I will meet you out back, overtop frozen ground, surrounded by birdseed.

I keep writing. But I’m not sure why. And this isn’t one of those, “Is there anybody out there?” posts, although that question directly coincides with another part of my life right now. So maybe that’s why I’m writing this today? You see, I’ve embraced a new hobby. Well, actually, it’s a new OLD hobby, one I used to have as a child. I’ve turned it into a new project, but I can’t quite share it with anyone just yet because I’m not quite sure where it’s headed.

Don’t you hate that shit? Don’t you hate it when people say, “I can’t wait to share this with you! But I can’t right now.” No one did that before social media, did they? I mean, maybe in grade school. I seem to remember that now. And those people were highly irritating. I seem to remember a few girlfriends saying, “I HAVE NEWS! But I can’t tell you what it is yet. Not yet. You’ll have to wait. IT’S HUGE!”

Hey, asshole. How about you hold it together next time and NOT tell me that you have HUGE news until you’re actually ready to share it with me?

Or maybe the news is actually like a sourdough starter? At first it’s just flour and water and maybe a little salt and therefore boring as shit because it just sits in a bag, lifeless, looking like paste. And so you have to make it sound a lot more exciting than it is at the moment because who gives a shit about paste? So then maybe after a while, after you feed it a bit more, scrutinize over it, tend to it, obsess over it for a couple of days or weeks, maybe even months, it’ll grow into something amazing, perfectly stinky and alive and therefore finally worth sharing with people.

But until that story has some actual bacteria and culture, shut the hell up about it, you know?

I’m not sure where I was going with that one.

Sorry about that.

I’m also sorry for sharing my starter with you before I actually know if it’s going to work. My starter is a bag of paste right now. It’s basically worthless until I feed it some more and even then I’m not sure it’ll be worth anything, or help with growth.

(Keep writing…)

Yesterday I spent 9 dollars on big bag of birdseed. It turned out to be the best 9 dollars I’ve spent in ages. When I got home, I dumped a ton of it outside and waited. But only one little fatty showed up. I was ok with that. He ate like a king. And then he moved along. So, early this morning, as I made my way downstairs preparing myself to get three very needy children ready for their day, I stood in our kitchen, sipping the most amazing cup of coffee watching a whole, new beautiful world unfold outside my window. A world I hadn’t even imagined prior yesterday. Birds! So many birds! Birds I know NOTHING about. Birds of all different colors and shapes and sizes. Birds I could not name if my life depended on it, but boy were they ever beautiful. And boy did they ever have a feast.

I am so grateful to finally be able to mentally absorb and enjoy all these tiny details I’ve been overlooking all these years. Nature has been tossing this stuff my way for 42 years. And for the first time since I was a kid, I am able to appreciate these minute details again. I’m no longer obsessing over the bigger picture. Because, the bigger picture? Let’s be honest. Most of the time? The bigger picture is complicated, scary and just plain sucks.

Depression is a bitch, guys.

(Keep writing…)

There seem to be many people in my life right now—both online and off—who are suffering. I know this because they reach out in tiny ways; little blips of Morse code all over social media and elsewhere. And I’m often not sure which blips are the REALLY serious ones and which ones are just your average venting blips, but they all matter.

I loathe the idea of people hurting.

Yesterday I was running along one of my routes that happens to pass a veterinary clinic and while I was waiting to cross the busy street I saw an older man standing outside the clinic, talking to someone on his cellphone. He was crying. I mashed the walk button hoping to change the light because something came over me and I simply had to give that man a hug. I had to. It was a compulsion. But by the time the light turned, he had reentered the clinic and I didn’t feel right chasing him inside and potentially embarrassing him—I was a stranger wearing tights and pair of Yaktrax, after all.

I’m certain that man needed to cry. But I sure wish I could have given him a hug.

(Keep writing…)

So, if you’re reading this, and you’re hurting, please write. Reach out in some way. Send out a blip or a bleep or a code of some kind; send me a message. I will call you. I will email you. I will meet you out back, overtop frozen ground, surrounded by birdseed and we can take in all the tiny details together; the ones we’ve been overlooking; the ones that make life so much more tolerable and enjoyable.

