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Monday
Jun172013

Slow Burn

I am filled with self-hatred. I know it's all the rage to pump up yourself, and hopefully others, with a blog post featuring beautiful photos and Stuart Smalley self-affirmations but I feel like being bitchy. Feel like being bitchy? I imagine Serge thinking as he reads this. You are bitchy.

You make me bitchy! I think right back at him.

I make me bitchy.

Everyone makes me bitchy.

I try to smash my self-hatred into the corners of my mind, especially where my children are concerned because I don't want them to feel like me when they're adults: a shell of a person, someone slowly suffocating herself with a constant internal dialogue outlining all the ways in which she sucks. But I'm probably fucking them up a million ways to Sunday that aren't to be realized until a 17-year-old Violet reveals them to me in a tearful barrage after I won't let her go to Mexico for her senior class trip.

I am not depressed in the traditional sense. Overall life is really good aside from those 3am wake-ups wherein I itemize every bill that needs paying and then move onto ruminations on the cancer I probably have and what happens when we die. This is more of a slow burn, the fire ignited many, many years ago. At birth, probably. Guilt, hatred, anger. They're like a pack of those annoying yappy dogs, Chihuahuas, constantly nipping at my ankles.

Each meal I stuff in my gaping maw brings a side dish of self-contempt because I usually overeat, continuing to shovel it in even when I am full. Swallowing beer means swallowing guilt. Each episode of The Real Housewives viewed is a syringe of shame injected directly into that big fucking artery in your arm, the brachial, I think.

Same thing when I buy those goddamned magazines and fill my head with a bunch of useless celebrity information: all the celebs are too fat or too thin, on their way to the top of the heap or free-falling into the gutter and I stuff that in my big, stupid face along with a shame bag of Doritos.

Amanda Bynes did what? Has Kim Kardashian announced her baby's name yet? Nigella Lawson's husband choked her in public? Michael Douglas says he got cancer from oral sex? Do I really need to know this? And I kind of want to swallow the cool steel of a revolver and put myself out of my misery but then I have another beer and tell myself the entire world is this way and what kind of fancy pants am I to turn against the tide? Am I one of those "We don't own a TV?" people? Hardly. I've got three of 'em. And DVRs to match. I can watch all of the things all of the time. Society needs me to do it. Someone needs to sound the alarm that signals Teresa Guidice and her husband Joe need to be put out of their misery. And by that I mean stop casting them in the series. Or someone could cut their brake lines. Either one is cool.

My mind is full of unnecessary nonsense, celeb statistics coming out my ears and yet I do nothing to remedy the situation and that causes the most shame of all. No, wait. No. The most shame is caused by the hours I spend on my rapidly expanding ass sucking down nonsense on the Internet. I once spent an hour reading YouTube comments in horror. Are these people for real? They are walking among us? They should also be put down like tumor-riddled elderly dogs. Guidices first and then anyone who ever left a racist, homophobic, hateful YouTube comment. After reading the YouTube comments I had to spend an hour cleansing my soul by watching people with cochlear implants hear for the first time and then there went my whole Wednesday.

Don't even get me started on my CNN obsession. News is just as bad as a trash mag addiction. Worse, probably, because we've generally viewed news as respectable, okay, not respectable, but it's generally considered to be a rung or two higher on the journalism ladder than E! News but I'll be damned if CNN isn't Entertainment Tonight only instead of featuring the latest Hollywood noob they're featuring the latest political douche. Also? do I really need to know about all of the bad things all of the time? Give it a rest, CNN, is what I'm saying.

The whole world is making me bitchy.

Basically I have the tortured part of the whole tortured artist thing down pat. It's the artist part that escapes me.

Know how people do all that spring cleaning and throw away all the shit they've been hoarding in the dark nooks and crannies of their homes? I want to do that with my body and mind. I want to puke it all up like a bad dinner of shellfish at a questionable restaurant. Hours and hours of heaving until I am weak but relieved.

