Monday, January 10, 2011

Trying Not to Enjoy the Silence

Cross-posted and archived from DC Metro Moms.  Original post date January 24, 2008.

Maybe it is the January blues and I'm simply suffering from SAD. Maybe it is the fact that I have hit that glorious year mark of being a work at home mom. A WAHM who is trying to break into the freelance writing world and I look back and think, "WTF?! Have I done anything of note? What the hell do I have to do around here to get a freakin' job already."

When you spend hours of your day searching for work and writing up queries that you know you have no knack for you start to get a little edgy. Then the edginess wears off and you begin to feel downright pathetic and sad. That would be right now. Over here in the corner. Yup. That is me alright. The woman wearing gray and not wanting to comb her hair. This lack of work is making me depressed. I dress my daughter in the bright colors to at least make the effort that, "See, I just like black and gray but my whole family doesn't." Last week the year mark seemed a triumphant moment. I was elated that we had survived. I hadn't gone off the deep end. We financially got by and life was good. Then I felt like a flood overtook me and some fog rolled in and all those feelings just washed away.

I've begun to doubt myself and feel mean. I am an optimist at heart. An idealist to the core. I believe in finding the good in even the tiny details, but lately? Eh. Not so much. Lately, I have let my fears of failure lock me down as a writer and become scared. I feel my sense of worth eroding because I don't have a benefits card with my name on it or a W-2 form to fill out. I am measuring myself by a pay check and while I know it is not right, it is hard to combat that in a society such as ours. When I compare myself to other bloggers and the opportunities they seem to have it does nothing for me but drag me down. Which I know is not right.

In the last few weeks I felt that dark cave beckoning me to come in. To sit for a bit, lay down even and hibernate. To enjoy the silence that pessimism and pity offer. Each day I find it harder to buck up and look for work. To devote time to my book and feel like what I'm doing is actually amounting to anything. Can I say quite frankly that this really sucks? Reality bites and it bites hard right now. The doubt is making me question my decision to stay home and raise our child which I never thought I would. I guess I thought I was above that, but I realize now that I'm not. The fear of failure I had about becoming a writer and breaking out of the corporate mold has warped into a different fear all together. The line, "Who am I kidding, what if I just suck?" plays in my head a lot these days and I don't know how to fix it.

I know that in the tiny room in the back of my brain that houses that little annoying inner cheerleader we all have (just me? I blame my Mom then) there is hope. Work will come. Things will turn around. They always do. Turning down that badly paid blogging job was actually a good idea. Right now though? I'm wallowing and just trying to keep my head up above the waves of failure that keep crashing down on me.


Kimberly said...

I can totally relate, V. Sometimes I feel so lost that I do just allow myself time to hibernate. So far, I've always been able to pull myself out of my funk(s) and get happy again - at least somewhat so.

I used to have the mother's voice cheering positive thinking into my head...but I stomped her ;-)

Reply January 24, 2008 at 03:12 PM holli said...

I swear I think it's something in the air here.. I've been in a funk since we moved to this area. It better change with the weather.

Hugs to you.

Reply January 24, 2008 at 03:40 PM WhyMommy said...

It's just a phase. It's just a phase. It WILL get better, friend. Look out the window -- there is beautiful snow dotting the valleys and the odd sidewalk. Take a walk -- see if you can find a bird to watch, or if the fresh air does actually do you good. (Does it? If so, then my mom was right about that too.) Keep talking about it, and hopefully that will help.

Writing is good. I'm glad you're writing, and I want to hear how things change for you....

Reply January 24, 2008 at 04:44 PM Kim/Hormone-colored Days said...

Vicky- pick up a copy of Anne Lamott's (Sp?) Bird by Bird. She is a fabulous writer and lays out all her fears and self-doubts-very similar to what you're saying- on the page. It will be very reassuring. And keep in mind that perseverance is half the game--maybe more.


Chicago Moms Blog

Reply January 25, 2008 at 06:40 AM nynancy said...

Your post really hit me. Did I write it and just not realize? It certainly could have been me. I feel you. (dating myself, there, I know.) I'm almost at the one-year mark myself, but instead of writing, I've been filling my time with Parents Association stuff, not writing at all, and getting more and more bummed out. I'm tempted to take that soul-crushing paid work just to feel like I'm doing SOMETHING.

I think you are amazingly courageous to write this, and I thank you. Because I think that acknowledging it is great, but realizing you're not (I'm not) the only one feeling this way is even better.

Thanks. And now some advice: wallow a little. Perseverance is all well and good, but sometimes a bit of self-indulgent self-pity works too! Then you can force yourself to keep on writing and keep on going. You've already shown you've got what it takes: to write the truth, and write it with courage.

Reply January 25, 2008 at 07:05 AM Vicky said...

Wow guys is all I can say. Thank you. Thank you so much for all the good and kind words. It has helped a lot to know that I am not alone and not ridiculous for feeling this way.

I've kept up my excercising this week and I've been trying to not let myself get so down. Things may be looking up but it is a moment by moment thing right now. Maybe it is also hormones? I don't know. but I thank you all for your thoughts and words. It is helping.

Reply January 25, 2008 at 09:17 AM Alexa said...


I’ll say the same to you that I said to Stephanie. I am so very proud of you. It's a odd sort of community of folks who share openly their depression - on days they can muster up the courage. And, look at how many have here! I can't do it everyday (and find it's a lot harder on days I might go for a visit to my "psych" as I call my psychologist b/c it's all churned up) and I'm a whole lot more confident online, but you too will make a difference. You'll help put words into what someone is feeling - because it can be such a dark, mind-numbing, expression-stealing state.

Honesty deserves honesty, so I feel like I should return the sentiment to you and Stephanie by giving you the link to read about me. Do so if you want but you’ll see how much like you all I am:

I so understand what you meant about dressing others in color but you being in gray. I not only went to wearing black and gray but I literally disappeared. I took no pictures of myself. I looked in no mirrors. I was nobody. I had no interest in my own reflection because it was empty, but also a little bit I'm sure because it would so pain me to see the girl in that reflection. There was that teeny, tiny smothered voice that MIGHT have said, "Alexa, this is not who you are." Incidentally, that's what my family said when they got me to finally seek treatment. You've convinced yourself that you are the nobody that exists depressed, not the real you with a bout of depression.

So, I'll again pass it on if you'll pass it on: You've done what many others cannot and will not do. And, in doing so, you will change the lives of others.

You should know that your head is a little higher above the waves today even if it doesn't feel that way. I'm very very proud of you.


p.s. When I knew this article was coming out, I stayed in my jammies in my bed and hid thinking, “Oh, my gosh. The whole world is seeing my secrets today.” And, I waited. And response after response was so positive that I got up, got dressed and held my head a little higher. It’s amazing what the difference is between what we THINK people will say and what they will say. The number one thing I heard was, “Oh, my so-and-so is depressed and” – so matter of fact but so hidden! It made me crazy to think how alone I felt when everybody around me could have helped.

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