Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Funk and Love

Christmas and New Year's are safely over and now I cannot deny that I am feeling a bit like I am in a funk. I read with listless enthusiasm about increasing my volunteering and curbing my spending, and if it only were not so much trouble I might raise my hand. My energy has vanished along with the piped in holiday soundtrack.

I am not normally this blase about life, especially topics and causes that are important to me. Of late though, I have been feeling like the proverbial hamster in the wheel, running and running and getting pretty much nowhere.

It has been a long fall. Hubby has been diligent in his efforts to get in shape and not be one of those awful statistics. Heart disease runs in his family and he is determined to lose weight, lower his blood pressure and cholesterol so he will be a part of this family for many years to come. Rather than stick his head in the sand, much like my current approach to health, he is tackling this head on. Trips to the gym five days a week and healthy eating are putting him on the right track.

So why then is it so hard for me to do the same? Why at the end of the day am I lucky if I have managed to get dinner for the girls, homework done and the kitchen cleaned up. I had a bad sinus infection in November that has not really left it seems. Many nights I cough for hours and only in the wee hours do I rouse myself out of my comfy warm bed to swig directly from the Benelyn bottle. I went to the doctor Monday and the infection indeed was not really gone, instead vacationing south in the area of my lungs. The sleepless nights and general malaise are in a large part due to this on-going sickness. Not enough sick to get me a sick day, just bad enough to render me tired, cranky and useless. Mostly the useless part as I am often tired and cranky.

When is a funk a problem? I am naturally a bit of an anxious person and usually a bit of a downer to be honest. I like order and structure much too much and when I don't have the energy to support that need I feel out of sorts. The doctor much to my dismay did not order me to immediately hop on a plane to a sunny beach with a tonic for my nerves. My doctor was not worried at all about my funk, he was reassuring that once my lungs are better and I am getting some solid sleep (among other things) I will bounce out of this. I want to believe this, that everyone gets moody and sad sometimes, but still it scares me.

Looking back I know for a fact that I suffered Post Partum Depression after both of the girls. On the surface you would have never known it, but deep down I was struggling to remain even keeled - to remain in control. I was very close to asking for help and looking back I wish I did. It was a dark, panicky and scary time and I wish I had the information I have now, the resources I could have tapped into then.

Something that makes me a bit sad is that I am my most best self when I am totally removed from my daily life and grind, like when we are on vacation. Why is that? Why is it so hard to be that smiley, relaxed person in my own home? I don't really expect answers here - no need to panic about a clever and enlightened comment - even though my most loyal readers are truly so clever and enlightened. I just want to feel that light inside everyday.

I know that everyone gets down sometimes and I certainly experienced some terrible post-partum moments. Moments where I was sure I could walk out the front door and never look back. Fantasies of putting the girls into a taxi and sending them to Daddy's office. The thing is these were just moments, one of thousands of moments in any given day. Days that stretched on into infinity day - after - day - after - day. Many of those moments were sheer bliss, some were so deep I was sure I had pierced my core and yes, some so scary I was sure I could not do this another minute. Motherhood is tough much of the time, not always a great place for a thin skinned gal like me.

So this brings me to the fabulous book I am reading which I am sure everyone has heard about, I mean the author has been on Oprah and all, it is Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and I am so loving this book. I am fascinated by someone who just up and checks out of her life on a quest for inner peace. The book is a bit fragmented in parts and she does come across as a bit of a whiner sometimes, still she captures so well the idea of quieting your mind to let in love, specifically God's love. What God it is doesn't matter, it is the idea of creating a space within yourself to let yourself be loved. I want to feel that peace too. I want to be good enough in MY mind to let that love in.

Being hard on myself is kind of my calling card I suppose. I know I can always do better and it bothers me. Today though I am resolved to being nicer to myself, to opening up my heart for more love - from everyone. Call it my New Year's resolution - to love myself more. I can't really think of anything better to resolve.


Anonymous said...

I was once in a bad relationship (but I won't retread over that much worn rambling path littered with my low self-esteem) and asked a friend for some advice about loving someone who did not love himself.

This well-meaning friend said that love is a spiral: you love a person, he will be buoyed by that support and love himself a bit more. He loves himself a bit more he acts better because he feels better. His actions and attitudes will then make you love him more. And on and on, this spiral of love having no bounds.

Now obviously my friend was an idiot who should have said, "you are in an emotionally abusive relationship: GET OUT NOW!" While his scenario proved false in that particular relationship, I think it has merit when it comes to the idea of loving and valuing yourself and finding inner peace.

Give yourself 3 weeks for the medicine to work on your lungs. If you don't feel better: go back to that doctor and ask for more help. If he/she still doesn't think it's an issue, find a new doctor.

You deserve the happiness and peace you seek. What does Mr Jen think of all this? Does he know about the Benelyn? Does he know about the PPD? Does he know how lucky he is to have you?

