Some days probably shouldn’t be journaled.

My first clue that today wasn’t going to be great was my Facebook status at 7 a.m.: “I made the mistake of reading the morning news headlines. People are stupid. And now I’m in a bad mood.” Note to self: Don’t do that anymore. It totally sucks the positive energy out of your day. From that point on, everything bugged me. The weather, the Cheerios on the floor, the last-minute scrambles for gloves/coats/boots on the way out the door to the bus, the lame breakfast options, the fact that I live here, and my friends all seem far away (because they ARE), old people shouldn’t be allowed to drive, etc. You get the point —–> Grumpy!

I’ve never struggled with any serious depression or anything (and don’t worry, I don’t credit myself for that other than luck), but I’ve noticed that I do have a lot more “bad days” in the wintertime. Today was one of those. I volunteered at Clark’s school with some very nice people who were kind and helpful, but I still couldn’t shake off the negative energy. So by the time I picked up Natalie from preschool, I could tell I needed to be more proactive about my mood status, so we went to a bakery and I bought a peanut butter brownie. That helped a little, except that there was this woman there who had obviously done so much plastic surgery to herself that she looked awful, and then I started hating the universe again. (I can already tell I’m going to regret this post.) I started having conversations with myself that were half-pathetic and half-existential. “I wonder if everyone in the world is weird, and I’m the only normal one?, or maybe everyone else is normal and I’m just weird?” (Remember I had read bad headlines this morning and I was already mad at those people.) So in a moment of self-pity, I said to Natalie, who was happily munching her cupcake, “Natalie, are you glad I’m your mommy?” She quickly replied, “I like daddy.” “I know you like daddy, but are you glad I’m your mommy?” She kept her head still but pointed her eyeballs up at the ceiling, “N-O, no.” She said something like, “Alright, alright, I’m just kidding…. yeeesss,” but overall, my trip to the bakery wasn’t that helpful either.

My next attempt at improvement was a little less stellar, but overall more effective.  When we got back to the house, I stuck “Olivia Takes Ballet” in the DVD player and selected “Play All.”  I told Natalie I was going to go lie down, and I did.  I quickly dozed off (Oh, how I love a nap!) and slept for about 40 minutes.  I heard Clark come home from school and I opened my eyes and knew I needed to get up and face the music.  (Music is a code word for a chaotic blend of snacks, chores, homework, squabbling, and other kid-induced discomfort.) I stared out the window for a minute and my eyes fell on my scriptures on the bedside table.  I thought, “Maybe I should read my five pages now instead of waiting until bedtime.”  It helped a lot.  I read about Lehi’s dream and how he found himself in a “dark and dreary world,” and I thought about how it really is dark and dreary sometimes, but then he prayed to the Lord and pleaded for mercy and was brought out of that darkness into a spacious field where he could see the Tree of Life and find his way to the joy that it offered.  So I thought about how we don’t have to get stuck in that dreary part or get tricked into thinking that’s all there is because the Lord can help us find bright open spots with a better view and blessings in sight.  By that time, Grant was home from school, too, and Clark burst in the room yelling about something, so I still have one page left to finish tonight.  And that’s pretty much when my day started over.  Thank goodness.

So I’m going to try to think of a bright, spacious field with a glowy, shiny tree full of joy-fruit the next time things seem dark and dreary, which happens sometimes in the winter. Peanut butter brownies, naps, and exotic beachfront getaways are nice, too.  Two out of three ‘aint bad.

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19 thoughts on “Some days probably shouldn’t be journaled.

  1. You handled your bad day ever so much better than I handled mine. I ended up slamming drawers and, ahem, possibly throwing a few things. That could just be a rumour though.

    I think I know what I need to do now…

  2. My personal SAD cure is having all the lights on in the house and some GOOD music turned *way* up. Though I think I need to utilize your scripture method more often.

    Also, you and I should get lunch someday. What are you doing Saturday?

  3. Love your analogy. I’m sorry you had a rough day. But I’m really glad you wrote about it. It was a kind of subtle answer to a problem and prayer I’ve had for a while.

  4. Amen. What amazes me, is that every year I know it’s coming. I know that I get into a funk by mid-January. Every year I think, “I know what happens, so I’m going to be proactive, I’m going to head it off.” I think about what projects I’ll do on the house, I start planning our Valentine’s party, I schedule a girls’ night out, etc etc, but it gets me every. single. time. And I have been very diligent about my morning scripture study, and I’ve been exercising. I think the only cure for me is tropical vacation. I can’t seem to manage the attitude readjustment without it. Don’t worry, I’ll keep trying.

  5. I have been in the dark-and-dreary-wilderness funk for about a month, so your one day doesn’t seem that bad to me! I did, however, manage to get out of it once I said a more sincere prayer the other night and acknowledged my Heavenly Father’s help the other day – a day that I knew I could not accomplish it all without His help. It feels so good to be out of that funk. I know there will be those kinds of days, but thank Heaven for the tools to help us get out of them, huh?

    Thank you for your honesty and your posts!

  6. Oh…that is so great. It’s funny how we go for every other answer when the easiest one is…ahem…right under our noses (or on our nightstands!) 🙂 I had similar thoughts last night when reading about the dark and dreary world. This is fun reading the B of M with others!

  7. Thank you for this post!! One of my favorites. I have had depression for years and have recently found, through the inspiration of the Spirit, a conbination of medicine, actions, self talk, and attitudes that have helped me find peace and hope. I can say I have many more positive days. A lot more than bad! I LOVED hearing about Lehi’s dream and how that related to your bad day. The Spirit fed me through your testimony of that scripture! I’m glad you had the grumps so I could learn that beautiful lesson! Thank you! 🙂

  8. I hope today the sun shines and you can have that peanut butter brownie in the sun. I’m glad that you picked up your scriptures instead of ran away from them. Good job!

  9. I so know how you feel. The news, the weather and just plain junk can have a bad effect on me too! I remember someone telling me that our kids are not too interested in our mental well being, with answers like Natalie’s it must be true. Lol! Let’s meet for lunch again soon. I need a drive to the south soon even if it is only to “Happy Valley” through the Zion curtain (Inside joke about our beloved Provo). I am so sad I can’t go to Women’s Conference this year, well maybe I could on thursday.

  10. Just realizing it is a gloomy winter day and not a permanent thing is important. I have to remind myself of that on those days. And I always keep some hot chocolate on hand for those days.

  11. Kind of sounds like my day–or half the days in January. Ugh. The perpetual gray skies around here do not help. But, reading scriptures does help and definitely lots of hot chocolate. 🙂
    Also, my parents are always more than happy to have visitors–only four hours and they have an indoor pool! You should go, because I can’t, and really want to.

  12. Hey girl. I am new to your website and want to tell you how much I am enjoying your posts. I hope you are having a better day today…knowing that others have the kind of day you spoke of yesterday helps me to relate as I have those kinds of days too. I hope it helps to know that I/we enjoy your blog. I am pretty amazed at out how connected you/we seem to be, i.e. I am preparing a message for RS for February. Your recommended study of the two talks from last conference on the Holy Ghost was just what I needed. So keep writing…unless it is taking you away from your family too much. They are your #1. We support you in your commitment to them…

  13. Oh those days are just hard for my head and my heart. It’s hard getting through the and at the end of the day I feel bad for being in a bad mood or impatient with my kids or whatever else I did that day. But I suppose it’s those dark days that make the other ones seem brighter and happier. I dont know why but for some reason I always thought you lived in the same city as me. Perhaps its a picture from your header though that makes me think that. Haha.

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