Except I have no willpower. Probably I am trying to fill a void with all of this shit. What void? I dunno. Doesn't everyone have some kind of void at least some of the time? Are we all fulfilled all the time? If you say yes you're a liar.

Tomorrow: beautiful photos and self-affirmations, I swear! Okay, fine. One completely, totally life-affirming photo to tide you over:

Reader Comments (50)

I love your honesty. I can relate to a lot of it. We do all have voids that we try to fill in one way or another.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGrace Miler

You are indeed depressed in the "traditional sense" (traditional depression taking many forms). Realizing your life is good but not being able to enjoy it, and being too all up in your own head is as "traditionally" depressed as it gets. I don't know what the answers are for you (if there even are any), but as this is an ongoing problem, and one that will affect your kids eventually, I'm going to echo the suggestion made by others on past posts that are similar to this one: think about seeking out some therapy, if you're not already. This isn't a "OMG!!!! YOU'RE SO EFFED UP, GET YOURSELF TO A SHRINK AND ON SOME MEDS STAT. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!?!?!?" suggestion. This is an "everyone's doing it, it seems to be helping them, maybe it can help you too" suggestion. Just putting it out there.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJ

This is EXACTLY how I thought and felt for years and years--until the age of 32, when the right therapist with the right diagnosis (OCD, the obsessive thinking kind) prescribed the right medicine (Luvox). My life has completely changed for the better. Don't get me wrong--I'm still all kinds of cynical and listen to plenty of Morrissey. But the internal dialogue, the one that never stopped but I couldn't smush it to the sides of my head, is much quieter.

I did this for myself, my own little Henry, and my future. I hope you can find some peace, too.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlissa

When I read the first part of this post there was a small part of me that wondered, like a previous commenter, that perhaps therapy might be beneficial but as I continued to read I changed my mind because really, you are commenting on this specific period of life - this period of life in raising small children and it is SO HARD and sometimes you don't have time to do something meaninful like read Anna Karenina or go to the latest art house film but what you do have time for is some easy junk food and Real Housewives. But then, the guilt! Because life is short and we are all going to die someday! I'm watching the marriages of my friends with small children fall apart - like actual, real divorces happening - and it's heartbreaking. Maybe just finding a way of letting go of some of the guilt would be helpful? I don't know. But I do know all of these blogs written by mother's with stunning instagram pictures and talks of constant fulfillment aren't true - and are just another way for other women, perhaps without cable, to fill their void. So, anyway. You've created a real space here that addresses real issues and I for one am glad to stop by and recognize some of the stuff going on in my own mind instead of Instagram and bible quotes.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney

I don't mean to be offensive - but do you find yourself feeling like this about once a month?! I'm only asking because I realised recently I have PMDD. Some people take low dose SSRIs for the two weeks leading up to their period and it works a charm. Taking it part time reduces side effects and dependancy too. I recommend reading up about it if you have an inkling that could be the problem - it can be a lifechanger.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRose

You are so Good at putting Totally Normal thoughts into Words, keep up the writing.

But then I guess that is what your career was/is.

Love Ur Family !

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterUtah L

Do something for someone else, for free. Something that they need, that you can provide out of kindness. Help someone out to help yourself out of this quagmire of pop culture shame. Volunteer to read to kids at the library (gives a bunch of moms some time to breath or go to the bathroom), grow some onions and such for the food pantry, volunteer at the animal shelter, anything to provide something beneficial to the world!

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterali

Thanks for the suggestions... But, you guys. I enjoy life plenty. I don't think I need meds. I've explored the option several times in life and it isn't for me. I feel like meds are waaay over-prescribed. Are we all supposed to be happy all of the time? I don't think so. Shit, I'll take 60/40. Even 50/50 would be a full life. What is your happy/sad ratio? Sadness is okay! So is a busy mind. I don't write this out of depression, mostly just out of observation of my brain and life and the way it is, for me anyway. It's okay to be sad, it's okay to be freaked out by life and it's okay to talk about it without feeling like you need to take some pills pronto and be happy already. The self-hatred part is another story. That's a therapy thing and I'm working on that...

