For the past two weeks I’ve been in a funk. Discontent has been lurking in the background of my days, provoking me at times and fading into mild irritation at others. I’ve been restless, impatient and frustrated, but I hadn’t been able to put my finger on exactly what was wrong. I have a strong history of mental illness in my family and I personally suffered from antepartum depression when I was pregnant with Isobel. Feelings such as these trigger all sorts of warning bells and I don’t take them lightly.
As days went by I very strongly felt the urge to be alone.
That is not easy when you work with 1600 kids eager for attention, and that is not possible when you have a sweet toddler clutching at your knees cooing ‘Mama’ over and over. I pushed my craving for solitude aside and did what had to be done.
Half the reason these feelings were so frustrating is because I’m happy. I enjoy my job and I relish being a wife and mother. I have felt these feelings before but always when I was unhappy. Content people have no business fraternizing with lingering malaise.
Yet the feeling intensified. It crystallized. I could finally see it clearly and I knew what it was.
I wanted to run away.
I didn’t want to go anywhere and I didn’t want to do anything. I just wanted to be alone. The more I thought about it the more it became clear to me. I don’t know if this was triggered by library inventory or the constant effort of keeping things together on the home front or the at times frustrating job of motherhood.
I started reminiscing about high school which, if you know me at all, you know is ridiculous. I’m not going to get into all the gory details of why that time in my life was so fucked up, suffice it to say that it was. It was a fucked up time when I did fucked up things and fucked up things were done to me.
The only I had going for me back then was sovereignty. I had no responsibilities and very little in the way of obligation. School was not challenging. I pretty much came and went as I pleased, said what I felt, and pursued whatever was appealing or interesting in the moment. I had enormous amounts of time to myself to listen to music, read philosophy, and think. I did a lot of romantic, impulsive things. I rarely censored myself and didn’t care about the consequences of my actions.
The longing for that sovereignty reached its peak yesterday when Anthony took me out for lunch. We talked about it and talked about it, and the more I put it out there for him the more my feeling… evaporated. The pressure released. The urge went away. The burden dissolved.
I’m not so naive that I think this is the end of my problems. Baggage like this doesn’t just unpack itself neatly and go away. I feel so much better though, and I think the next step is to look for an outlet to channel these feelings so they don’t get out of hand in the future.
The challenge of motherhood is to hold onto your sovereignty while being intricately tied to the wellbeing of others. I just have to figure out a way to stay connected to myself that’s healthy for me and my family.