Tumbling From the Moon and Getting Back Up

It took less than one day. Less than one day for my depression/anxiety to once again rear its ugly head. Less than one day after I’d blogged about the wonderful jolt I’d felt when Sienna pointed and yelled out, “MOON!!!” I’d spoken with my therapist about the experience and the blog, how it was probably the first time I’d really felt life through my daughter’s eyes, and about how I, for once, actually thought I’d written something well. I’d talked about how I thought it was time for me to really do something with this blog, gain a bigger audience. I mentioned the Dad 2.0 Summit, a large gathering of dad bloggers and dads and sponsors. I thought maybe I should go. She agreed.

That night I couldn’t sleep. I left the bedroom and began researching going to New Orleans for the summit. Between the ticket, flight, hotel, etc., it was going to cost a fortune. Should I still do it? I watched a video taken from last year’s gathering and saw hundreds of confident people, a few of which I know, and I began to panic. The burst of wonder I’d written about morphed into icy fear. My mind swirled. I wasn’t good enough for this. These bloggers are so much better, so much more competent. They’re invited to interview celebrities, review films and test out new products. My blog’s puny by comparison. I barely get any comments. I had to do something. My hands shook as I posted my blog in a Dad Bloggers group on Facebook, terrified I wouldn’t be accepted.

I had to change tactics. Think of something else. I know. Coupons. We need to save money. I used to be a coupon fiend, so good that one of my former coworkers told me I should make a business out of it. That’s when I stopped cold. Once the possibility of making it a business came into play, I could no longer do it. Now I had to get back into it. I researched coupon sites while and was overwhelmed. Then I started thinking about the holidays and finding gifts for people. My chest hurt. My brain hurt. Nasty thoughts bombarded me. I suck as a blogger. I’m weak. Can’t do the coupon thing anymore. I’m a failure. At around a quarter to two in the morning, I posted on Facebook about the Dads Summit and feeling panicky. Then I got the hell away from the computer, went back to the bedroom, and tossed and turned for hours before falling into a fitful sleep.

Elaine was off the next day. The plumber was due to come fix our shower. I woke up feeling horrible. Nervous. Scared. Two hours later it was a full-on panic attack complete with chest pains, dizziness, stuttering, crying. Elaine ordered me to the bedroom, but I fought her; I couldn’t leave her alone to take care of Sienna while the plumber was there. I looked at the responses to my FB post from the previous night. Positive responses that I twisted into negative thoughts. I’d lost all control of my mind. I was falling apart in front of Sienna. I finally submitted to my Elaine’s order and went to the bedroom. I apologized, but she refused it saying we’re a team, that it was my turn to lose it (she’d lost it a few days before because of job-related things). I chastised myself for failing her, for being a failure in general. Eventually I fell asleep. I slept for almost six hours.

I still could barely function after awakening. I sat on the couch like a stone wanting only to curl up under a blanket. Elaine took care of everything, feeding Sienna, playing with her, cleaning up her messes. She comforted me, told me she loved me, that we’re in this together, that in no way had I failed her. The words didn’t stick. I’m not sure how long it was before bedtime when I took a melatonin and slept peacefully.

I awoke the next morning feeling better. Elaine was working so I was once more alone with Sienna, though the plumber had to return to fix a few things. I realized I wasn’t ready to go to the Dads Summit. Not this year. I reread the comments on my FB post and one really stood out:

“1- You haven’t been blogging for long. Continue finding your voice for now and set a date to take off. 2- Set goals. Last year I sat down and came up with a business plan for my blog. The plan was for my eyes only, but I had a plan in place. The plan took new shapes along the way, but I felt good that I had a plan. 3 – Being a dad blogger is great, but taking a break now and then is fine. 4- You’ve got good stuff, but sometimes it takes a while for others to catch on to it.”

This both encouraged and scared me. I’m terrible at planning. I can barely make a grocery list, but the person was right in that I hadn’t been blogging long. I’ll probably need to talk to my friend who posted the comment about planning and I’ll most likely need Elaine’s help, but it’s something that needs to be done. Baby steps. My therapist always says I need to take baby steps because I usually jump straight to the end and judge myself harshly that I’m not there yet and so many others are.

