You seem depressed

September 5, 2014

“You seem depressed,” he tells me.

This isn’t the first time he’s told me this. I think the first time was actually at a time in my life when I was feeling relatively happy and energetic and in control of my life, so I have to wonder – what are the signs of depression he is picking up from me?

Am I depressed? I don’t know. I don’t seem to be a good judge. I am sad about a big work project because it involves cancelling several journals and cancelling journals goes against every librarianly instinct librarians have. I can rage about a governmental and societal system that spends more time talking about supporting education than actually doing it, or about a university system where library budgets are never increased even though the costs of all these online subscriptions rise every year like clockwork, or about the fact that libraries like mine just lay back and take it instead of presenting some sort of unified front that would actually make a difference. But then he looks at me, worried. So rage (even reasonable rage) doesn’t seem to be helping my cause.

I am tired. I’ve been walking into work on alternate mornings, which I love, but it’s a long walk and I have to get up early to get it in. Since I’m pretty out of shape at the moment, both of those things might be making me tired. This is hopefully the kind of tired that comes before having more energy because! exercise! but I think it’s likely passing and not that big of a deal.

I am frustrated. Because he’s still smoking weed like a demented chimney, and while some of the worry is gone now that it’s legal in my state I still hate it when he comes home smelling like a marijuana fire and gives Dot a hug. I want to pull her away from that smell, but he’s her dad so I don’t.

I am also frustrated because he’s her favorite. Mommy’s okay, but Daddy’s really where it’s at. Daddy doesn’t say no. Daddy will always read another story, even at 11:30 at night, but Mommy just wants everyone to go to sleep. Daddy can be convinced to head to Starbucks for a leisurely breakfast in the mornings, but Mommy just worries about being at work on time, at school on time. Mommy plays hundreds of imagining games, but has to stop to do laundry, dishes, cooking. Mommy sometimes says no to invitations to play, which is something Mommy never thought she’d do, but sometimes Mommy is (see above) tired and needs to just sit for a minute, just a minute. Just a quiet minute, please.

I am worried. I am worried because we don’t talk about money or budgets with each other, because he waits until our rent is late to tell me he needs me to pay the rent. Because I can’t pay anything else after I’ve paid for rent and childcare and electricity and groceries and the car payments, and our car insurance is coming due. Because I can’t talk to him about money or he gets sad and turns to self-loathing because he’s not providing me with a castle. Because he doesn’t believe me when I tell him I don’t want a castle; I just want us to have a savings plan so that some day we can have our own house.

I am lonely. We don’t talk much these days, the two of us, which means when we do talk the big things loom bigger. He’s been reaching out – trying to make time during the weekdays to go for walks together and I was enjoying it so much. But now the school year is back in full swing and we haven’t gone for a walk together for a while. If I get at all passionate about current events he looks at me with a sad, concerned gaze and I want to run away. Why can’t I be passionate? What type of emotion can I show without upsetting him? What was I like before when I was the person he could like and enjoy without worrying about? Does being occasionally sad or angry or confused mean that you can’t be a happy person?

I am lonely. My college friends, who are in general my closest friends, all live far away. My friends here are almost all work friends. I hang out with Dot on weekends while he works. I try to catch up on cleaning and shower when he takes Dot out for a movie. I spend a lot of time alone, missing the people who could hear me tell stories and laugh without worrying that I was going to crack.

Am I depressed? I might be. Would this feel different from being overwhelmed by feeling tired, frustrated, worried, and lonely at the same time while holding it together to do my job, take care of my kid, and try to be supportive of someone who really is feeling depressed? I don’t know. I don’t think the amount of overwhelmed I am is actually that uncommon. I do know that not being able to talk about it without N feeling guilty or sad, without him being able to understand that a lot of this will pass, that a lot of it can be fixed if we work on it together, is exacerbating everything. I can laugh about all of this, can feel fairly happy about the prospects of things coming out all right, if I feel like I have a plan, like we have a plan.

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m no longer capable of real happiness since Teddy died. I know I’ve changed, irrevocably, and I’ll be carrying this loss, this weight of love and sorrow, for the rest of my life. I don’t think it means I’m depressed; I think it means I’m different. Maybe I’m broken, and what he’s discovering is that he doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life with someone who is broken even if she thinks she is mostly okay.

Maybe I shouldn’t post this, but I’m going to anyway.




  1. Sending love and “you are not alone-ness” over the ocean. All is different. All is weighty – the good and the sad and the responsibility for happiness and the keeping going. One step at a time. Sometimes a plan is just looking a little ahead of where your foot will land next. Sometimes that is all we can do. (And I am saying that to myself aswell). xxx

  2. Thanks for sharing. I can so relate to not being able to talk about money without him getting upset (and without a productive outcome). And the friends living far away. Sending hugs.

  3. I wish I had an answer. I do think the very idea that this will pass if you work on it indicates that you’re not depressed. I don’t think you need to mix up grief and depression. But that doesn’t mean that whatever you’re feeling–lonely, anxious, tired, frustrated, scared– doesn’t suck. I wish there were an easy fix, but I also don’t believe you are broken. I’m sorry it feels so hard right now. I can relate to the tired and the distant friends and the difficult conversation topics. Sending love.

  4. I’m glad that you decided to post – although unhappy that you are battling through all of this. I recognise quite a few elements of the situations you describe and can see a reflection of them in my own life.

    Just a quiet minute please. I loved playing make believe games with other children, before I was squeezing them in around washing and exhaustion.

    And ‘what type of emotion can I show without upsetting him?’ I feel this very strongly. That my emotions are simply a bore and exasperate my husband, my parents and pretty much anyone else who might be exposed to them.

    I try to figure out how to be happy, try to remember who I was, try to figure out who I might be now. But most of the time I’m just too damn tired.

    Sending lots of love to you and wishing I had some magical prepackaged solutions I could ship out x

  5. I am glad you decided to post too. I don’t know if you are depressed, but it does sound like you have a lot on your mind that you are dealing with right now. Sending (((hugs))).

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