I woke up grouchy today. I don't know if it's the mid-winter slump or what, but I've been fighting off an especially intense bout of 'the blues.' I'm finding I need more sleep, healthier foods, and more physical movement to stave it off, but even then it dances at the edges. I've long danced a slow waltz with severe moodiness; it seems strange to say that depression is somehow attractive, and yet that's where I find myself, drawn in, over and over.
I put myself to bed early last night. I felt I was at the end of my rope, energetically-speaking, so I gave in to it and retired earlier than usual. My visiting brother was here, even, but I apologized and excused myself and burrowed under the covers and fell fast asleep.
However, as contrary as it sounds, after I finally give in to the need for some extra zzzzzs, the next morning I'm almost always a little off-kilter. I can never seem to make the transition back to the happy place without a little turbulence.
But I know this about myself, so I'm better able to navigate it these days. I recognize the snarky comments as they rise up in my throat and find ways to swallow them back down (usually). I recognize the ugly feelings about messy bedrooms and footprint-marked carpets and cat hair-covered sofas as they burst into my sleep-heavy head and find ways to coax them back down to a safer place.
Rob and the boys took off to chop firewood today and it is a welcome break. I knew I was going to fight off feelings of irrational anger and resentment, and it's better if I can find my center with a little room to breathe.
I made myself a cup of tea and surveyed the rooms around me. I'd gotten the kitchen to a reasonable state the night before, but there was laundry to fold, wood to haul inside, laundry to do, and a bathroom to wipe down. It's those types of undone tasks that, in times like this, make my fragile emotional state tip very easily from "I'm Feeling Blue" to "Why Doesn't Anyone Ever Pick Anything Up Around Here?"
But because I know this, I can help myself.
I hauled wood first knowing that, even though it never sounds like an enjoyable task, the fresh air, movement, and sunshine (if there is any - harrumph) always does me more good than expected. Then I folded the two laundry baskets because they'd been sitting there for two days, taunting me, cluttering up my space and tipping my emotional scale toward "poor me" every time I looked at them. When I went in to Jonathan's room to put away his clean clothes, I noticed there were dirty clothes on the floor. I picked those up. Then I picked up the books nearby. Next thing I knew, I'd picked up everything on the floor. And as I put away the clean towels, I did a quick wipe-down of the bathroom.
Ahhhh, I can breathe.
Time it took to complete these tasks? About 45 minutes. Amount of time I'd already spent getting pissy about these undone tasks? About 4 hours.
I'd now cleared away enough space for the voices of wisdom to be heard again. It makes absolutely no sense to spend hours getting angry and resentful that these tasks need to be done (and that no one else seems to think so - harrumph) when I could spend a quick 45 minutes to get them done. It makes absolutely no sense to get angry with my family for not reading my mind and instantly changing from what-they're-doing to what-I-think-they-should-be-doing when I can simply recognize that it's me who needs the house to be tidy right this very second.
When Rob and the boys returned with their first load of wood, I was in a much better place to receive them. They poured through the back door, spreading snow everywhere, and Rob rushed in complaining of severe heartburn and in need of ginger tea.
As I made him a cup of hot tea and swept up the chunks of snow, I breathed deeply.
I am back.
All is well again.