Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness

Melanie J over at Write Stuff posted the other day about how she can decide on her mood.  She can chose to be in a good mood even when she’d not naturally in one.  I can do that too.  (In fact I believe that most of us can most of the time.*)  And yet today I didn’t.

Today I was melancholy personified.  And when I wasn’t brooding on the inadequacies and unfairness of my life I was short and snippy and occasionally downright rude to my children.

Why would I do that?  I don’t think I’m particularly sadistic or masochistic.  I don’t get anything out of the pain and discomfort of others I don’t like practical jokes for just this reason.  And yet I chose discomfort not only for me but, let’s face it, for my whole family today.

My kids are cute and funny and often they’re sweet and if I had focused on that my mood would certainly have improved.  In fact, I even thought about that a few times.  But I didn’t focus on it.  My house is now cleaner than it has been in months.  Focusing on that would probably help.  I don’t wanna.  I feel like I’ve seen more of Sean, and I know we’ve spent more “quality time” together in the last few days than we have in a long while but I wouldn’t want to let a little thing like that cheer me up now would I?

Nope.

Why?

Because I would really have preferred to be hanging sheetrock than mopping my kitchen floor despite the fact that the floor desperately needed to be done and sheetrock is really a two man job (some sort of lame joke about how a two man job is the same as a one woman job is floating through my head but, I’m not in that kind of mood).  Because Sean and I haven’t spent a night without children since we started having children.  Because I’m tired of not having the money to do the things I want to do and of living in this hole of a house and of being cold (and it’s only October).   Because I haven’t written a good blog post in weeks.

I’m not writing this for your sympathy, nor am I fishing for compliments, really, I don’t want them.  I’m writing this because I can’t figure out why I made the choice I did and I’m wondering if I’m the only one who does this?

I’m writing this because I can’t understand why anyone would chose to be miserable.  And yet, that’s exactly what I did.

*Yes, I know that there are people out there who can not make the choice.  Please spare me your comment about how you deal with depression and it’s hard and I’m an insensitive jerk because I take my relative mental health (if you can call it that) for granted.  I already know that.
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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cheryl
    Oct 25, 2008 @ 20:37:42

    You are sooooooooooooo not the only one. Even though I have that depression stuff, I can still choose to not let it get to me by being physically active. But sometimes I don’t. I choose to be miserable. And I think a lot of us do it every once in a while because the natural woman becomes too much and takes over for a while. Life isn’t all roses and strawberries and bliss and even when we have moments of it, sometimes we’re so sick of MOMENTS and we want LIFE to be roses and it’s so damn frustrating we throw our hands up in the air and just give up for a while because…well…because! We just do. Is it wrong? Maybe. Does it happen everyday? No. So, there you go! As long as you’re not choosing to be miserable EVERY DAY, then I think you’re fine.

    [P.S. I would love to have a book club with you! Let me mull for a bit and I’ll get back to you…]

  2. Kristina
    Oct 25, 2008 @ 22:55:02

    I don’t have to deal with actual depression, but I definitely get in snits, especially when I’m tired, and tend to just be snippy towards my husband. And I could choose to be fine and pleasant, just as easy.

    Honestly, I think it’s just human nature. I always apologize, move on, and try to be better the next day.

  3. Melanie J
    Oct 25, 2008 @ 23:04:11

    I totally get what you’re saying on this, but I do want to clarify that when I said I can choose my mood, I really, REALLY recognize and appreciate that as a gift because sooo many people don’t have that luxury, among my friends and in my family. I don’t take it for granted at all and I hope that I’m still empathetic to others who struggle.

    As for why you would choose to be miserable…I do it sometimes too and I don’t know why other than that I sometimes enjoy my husband’s sympathy. We all have a little martyr in us and outwardly expressing our misery makes it easier for us to elicit that recognition of how much we really feel that we do.

    But I don’t know. That’s just an answer off the top of my head and this is definitely something I want to think about more.

  4. robyn
    Oct 26, 2008 @ 10:08:41

    No you’re not alone. I can stand outside myself on many occasions and growl at my insensitivity. But I continue on as if the world was mine to destroy. Not so much since the kids are all grown, but still kind of like a train wreck. It feels, to me, as if I’d been “playing happy” for so long I just deserve to be honest and miserable. But no one else got the memo and I ruin it for everyone.

  5. bythelbs
    Oct 26, 2008 @ 18:32:48

    I do it a lot. I don’t know why. I guess for me, being miserable seems like it takes less effort, but it’s really much more exhausting in the long run.

    And I don’t think it’s true that it’s been weeks since you’ve written a good blog post. Oh wait, I’m not supposed to be giving you compliments. It’s really been months since you’ve written a good blog post. You suck! There, feel better now?

  6. E
    Oct 26, 2008 @ 19:10:25

    I do it too……exactly once a month.

    (The funny part is that I never pay any attention to when my periods are, so when I start crying over something silly or I’m unable to cheer up when I know I should, I have to call Brent and ask him if I’m about to start and he has to check him palm pilot. The answer is ALWAYS yes. Which should make me feel better, but strangely it never does.)

  7. Lisa
    Oct 27, 2008 @ 01:36:21

    Sorry, but I’m with E on this one. Exactly. I cannot and will not change my mood. Sometimes it’s extreme irritability, sometimes it’s a ridiculous amount of weepiness and sometimes it is self pity. But I just REVEL in it. I sort of hate it.

    The good thing is that I usually know what it is as soon as I start thinking, “What is my DEAL!?!” Then I tell my kids not to worry if I scream at them about everything and nothing, or let Greg know not to be alarmed if I have to tell him 45 times how much I love him or just to please let me cry all day long and don’t ask questions.

    I hope your down time ended and that you’re enjoying the clean house, the sweet kids, the time with your husband and, of course, getting the sheetrock up.

  8. Pink Ink
    Oct 27, 2008 @ 08:59:14

    You’re not the only one, sister. I get into these moods, and usually bring them with me when my husband and I go for our dog walks. I tell him how I feel, and he lets me mope around for a bit, then the tells me to get over it and move on. I mean, he’s not as mean as I make him sound, but I think we all need someone to help us say “boo” to the forlorny mood.

    It’s okay to admit that we want something better from our life and maybe it’ll be the catalyst for us to do something about it.

    I can totally relate to the sheetrock dilemma. I have a lot of DIY projects that I don’t mind doing myself but it sure would be nice to have someone else to help hold up the stuff!

    Hope your week looks up.

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