Newton’s First Law of Motion states that an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted on by an unbalanced force.
So let’s say that I’m the object.
And I’m in bed when the alarm goes off. It’s blaring 80s Anthem Ballads in an effort to make me feel AWE.SOME first thing in the morning.
Not this morning. This morning I feel like the overwhelming catastrophe that was yesterday isn’t quite washed away yet. Depression rushes over my brain and body despite the prescription in my bloodstream designed to keep it at bay. Moving sounds like the worst. thing. ever.
But I can hear the children chattering away down the hall. They are already up and ready to roll. The Husband gets up before I do to help navigate the morning chaos and I love him for it. I know that there are hours of interaction and tasks and checkmarks waiting for me. An endless supply of laundry and dishes are piling up as I lay, immobilized, in the bed. Questions about Saturn, changing bodies, and whether or not it’s okay to eat raw cookie dough for breakfast are all perched on the tips of tongues. Muddy dogprints from last night’s thunderstorm are littered across the kitchen floor. Stacks of books waiting to be taught to eager kiddos wait on the hutch by the dining room table. There are sticker charts and sticky floors, hungry dogs, and even hungrier kiddos. And it’s all waiting. For me.
Netflix and DoorDash never look at me like I’m disappointing them.
As of this moment, I remain an object at rest.
Although you and I both know I’m not at rest. I’m freaking out. I’ve been tasked with the unimaginable responsibility of raising six humans. Each of them is a challenge unto themselves. I am not equipped with the know-how and instincts necessary for this work. I don’t even like children. Teaching is not in my skill set. Adults and their spreadsheets are where my experience lies. And these are just the facts of today. Forget about the feelings. I don’t feel any of the things I need to feel in order to take on the monumental task that is my life. I feel paralyzed.
And to some degree, I am.
But I have to pee. And after six babies, my bladder waits for no man. Including my depression. (Yes, my depression is a man. Duh. His name is Frank.)
So either I pee in my bed or I become an object in motion.
And you know what they say about an object in motion.
Once you start moving
It turns out, sometimes just allowing my feet to hit the floor is all I need to move forward. Sometimes I just have to tackle the step right in front of me.The motion that propels me forward is not always as fast or as focused as I would like it to be. But as long as I move, I tend to keep moving in the same direction.
The key to putting one foot in front of the other is allowing the strong part of my mind to hold the hand of the weak part and help it cross the street of my life.
Let me tell you though, the flood of anxiety and depression is often the “unbalanced force” that wants to change my trajectory. It wants me to make a sharp left turn, directly back into the bed and onto the course it has set for me. Netflix and Hulu can’t watch themselves. God or Andy Fang, Stanley Tang, Tony Xu and Evan Moore didn’t invent DoorDash for no reason. I need to stay in bed and support all the innovative technology that allows me to be a slug.It’s the only way my foggy brain can contribute to the world. Because if I get up and try to face the situation in my house, I’m going to fail. I’ll fall flat on my face and disappoint the people I love most in the world. Netflix and DoorDash never look at me like I’m disappointing them.
Take out the garbage
Here’s the thing though, all this garbage thinking comes from a dysfunctional part of my brain. There was an error made at the manufacturing plant and my brain parts are not fully functional. They aren’t quite broken, they still work, just a bit DYSfunctional. The damage wasn’t enough to return me to sender. Apparently the world can put up with the slightly off parts of me.
I am still useful and valuable, even though my alignment is a bit off. Frustration hits when the skewed parts of my brain run the show but it’s not enough to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The key to putting one foot in front of the other is allowing the strong part of my mind to hold the hand of the weak part and help it cross the street of my life.
I’m getting better at not letting the wobbly parts of my brain derail the super parts. It isn’t easy. When an unbalanced force slams into an object trying to continue forward, the object doesn’t leave unscathed. There are consequences and there are scars. That doesn’t mean that I can’t continue in the same general direction. The force doesn’t get to determine the future. Maybe the present is derailed a bit, but I can get back on track.
I’m not perfect, and neither are you.
Every now and then, it can be expected, the dysfunction wins. I don’t get out of the bed and Husband navigates the day, however unsteadily, mostly on his own. Sometimes there are detours back to the bed for a nap or a snuggle with a pile of children because that’s all I can muster. The floor remains sticky and the kids wear their daytime clothes to bed. The Husband is exhausted and I feel defeated and deflated.
And then there are days where I knock the ball out of the park. My to-do list is all checked off and the laundry is clean, dry, and put away. The kids fall into bed exhausted talking about how it was “the best day ever.” The Husband feels loved and appreciated. I feel fulfilled and successful.
Tomorrow — Only a day away
I can’t ever tell what kind of day tomorrow will be. I don’t know if the wobbly part wins or the super part does. Coping skills, meditation, and medication may or may not be enough.
What I do know to be true is this: if I keep moving, no matter how slowly, then I will keep moving. It’s science. You can’t argue with science.
So here’s to moving. Take a step. Even if it’s just to pee.