So my first step is to write this blog and get all of this out there to show people how quickly depression/anxiety can attack. Having depression and/or anxiety disorders is not fun. It’s not a joke. They’re insidious diseases that you have to battle at all times. It’s like walking a tightrope without a net. There’s lots of wobbling and if you fall off there’s nothing to catch you. Those of us with depression/anxiety need to surround ourselves with people who love and understand us at all times (even if we can’t figure out why they do). I’m lucky that I have Elaine and my parents; a few friends to turn to; my sister; my therapist. As difficult as it is, I need to stop comparing myself to others and I need to take baby steps even if I need guidance in doing so.

Baby steps all the way to the moon.

20 thoughts on “Tumbling From the Moon and Getting Back Up

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    November 14, 2013 at 1:38pm

    I think you are overthinking, and just because you have a great blog, doesn’t mean you need to sit down and think of a business plan. It’s easy for other people to say, “Yeah, make money off it!” but you don’t have to get to that right now. You could go to the convention and consider it a test run or a way to start networking and getting ideas, rather than having to plan for it like it’s going to make and break you. Just do it for fun and maybe for exposure and connections for now. You can always go back next year if you get more prepared.

    Also, you can save all the travel receipts etc. and if you ever make money from writing or the blog, you can use those as tax expenses and save a little on your taxes (but only if you wind up w/freelance income.)

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Lorne Jaffe

      November 21, 2013 at 12:04pm

      Caren, you may be right. I might not be ready to think of a business plan. I’m not sure I’ll go to the convention because I worry I’ll be overwhelmed no matter what. We’ll see. No matter what, I appreciate your support!

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    November 14, 2013 at 2:32pm

    Dude, some of the best writers I know struggle with accepting the worth of their offerings. Including in the dad bloggers group. And you, sir, have a lot to offer. Really, this kind of thoughtful vulnerability (and quality prose to boot) is what blogging should be all about. I have to be reminded of it from time to time.

    At the same time, just enjoy the journey for a while, without worrying too much about attracting an audience. It adds a lot of pressure to try to attract a larger audience, and it’s easy to get disappointed (even when the next blogger down the road would kill to achieve what you’ve already achieved). Figure out what you do best, and stay true to it, and just let that simmer for a while. You’ve just won me as a fan, and I’m sure others won’t be far behind.

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Lorne Jaffe

      November 21, 2013 at 12:03pm

      Thanks so much, Neal! I’ve had trouble responding to a lot of these comments because I have difficulty accepting compliments. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate what you wrote 🙂

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    November 14, 2013 at 2:57pm

    Thanks for sharing this. I might need to revisit it next time my chest starts to get tight.

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Lorne Jaffe

      November 16, 2013 at 11:16am

      Thanks, Ryan! That chest tightness is horrible. It’s good to know you’re not alone in feeling it

  4. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    John Kinnear

    November 14, 2013 at 6:52pm

    Very nice Lorne. You have a way with words. I’m really excited to read more. I would tell you not to worry so much but your subtitle is “Discoveries of a father dealing with depression & anxiety,” and I imagine people with diagnosed anxiety issues get tired of people telling them not to worry so much. Instead, I offer you my friendship and help should you ever need it. See you around dad bloggers, and thanks for sharing.

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Lorne Jaffe

      November 21, 2013 at 12:01pm

      Thanks so much, John! Very happy to accept your friendship and offer my own. You’re right in that we get tired of people telling us not to worry so much 😉

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    November 15, 2013 at 12:41am

    I’m new to the Dad Bloggers group too. I have a young daughter. I am not going through what you are going through, but I feel that somehow I landed on your page for a reason. I am going to bookmark it. And comment. And let you know that everything takes time. I am not a patient person but I have to take a step back, breathe, and understand that everything works out for a reason.

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Lorne Jaffe

      November 16, 2013 at 11:17am

      Thanks so much, Matt!

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    November 15, 2013 at 12:02pm

    This was a wonderful post Lorne. I appreciate how you put it all out there for us to read. Sounds like you have a great parenting partner. Keep up the great work.

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Lorne Jaffe

      November 18, 2013 at 8:35pm

      Thanks so much, Jason! Absolutely cannot deny having a wonderful parenting partner!

