Monday, December 9, 2013

Snap Out Of It!

I got a comment on a post the other day, one of my rather bitchier posts  and it sort of broke my heart because on my worst days, I feel exactly like Anonymous described me. Here's what the comment said:

"I think you are blessed beyond all reason. Snap out of it! You have the love and care of your man and children, extended family and legions of friends. There's a world of folk truly living on the edge in desperate isolation."

Well. Except for the part about extended family, that's pretty much true. And I don't have what I would call a "legion" of friends but the friends I have are solid, true, and precious. And I think that although I myself recognize and write about my blessings fairly continuously and probably to the point of nausea, the fact is, guilt is my default emotion and so that comment really shoved it to me. What right do I have with my man and my life and my kids to ever complain, to ever admit to waking up and having a bad day, to ever bitch or moan? There IS a world of folk truly living on the edge of desperate isolation.
So what right do I have to ever feel bitchy or whiny?

Fuck if I know. But I do. Some days I wake up in complete despair and all of my blessings and all of the goodness of my life, the ease of it, the beauty of it, the choices I have within it- all of those things simply add up to make me feel guiltier for feeling such despair. What right do I have when others are truly suffering? Which is one of the reasons I sit here and write about my blessings. The trees in my back yard, the blooming camellias, the chickens I love, my good husband, my kids and how loving a family we truly are, my grandsons, the very fact of my existence on a planet where such goodness and beauty can be found. 
I write about the small things and the large which add up to such goodness. I write these things over and over and over again until my despair seeps away, I can manage to get up and get out, to do the things I need to do for myself, my family, to try and honor all of that profound goodness. 
But yes, I also write about those feelings of despair because they are mine and they are real. For whatever reason I do sometimes feel depressed. I do sometimes suffer from great anxiety. I do have thoughts which may not be appropriate to my situation, which may not be logical in any sense but that's what mental illness is. And god dammit, I am not Pollyanna. I wish I were! I wish I could simply snap out of it. My GOD how I wish I could just snap out of it sometimes. With all my heart and soul. 

There. That.

And let me add that I do not write about everything in my life. There are dark places I don't explore here. There are fears, there are problems, serious true ones that are indeed worrisome, that frighten the living fuck out of me. Just as there are for all of us. 
Every one of us.

And I am not angry with Anonymous. Whoever he or she is has a point and one which I myself make to myself every day of my life. 
Trust me. 
But. I would ask Anonymous to try to be a little more compassionate, not specifically in his or her thoughts about me but towards others, as well. Because none of us knows what goes on in the mind or heart of any other. None of us knows the true depths of darkness which most human beings suffer at some point, no matter the external circumstances and appearances of a life. 

And it is Monday morning and the sky is clearing and smell of dead rodent is fading somewhat and I am going to go take a walk because yes, today I have those feelings of despair and the resulting guilt therein as well as some anxiety, and exercise helps to dispel those feelings. 
I was not born a naturally joyful person and if I was, the events of my childhood probably changed that. I don't know. But I tell you what- because I DO suffer from what can only be described as a mental illness, I am more empathetic, more sympathetic, more compassionate towards others. And I try to remember that- to cherish the good which comes from the deeply uncomfortable, the sometimes hardly bearable. 
And when my soul feels light, when the darkness is at bay, I am incredibly aware of that and give great thanks and know truly that a gift of joy has been laid upon me.
Here's another gift of joy.

Happy Monday, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. I don't know how to achieve perfect happiness all the time either, despite unbelievable gifts and good fortune. But I would like to tell Anonymous that shaming a person doesn't help. I think few cultures have the luxury to struggle towards happiness. Most cultures struggle for food and shelter. I also know that you are such a compassionate person. No one else, in all of the comments about John Lennon's death anniversary yesterday, said they were feeling compassion for Yoko but you. I'm a therapist and a human and know that every mood can't be 'fixed'. Blessings to you for being such a beautiful, open, human being Mrs. Moon! Love, Anon Suz

  2. First, you are one of the most insightful, grateful and honest women I know. I come here for the total package, not just the positive stuff.

    Oh relativity. That's how I get out out of my worst black holes, I imagine every possible way my life could be sadder and more wretched and I proceed straight to guilt, just like you, because the human condition is pretty darn sad. Heartbreaking, actually. Relativity is of limited utility.

    And I think we are all entitled to our issues. Some people, like Anonymous and my husband, I think can compartmentalize or prioritize their thoughts and emotions and just decide not to think about the things that cause us more sensitive types to despair. I noticed that when our children were sick, I went down the what if and worry path and I did not want to go there. My husband did not and would not even talk about it, and I realized that he was able to not go there, and I had to go there. He was scared and he turned away from the fear, but I live in it. I didn't get that gene. I did get lots of guilt and fear and I'd like a day in his head. It would be a fucking vacation, I'm sure of it.

