Does the Why Even Matter?

I’ve shared in previous posts that I’m slogging through what feels like a significant depression.

I feel like I can’t move myself and trudge through the daily tasks.

The simplest things take what feels like a herculean effort, and lately I’m just not up for any of it.

Then there’s the anger.

So much anger.

I do not like feeling angry.


Lately I find myself asking all the whys.

Why do I feel so down?

And I pretty much know all the reasons…but does that even help?

I’m not sure it does at all. It almost justifies the bad feelings, preventing me from being able to move forward with freaking JOY. Damn I want to feel joy again. I mean, I have had some heavy stuff relatively speaking, but plenty have been dealt a worse hand….so what’s my problem? (see how this goes?)

But because this is my blog, and because writing helps me, y’all know I’m gonna regurgitate it all out on the page because I can’t NOT try to make some sense of it.

In other words, it’s not necessarily

this happened + this happened = now I’m depressed.

There’s no specific reason for my current feelings, yet over the space of a few years there’s been pain. So much pain.

And as I wrote in my previous post, I have joyful moments. I really do. But keeping them as my focal point is such a job these days. If I’m rigidly honest with myself, some of the parts that bring me the most joy (my kids, my loved ones) are the parts that envelop me in a paralyzing fear that simultaneously creates the most angst.

I’m constantly concerned about the kids and their school situation. The what-ifs keep me up at night. And if I’m really being honest it’s not the what ifs – as in what if they fail. I want them to emerge from this system unscathed, believing that they’re okay and that a grade isn’t a label of their worth or a sign of what they can or can not accomplish.

I feel like I harp on this on this blog. I know.

You have no idea how much more goes on in my head.

My angst and panic have been increasingly escalating since the moment I stepped foot in Piers’ elementary school.


And more than ever, it’s getting more and more real and critical seeming.

And yes, as Gil often likes to point out – this is a lot about me. My struggles academically with parents who were ill-equipped to provide the help I needed.

This is about my relationship with my own mother – an educator herself. A pillar of the community. A renowned and revered teacher turned education professor.

My mother who has never been able to see past the tip of her nose. My mother the rule follower. My mother who thrived on good grades and following the script for a successful life.

My mother who I know without a doubt loved me but who admittedly has never known what the hell to do with me and so often has had to hang her head in embarrassment and defeat.

My mother who puts tradition above everything and feels chronically frustrated with her children and now grandchildren who simply can not fit the mold.


This is getting lengthy and as I always do, I’ve veering off topic and not going anywhere.

The whys – (stay on point, Viv, or at least in the vicinity.)

Do they matter when one is depressed?

I suppose they do…until maybe they don’t.

In my case, the reasons aren’t going to go away. I mean, the educating of my kids is ongoing. I still feel pretty certain that we (as a society and I can only speak of my experience in the United States – mercy help us all these days….I digress…)  put a lot ahead of life skills, leaving students out on a fragile limb.

I recently shared that I have a friend with an organization business helping me with some much-needed arranging/sorting/purging/organizing of our belongings. I met her in a mom’s group years ago and after careful consideration I chose her out of three other organizers for a couple of reasons.

1 – I’ve seen her path and she didn’t just show up in this world all organized and perfect.

2 – She doesn’t judge….and she really does not (all organizers say this…but the other two I considered came off a little sanctimonious and JUDGY.) As we say in our household when someone isn’t a fit or is just a shitty example of a human being and we’re not quite ready to break this sad reality to our young children, the other organizers weren’t “good fits for our family.”

**** examples where I’ve had to break out this phrase **** The horrid monster babysitter who forced my two and three-year-olds to stay in their rooms until they were spotless while she watched Netflix and shoved her candy bar paper between the couch cushions and left the gnarliest dirty diaper ever face up in the bathroom trashcan and didn’t bother with baby wipes, never came back because…”she wasn’t a good fit for our family.”

****example #2+ ****  CHURCH – As in, yes kids, I know you loved that church with superman Jesus (okay, one kid called him that because he looked like he was gonna land on the congregation. The other kid was petrified because he was nearly naked and strapped to a cross, bloodstained and somewhere between life and …. the afterlife – it was a bit much for a place claiming to be family-friendly) BUT…”it wasn’t a good fit for our family.” — and if you must know, Superman Jesus was by far one of the BEST parts of that wretched house of worship.

