Oct 27 2009

Househusband Blues

Published by at 6:25 am under Spirituality

I’m feeling so depressed right now, I’m having a difficult time enjoying my midlife crisis.

It’s not because my two youngest kids have gone through chickenpox in the last few weeks and spent their entire school holidays sitting in a bathtub full of oatmeal.

It’s not because I’m so far behind in my housework that my kids have to go through the dirty laundry basket each morning looking for the least smelly clothes in order to find something to wear to school.

It’s not because the unpaid bill envelopes in my intray and the dirty dishes in the sink are competing to see who can stack up the highest before toppling over.

It’s not even because today marks the 19th anniversary of my father’s death, who suddenly left us at the young age of 53 (which, barring any personal tragedy, is where I’ll be in less than 9 years from now).

No … it’s all and none of the above.

It’s like, all of a sudden, all of my past mistakes, bad decisions and personal failures have come up to the surface, entered my brain, permeated my attitude and are now affecting the way I look at and experience every aspect of my life.

I haven’t posted anything in this blog for a while because I’ve just been feeling too depressed and unmotivated to write about what’s been happening in my life. And there’s been lots of great things happening in my life, which I am very grateful for.

My oldest son, Filosofo, is away on his first big school trip. He’s been looking forward all year to this trip and has been preparing for it together with his entire class. They will be climbing Mount Warning, a tall mountain in the easternmost part of Australia, so they can be the first people to greet the sun when it rises in the morning. How wonderful is that? I am grateful that all three of my children attend a great school that they all absolutely love.

My wife is also away on a business conference. She’s been invited to be the keynote speaker at the event, and is staying at a luxurious resort, where tomorrow she will make her presentation to people who work for some of the largest IT companies in the world. That’s a wonderful achievement and I’m very proud and excited for her. I am also very grateful and blessed to have her in my life.

My 7-year old, Exacto, starts playing baseball this Saturday. He is really excited about it and can’t wait to go out and hit home runs. He is also learning to read and every day delights in picking out and making sense of a new word, from what previously was just a strange bunch of meaningless symbols he probably wasn’t even aware of. How magical it is to witness your child beginning to read. For this I am also grateful.

My 5-year old, Destructo, is an ebullient child, bursting with life, energy, song and laughter.

I couldn’t ask for a better family.

So … why am I feeling so utterly depressed, when I know I am so blessed?

That’s just the thing I am really struggling with. I really don’t know, but it has been affecting me for a very long time.

Part of the reason may be that my emotional balance seems to depend so much on having access to money.

If we find money to pay the bills this week, then I’m so blissfully happy! I look out and see love manifested in everything, rainbows in the sky and people smiling everywhere. Then, when (as is often the case) we run out of money before we run out of month, it’s “oh no … here we are again!” I sink into a state of apathy, despondency, I get short with the kids, feel irritable and just want to isolate, go though restless tossing and turning in bed at night, can’t sleep, don’t want to exercise, don’t want to leave the house, don’t want to tidy up, or clean up, or get errands done, or talk to people, or shower, or get dressed … or even get out of bed in the morning.

Some people can pick themselves up when they’re feeling blue. They go out into the sunlight, do something physical and look for positive ways to connect with other people.

I go the other way. My natural response is to allow myself to descend into a spiraling darkness and, in some morbid way, see how far down I can go and how long I can keep going it.

I’m just doing a quick spot check now – a quick mental inventory of what I have been letting get through into my mind this past week. Let’s see … I borrowed a DVD and a book from the local library a couple of weeks ago. The DVD is about the origins and history of the Mafia. The book is Norman Mailer’s “The Executioner’s Song,” about the capture, arrest and execution of two-time killer Gary Gilmore. Yup, two cheerful and uplifting ways to soothe my depressed self. Then, there’s also staying up late tuning into the news, watching movies about people who failed (Deep Water), people who got hurt (Standard Operating Procedure) and people who created things that destroy (Shadow Makers – about the making of the atomic bomb). All positive stuff.

But it hasn’t been really all that bad. Aside from the late nights spent watching and reading stories where evil triumphs over good while drinking coffee and gorging myself on chocolates, popcorn and ice cream, at least I haven’t gone back to smoking, or started drinking, or surfed for porn.

I’m not even lying in bed anymore at 3:30 in the morning thinking that someday I’m going to be dead for a very long time and wondering when I am going to start living.

No … I think the problem is much deeper than my financial situation, which is currently pretty bad (but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed by adding just one more zero to the right of my monthly income figure, ha ha …).

No, this goes even deeper than feeling financially, physically and emotionally depleted.

I think the word for it is “spiritual bankruptcy”.

I’m standing at that place where the sum of all my past decisions have finally intersected, and I am suddenly aware that all this time I’ve been traveling down a dead end road. My vision guided me to this place, but as I look all around me, my results say that I am either deluded, or that something is very wrong with my thinking, because my life feels empty and meaningless.

I believe I am here for a purpose, but I have not yet discovered what it is. I wake up every morning and check my email to see if anything’s come in that will change my life, but it’s just another day where I’m greeted by the same old inbox full of spam.

I read somewhere that the best cure for depression is to stop thinking about yourself and start helping other people. I’m going to give this a go and see if it helps to lift my depression.

Thanks for caring,

The Lazy Househusband


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