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In Which I Let Go of the Blame

ImageBaby S, 4 1/2 months, waking up with Anachrodad.

Today, I’ve woken up with a renewed sense of determination.

I’ve hit a bit of a slump with my depression in the past week or so, triggered by everyday life and made no better by my own outlook. I’ve suffered with the beast for many, many years, but somehow, the telltale signs never fail to sneak up on me; I become irritable, exhausted, lose my appetite, and boom, everything starts to feel like a ten pound bag of suck.

Of course, I tend to be a bit on the critical side when it comes to seeing these things in myself. My sneaky, cold inner critic has an answer for absolutely everything.

Irritable? No, I’m just being a bitch.

Exhausted? Try lazy.

Loss of appetite? Doesn’t stop me from inhaling bowls of sugary, processed cereal when I do feel like eating.

And that is the cycle that leads me to the ‘everything is a spiraling vortex of doom’ feeling – it’s all my fault, and when the string of bad luck the Anachrofamily has encountered lately is closely examined, it probably will be, as well.

But today, in the early morning in my quite house, I realize that it just isn’t true.

The loss of Anachrodad’s job isn’t my fault (note: it isn’t his, either. He simply turned down a weekend shift after working seven days a week for more than a month and a half, missing tons of quality father-son time with Baby S).

Being too tired to keep the house in the perfect June Cleaver ideal that I strive for from time to time is not my fault.

The dryer and television going completely kaput when we aren’t in a position to replace them immediately is not my fault.

The Arctic weather we’re experiencing is also… drum roll, please… not my fault.

It dawned on me over my coffee this morning like some sort of great epiphany: the things that are stressing me most, bringing me to this point in battling depression, are not my fault. How I choose to respond to my feelings of irritability and pessimism is completely my responsibility, but these outside factors are just that – outside of my control.

And though I’ve learned this lesson before, it seems I never stop learning it. This is life; it’s big, it’s scary, it’s beautiful, and did I mention it’s really, really scary?

I can’t fight the things that make me nervous like job loss and broken appliances, and chances are, they’re never going to stop happening. I’m sure many of you reading this can identify with that bottomless feeling in your stomach when something surprising and unsavory happens without a clear cut solution, and just as many of you know that the punches will keep coming.

But so will the good times.

So will the moments stolen with my partner in which I get a tight hug or a real kiss, the giggling of our son when anyone says the words “Oh, banana!”, his smiles when we wake up together, the feeling of not going hungry, the feeling of having a very small but very loving family that we’re thankful to be so close to.

These are the things that make the annoyances and uncertainties look tiny.

These are the things I am choosing to focus on today, while I try to force some of my stamina and vigor back into my routine.

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