BTW, I'm a bundle of neuroses on vacation. Honest. I morph into Julie the Cruise Director from the Love Boat: I scheduled fun. Have fun. RIGHT NOW. LET THE FUN COMMENCE. OR ELSE!!!

Take care of yourself.

Beck said...

You know, I ALWAYS get depressed when I have bronchitis/pneumonia/some other fun lung crap. I had no idea that the two things were connected!
Although coughing for hours a night would lead to me feeling pretty blue, too.
Did your doctor check your iron while he was poking around in your lungs? Whenever I start feeling to lethargic to move, it's because I have aenemia AGAIN. It's worth checking because taking iron is such an instant and uplifting cure...

cinnamon gurl said...

I've also been feeling pretty funky though without the lung infection. I think it's the short cold days. And stress, one that isn't bloggable really.

Omaha Mama said...

After my bronchitis/sinus infection/worse sinus inufection/pneumonia bout this winter, I was sure that I was in need of some happy pills (which I believe are absolutely OK for anyone who struggles with depression, etc). Once my lung health returned, even though I'm still not 100%, I felt so much more like myself. I think it has something to do with lack of oxygen to the brain or something. I was REALLY low for a week or two. Hang in there and know that I'll be send lots of positivity your way!!! (Maybe your Hubs could take ONE day off so that you could lay really low and get EXTRA rest?) Ask him.

bubandpie said...

Me too. I just can't bring myself to care about anything right now. It happens to me a lot in January.

Oh, The Joys said...

I am also in a funk... and also loved that book.

Mimi said...

Oh, Jen, I am really moved by this post. You seem really worn out, and in ways I can totally relate to. Those sinus infections are really awful, and one of their symptoms is in fact malaise and general bone-crushing fatigue. Like living immersed in molasses.

Loving yourself is a hard thing to do. Um, it's not all about me, actually, but can I say that this is the same resolution that Pynchon and I came to? That cutting corners on food and sleep and exercise and soul-restoring leisure in favor of haste and ill-preparation and TV and panic was really impacting our life as a family?

I offer you my very best wishes, well, for your loving yourself project. The investment you make will pay trememdous dividends, to everyone.

Jenifer said...

Of course you would say such wonderful things.

ADM-Hubby does know how I feel sort of, I am not particularly great at putting it all into out loud words, but he reads here - and reads me well. As for the Benelyn, I have yet to get even half-way through one bottle so I think I am OK. ;) During my many coughing nights Hubby playfully told me that this is why people drink wine. Sadly, if it is not a Pina Colada on a beach I am just not interested.

I actually feel about a 100 times better already so maybe the medicine is doing its job this time.

As for vacations, mine are horribly over choreographed, but that allows me to relax and be in the moment somehow. I do know what you are saying though, it is like - we didn't go all this way and spend all this money to be miserable, we could done that for free at home! Vacation pressure...the list of stress triggers just gets bigger!

Beck-I do have aenemia and I make sure to take a multivitamin everyday. I also take iron during that fun time of the month. If I don't take them even for a few days I feel rotten. That and B12.

CG-The long days are long...as for stress I suppose we all have something we are up against.

OM-I laughed about the lack of oxygen, but you know it smacks of truth too. I have felt so out of it and while the lack of sleep was certainly a part of it I bet your theory is true too. If I ever want a day off I have many willing resources between my Mom and MIL and Hubby the problem is ASKING for it. I suck at that.

B&P-I think maybe it is a January thing as well, I have heard this sentiment echoed by many friends. Quite a blah month.

Joy-I finished the book last night and can't wait for the next one. Hope your funk lifts!

Mimi-That is so funny that you and Pynchon came to the same conclusion...hooray I am not crazy! Kidding of course. You are so right though when we shortchange ourselves you will ultimately pay the price somewhere.

Your metaphor about the molasses was perfect EXACTLY how I have felt these last few weeks. Like every movement was being done with heaviness.

You guys are all the best. You have lifted my heart. Thank you.

Mad Hatter said...

This post describes me to a T---before my thyroid diagnosis. I look back on that fog now and wonder how I ever saw straight. AD is right. If you don't feel better on the lung medication, go back to the doctor. In the meantime, pick up some vitamin D or a full-spectrum light to sit by. It may not help but it surely won't hurt.

Life As I Know It said...

I could have written a lot of this post! I can so relate. I usually get into a funk through the winter and come out of it in spring...don't know if that helps or not!
I LOVED Eat, Pray, Love. I read it last summer and felt so inspired by it.
Just found your blog today.

Christine said...


i wish you could love yourself as much as we love you, friend.

the only advice i have is to talk to your doctor more if the funk doesn't fade. don't let him/her brush you off if you really feel you need help.

take care.
Running on empty