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Who...

You are depressed. Deeply depressed. Like possibly dangerously depressed. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Oh John. Good lord. What kind of comment is that?

@Rose - I am having real difficulty every month. It's getting worse so I'm looking into that!

@Ali - Excellent suggestion.

June 17, 2013 | Registered CommenterThe Girl Who...

I almost hesitate to comment because I"m just a gal who has read your blog for a few years. I don't know truly know you and stand nothing to diagnose you as depressed, or whatever. I like your writing; you are "real". And, I agree that meds are way over prescribed. BUT....50/50, Happy/Sad Ratio??? Really? That makes me sad for you, Monica. We all have sadness - and that can be good - but being sad half the time? There IS a problem with that. Everyone's ratio changes based on life circumstance and seasons of change, but why settle for being sad every other day....or 50% of the time? Life isn't 100% happiness, no, but it can be so much better than that.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Just sharing my experience, sorry. As I said, I hope you find peace however you see fit. That's all.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlissa

@Melissa - I didn't mean to imply my ratio was 50/50. I was just saying that if my sad/happy ratio hit that point it would still be a full life. Generally speaking I probably hover at a 70/30 ratio, with the bad days clustered around PMS... but, as you say, emotions are a hard thing to quantify as they're constantly in flux.

@Alissa - Hey, no! Don't apologize. I appreciate the comment and your experience! It just troubles me that every time I even hint at sadness I get told I should be on pills. I appreciate what pills have done for so many people but the seeming constant need to tell someone observing the ups and downs of life they need to be on pills alarms me. Not that you did that, you just shared your own experience. My response wasn't to you, necessarily, but to everyone already suggesting pills. If I was sad half the time for several months in a row I might look into something like you're talking about. My bigger problem is the self-hatred... and the Mormon-induced guilt over every damn thing I do.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Who...

Ooh I can so relate, especially to the part about feeling bitchy, and then I'd escape via celebrity news and over-eating. It started to feel really....gross for lack of a better word.

The two things I did that worked for ME (as in not saying you should do either of these) were: a) I took up running. I can honestly say it has saved my life and probably my marriage, and it helps me feel better (rather less hideous) about my body and b) I got my hormones checked. Oh yeah, they were WAY out of whack because I started peri-menopause early, at 41. Once they got balanced (my naturopath prescribed bio-identicals) everything got soooo much better. I don't feel so irritated by everything. And I don't want to kill anyone! Yay! ;)

So yeah, it's totally normal to have mood swings and good days and bad. You'll figure out if or when it's time to do something different, and then you will. Because you're smart like that.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKate

@Kate - I had such a good exercise routine going and then I just lost it. Which, more guilt!

June 17, 2013 | Registered CommenterThe Girl Who...

"I kind of want to swallow the cool steel of a revolver and put myself out of my misery, but then I have another beer and tell myself the entire world is this way."

No it isn't.

My dad kinda wanted to do that, and he would swallow beers and tell himself the entire world was that way. And then one day he blew his brains out with a deer rifle.

His brother kinda wanted to do that, and he swallowed some beers, and one day he drove his truck into the canal, leaving a wife and 8 children.

Their mother kinda talked about ending it all every now and then, and one day she drowned herself in her bathtub.

I am not going to try and diagnose you. But no, the rest of the world doesn't think about swallowing revolvers and chasing the thoughts away with beer.

People have down days. Down periods in their life. 50/50 is not a normal percentage of happy/sad days. And it sounds as if you have considered that revolver on more than one occasion. That's pretty disturbing.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLynn

@Lynn - Sorry about your family, that's truly devastating. But are you familiar with my sense of humor? Because I have never, not even once, considered swallowing the cool steel of a revolver in the same way I don't really hope anyone assassinates Joe and Teresa Guidice.

