I’m not really a risk-taker. I don’t really engage in things I can fail at; in fact, I’ve never really failed at anything. All the things I do- whether or not they challenge me- I do knowing that my chances of failing are slim. I write because I love it…and because I’m good at it. I edit because I’m in love with the written word…and because I’m good at it. I played soccer and flag football because I love the games…and because I’m good. I’m a stay-at-home mom because I love being with my family and kids all the time…and because (even on the hardest days) I’m good at it. I just don’t do things I could seriously fail at or, if I do, I stop before the failure and end it on a high note. I’ve never worried about failure because I’m very discerning and passionate about what I undertake and work hard to achieve what I want.
I haven’t really challenged my body, mind, or soul in ages. Yes, I’ve moved across the country without a job and barely knowing a soul. Yes, I write for two online publications, edit for one, am working for a really cool new project (CatholicInbox– check us out!), and have edited two books in the past year. I play a mean defensive end on the flag football field, too. But Ive also dropped out of grad school because I wasn’t passionate and became bored. I quit a direct selling company for the same reason. I haven’t played flag football or soccer in years. I only minimally play my guitar and I haven’t sat down at a piano in almost two years. And while marriage and child-rearing are insanely difficult and are things I worry about daily, I don’t look at them as something to accomplish, so they’re in a completely separate category. I become bored so easily. I recently, finally, finished the first draft of a novel I’ve been working on for almost a decade. You’d think this accomplishment would light a fire under my ass to finish it and maybe even pitch it to a publisher. But now I’m just tired of it and rationalize with thoughts like, “It’s better as a short story anyway” or “It was just a cathartic writing exercise.” This is why I don’t have any books published yet. Maybe that’s when the depression started to settle in.
My mom passed away almost 8 years ago now. That’s probably when I really started letting depression get a foothold, but not for the reasons most would think. Of course, I was (and am) sad she was gone. Of course, my world was completely turned inside out and upside down. Of course, I was angry and didn’t understand why God just had to take her right then (I still don’t). But I was also able to praise God for the gift of the time I did have with her, for the person she still is, and to be grateful for the promise of heaven- an eternity with her and my Lord. I actually felt almost freer when Mommabear passed. One less tie to consider before making a decision, before doing….
That’s when the depression started to seep in. I didn’t have to care so much anymore, I didn’t have to challenge myself anymore. The only risks I took were ones I chose to and ones I didn’t care about failing or not. Even emailing my husband for the first time (we’re a Catholic Match success story) was an easy risk- I wanted him to respond, but if he didn’t, I could live with that. I wish I had that attitude towards all risks. But I don’t. I’m far too anxious and weary for that. I’m also melancholic, so over-analyzing is my forte.
The depression and anxiety are worse now that I have people to care about and for. All of my decisions and actions have to be made and done with the goal of improving all our lives, not just mine. Some days, my life feels claustrophobic (a phobia I actually live with) and most days I’m so weary, not just physically but emotionally and mentally and spiritually. A lot of times, I feel like I need an inhaler to jump start my interior life. I get why the Lord tells us to cast our worries on to Him (cf. 1 Peter 5:7)- it’s crushing to bear this alone.
The days, I find I’m growing weary of being weary. I feel like the enchanted castle servants in Beauty and the Beast– flabby, fat, and lazy. I need something to kick start my rock ‘n’ roll heart. So, I was invited to the wedding of a friend I haven’t spoken to, really, in ages in St. Louis and I’m going to go. Make me put myself out there again. Hopefully, start to realize that caring for people isn’t as claustrophobic as it sometimes feels, that it can be more freeing. Balance that with knowing that all those people I care about- my family- belong to God anyway, that I belong to God anyway, and stop living in the fear of failing them or losing them, and I should be ready to start living again.
I’m weary of growing weary of live. Maybe I’ll join a flag football league or start training on obstacle courses. Or get that book published.