Health Musings

When Running in the Parenting Marathon, It’s Hard to Stop For Depression

Depression sneaks up on you at the worst moments. Not that there is an appropriate time for it, but it appears. When you are a stay-at-home parent, it can be troublesome. Doing the ordinary day-to-day tasks can be daunting, but kids need their dad and so I must press through the magnitude of the world to get tasks accomplished.

On this day, depression seized me as I was treating three kids with pink eye. I had visited the drug store twice, but communications between the doctor and the drugstore were unsettled. Before my third trip to the store, I called to make certain everything was in order. From what I gathered on the other end of the line; medications were ready.
Boom! Thunder rolled outside and rain poured down. If only the meds had been ready when they were supposed to be available.

The following remarks are my thoughts over the next 45 minutes.

The Trip to the Store
Great, now I have to walk in the rain. It was fine earlier.
  (To my 15-year-old son)
 “Take care of your brother and sister, I’ll be back in about 20 minutes. Turn off Fortnite until I get back.”

Steps out the door and opens my umbrella. As I step into the rain, it feels as though the pressure of a thousand raindrops beat upon my umbrellas, driving me closer to the ground. I’ve got to get moving and keep my mind active.
There’s that dog owner with the extra-long leash.

 No, I don’t want to pet your dog.

The dog jumps on my leg with its wet paws. I pat the dog’s head and continue walking.

The stupid dog got my pants wet.

Turning the corner.
Should I get a cappuccino at Dunkin’ Donuts? Nah.
The Irish Bar looks welcoming. My son is watching the kids. I could grab a beer. I better not.
Chase Bank. Chevy Chase, my roommate’s nickname was Chase… Chase Utley: that was a dirty slide into Tejada.
Another bar. I could use a Scotch. Nah, I have Scotch at home.
Another Dunkin’ Donuts. Would be nice to get out of the rain and rest. I’m practically there.
The subway overhead seems extra loud now.
Stop honking! Where are they going to go?
Almost there.

  Steps into Rite-Aid

Ugh, the prescription line is long. Did that guy just blow a snot rocket in the store? Nasty! Don’t look at it. Don’t look at it… Ew! I shouldn’t have looked.

  At the counter
“Hi, I’m Jason Greene, we spoke.”
Pharmacist: “Not with me.” Another pharmacist steps up. “We’re having some issues, sit over there and we’ll call you.”
I sit down next to a lady rubbing her temples. She has a migraine. We sit in silence. Across from me are cleaning supplies.
Pee remover. Really? Shouldn’t all cleaning products be pee remover? Brillo pads. When was the last time I used a brillo pad?
Sitting quietly and feeling bad for the woman rubbing her temples. Been there.
Pharmacist: “Greene”

I purchase the medication and walk out the door. Lightning strikes the building next to me. A woman walking on the sidewalk falls to the ground. I feel the charge rush through my body and the hair on my arms rise. I bow down and help the lady up.
“Are you okay?”
  She looks at me stunned. And for some reason, I smile.
“That was loud, huh?”

She laughs. I help her pick up her things. One of which is a book that fell in the water. I hand them to her. She thanks me and walks off. My heart is beating fast and I find that amusing. I look up at the sign that was struck, and it appears to be fine.
Ben Franklin was on to something.

The lightening has me walking a little more briskly.
I could stop for one drink, I’d better not. Need to get this medicine to my daughter. Dunkin’ Donuts, don’t even.
Do I need something at the grocery store? I’ll get it tomorrow. Is it going to rain tomorrow? I think so.
My street. What’s happening to it? Too many apartments going up. My neighborhood is shifting. It better not turn into another Park Slope.

Walking up to the front door. I hear my kids fighting.
I should have grabbed that beer.

  I stroll in and hang up my rain jacket and put away my umbrella.
My youngest son: “Did you hear that noise? The lightning was loud!
“Yes, I was out there. Super loud.”
“Come here, let’s get these eye drops over with.”

Masking depression is a talent that most of us perfect. It’s there, but we move on and wait for lightning to strike and wake us from our depressive sleep or knock us down. My four kids need me though. Bars and Dunkin’ Donuts called, but the thundering crash and charge through my body was a reminder that I had an agenda. One step at a time no matter how much the pressure of the rain slowed me down.
At home, dinner was made, kids were put to bed, and a scotch eventually rested in my hand. And then, I watched Wanda Sykes stand-up special alone on the couch. I made it through and Wanda helped me end it with a laugh.


  1. Jason, this was an amazing post.

    Some days can be so overwhelming as a father. This is especially true if you’re having trouble dealing with your own issues in the moment.

    So often if we’re not paying attention, we will take out our anger, anxiety, hopelessness, loneliness, anger, sadness on others, like our kids.

    Some days are a day-2-day challenge.

    I hear you brother, powerful share.

  2. Well, Jason, re your earlier post on Hamilton’s dueling site. Found it so intriguing that I got the Hamilton liberetto & BIG book of the musical from our library. Was quite an eye opener; if I ever see the musical I will be prepared. Going to read the Chernow book on Hamilton when we return from our vacation. So, you were an inspiration. Re depression, I’m just glad you didn’t give in to your impulses–your family, including your wife, needs you. You continue to put one foot in front of the other sometimes. I think back to many stories I’ve read where the husband/father leaves for a loaf of bread & never returns. The outcome is never good. See you in a couple of days. (Judy Ogden)

  3. Depression can be so debilitating. I know. Without medication I am suicidal 19 days out of 20. It helps to have something bigger and more important than you to focus on. My children were mine like yours are for you. Hang in there. Talk to your doctor if it doesn’t go away. You can do this!

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