I also actually think a 50/50 happy/sad ratio for a mom of several young children, especially in the winter months, is perfectly acceptable in life. We've all been trained to think we're supposed to be a bunch of happy, grinning grinners all the time and that just ain't the case. Telling people that being sad, feeling so-so or confused and put off by the ways of the world is "disturbing" is a huge disservice to them. Not everyone expressing these feelings is depressed or needs pills. I have experienced people with depression and that just ain't me. Naturally bitchy, yes. Over-analytical, yup. Victim of Mormon-induced guilt, check! But clinically depressed? Nope.

June 17, 2013 | Registered CommenterThe Girl Who...

Okay then.

Guess I didn't realize you were trying to be humorous there.

My bad.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLynn

I was just telling my sister-in-law the other day that the years from 2003 to around 2008 (corresponding to the birth of my first child until the time my second was around 3 years old) were a complete blur to me. And that they were the worst time of my life. I mean I love my kids and all, but the constant demand on me from all angles (plus the mommy-guilt) was just too much.

I'm so happy that I can say - with no guilt at all now - that I don't ever want to re-live that. There's too much pressure put on mothers in the US these days. I guess the thing that changed for me is that now my kids are older and I can see that my kids are growing up into decent human beings, I feel like I can step back and not be "perfect" anymore.

Best of luck in your journey to embrace imperfection. I'm convinced that's what we all need to do. ;)

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSara

@Lynn - Did you really believe I was deeply depressed and suicidal when I paired the revolver quip with awaiting Kim Kardashian's baby name or discovering Michael Douglas' claim he got cancer from oral sex? Because if you really thought I was suicidal there I'm thinking this isn't the blog for you.

@Sara - If I could thumbs up this comment eighteen times I totally would. :)

June 17, 2013 | Registered CommenterThe Girl Who...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. You just made me feel not so lonely and a wee bit more acceptable as a human!

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGina

Depression takes so many different forms that saying you "know some people" who have been depressed and "that's not me" is disingenuous. To clarify: When I made my earlier comment, I didn't necessarily advocate for meds. I come from a family of medicated people, and meds absolutely have saved their lives in various ways. So, I'm not necessarily against it. But I'm not on the pills, having instead chosen to deal with my shit (we all have it) with therapy and modifying my reactions and behaviors based on what I've learned in therapy. I think therapy is great. It's hard work, sure, but you get to sit around and talk about yourself in an environment in which you're not judged--and who doesn't love that? Mostly, the gift of therapy is not just what it does for you, but also what it does for other people in your life. Living with someone who is depressed/anxious/down/overly self-judgmental/etc. is EXHAUSTING. So, go talk to someone. It'll be good for you, good for your marriage, good for your kids and good for pretty much your whole life. I know from what I speak. As does everyone else in my mostly 80/20 (sometimes 90/10, formerly 50/50) life. Therapy isn't a punishment. Or a judgment. Any more than getting a tuneup for your car is a judgment or painting your kitchen is a punishment. It's routine maintenance.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJ

yup I agree with Sara and Courtney, and I think all world put so much pressure on mothers or maybe we, women put so much pressure on ourselves and I could add sth about men these days but this is another story, don't start me talk about this :) anyway thanks Monica, I'm not lonely and you're not lonely with those every days adult shit, and this is so me too: " Naturally bitchy, yes. Over-analytical, yup. Victim of Mormon-induced guilt, check!" except I'm Catholic but I know what kind of "guilt" you talk about... cheers!

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteranajo

@J - You're totally right, that was disingenuous of me. I got defensive when I was accused of being "deeply depressed" as a result of writing this post. What I meant was I don't think my occasional sads are any big shakes in comparison to some of the stuff I've seen family and friends deal with but yes, depression takes many forms.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Who...