And if you need to cry, I will hug you and not let go until you do.

23 Comments

  1. Just coming out a long slog of depression/anxiety. It feels as if I’ve been let out of a cage. I had no idea, until I could see light again, how dark it had become. I am still medicated. And I am still self-medicating with wine. But I do feel the instinct for self care starting to kick in again… One step at a time, right? Here’s to hope, even in the dark world we face every day.
    xo

    Reply

    1. Because: I am so happy to hear you’re feeling better. Yes. Small steps. I can’t believe it took me so long to get medication. I feel like there’s a point again? Or maybe that there isn’t one and that no longer matters? Not sure if that makes sense. I too, like so many others, have also self-medicated with wine. Please let me know if you want to talk. I am here. :]

      Reply

  2. While not in in pain myself, I still want to thank you for being such a caring person!

    Reply

    1. Lake! You are a breath of fresh air. You have been for years. Don’t be scarce. Don’t disappear. I feel like you’re a part of my life. How many years have I seen your username! Thank you for being there, Lake.

      Reply

      1. I’ll never disappear! 😉
        Still following you on twitter and your writing. Love seeing and hearing about your boys!! When you posted your wedding picture recently, I was all excited “I remember that!!”

  3. Depression is an evil little bitch that is always lurking in my shadows, sometimes tangled around my throat and chest pulling me relentlessly into the darkness. I am tired of the battle after 32 years of being aware of this challenge, and my family still struggles to understand why I don’t “just get into exercise and meditation to make it stop.” My last bout of medication was horrible (many years of torturous side effects, many diff kinds, a year to detox) and I am scared to try again but worry that I will never meet my potential if I don’t go on them again. After a rough and tumble few years, I am now 40 and trying to rediscover who I am and what I want to do when I grow up. Though I know it’s pointless, I can’t help but ponder where I might be at this stage of my life if depression didn’t always have a hold on me….

    Reply

    1. I hesitate to help with the medication suggestions because I am not sure what you went though and what you were given. I am just so sorry to hear that. I had something similar happen when I tried Wellbutrin years ago. Made me feel worse. Which I am told means I don’t have any problem with Dopamine depletion. It’s Serotonin I tend to lack.

      I’m assuming you have a decent therapist? Have you tried talk therapy? CBT? I have had friends who have seen success using this.

      I have also had two friends who, after feeling as though they tried EVERYTHING, they went through the the modern day equivalent of shock therapy. Sounds scary, but I am told it’s not as bad as it sounds. After knowing how bad I felt for so long and now how level I feel, I would try almost anything (including a low dose of LSD, which I’m told is also a new idea people are trying out.)

      It’s funny when you finally feel free of something how you didn’t realize how bad it was all along. Does that make sense?

      I’m here if you want to talk. You can email me too. And I’d be open to iChat or anything, really.

      I wish you weren’t hurting.

      Reply

      1. I am so genuinely appreciative of your offer. With all you have going on, I am very touched by your compassion. After reading your blog for 8+ years (one of only 2!), I guess I just felt comfortable vomiting out my truth in a public setting! Ha!

        Though I am continually fighting my dark cloud, I am grateful to be in a relatively okay place at the moment. I so wish we could afford talk therapy right now, but I know we will again at some point. I joke with my friends that getting to see a good therapist once a week is like a wet dream!!

        In my 20’s, I got a taste of what it felt like to be free during the first 6-9 months of being on Prozac and it forever changed my perspective on what life could be like. It was amazing how much I got done and how light I felt without my cloud owning me. Too bad “the high” didn’t last long and it led to years of chasing that feeling with other prescriptions….

        Interesting info about serotonin vs dopamine, I will research that further. Thanks! The info coming out about small doses of “magic mushrooms” and depression is fascinating too! I’ve heard that there are more options now and hope that I can explore them once I hook up with a therapist again.

