Monday, March 26, 2007

Up Late For No Reason

Why, why, WHY?

I'm done with finals, been done since Thursday.

My kitchen is clean.

There is no work to do.

Haven't had any caffeine this afternoon. Yesterday afternoon, whatever.

It isn't the result of some fit of married-emotion-gone-wrong apoplexy.

And yet, here I am.

I have this vague sense of anxiety, this vague uneasiness. I feel like I've forgotten something, like at any moment my world is going to come crashing down around me and it will be all my fault. Like those forgotten homework assignments a few weeks back - I'll be happily noodling about la-dee-da and all of a sudden BAM! something will hit me and it will be irreversible, and I'll have screwed up EVERYTHING. Or as EVERYTHING as there can be, anyway, when you're living in 500sq feet and paying off a car that is older than your children.

Fran asked me, as we drove along with dozing children in the back of our dirty-plum-colored (and already mentioned above) minivan, what he could do to help me, what TANGIBLE thing he could do. And I couldn't answer him - not really, anyway. "My worries are more vague. We don't have enough money, I don't have enough time. I don't know what to ask you for. You wash dishes, you come home every night and you love on the kids. I just don't know." But he says he feels like he doesn't do enough, like I'm shouldering everything AND trying to squeeze my own dream in there somewhere. Which sometimes seems true, and sometimes doesn't. The fact is that I've got him and that is important. Yes, even if I sit around with my girlfriends and complain that he calls to often and talks about things that are too inconsequential - oh, that must be so much better than the reverse, right?

The feeling of general anxiety that I find on my shoulders now isn't entirely new - it's been something that has hit me, always for no discernable reason, a couple of times a year - just for a day and it's gone. What IS new is the fact that here I am, awake, typing on the computer. In the past I've been too sleep deprived (slept in until 10:30 this morning!) to let this get to me, and have managed to fall asleep right on cue with the kids and let the feelings dissappear along with sleep, the tendrils of unease gradually loosening and eventually drifting off entirely, gone by morning.

The frightening thing is that a few days ago I was walking around in my kitchen and feeling something familiar - something that felt an awful lot like what had rattled around in my head and in my aura (for lack of a better way to state it) during my bout with postpartum depression after the birth of my first. I wanted to say that it was different entirely, but I had caught the edges of it before. Perhaps the best thing that can be said is that having been in PPD and come through it, I can feel the edges of depression now and know them for what they are. I've palpated the mass of this feeling, finding where it blends seemlessly with sleep deprivation here, sticks out sorely from physical cause there, hides itself neatly where I'm scared to poke too hard elsehwere. And I felt its insidious aura, hanging about my core, standing in the kitchen that day. Not like I'd felt it many times this past month or so, as if it was simply present in some peripheral portion of my existance - maybe brushed over too many times by memory and thought about too often lately? - but like it had crept into the same room I was standing in and I could suddenly simply SENSE it there without ever actually seeing or feeling or hearing it slip in.

All this I have been wanting off my chest for a bit now, but sitting here at 2:30am and counting, it suddenly seems more important than the million other things I could write about the last two days (at least three of them interesting enough to rank whole entries of their own if I was in the mood). I do know this - lest anyone actually worry about me - I'll be fine, and I'm not just saying that. My thoughts dull; tiredness is finally creeping up on me, and I wonder if the simple act of getting this down has been enough to proffer relief. A green card into good mental health. Having taken words to my worries, they suddenly don't seem so large..although I'm sure I've managed to go and send at least a couple of you, oh reader-friends, into varying levels of "oh shit Niki is losing it"ness - like I've written some sort of an open letter to everyone "let me know if I start acting like I've disconnected from reality," all blaze and shit like I'm crying for help. Which really, I'm not. I'm looking for something a little more like catharsis, here in the wee hours of the morning, my family rapidly racking up sleep hours that I'm missing; looking for a bit of catharsis, a kind of healthier anesthesia for my nerves.

I'm debating whether or not to post this right now, because it seems pathetic, like I'm splaying open some untoward portion of my emotional innards, the psychological equivalent of plumbers butt - do you really post that on your blog? But for some reason, I feel like the cleansing will be more complete if it is really *out there." Like an advertisment for some sort of sequel to the other bits of ugliness that everyone already knows about me: "Niki - You've Seen the Petty Flaws, Come See the BIG Problem!"

Well, there it is. Niki's Big Problem. As plain as Plumber's Butt, out there in the open.


~L~ said...


This was beautifully written, and much more empathetic than you may have understood when you wrote it. And it makes me worry about you less. It relieves me to now believe you're not subject to suddenly looking around you one day and cracking, when you realize how you've precariously you've stacked your life.

Your payoff, this great gamble of yours and Fran's, will work and I have faith of that. I know you both and I am sure of it. But you'd not be human if the constant mental work you must do to sustain it didn't wear on you from time to time.

You're a mother. That's your primal identity. With that comes a certain worry and concern, whether we want to admit it or not. We all suffer from this to a certain extent, and Niki, you've got more on you than most mothers do.

I like to think of that tinge of depression as a bettery-low light. You've been drained dry from the massive schedule you keep, simultaneous to homeschooling, simultaneous to managing an amazingly efficient household,simultaneous to keeping up small streams of income, simultaneous to actually keeping a social life: You need some recharging, but you're fine.

And you always have the backup you need.

Louisa said...

I echo ~l~, this is what happens at the end of the quarter.
No plumbers butt that I can spy...
You are a master juggler. Juggling better than I might I say.
Rest well, Xx L