Wow Monica, I admit to not getting the humor, and then you have to come back and essentially call me a dumb ass in a passive aggressive way. Yeah, you're right, this blog isn't for me. But carry on with whatever point you are trying to make with these kinds of posts. I used to read you, and then the repetitiveness of "do I drink too much, I don't think I drink too much, am I crazy, maybe I'm crazy, maybe I'm depressed, no I'm not depressed" started being depressing to read, and whenever anyone would suggest something that might help you jumped on them, so I stopped. Saw your name pop up today and thought I'd see how things were going. Was concerned about what I read (and guess I am so stupid I misinterpreted some of it), and threw out a few thoughts, but yeah, sorry. If you think 50/50 is a perfectly acceptable ratio of happy/sad for a mom with small kids, good on you. I'd never be satisfied with that, but to each her own. Over and out.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLynn

@Lynn - Is a point required for a blog post? I didn't realize that. I'm going to have to delete a good 80% of this blog. If it's depressing and repetitive, don't read. I can list off twenty blogs so gloriously sunshine-filled it'll hurt your eyes. The rough edges of life have totally been sanded into non-existence. You can head over there and applaud someone's complex craft project or amazing walk in the park, fifty photos included and then congratulate yourself on your amazingly high happiness ratio.

Sadness is as much a part of life as happiness and if I express sadness, guilt, or anger in my own humorous way and am then immediately urged to take meds or crassly told, in horrifically brutal detail, about the suicides of others as some kind of warning about my "disturbing" happiness ratio, I just might react. Leave a comment that doesn't sit right with me and you just might get a response that doesn't sit right with you. It ain't a one way street.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Who...

Monica, I love your honesty too. Sometimes I think though...if she's filled with such self doubt...then holy hell! lol Seriously though, I know we all have our moments no matter how smart, funny, cool, beautiful, thin, talented, funny, insightful we might be and you, btw are all of those things. The media does zero to reinforce a positive self image. It is designed to make us chase the unattainable while feeding us the dark side of it in order to quell that inner voice. And we're left chasing our tails. I used to read all those magazines and watch the Entertainment Tonight stuff and it just brought me down (I'd pursued acting/music careers pretty much fruitlessly) and then I decided to just kind of ignore the Hollywood toxins for a while and go back to it in small bites when I'm ready. Sort of a low celeb diet. I highly recommend it. I feel better.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterelleroy

And you're acting like a b*tch. Knock it off, and step back from the computer. Your "humor" obviously didn't come through to everyone, so people are expressing concern. They're not BAD or picking on you for doing so. You don't want the concern? Don't joke about blowing your brains out in a post where you talk about being depressed.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLynn is right

I feel bad for Lynn. I hope she didn't read that last response from Monica.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEleni oconnor

I completely disagree. I didn't read anywhere where Monica talks about how depressed she is. It felt like normal observations of stuff we all deal with on some level. The stuff about the gun was obviously a joke and then Lynn swoops in and starts talking about people blowing their brains out and how disturbing Monica's post is. I'd react the same way.

Glad you're back blogging, Monica! Hoping for more vacay pictures!

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGemma

Fellow blogger here who has been reading from the New York days and I'm actually curious what people want when it comes to bloggers? Someone said Monica has a cycle of writing depressing posts but isn't that the cycle of life? Happy, sad, good then bad? That's why I read here. It feels real. I can relate. It isn't some happy bullsh!t contrived to make the blogger appear to be amazing and me feel like crap, which is what most blogs are these days if they aren't filled with sponsored posts every other day.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

My mind works freakishly similar to yours. Oh my gosh I thought I was the only one who did the cochlear implant video thing. Before that it was military soldiers home on leave surprising their loved ones!

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterColeen

I actually attack the concept of happiness.
I don’t mind people being happy - but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness.
It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying 'write down 3 things that made you happy today before you go to sleep', and 'cheer up' and 'happiness is our birthright' and so on.
We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position - it’s rubbish.
Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are.
Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much.
Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say 'Quick! Move on! Cheer up!'
I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word 'happiness' and to replace it with the word 'wholeness'.
Ask yourself 'is this contributing to my wholeness?' and if you’re having a bad day, it is.

