Outlast the Darkness

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I don't know what this blog post is. But it is born from a feeling of... exhaustion. And sadness.

I'm tired. I've been in the habit of going to bed quite late then napping in the afternoons. I got to bed later than usual last night and couldn't turn off my brain. Combine that with an early rise to take a friend somewhere, Zoë skipping her nap today and Peter having some extreme moments of ultimate little shitness (love him to absolute pieces), and you've got yourself a recipe for a tired, overwhelmed, sad me.

The news, the world, the stress of raising children. It's a lot to process and deal with. There are times that the absolute madness of young children puts me in a state of emotional paralysis. I look around at the insane messes made within SECONDS, I hear the cacophony of noises coming from bodies and toys and electronics, the constant pulling on me and the whining. It's just...wow. Am I a human being? Because I feel like some sort of limp, smelly rag. Some people can handle and embrace the chaos...I am constantly analyzing it and questioning why it has to be this way. (By and large, our days are good. But it's still insanity.)

I miss Justin. Losing one of your very closest, dearest friends leaves a unique hole in your life. I don't even know what to say about it.

Vic gave me a book for Mother's Day last year, called Lincoln's Battle with God. (You bet I got snarky and said, "Lincoln's Battle with God? For Mother's Day? More like...Husband's Battle with Wife"). Well, I sit here eating my humble pie because I finally started reading it and its wonderful. The opening chapter is all about his mother and the great love he had for her. It is beautiful and moving. A very sweet and thoughtful gift after all. (Ahem... I'll send you a link, honey, for the piece of jewelry I want next year.)

You probably know that Abraham Lincoln struggled greatly with depression. And its no secret that I have as well. Since starting Zoloft after Zoë was born, my life has taken a dramatic sharp turn for the better. But the sadness still sits with me. Sadness took up residence in my heart long ago. But it makes me think more deeply (I hope), empathize, and forever try to make peace with this human experience.

The following quote from the book, by Stephen Mansfield, was profoundly beautiful to me:

"Nevertheless, Lincoln's story is, in part, that of a man who beat back the spirits that came for him in the night. He might well have been crushed by his woes, by the death of his first son and then the second, by the madness of his wife, or the hatred of his foes--even by the devils in his thoughts. He did not yield, though, not ultimately. As important, he mined the valleys of depression for what riches he could find. He emerged to see life differently from other men, to understand and feel as though he were looking in from outside of human existence. For that is what depression is--a way of seeing and feeling life as though from another, tormented world. This ability to outlast the darkness was one more gift from his mother, and it, too, would shape the brand of faith he eventually made his own. "

So many things to love about this. "...he mined the valleys of depression for what riches he could find." "..the brand of faith he made his own." "...a man who beat back the spirits that came for him in the night."

I guess these are things I'm sorting through as I write this. I'm chasing away the spirits of despair over the gruesome deaths of women and children in Gaza. I'm trying to find and identify my own brand of faith and acceptance of my life, my beliefs. I'm trying to dig deep in my emotional mine to find rich memories of my Justin and my Lucy. I'm searching for strength to face another day with my children--with the hope that I am leading them right.  Happy to see them growing and learning, but never wanting them to grow up. They are so precious.

I'm headed back to my book now (Vic is on a date at the movies with his sister). With a good night's sleep under my belt, I'm hoping tomorrow will be a bit brighter. I will not yield to the devil in my thoughts!


  1. I'm going to have to go out and get that book. Been battling with loneliness for a bit and although its a far cry from the pain you've experienced, I find myself sad too sometimes. You're words are an inspiration to me. It's a gift of yours really, to be able to express yourself so well through words.

    And, my husband bought me a semi-automatic for Mother's Day one year! A FREAKING SEMI-AUTOMATIC! We've had some counseling since!!

  2. Loved this. I think there are so many of us that can relate. Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. Thank you for this. I've been battling with some pretty rough depression myself the last few years - it used to be every once and a while but has morphed into an almost daily battle. I've been viciously fighting against getting medication to help me for years and finally made an appointment to go see a doctor tomorrow to see about options for medicinal help. I feel good about that decision and awful about that decision in equal turns, but reading this has helped remind me that it's going to help me help myself to get somewhere more stable. I needed this tonight. Thank you.

  4. I just loved this post. Your thoughts flowed and resonated with me. I appreciated it so much. I think Robin Williams death and the state of the world is making so many people vulnerable and sad. Love your blog and I truly am so sorry for the losses in your life. And kids are so hard sometimes!!

  5. I need to read that book. I hope you can get some good rest....that makes things so much easier to handle. If it were not for my grandson, I don't think I could find even a smidgen of happy in my life. Don't get me wrong....I have so much good in my life...a wonderful son and daughter-in-law, 4 sisters, nieces/nephews, my BFF's, and lots of other things in my life. But somehow, that little creature who is now 4 brought me to a place where all the cares of the world just faded away when I held him or kissed him. Keep fighting the good fight...you're a mother...worrying and fretting about our kids, life, our marriage, the state of world affairs is part of our psyche....but don't give into the devil and his evil way of trying to get us to despair, to think things are not going to work out because they will. I admire your honesty and the way you can put your feelings into words, which I cannot do. {{{hugs for you today}}}


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