    I can't even begin to blog about the daily, hourly, little fears that are eating me. I think that blogging about your truest darkest thoughts - or as close as you're willing to share them - is a brave and a kind act. I find strength and comfort reading your thoughts, because you think much the same way I do and you write it out so I don't have to. They say you write what you wish you could read, and I read so I don't have to struggle to write. Maybe we are just women of a certain age who are having similar thoughts, or we share like brain chemistries, or survivors of crazy childhoods, I don't know, but I get you and accept you just the way you are.

    I can be fragile and I know so many are more fragile than me, hanging on, trying to decide every day that life is worth being here for. You're pretty strong. I hear Cher in my head all the time, when she slaps Nic Cage and says Snap Out Of It! and I try to laugh at myself and shake loose the cloud. Some days there's just nothing funny about life on this planet.

    Sorry I wrote a blog post in your comments. xo

  3. Anon Suz- You are so right about shaming. I've always said that "Guilt and Shame" are my middle name. I have plenty enough I lay on myself. Thank you so very, very much for saying what you did here today. You took the time to be compassionate and you have no idea how much I appreciate that.

    Mel- No. Don't apologize. I love the fact that I wrote something that stirred enough in you to warrant such response. Yes, you and I do have similar stuff going on in our lives, our heads, our hearts, our marriages. Sometimes I'll think that my husband is hiding something horrible from me because he's in a mood which I can tell is not good. And then, if I ask him, he'll admit that yes, he's upset. Not because we're about to lose all our money or that he's about to leave me but BECAUSE HIS TRAIL CAMERA ISN'T WORKING PROPERLY! or something like that and I think, "Oh, god. I love you."
    We are who we are. I don't think I'm going to change much at this age. But I do think I get better at handling who I am. Sometimes. Other times I just despair about it all.
    What can we do? Know that it's all just a part of the whole human conundrum. And you are right- some days there just isn't much that's funny about life on this planet.

  4. Maybe Anonymous was feeling the sting of his/her own lack of blessings. Who knows? As you say, no one can ever know the true depths...One thing is certain, we all have them. Those dark blankets that descend and threaten to suffocate us. Compassion. My word for the day. And Dance. Dance Gibson Dance.

  5. Thank you, Mary. You made me laugh with that comment, my husband has that same level of depth - all very practical, nothing theoretical. :)

    I watched Gibson dance after I wrote my tome... His laugh, his daddy's laugh, magical. Made me laugh. That could go viral on the internet, I'm sure of it.

  6. I think Anonymous must be new here. We all have ups and downs, good days and bad. You write about them all. Those of us who have been visiting for years (us lucky ones) know you are grateful for your life and realize the good you have. Shrug that one off Ms. Moon. Don't you DARE feel guilty :)

  7. I am only really believing gradually the truth which we all have heard-which says that money or circumstances have no power over or influence upon our state of happiness is true and choosing to see the good in any moment is an ability that can be elusive but it is also not dictated by money and circumstance, for which many people across the planet are, I am sure grateful. The truth is that we all have the bleak, depressed dark and disturbed times which have no barriers and care not whether we are safe and warm or in deepest physical stress...this is the human experience,in all it's rainbow hues...I know, know in my heart, that there is no comparing possible, there just isn't! And I try to leave it at that, just simply leave it and trust, and enjoy and endure and love and appreciate...Like I appreciate you, Ms. Moon... for your sharing and pretty turn of a phrase..!

  8. Suffering and depression are not competitive sports.

  9. This is the misconception about mental illness, it is seen as something that we decided to have and we can decide not to have it. Could I have decided not to have breast cancer or long QT, and I can't just decide to count my many blessings and not be depressed. They call it mental illness because it is an illness. You should not be made to feel shame because you have an illness.

  10. Well you might not be angry at anon, but I am. I just hate that kind of talk. Am annoyed anyhow. You feel guilty enough. Everyone is allowed their feelings. Of course there are always worse things happening to others. Doesn't mean we don't know that or feel great compassion for them too. And it helps others to hear what you're going through. It helps me.

    I know some people sometimes need a "snap out of it" (I do), but you are certainly not one of them.

  11. Ms. Yo- We do. And there are those who seem to think that "chins up!" will take care of the problem but it never has for me. And I, too, thought that perhaps Anonymous is not a happy person and in my heart, the more I think about it, the more compassion I am feeling for that person.

    Mel- He's such a character, that one. I liked his daddy's laugh and Owen's laugh too. I love those boys so much. And I love the way they love each other.

    Jill- I'm not feeling guilty. Mostly. Thanks, sweetie.

    Big Mamabird- Truthfully, to try and deny our darknesses, our fears, even our petty annoyances- that is trying to deny our human experience! It's all part of it, isn't it?

