I was doing my morning writing on Friday, writing about how I was feeling so confused about doing things that I need and want to do, this is what evolved as I wrote:
"Is it the depression? It can be so deceptive. I think I'm doing what I want, but it's more like I'm not doing what I don't want to do. Thinking that is what I want but really it is the depression telling me to not want to do anything. It's like it's this thing that holds you back from doing things you want to do, things that will make you feel better. But it convinces you that you don't want to do them. It helps find reasons to not do the things you would normally want to do. It's the physical great deceiver. I guess I just need to start asking myself if this is the depression talking or if it is really what I do or don't want. The depression wants to take control of me and make me do nothing, feel nothing, desire nothing. It is a great black hole sucking life, dreams and desires into it. Counter balancing it is so difficult. I need something just as strong pulling the other direction, but what?"
I started a discussion with my husband about my confusion and he brought up the fact that there is also the child in me that didn't get to experience a lot of childhood and resents that. That some of the conflict that I feel inside is the child wanting to play. So not only am I fighting depression and anxiety, but also a life-long resentment of being a grown-up as a child long before I should have been. This reminded me of a quote in the book Addiction to Perfection by Marion Woodman where she says:
The personal feelings of the adult woman, the feminine ego, may still be locked in the mother. Women who as tiny children had to begin mothering younger siblings, or even their own "dear" mothers, may project this helpless child onto others. Beneath it is considerable resentment because they were never allowed their own childhood and, ironically, resent the responsibility they automatically assume in most situations.
My husband is always encouraging me to do things that I enjoy, to remember to have fun in what I do. This is such a challenge for me. I feel like it is so wrong to do something that I enjoy while there are things to be done for my family, home, etc. I realize that there will always be things to do, but I have a bad habit of telling myself that once I have this done or that done, then I can take some free time to do what I want. Of course, I never do that, I always start on the next thing to be done.
I feel so guilty if I do something strictly just for me. Over the years I have completely lost myself. In Addiction to Perfection, there was one small line that caught my attention, it is this, "The child will unconsciously give of its life to try to fill the need in the parent. . . ." As a child, I did that, I tried to fill the needs of my mom. As an adult, I am trying to fill the needs of my own family. What my husband was trying to tell me is that I also need to "fill the needs" in myself.
And how do I do that? Pay attention to what I am feeling, when I am feeling resentment, it is the child in me wanting to play. When I feel like I don't want to do anything, fun or otherwise, it is the depression. What I learned, or it may be more appropriate to say re-learned, on Friday is that when I am feeling conflicted inside, it is because I am not listening to myself. The counter-balance I am seeking is as simple as this: taking a little time to parent myself and see when I need a break, rest, playtime, fun, etc. I do that for my kids, its about time I started doing it for myself.