Moving on…. back to the organizer situation.

3 – and this is the BIGGEST reason – my organizer pal is not afraid to live boldly and gives zero damns what others think. She’s a big believer in teaching the family to work together as a unit. Yes, most likely the mom or parent who is home most will realistically DO the most on the home front, but she’s a firm believer that kids can and want to be part of making this engine of a home run efficiently. (I’ve lost this mentality somewhere over the past two years after our move to freaking suburbia, but in my quest for household sanity I’m rediscovering it in a giant way.)


I made a giant circle and went…nowhere.

Here’s where I’ll sum it all up (hopefully.)

The whys DO matter, and it is important to ask why we’re depressed.

At the same time, I think we can get entirely too wrapped up in the whys, and it’s easy to do when we’re depressed which can end up making us lose sight of the reality that depression isn’t necessarily because of anything. Depression simply happens and some are more likely to become depressed than others.

Are there underlying causes? Yes

Are there situational factors? Absolutely

But the mulling over of all of it can send the depressed person to a darker place when it’s often best to say yes I’m depressed and yes I need treatment. Get the treatment and then work through all the other factors.

That’s where I am.






10 thoughts on “Does the Why Even Matter?

  1. So sorry about your depression. You are right: the whys do matter….but then they don’t matter. Because when you are in pain…it hurts! No matter the reason. May the peace of God fill your heart and lead you to the path of joy, a path that we must make a decision to follow every day…no matter what. It’s not easy – but nothing worthwhile is. God bless you as you find your way through the ways to the Reason for joy.

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  2. Pingback: Loss, Grief and Does the Why Even Matter? | Grief Happens | Loss, Grief, Bereavement and Life Transitions Resource Library

  3. I wish I had some wonderful answer, some solution…but, I don’t. I have been fighting depression, too, lately. Hard to say what is depression and what is tied to some tough life circumstances, for me. I appreciate your honesty and I hope we both get some relief from ir.

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  4. Your facing it, that my friend is half the battle. Most won’t, and I’m not talking about just people with depression either. Your loving you by putting pen to paper, so to speak, and un-juggling your journey. Just take one bit at a time…and breeeeathe…the other 99 percent of what could happen never does…because you’ve already made a decision…and it is the 1 percent that is you 😀

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  5. Sometimes I’m a freudian, sometimes I’m a behaviorist lol. Sometimes it doesnt matter that when I am with my 8 year old God daughter and I start to spiral because I can’t imagine ever calling her a “whore” because it’s unthinkable and I hate my mother so much and feel this all-consuming ick. But then I realize I hadnt brushed my teeth for the day either, and do it, and feel much better lol

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    • LOVE IT – “sometimes I’m a freudian, sometimes I’m a behaviorist.” Damn, so true. You hit on something big here — the being with children and starting to spiral because you can’t imagine doing to your God daughter what (I’m assuming here… or maybe reaching through what I’ve read in regards to your childhood) was done to you – calling her a whore. THAT. BAM. Like, my mom, yes, was ill-equipped in many ways, YET she couldn’t rise above it and so I got vitriol and shame and name calling and degrading me to her friends and colleagues. When I’m dealing with even the hardest parts of parenting and nothing my kids do make a lick of sense and I want to blow…I don’t. I mean, I lose it, but I don’t direct it towards them because I empathize and absolutely know that the name calling and shaming does not work and actually has the opposite outcome rather than what I’m trying to achieve. ya know? Yet…in the moment, it’s like I flash back to the hardest and most traumatic parts of my childhood…which makes it extremely difficult to parent without a slew of meds and therapists on speed dial. Anyhoo…but yeah…the spiraling happens so I’m faced with a choice — let it take me over….or I can do some laundry, clean my space, or…as you said…brush my teeth. The doing starts a sort of momentum for me and gets me out of my head. Damn GIrl, you’re a genius. Thanks! 🙂

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      • Aw, Viv, thanks! Its so difficult because we were lead to believe that we would do the same thing as our parents, or whomever in the same situation, and then you get into the same situation they were in and what they did coulnd’t seem father from being an option. Thats the burden of adulthood. ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

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