    Mr. Downtown- I love you.

    Lisa- No one would choose to suffer. Well, no one in their right mind, at least. We deal with what we have to deal with and some of us find comfort in writing about it all. The whole enchilada.

    Bethany- Thinking of the suffering of others has never once in my life cheered me up. It only makes me feel worse. And interestingly, on my darkest days, I DO think about the suffering of others to an unhealthy degree and it makes me feel horrible.
    Thanks, darling, for adding your words here. Always.

  12. I suppose, it IS an easy thing to say, after all you do have a loving family and so on.
    But hang on, it's not at all easy. I cherish what I have, family and friends and whatever security and riches surround me in all sorts of ways, but as it stands, the despair that visits me some nights doesn't give a shit about it all and frankly, in these moments, all that is good and plentiful and supposedly sustaining around me is not enough.
    For a while. Of course, there are other times. But that short little while can be quite heavy and I think that blogging about it is quite a beautiful way to accept it. To observe it, to let it out of your heart, maybe even to share it. To name it at least.
    Oh really, I wish it was that easy, just a matter of snapping out of. And I am sure you have tried this again and again just as I have. But sometimes it's not the way to go about it. Sometimes, it's bigger.

  13. Well, I think you have every right to state what you wish to, and if its a blue day, then tell it as it is... yes you have a lot to be grateful for, but so do many others, and I really do think that people who don't wish to let you know who they are,and are anonymous are somehow a bit dodgy... what is there to hide? naming yourself on the blog means you are a bit more open than not... anyway... you have good days and bad days and not so bad days.. we all do... just as we all try to do the best we can in the situations that we find ourselves.. I love the reading of your blog because it does sound true, and you do have a smashing family that you have created, around you... but you did have terrible things in your earlier days and those are bound to pop up now and again... but do never be scared to tell us how you feel, we like you Mrs M, warts and all';[just an expression... dont believe you really do have warts ha ha..] hugs from across the pond on a very dull day.. Janzi

  14. I discovered your blog early this year and have been reading it (lurking) ever since. I check Facebook first thing every morning, get bummed out almost daily because one friend or another has posted some sort of Tea Party propaganda, then go to your blog to perk up my spirits again. You do that, you know? Even when you're feeling really low, you acknowledge the good things in your life, and that helps me start off my own day on a positive note.

    We all have good days and bad ones; you just happen to have the writing skills to describe your moods in enough detail that your readers can feel them along with you. Good writing plays our emotions like a finely tuned fiddle, then sets us down gently in our daily routines, none the worse for the wear. That's the fun of it, and it's what you do.

    Keep doing what you're doing, Ms. Moon. I appreciate you.

  15. Oh Mary, I am so glad you write as you do, the truth of what you are feeling day to day, moment to moment, because it helps the rest of us know we are not alone, so many of us struggle with these feelings of despair, and they mostly have nothing at all to do with external circumstances and in fact that makes them more bedeviling! I am so glad you wrote this post today, answering Anonymous who did not leave his or her name, because we feel what we feel, and to deny what we are feeling is the true treachery, far more dangerous than pulling the figurative cloak around oneself and saying yes, I am feeling sad today, and I am fearful, and this will have to run its course, it just will. When I was in therapy in my twenties and thirties, I used to say to my wonderful therapist, "what right do I have to complain? I am so blessed." And she would say, "We feel what we feel, and it is real. It has nothing to do with anyone else's circumstances." Basically, she was saying exactly what your wise Hank wrote here in your comments. I am so grateful every day that there is you, and that I found you. I love you, Mary Moon. I hope that walk shook loose some endorphins and that you're feeling better. And if you're not, then write about that too. I will be here, bearing witness, as you have so often borne witness for me and so many others of us here. You have a very large life. I wish there was a way to show you it. I am not alone in the love and gratitude I feel in knowing you and being able to come here and commune with you. Anonymous has it all wrong. I feel compassion or him or her, because one who is so very harsh with others must be incredibly harsh one oneself as well. lovelovelove

  16. Well, that about sums it up.
    Fuck if I know why, but yeah, what you said.
    I am insanely anxious today, and the only reason I'm going to publicly claim is that the wind is blowing like a ferocious god.
    Bless YOUR heart, Mrs. Moon. And thanks for blessing mine.

  17. Sabine- I would snap the devil's neck sometimes to get out of the what I'm feeling. It's just the way it is. And yes, there are things which can soothe me but only time takes it and makes it more bearable.

    Janzi- Haha! Well, I do not have warts at the moment. For this I am grateful. Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate you too.

