I'm teetering on the brink of depression and it's taken me a week to recognize, to name it. I chalked the first couple days up to a combination of hormones and struggling to decide what this non-diagnosis of maybe-autism means for Scooter and me and our family. I recognized the hormonal fog well enough to know I shouldn't make any major decisions right then; the last two or three days before my period tend to find me convinced all my choices have been wrong and that I'm incompetent. But now, several days into my period, I can tell it's a different fog that is threatening.
It explains my utter exhaustion. Sure, I could stand to get a little more sleep, but I know that I would still be tired, bone-tired, defeated-tired.
It explains my wandering attention. I come home and can't do much more than go online or watch television. Grading a short quiz is a chore. Reading for my comps? Not happening.
It explains my continuing desire for chocolate, sweets, carbs, well beyond the usual pre-menstrual window.
It explains the low-grade, but ever-present, anxiety that gnaws at my mind and makes me second-guess everything I do and think.
It explains my inability to write my usual Wednesday fare. How can I write about saving the environment when the world feels like it's ready to implode?
This is not all a reaction to dealing with Scooter's issues, but rather a confluence of factors. A big part of the anxiety for me stems from the limbo we're in. I hate hurry-up-and-wait, and so I tend to make lists and plan and obsess. And as soon as new information comes in, I take those lists and plans and revise and obsess again.
And so I have my list and my obsessions:
- Continue therapies (add social playgroups? behavioral therapy? can we do that ourselves?)
- Wait for official evaluation (will a Canadian evaluation be honored in American schools?)
- Finish comps (but can I actually finish so quickly when they usually suggest a longer timetable, even without the sort of outside responsibilities I have?)
- Move near in-laws next year (but to their smallish city which has overpriced housing and questionable schools but is where I might get a job or to the town about 45 minutes away with excellent schools and cheaper housing but almost no job opportunities for me?)
- Somehow finish dissertation while starting a new teacher-intensive job and parenting one child with special needs and possibly an infant (no question here. That's just plain nuts!)
Even as I write this, I know what I need to do. In fact, writing this is the first step. I am sitting outside, pen (favorite pen) to paper, giving myself the time to indulge in this quasi-journal entry, to enjoy the physicality of writing. And at the same time, I am putting my emotions in black and white so that they no longer sit inside me and squeeze at my heart and lungs.
The next part is to step away from these words for a bit, to focus on being present in the moment. To limit the amount of time I spend each day on these issues. For me, that also means stepping away from the computer or rather limiting how long my laptop is on. Which means I will likely still post several times a week, but I will be limiting my reading and research activities online. I will spend the time that my son is awake on the family--playing, cooking, cleaning, talking. And I will carve out other time for yoga and meditation, a chance to calm both mind and body.
It's all a bit of a balancing act, and I'm searching for that spot in the middle right now.