Friday, December 24, 2010

In the silence of Wisconsin

I spent this fall in a silent scream. The past two months have been the most emotionally painful of my entire life. These months starred soul-destroying conflict with supporting performances by terror, grief and more hours and dollars than was really reasonable spent on therapy. In the face of all of this, it felt very false to be blogging about amusing baby anecdotes, or the challenges of being a working mother, or a particularly satisfying work-out ... my usual fare. Also, to be honest, I just did not have the energy. I've occasionally felt down in the dumps, but I have never experienced mind-altering depression like these past months. I think in the face of conflict it is important for to examine one's own behavior, actions, ideas... let's say one's own ugly self. I have spent large swaths of time doing so these past few months, an exercise which, if done honestly and diligently, can be very draining and depressing.

A painful by-product of these past few months was the loss of precious time with la cocotte. During the last two months I was completely numb, moving in slow motion under 100 feet of water. Suddenly I have a toddler in front of me who is lively and active, has opinions and WORDS (bateau, soulier, nounou, bebe) and I have no idea how we got from here to there. It is as if someone hit fast forward and I missed witnessing two months of development. It is time I will never get back, and I mourn deeply that lost time. I think I am turning the corner due to various events and thanks in part to my amazing therapist and, also, to give credit where credit is due... to the very hard mental work I have been doing. Things are still very broken in my little world and I don't know the way forward but my moments of clarity are becoming slightly more frequent. And when I focus on la cocotte, I feel something that is perhaps a distant cousin to peace.

So, things are not where I want them to be but regardless I must function again. I have an amazing toddler who needs and deserves my affection and attention. I have a challenging job that taxes my little brain even when it (my little brain) is functioning optimally. My life is happening around me and I need and want to be present for it. I guess this post is largely an exercise in returning to me. To function again. Even if things are far from okay in some very important aspects of my life. I must be present. Now.

There have been some finite, good moments this fall. Now and then, at the end of a hard ten mile run on a crisp wintery day I could feel some of the old normal. La cocotte, as much as I feel I missed out on a ton, has been a source of goodness and sanity. How much do I love watching her accomplish a new task and then turn to me and ask for a round of applause or give me a high five. Mmmmonyka's huge 5 km PB was a very bright spot this fall; helping someone else run fast is a great anodyne to failing to do so oneself. It gave me huge pleasure to read about and be able to follow SLG's pregnancy. Reading about the birth of Karoline's first child. Speaking of pregnancy and children, I decided this fall definitively my own thoughts on having a second child. The thought is: yes, please. I don't know if it is in the cards or not given the difficulties we had the first time around however even if it does not happen, the end of indecision is a wonderful stabilizing force.

This isn't the cheery pre-Christmas post I would have hoped to write. It's an honest reflection of where I am at. But perhaps, in a nod to the season, I can leave off with a photo of Santa claus and Cindy Lou Who Who is not more than two:


  1. Thanks for finally ending the monthlong silence! I know only part of the story, but it sounds like you're coping well.

    I was hoping for a little more Wisconsin than just the title, but I take it you're in Wisconsin for the holidays?

    All is not well until we get some training and racing updates, by the way.

  2. Well, you obviously have one couple who is very concerned for you and your family. I really give you credit for writing about it. I hope hope writing about it helps a little. Sounds like it has been a huge time of change since you guys have gotten back from Italy. From what I know about you, you are a wonderful mom and wife. I wish I were in Wisconsin now to give you a hug and talk and laugh a little :). Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas.

  3. If there's one thing I know, it's depression (if there's two, it's depression and running). I fthere's anything I can do to help, let me know.

  4. fast bastard & SLG - thanks for your supportive comments especially when you guys have so much on your own plates. I am about to go out for a very cold and very hilly Wisconsin run which I dedicate to you guys! (gee [sarcastic tone] what a HUGE honor!).

    steveq- thanks to you also. i feel i have learned a ton about running from you for sure. you wrote an amazing post on depression awhile back, sometime in the spring or summer of this year i think. i cannot easily find it in your blog - do you know the one I mean? it was in the past year where you talked about things one can do to ease depression. could you forward it to my personal e-mail address? thanks a ton!