        In the meantime, I explore creativity when I can, try to stay present in the moment, savor the sweetness of my 8-year-old boy, find the beauty surrounding me, nurture my relationships, cherish the blessed life I have, and just keep showing up – even if it’s only a moment at a time.

        Thank you again, your words do help. I am glad you keep writing.

  4. I am still reading! Been reading since your oldest was little! I think he’s about the same age as my son (nine) and that is probably when I started on your blog so I could see what other mothers of little boys were going through! :) I have only a handful of blogs I follow from back then and yours is one of them! (you are the only one who loves cats!) :)

    Reply

    1. Cats are the best. I will die loving those fuzzy beasts. I can’t imagine my life without them. :]

      Thanks for writing! And, yes, my eldest is indeed nine. WHICH IS TOTALLY INSANE.

      Reply

      1. I love cats too. We had 4 and now are down to 2. All elderly. Our oldest living cat currently got diagnosed with diabetes. OMG, special diet for cat. Good thing he isn’t a picky eater!

  5. I’m still here! I’ve been reading since you had one child and I didn’t have any. We share a love of cats, pregnancy/getting pregnant issues, and a whole lot of feelings. I don’t think I’m hurting so much as feeling like I’ve lost myself. I always like to read your words though, and feel like there are other people out there (or at least one person) who gets it. If that makes sense.

    Reply

    1. Hello, Beth! I know you. :] Thanks for reaching out. And maybe that’s what got me feeling so down in the first place a while back? Losing myself? I hear that loud and clear. Lately, I’ve forced myself to get back into the things I love and had let go of. (Toby is helping me, of course.)

      Is there any way at all you can embrace a few of those hobbies/wants/personal desires you let go of? Introduce one at a time, take some selfish time. You need it. ALL moms need that. And we so often don’t let ourselves.

      Reply

      1. Yes, I absolutely need to do that. Complicating matters is that (as I have been so focused on my family) I let a knee injury go to the point that I now require PT. So what I want and need to do is run and I can barely walk up the stairs. But I’m optimistic that in 4 weeks I’ll be able to do that and maybe I can get back to myself. Thanks as always for the reassurance that I can get past this funk.

  6. I’ve been reading your blog since your first kiddo was a baby. You wrote once about being up at night with your baby and feeling very alone. But, seeing your neighbor’s lights on made you feel less alone, like someone else was out there too. That resonated so much with me as I had experienced similar feelings when I was up at night with a colicky baby. I enjoy your point of view and sense of humor and I think if we ever met in real life we would be friends. Our similar interests include music (diehard REM fans – my husband and I both are – we lived in Athens, GA during our grad school days and actually met Michael Stipe a time or two), animal lover, and boy mom.
    Feeding the birds is like therapy for me. I find it so peaceful and relaxing. I have feeders at home and at work and take several moments during the day to watch the birds come and go. I have two kinds of woodpeckers that come in and so far they are my favorites.
    Keep writing. I would miss you if you didn’t.

    Reply

    1. I am so grateful for you, Kim. You are a part of my life. Thank you for being around. Also: Send me a woodpecker! That would be AMAZING.

      Reply

  7. Milissa McGinnis January 12, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    I’ll add my comments to the ever-growing list! Like others have said, I’ve been reading your blog for years, and while I don’t claim to understand depression, I will share something that I’ve learned during the time I’ve been reading here, something that has been reinforced through the “OMG I have a child which means I am a parent of a human being” years: Be kind to yourself. To me, those words had always sounded like a cliche, some hippy-era advice. But I am a bit of a perfectionist. I have always been one of those people who focuses on the one wrong thing I did that day. Maybe I did 99 things right, but damn it, there was that 1 thing I did wrong, and that thing is going to command my focus. But then I became a wife, and a homeowner, and a kitty mommy, and a human mommy. The amount of things I did wrong multiplied! Between work and all of the things I just listed, I had no time to even consider doing something for myself, truly for myself, and I didn’t always believe that I deserved to in the first place. But the thing I’ve been learning and taking to heart is that I will never, ever stop making mistakes, and honestly, that’s OK. I love my husband, my cats, my kid. That’s enough. I still strive to be a “better” person, but I’ve stopped aiming for perfection. I try to build in time for being kind to myself. For one example, I love to read, so I order a gazillion books from Amazon. Sometimes, I should probably do laundry or play a board game with my son or clean a toilet, but I spend another hour reading. Because.

