort him the way she wishes she could do right now. It worked when he was still tiny and larval, waking up in the dead of night hungry for something I could do. My ludicrous sleep was often a help instead of a hindrance. That’s not so much the case now that he’s transitioning from baby to toddler and sleeps deeply through the long nights.
Alternately, I also look forward to days when the only thing I’ll have to explain is why things were different before.
My son will be fine. His father somehow manages to get work done at home while simultaneously looking after the baby all day, no doubt with extensive help from two sets of enthusiastic grandparents.
But the truth is, while my life is like this, he will know me less, trust me less, and yes, love me less, than he would if I were around more often.
And that hurts.
There are things I can do to fix this, and I’m making attempts where sleep is concerned, but most possibilities involve risk. Whereas right now, as difficult and unpleasant as this is in some ways, it is, at least, survivable.