Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Not ungrateful, just sad

Lately, I've been having a hard time.

I am inclined to complain, to complain about the sleep, the travel, the laundry. To complain about the screaming baby. To complain about being alone.

I have one child, one beautiful healthy child. I don't work outside the home, and that was my choice and one I'm really pretty content with. I have a loving and (mostly) supportive husband. I don't really have to worry about money (although I do anyway). I have sweet, supportive friends, a great online support system, and a real life mom's group I like very much. It's sunny outside my window.

And I sit around feeling sorry for myself.

I feel like that's unacceptable. Almost unforgivable.

I see you with your losses, with your illnesses, with your challenges and your real life struggles and I feel like I have no right to even join the conversation. I see people with much harder rows to hoe than I have, being out there in the world and doing good work and making a difference. Taking an already full schedule and adding more to it in order to help other people. Or adding more to it to take care of yourselves, which is even more herculean.

What the hell am I doing all day? What on earth is so hard?

I want to feel grateful for the life that I have. I want to appreciate the things I've been given, to realize how fortunate I am. To know that everyone I meet is fighting a harder battle and that my problems don't amount to a hill of beans, and all that stuff. I want to think those things and believe them.

But I'm struggling.

And I don't know if it makes me ungrateful to say that. I don't know if admitting that I need help, that I'm not "content," means that I am taking for granted all the things that I have. I know how much worse it could be. I see it.

And most of the time, I'd rather talk about you than me. It gives me a sense of purpose to be able to help other people. It's probably the thing that makes me happiest in all the world.

But today? I just want to feel sorry for me a little. I'm really not ungrateful. I'm just sad.


  1. You are not ungrateful at all. The fact that others may have a harder road to travel does not lessen the pain or saddness you are feeling. These are your feelings and that makes them just as important.

    Struggling sucks. Feeling alone sucks. Being exhausted sucks.

  2. We all have a right to have our sad moments. Sure, there are people out there who have it worse- but that doesn't mean that each of us doesn't still have our own struggles.

  3. This is where you are right now and that's ok. The thing is, I know you don't want to be there and you're struggling to change that. And that is a huge step and a good one. You'll get there. I don't think most people ever feel like they've "arrived" so to speak, but I think you get to a point where you have more good days than bad days.

  4. Dude, you and I are totally the same person. I wrote a post sort of like this many months ago. In terms of the comparison to others' struggles, people told me "your hard is your hard". It is hard. I've since learned not to underestimate the power of depression. No, it's not like losing a child or anything horrific like that. But it's really, truly, biochemically hard. It just is.

    And ungrateful and sad are totally different things. I had lunch today with someone who has a son slightly older than mine. She's under-employed & they live in a basement suite. We can afford for my husband not to work and we've owned our own house for years. I momentarily felt really guilty for not appreciating what I have, but then let it go. I'm grateful, but other things in my life right now are just making me sad. Totally unrelated.

  5. You are on a journey; we all are. Despite having lives full of love, we sometimes feel emptiness. It doesn't make you ungrateful. It makes you honest.

  6. Totally with you on this one sweetie. I have done a lot of reflecting on my life, my possessions, and my family the last 2 years.

    It's hard to be thankful for what I have when I can't understand the cards handed to me. I don't understand why my mom had to die so young. I don't understand the difficulties DH and I have gone through. I don't understand why we can't just live comfortably & everything has to be such a struggle. I fight with myself to be thankful for what I have and somedays it just doesn't work.

    Honestly though? We get by. One day at a time, we figure it out.

    We each have our own hardships & I think it's easy to forget that. I do all the time.


  7. Your struggles and pain are no less significant than anyone else's. Do not ever think they are. Being lonely sucks. I feel it a lot, even though I choose to not be social because of my anxiety. ((Hug))

  8. We're all sad sometimes. That's life. Throw yourself a pity party...I'd like to be able to come with you to the party though.

  9. Your struggles, pain, and sadness are no less than anyone elses. They are yours. You have every right to feel the way that you do. It's okay to be sad, mad, depressed, down, or angry. We're human. It happens.

  10. We are on the same page. I know I am the luckiest girl out there. One beautiful daughter that I get to stay home with, a wonderful husband, loving family and fun, sweet friends. But I'm sad so much and I feel guilty about it. I feel your pain and hope you will soon have some happy smiles to share.

  11. I don't remember where on earth I picked up the term "pain olympics" (...probably a blog long ago) and that tends to apply to the opposite of what you're experiencing (because you're SO EMPATHETIC and I mean that as a super crazy compliment), more people trying to one-up each other with how hard things are for them. this is so not the case here or in this corner of the blog world at ALL, but the underlying idea is kind of the same, which has been said so much more thoughtfully by the earlier comments... but all the struggles are still struggles. it could be harder, but that doesn't mean it isn't hard now, or that it isn't a legitimately hard-as-hell time. i think not comparing ourselves and our situations to others' is really difficult, but allow yourself to feel what you feel. and i am totally sending hugs.

  12. I'm glad you've let yourself be sad. No need to think it makes you ungrateful, it just means you're having a tough time. Believe me, I know exactly how you feel. I'm there myself.

  13. All the things I want to say have already been said before me, but I just want to reiterate the point that we all have our struggles, and no matter how they "compare" to another person's, if they're real/big/significant to us, that's what counts. And it doesn't make us ungrateful.

    At the risk of going on too long, I'll just tell you a little story. A few years ago, when our son had his first big, scary stay in hospital, we met another family whose child was also there for a while. Both kids had similar surgery for different conditions, and different complications. The other family was from out of town, and the mother was staying at the hospital, often not even seeing her husband and other kids for weeks. Our family could see each other every day, and one parent could go home every night while the other stayed at hospital. She still said she felt lucky compared to us (and we felt lucky compared to them). Compared to some others around us, I guess we were somewhere in the middle.

    Thing is, each of us had come to terms with our own situation, and as big and scary and difficult as both were, it was harder to imagine having to deal with the other one. We deal with what we're dealt, in whatever way we can at the time.

    So back to you. Admitting you're struggling and need help does not mean you're ungrateful. It means you need help. You're seeking help, and you're worthy of help and support. Just as much as, and certainly not less than, the next person.

  14. First of all, I'm so sorry it's taken me this long to get around to commenting.

    I want you to remember that you don't have to have a good reason to feel sad. You can be aware of how great things are and still feel like crap - that's what depression does. It warps reality, taking what you know to be true and morphing it into ugliness. Don't for even one moment feel guilty for feeling sad or for seeking help. The feelings are what they are - and you are strong and brave for recognizing them and reaching out.