-Hugh Mackay, psychologist and social researcher

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermr

@Hugh - Thank you a thousand times for this comment. This is what I've been trying to say. My life is a pursuit of wholeness, which includes happiness but is not limited to it.

June 17, 2013 | Registered CommenterThe Girl Who...

Monica...I'm gonna throw my two cents in the batch. I can so relate to your post on how I was through my twenties and early thirties. For me, it took a self help group to come to grip with the demons that made me feel like this,

See, I had a hole inside on me that needing filling, but I was feeling it with the wrong stuff. I tried the external stuff, had lots of it, enjoyed it, but still, something was missing. I found out that it was self love, self assurance, and quite a few other things that only I could work on. No one could do it for me. I also learned that it was quite OK to screw up, I am who I am and what I am and I don't owe anybody but myself an explaination on that. The Guilt, HA, raised Catholic here. "If you don't call your Grandma today, she might die tonight, then how would you feel?" So forth and so on.

Happiness is only one emotion, no one feels that all of the time. I love the feeling of being Serene, and Calm also. Hell, I like and strive to feel a lot of emotions.

God, I could go on and on but won't. If anything I said makes sense and you would like more input, just let me know. You will figure it out girlfriend, we all have to if we want a peaceful tranquil life (most of the time) Lol. Don't get me wrong, bad still happens, shitty days are still felt, bitchiness still exsists, but I feel that now that I have some control over it and how I want to express it.

Hugs to you.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

I thought you were serious, too. There's nothing funny about the way you presented that revolver line, and it's inconsistent with the humor of the rest of the post. Lynn was just suggesting that if you were serious, then it was not a normal feeling and you should look into further. She wasn't rude in any way, and so maybe you should step back, attacking and belittling someone with the audacity to simply show a bit of concern for your well-being.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteranon

Keep writing and sharing your range of emotions Monica. They're totally normal and make a lot of us feel not as isolated for having the same feelings.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBri

Just an observation: You categorize these posts under "Depression."

Moving on, burning insidious self-hatred isn't that hilarious although I totally get the inclination to couch and try to mitigate it with sarcasm and humor. And like childhood defensiveness the aforementioned sarcasm and humor have served you well--you're funny and people like funny. But it's a coping mechanism for sure and those fail us eventually if we don't get to the root of it. The humor/sarcasm starts to sound and feel like bitterness to the people around you, probably those that love you the most. Or, maybe they do the same..
Neither self-hatred nor depression (if you want to distinguish the two, which, arguable) are things you need to medicate with pills but they also aren't things everyone deals with or more importantly chooses to live with. Most people, at some point, are forced into a kind of humility that makes them ask for/seek help whatever that help may be because feeling the way you describe in this post becomes intolerable. The belief that you can just manage it yourself--figure it out by thinking about it enough, in my experience, is bullshit and kind of the height of hubris. We all need help with our crap, Monica. And yes, sadness is a part of life one needs to learn how to feel and not be afraid of..chemical /hormonal misery/being a dick--most of all to yourself--that occurs monthly--not so much.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterE.

@E - Point taken. My point is simply that self-hatred is not a depression, it's a personality trait developed as a result of my childhood. I use humor because it's an awesome coping mechanism for just about anything that occurs within life and I'm not sure I agree with you that all coping mechanisms eventually fail us. They help us cope. I hope I'm laughing about the hard, scary sad stuff until I'm dead while also working through them in a rational, intelligent manner. But it's the laughing that enables me to confront them. Generally speaking, I feel really good about life and can balance the self-hatred with a fair amount of self-confidence in certain things but choosing to share how overwhelming navigating all the bullshit can sometimes be shouldn't immediately spark the calls of depression and get on some pills already you're a suicidal mess.

June 18, 2013 | Registered CommenterThe Girl Who...