  7. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    November 15, 2013 at 12:18pm

    Keep up the good work, Lorne! I hope that getting your feelings and frustrations help relieve the tension, usually does for me. Don’t worry about a business plan, I don’t have one either (don’t tell anyone). I blog because I love to write and this is one place I can do it where a few other people might see it too. As for Dad 2.0, it is an investment, I won my trip and accomodations or I wouldn’t be able to make it, so keep your eyes out for contests. Hope you have a better day today!

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Lorne Jaffe

      November 18, 2013 at 8:37pm

      Thanks so much, Eric! Writing this stuff out does help a bit, but then I get tripped up because I’m nervous about what to write about next. Will def be on the lookout for contests. Still undecided about going to Dad 2.0, but maybe. Glad to know I’m not the only one w/out a business plan!

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    November 15, 2013 at 3:36pm

    I wanted to take a moment to empathize with you. Many people don’t really understand what that kind of anxiety is like. When I try to explain it to people I tell them to imagine they parked their car in front of their house but left the keys in the ignition figuring it’d be okay. You walk outside 2 minutes later, and the car is gone. That heart dropping feeling is what people with anxiety issues deal with constantly.

    For me, it happened after my son was born. My wife had an infected c-section and postpartum depression. This left me trying to learn the ropes of being a first time father, as well as helping my wife deal with her insane anxiety. She would have a near panic attack any time someone came over, meaning I couldn’t really ask for help for fear of her having an attack.

    I also had to clean her infection incision 3 times a day. I’ll spare the details, but it involved one of my biggest phobias, that of a hole being somewhere it didn’t belong.

    The long and short was that I completely shut down emotionally for months in order to cope. When things finally calmed down and I was able to feel again, along with the feelings came world-crushing anxiety. For 24 hours a day/7 days a week I felt like I just discovered my car was stolen.

    When I read this post, I completely felt for you. Someone who has never experienced that kind of anxiety could think you are being overly-dramatic or a wuss. But I know from experience how easy it is to spiral completely out of control when anxiety is present. I also remember how hard it was for me to face it head on and try to get help.

    Which leads me to commend you on how brave this piece was. I am sure as you wrote this that dirty bitch anxiety was probably trying to creep right back out again, but you kept to it and I commend you.

    I can’t imagine living with this full time. My issue lasted about 4 months until I got on some meds, which I was able to eventually come off of. Now anxiety comes mostly when its supposed to, albeit a little more so when I am overly tired.

    So from one dad who has been there (albeit briefly) to a dad who is fighting the good fight, I say well done. I am glad it didn’t stop you from becoming a dad and glad it didn’t stop you from sharing your writing skills with us all.

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Lorne Jaffe

      November 21, 2013 at 11:59am

      Thanks so much Jack and for sharing your story! It’s taken me awhile to respond because I’ve been so overwhelmed by the responses to my post. I’m so glad you were able to get through your anxiety. I’m working constantly on mine. I’m so touched by your response!

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    sherry amatenstein

    November 18, 2013 at 4:13pm

    Great job!

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Lorne Jaffe

      November 18, 2013 at 8:33pm

      thanks Sherry!

  10. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Brian Sorrell

    December 4, 2013 at 2:58pm

    Such an edgy post. I love it and find it completely absorbing. This is the kind of honest and visceral style that gets me coming back for more.

    If it helps: blogging has been therapeutic for me as well, a regular journey of self-discovery. If I read you right, yours might end up much the same — and a weekly self-discovery is plenty! And regarding business plan: I don’t have a blogging plan; I have a writing plan which includes blogging. My blog has gotten me freelance jobs, which was precisely my plan, but I don’t mix business with the pleasure of memoir-ing. My blog is mine.

    Anyway, well done. Glad that the Dad Bloggers group pointed me to you!

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Lorne Jaffe

      December 5, 2013 at 3:54pm

      Thanks so much, Brian! I’m glad to know that others don’t really have a business plan. I don’t even really have a blogging plan! If I don’t keep my feet well-planted I’m the ground, I’m liable to go to insane extremes of expectation. But at the same time, I chastise myself for not having a plan. ARGH! I can say this much, without starting to finally write on FB (thanks to a lot of therapy) and for the support I received from people I hadn’t seen in years, I never would have started blogging at all. Thanks so much for the compliments!

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