I mentioned in a previous post that I have been only really taking pictures of bells and teapots. That is true. In fact, I really just took that photo above of Oliver for this post because I wanted something a little cheerier than the results of my recent artistic endeavors.
On the whole, it’s been a hard few weeks since the boys returned to school. I underestimated, fairly severely, how much I enjoyed having the big boys for company during the summer. To compound matters, my computer has been stuffed to the gills of photos to the extent that I’ve had to do some fairly drastic housekeeping to get it back up to working order, so I’ve halted my photography completely. It’s working again, and before that brief hiatus (which did actually affect my moods for the negative), I was taking photos mostly like this one:
Not exactly the epitome of cheerfulness or happiness. I must have a dozen different okay shots of that bell and every single one, while maybe interesting to me, I doubt they are of interest to a single soul otherwise. In fact, I polished this bell so that it would be shinier and I think the earlier bell photos with the patina finish were actually more interesting:
I did manage to get a family photo taken a couple of weeks ago. I look really rough– I’d been not wearing my compression stockings and I get all puffy when I don’t wear them and I had bed-head hair– and the boys were not happy about the photo session because it took them away from their video game marathon:
So anyway, during the day, during the week, it’s just me and Oliver. The isolation is stifling and I have a hard time with self-discipline, getting myself to exercise like I know I should and house-cleaning, well forget it. I have, at least, been successfully crocheting a giant blanket (not the one previously featured– this one is a giant granny square), and I have some ideas for homemade Christmas presents. I haven’t been in-the-bed-depressed, at least. Mostly it’s the old “I should be working at a job” guilt trip I give myself that is giving me fits and that is a now old argument I have with myself. It really is dumb because there’s no reason for it. I know on many levels that contribute to the well-being of this household, end of story. But my brain is set on “self-worth in the toilet” mode seemingly permanently and it doesn’t matter what anyone else says, my brain is going to tell me that I am worthless and nothing I do matters.
So when folks, whether it’s Jared or someone outside this household, commends me for staying home with Oliver, it goes in one ear and out the other. I can comprehend the value for Oliver, for me being the one to care for him, but it doesn’t take away that feeling that I should be making money to make things more comfortable for this family. And that feeling is one of the root causes that affects my rock-bottom self-esteem. Not getting out of the house doesn’t help, but I’ve found that if I get out of the house I am more prone to spending money and now that we are actually adhering to our budget, going to the coffee shop to hang out or whatever, just isn’t realistic or fun when I look at the big picture.
So there it is. The psychiatrist says the depression isn’t medication-worthy this go-round and he also said basically that the mental illness stigma has scarred me to the extent that I question everything about myself internally and that I need to get over it. He’s right, though– I feel judged both by myself and by others based on others’ perception of me because of my admittedly self-disclosed diagnosis (and some very public breakdowns). I feel judged to the extent that I don’t think I will ever, ever get over it. It affects my ability to be happy in my role as a mother who stays at home with my children. For that matter, it affects my ability to be happy in my role as human being.
But while there is an aspect affected by my relationship with my mental health, I think what is going on for my role in this household is happening for a lot of mommies in 2014…we are expected to be everything to our family with very little support from the community at large, with family spread wide and thin. There is no village to raise our children in these days, and I suspect that village will just continue to disintegrate, throughout my lifetime, anyway. That is a bleak perspective but it is mine and thus, it is true for me. I pray I am wrong.