You know, I've really been thinking about this post/comments, and happiness, and what that looks like for everyone.... We even talked about it as a family last night. Happiness "levels" are different for every person, every family, every situation. Maybe you really are happy with a 50/50 life, many of your commenters here and on FB agreed! It surprised me, but maybe I was off base. I'll concur, maybe that's not abnormal or indicative of depression.

But, I think that it's also important to point out that, in our family at least, I think a lot of 'happiness" comes down to choice/frame of mind. If we are not suffering from a chemical imbalance causing depression, than why not just make the choice? Choose to be happy! Choose to be grateful! Choose to be content! I have two teenagers and two toddlers. Even on days where my oldest is throwing a teen sized fit about something, and my youngest is peeing his pants every 30 minutes, when the money doesn't seem to stretch as far as it should, when my husband says something dumb, when the laundry is piled high, I can still CHOOSE to be content with my life. I can be thankful for all of this crazy chaos and this life I've been given. Even when it doesn't "feel" happy, I can choose to see past the up/down/up/down ratios of the day to day and remember that I *am* happy with our lives. And, don't think I am exempt from guilt, or self loathing, or any of that. I'm not. BUT, I can choose to listen to the guilt, to the baseless accusations that say I'm not good enough, OR I can choose to listen to what my family, what my kids, what my friends say about me. I can choose the truth.

Anyways, Thanks for inspiring the "happiness" conversation with my kids and family last night. IT was neat.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Self-hatred is not A depression, but it's certainly a component OF depression. It's also not a personality trait. It's a FEELING and believe me it's one I experienced for years...it's one many many many people I know have experienced for years and many still do. But some have worked through it. I did. It was incredibly hard, it was soul wrenching at times. Also totally worth it. Here's what I know: I use to feel like you describe. I don't anymore. I feel peaceful (which is the opposite of self-hatred as opposed to self-confidence) and I love myself and I get that isn't nearly as funny to read about but I promise you it is a MUCH preferable way to live. It also by no means is to suggest life is perfect, without deep sadness or that I don't still just have crappy-ass days. I do. But I don't hate myself anymore. And I guess I'd just say that as far as coping mechanisms, it's depends on your definition of success/failure. Success to me=not feeling guilty all the time, not having a running commentary of reproach and judgment about most of what I do and think and say and feel. Imagine watching the RHONJ (and good God do I) and loving every awful second of it and not feeling disgusted with yourself afterwards? I know, it sounds impossible! But life is full of miracles.
I can also clearly see the great joy and love you have in your life--none of that is lost on me or would be on any regular reader with the slightest amount of sensitivity. I still say you're way too smart not to know posting something under the category of depression in which you talk however humorously about offing yourself and opening comments is going to bring EXACTLY the calls you say it shouldn't. You've been doing this too long not to know...and it can feel a little like baiting when after doing that you then going on the very angry defense with people who are just doing what people on the interwebs do.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterE.

Self-hatred is not A depression, but it's certainly a component OF depression. It's also not a personality trait. It's a FEELING and believe me it's one I experienced for years...it's one many many many people I know have experienced for years and many still do. But some have worked through it. I did. It was incredibly hard, it was soul wrenching at times. Also totally worth it. Here's what I know: I use to feel like you describe. I don't anymore. I feel peaceful (which is the opposite of self-hatred as opposed to self-confidence) and I love myself and I get that isn't nearly as funny to read about but I promise you it is a MUCH preferable way to live. It also by no means is to suggest life is perfect, without deep sadness or that I don't still just have crappy-ass days. I do. But I don't hate myself anymore. And I guess I'd just say that as far as coping mechanisms, it's depends on your definition of success/failure. Success to me=not feeling guilty all the time, not having a running commentary of reproach and judgment about most of what I do and think and say and feel. Imagine watching the RHONJ (and good God do I) and loving every awful second of it and not feeling disgusted with yourself afterwards? I know, it sounds impossible! But life is full of miracles.
I can also clearly see the great joy and love you have in your life--none of that is lost on me or would be on any regular reader with the slightest amount of sensitivity. I still say you're way too smart not to know posting something under the category of depression in which you talk however humorously about offing yourself and opening comments is going to bring EXACTLY the calls you say it shouldn't. You've been doing this too long not to know...and it can feel a little like baiting when after doing that you then going on the very angry defense with people who are just doing what people on the interwebs do.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterE.

