February 23, 2011 at 11:37 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments


Sometimes, the most mundane of tasks – walking down the hall to make a photocopy, checking a voicemail, even going to the restroom – are impossible. I sit glued to my chair, frantically flipping through web pages looking for a solution, frenetically refreshing my Gmail in the hopes that an email from someone, somewhere, will pop up to save me. I am heavy and limp and tired. I do not want to eat, nor do I want to talk to anyone, especially a colleague who, for whatever reason (mostly imagined), might make me feel worse about myself than I already do.

Depression is the rocks in the pocket of your raincoat, weighing you down, tempting you to dip your toe in the ocean, perhaps walking out further. There are no solutions because you are trapped. Well-meaning suggestions are futile. In the past, I have literally leapt out over this wall: moving to the mountains, ending a relationship, changing jobs (again). The first two are no longer feasible, so of course I am currently fixated on the third.

But, now, I am older and wiser, and despite my outward protestations, I do know that the job is an easy excuse. It’s an immediate target for all of the usual self-doubt, blame, and uncertainty that seem to bubble up from time to time: I’m not smart enough, dedicated enough, focused enough. (Enough, enough, enough… it’s never enough.) It is also all too easy to let the mommy wars suck me in: why am I paying someone else (a great deal of money) to take care of my children? Why can’t my 3-year-old read (if I were home, sounding out letters with her, she would be reading, right)? How can I live with the fact that I see my sweet baby boy but one waking hour of each work day?

Why am I not happy? Why am I not satisfied with what I do have – which is so much? Why am I so negative? And, thus, the spiral of self-hatred begins.

For 30 years – since I was old enough to realize that life can bring prolonged periods when nothing seems to go right – I have been visualizing a roller coaster. A metaphor of life’s sines and cosines. I picture a car inching up a rickety incline, and I tell myself to hold on, even though I know that once I’m back on top, at some point in the near or distant future there will be another drop. It’s physics and calculus – unassailable, hard science. I have difficulty waiting out the troughs, of course. I want to jump start my life. This time, however, I just have to trust that things will get better. Not that they will change, necessarily, but that they will get better.

My internet wanderings recently led me to this post about Bhakti, or self-love. “This is me,” I thought. And I’ve been trying, I really have, to stifle the constant self-hate of whatever chemical, seasonal, external, situational trough in which I find myself as of late. But to turn on some mythical switch and love oneself? I find this almost impossible to comprehend. So I just have to trust.


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  1. Yes, you do. And so do I. And it’s the hardest thing in the world for me to do. I think you evince great wisdom here in realizing that sometimes the outside things that we want to change are only proxies for internal dissatisfactions – and that jumping to a change isn’t the solution. I wish I could help or see you or do anything at all. At the very least, I’m sending my love. xox

  2. Depression is real, depression is debilitating, depression can be excrciatingly painful. Depression is never your fault. The most important thing to know in your heart is that depression can be helped (although it is hard to ask for help when you are depressed.) Be as good to yourself as you would be to someone else whom you knew was suffering. Hopefully, your post is the first step in asking for help. I have found in my own life that when you finally reach out for help, it comes.

  3. K,

    Me, too.

    I am getting some help now, although it is hard to do. But I feel more myself again, less weighted down, less plagued by sad, destructive and anxiety-provoking thoughts.

    Haven’t shared this much with anyone, but am here, anytime for you.

    Love you.

  4. Oh how familiar this feeling is to me! I haven’t even been able to go to yoga for the last 2 nights because I feel like a yoga-fraud! Self-love, ha! Just a little less self-loathing would be nice …

    Anyway, self-love has always sounded a bit creepy to me. And so big a task. Sometimes I just start with a mani-pedi and a glass of pinot gris and see what happens.

    Be kind to yourself. You have a full-time job (as a lawyer!) and you’re a full-time mom. That ain’t a job(s) for punks, my friend.

    Have a good weekend and sleep in!

  5. Here is a mantra that helps me – “I am enough.” I just say it over and over in my head. And it’s true, you know.

  6. Just how much your words resonate with me, especially on days like today, is indescribable! I’m not feeling down for exactly the same reasons, but I think when you throw in the mommy factor it’s so easy to lose our own sense of self identity. I go back and forth with trying to be a little of who I was before I became a mom- but in reality, it’s an impossible task because I will never be THAT person. Now I’m struggling to just figure out how to “do me” while also being a good mother and wife. But like you say, it’s never enough and I’m not happy and thus the self hatred begins. I hope you feel better and get out of your rut. I know you’re not new at being a mommy since you have a 3 year old, but maybe you’re juggling so much that you’re just overwhelmed and not enjoying the moment. Hang in there. You are awesome, you will figure it all out.

  7. Kathryn. You are so smart to recognize these ups and downs and cycles i your life. But please do not forget that this job is NOT easy. The environment and structure of large law firms is not intuitive to a smart person. Everyone knows this, it is not novel. I’m just saying that it could actually be the job that has you in a funk. It sure has me in a bad one – I’m less motivated and more listless than I’ve ever been.

  8. P.S. Let’s get lunch today or tomorrow.

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