    Angella- I feel that too- that Anonymous can't be a happy person, not that everyone has to be happy and really, who is all of the time? I have known people who can take any situation and make lemonade and their constant cheer and optimism seems completely foreign and odd to me. Would I want to be one of those people? I don't even know. It's a moot point anyway.
    And I have to tell you that sometimes knowing that you, too, have these days of darkness (and of pain) and that you manage to go on, you manage to have better days- that helps me so much. So please- YOU keep writing about the truth of your feelings too, okay?
    As I said over at your place today- I love you.

    Denise- We all bless each other, don't we? God, I hate anxiety with a fucking passion. I swear, depression is at least more...well, perhaps familiar. I don't know. I hope the wind takes your away rather than intensifying it. I really do hope that.

  18. Just catching up on all your posts from the last few days -now I understand why you bit my head off on Facebook :) What a weird day you had on Saturday, and this is an interesting post that made me think.

    I am very guilty about falling into the grass-is-always-greener trap. For example -I spent the last two weekends in New York City. Glamorous, right? Yeah. Fun. But, I'm sore and it was freezing and overwhelming and sweet JESUS the crowds. It's not all glitz. And I still had people making mean comments about how I'm such a jet-setter and always doing cool things. Uh, no.

    I can sometimes think -Man, I'd love to be Ms Moon today when I am having a particularly shitty day. Because I miss my own nephews so much (and nieces of course too) and wish I could spend the day outside tumbling around with them. But I've been around for 6-7 years now. I know you and your life probably as well as I can at this point and I know it's not all sunshine and rainbows, and I also know and understand your need to write it out sometimes. I need to take pictures sometimes of events so I can smile about them later even if I can't smile about them then. Does that make sense? You'll get it.

    Love you, MM.

  19. (Sore from lugging around my bag across the city and walking for miles. Not from all the exciting events that were being had).

  20. I'm not sure that I have anything to add here at all, given the glorious people who've already commented so thoughtfully. I think what Anonymous doesn't know or realize is that some people (you) who've seen a bit, experienced more, self-reflected a lot and given much have the ability to feel both joy and despair, sometimes simultaneously and often not -- if that makes sense. Oh, and anyone who uses the phrase "snap out of it" except in reference to a onesie on a baby, should shut up.

  21. "Snap out of it" is pretty much NEVER a helpful thing to say.

    In fact, I think it's kind of an odd thing for Anonymous to post. You do not strike me as a constant complainer. I have friends who complain a lot (and probably DO need to "snap out of it" now and then) but you are not one of them. I see your blog as very well-balanced, a celebration of all the good things in your life just as much as a chronicle of the worries. I'm not sure what you're expected to "snap out" of.

    In the online world, anonymous comments are worth about one-tenth of comments that have a name attached. So take that to the bank. :)

  22. Ah yes. Those helpful people who think that motivational phrases like 'snap out of it' and 'cheer up' will cure depression. Thanks Anon! If only we'd thought of that earlier. Why, I never needed to be anxious a day, all I had to do was snap out of it.

  23. Oh, ha! He's got the moves :) Wait, is it snowing??

  24. SJ- I did not bite your head off on Facebook, did I? I'm sorry you're sore. I think that one day in NYC would take every bit of my energy. And yes, I understand what you mean about the pictures. Yes. We can smile later. Maybe.

    Elizabeth- And now I'm giggling at the thought of telling a newborn, lying on her back, to "Snap out of it!" Thank you.

    Steve Reed- The only reason I don't block Anonymous comments is because I have commenters whom I adore who always post their comments that way. And then they sign them. Yeah. Anyone who thinks that telling a depressed person to snap out of it has never been depressed.

    Jo- Exactly.
    And no, it may have been raining. Not snowing. Trust me.

  25. Bitchy or whiny don't ask permission to sit on us or not. I am a bit sad that someone who dares not even write under a true name dares tell someone else to snap out of it. Not nice... We are humans, and we have feelings. Feelings are just that: we feel it. What we do with those feelings is another thing. Being in a bad spot has its own reasons, and nobody can mingle in to those spots.
    It would be so much easier if we would have an on and off switch. Then it would be real easy to snap out of it!

  26. I smiled at the comment made by Anonymous who is gleefully taking your inventory. If each of us could just wave a magic wand and have every day feel like a sugar coated rainbow, don't you think we would do it? But no matter how great things appear to be, sometimes life just sucks. I've plunged my own depths enough to know that I don't compare my pain to that of another. It's my pain to own and if I hurt, so be it. Thanks to Anon for reminding me of that.

  27. Since I've already dropped a lecture to another anonymous (unless it was the same one and THAT would be awesome!) who left another turd of a comment on someone else's blog, I shan't shit on your anonymous commenter today.

    I will say only this...just because someone is perceived to "have it all" does not mean that they are immune from despair, depression or sadness. Feelings are feelings and as humans,we are entitled to have them, wallow in them, flip them in the air and do with them what we like. They are ours to write about.


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