I know that the comments on this post have gotten pretty serious... so this might take it down a notch. All I want to say is that I eat too much, drink to much, and watch too much Real Housewives. Out of those three vices, why do I feel the most guilty over the Housewives???? Seriously, Monica, I can totally relate. After I've watched an episode I feel SO shameful for wasting my life away. And then what do I do next? I see if there's another episode that I may have missed! LOL.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaty

An SSRI or SNRI (which I take) DOES NOT make you happy. You think they're over prescribed now... if they did -create- happiness, no one would be without. What these medications do is smooth over the chemical imbalance in your brain. For me, my brain was awash with serotonin and I got to the point where I couldn't keep a thought in my head. Once the chemicals begin working properly within your noggin, then you are ABLE to put down the trashy magazine, you can EASILY turn off the TV, you can ALLOW the good stuff to sink in. That's what these drugs do for people who are struggling. Not to say struggle isn't a part of life, it is every, fucking day-- but when things are in balance, chemically, then you can focus on what you really want to do instead of getting stuck in the hamster wheel of Blah Blah Blah, let me eat another bag of Cheetos as I 'veg' in front of the Bad TV.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

All I have to say is that the artist part has most certainly not escaped you. You are a literary artist in my eyes, which is what keeps me coming back. xo

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterchistine fro canada

I feel like I have said this before in a comment on a similar post. You can say that you are not depressed and down need meds, but I think there are signals here that are strong enough to warrant a thorough evaluation just to be sure. Maybe get to a larger city with a broader range of health care professionals and see what someone says. As E. says, self-hatred is not depression, but can be an aspect of depression. Also, as I read your litany of things you can't quit - the food, the drinks, the celebrity trash, magazines, the word "addiction" kept coming into my mind. I don't mean to overuse the word, but there are personality types that have addictive components, even to things that don't, on their face, seem dangerous. You clearly want more, different, "better" for yourself, but don't seem able to muster the energy or ability to do it. Also a symptom of depression.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

Maybe you have contempt for pop culture because you write about it for
Mamapop (and used to at Babble).

I have to agree with the reader that said self hatred is a symptom of depression. I am not sure what reaction you want from this post and you seem unclear also.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterUnclear

I have read your blog for several years and thoroughly enjoy your writing. I rarely read the comments, but on this one I did. You did give a disclaimer in your post that you were feeling bitchy, but I found the way you reacted to Lynn's comments were completely over the top and you deserved to lose having her read your blog. You made comments about suicide in your post and a reader who has personal experience with that related and commented on it. She didn't realize you were joking and you berated her when she didn't give you the response you wanted. I went back and reread her comments and your comments and she said nothing rude or offensive, you on the other hand did. If you responded to me that way when all I was trying to do was help, I wouldn't read your blog anymore either. If you haven't already, I sure hope you go back and reread her comments and send her an apology.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen

The best trick the devil ever pulled off was convincing the world that he didn't exist. Depression's the same way. It's a real mother fucker (I speak from experience) and, from what this post suggests, it's currently at the helm. I have been reading you for years and care about you the way a blog-reader can care about a blogger. I am glad you're being real but this real is troublesome. You deserve better than depression is allowing you to feel. Take care.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered Commentereo

I can totally relate to your angst. I woke up one day and I was 52 years old with an under-active thyroid (wherein you go to sleep and wake up 5 lb heavier, seemingly every.damn.day.) This on top of peri-menopausal hot flashes that drive you insane. I was thinking about hurling myself off of the nearest cliff but then remembered that Big Brother 15 begins next week and the clouds parted and the angels sang and I knew that I would live to see another day. Life would be so sad without trash TV.

June 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKatieB

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