    Reply

    1. I love this. And honestly, NOT aiming for perfection sends such a better message to our children, you know? They will likely be so much more well adjusted knowing that imperfection is not only normal, but should be praised. How else can we grow and change and help others?

      Thank you for being here, Milissa. You too are a part of my life and I am grateful for your words all these years.

      Reply

  8. greenerpasturesacitygirlgoescountry January 16, 2017 at 8:31 am

    What a gift you were given to see that man cry outside the vet’s office. We don’t always get to see the humanity and hearts of others, especially lately in this political climate which I know has gotten a lot of people depressed. When I’m depressed, I remind myself that I am in control of my thoughts. I also help others like you are doing here by inviting people to talk. There’s nothing that makes me feel better than running after a guy crying over his dog so I can give him a hug! (Though I wouldn’t have followed him inside either, lol)

    Reply

  9. Steve (StFarmer) January 17, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    I’m still checking in to see how life rolls on. I’m been an admirer of you and Toby for a long time. I was Initially attracted to your blog because of the photography and the Nikon camera that I had in common with you. I always come back to hear about the kids, the cooking, and the cats.

    I’m not much of a writer myself but I admire the ability in others. I don’t know much about depression either but I can appreciate how devastating it can be. I’m glad you’re still writing and I’ll be a reader for as long as you continue.

    Reply

  10. yes yes, keep writing (you do it so well)

    Reply

  11. Elizabeth Bailey January 23, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    I’m so glad you’ve continued to write; almost every other blogger I’ve followed for years has stopped posting regularly. I think I found you through the Dooce community, which I was only part of for a couple of years (somewhere around 2009/2010). I don’t really know what to say except thank you for reaching out, and for being one of those people who would give a stranger a hug. Somehow it helps to know you exist, and that it’s not all ignorant, hateful people out there. I mean obviously it’s not, but sometimes it feels like it. I deactivated Facebook yesterday because I got so depressed reading hateful comments on photos and videos of people marching. So many people just don’t understand, but they make no attempt to understand before spewing hate all over the internet. Stuff like that does not help my depression.

    I have been writing and deleting for well over an hour – that’s what I do when I’m depressed because I have a have a hard time explaining things succinctly, so I write and re-write, and after a while it’s just all nonsense, but I’m too much of a perfectionist to let it go. Unfortunately I deleted all the parts of this that would make sense … about my depression and what I’ve tried and what I think I need to do. To sum up – I’ve dealt with depression most of my life. I work from home and am alone a lot which doesn’t help. I’ve tried a bunch of things and some things have helped a little but it’s all temporary and I’m not doing very well lately. It helps to just be able to say that to someone and know they care, so thank you for that.

    Also I’m glad you’re a cat person; I have three. :)

    Reply

    1. Hello!

      I am so sorry you’re hurting. I wish I could help. I know how dark it can get sometimes, but I do hope you find what works best for you. Finding joy in the little things, and waking up expressing gratitude has helped me lately. I feel that when I do things for other people, even small things, I end up feeling a bit better overall. Because it can be so very sad and lonely out there, you know? But it doesn’t have to be.

      Continue to reach out. And everything you just wrote makes PERFECT sense. Don’t overthink your thoughts. They are there for a reason. They bubble up just so for a reason. Embrace them and share them. People will listen and understand. Those who don’t? You probably don’t want them around anyway. Let them find their own tribe.

      See? Now it’s my turn to make a rambling post in response to your very thoughtful one.

      Thank you for writing. And keep going. Just keep swimming. :]

      Reply

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