This week…just in the nick of time…she was saved by salt air and fog.

by Janelle Hanchett

(First of all, it was last week, but whatevs.)

After a super handy internet helper diagnosed me with chronic depression based on the last blog post I wrote, I figured it was time to make some changes.

I jest. That’s the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever heard.

First of all, EINSTEIN. You can’t diagnose strangers, even if they write things that make you go “Hmmmmmm?” Depression is a real thing, a serious thing, and 1,200 words on the internet are insufficient “evidence” to make such a determination. Or you might, at least, want to meet the person first, and then diagnose them based on blog posts.


Secondly, please consider just for a moment how goofy it is that you diagnosed a person with chronic depression based on A SINGLE piece of writing. Chronic, one blog post. CHRONIC, one single blog post. Do you see the problem here?

I love the internet.

Also, if I were clinically depressed, I wouldn’t be writing. I’d be in my bed, possibly with some cocaine and a bottle of whiskey. I’m sorry. Was that a little dark? Yeah, well, so is clinical depression and THAT’S how it manifests for me and THAT is why I’m calling this human out rather than “being grateful” for her “concern.”

I think maybe people find it so utterly baffling that a woman wouldn’t be totally and completely fucking INTO MOTHERHOOD at all times that they can only conclude there’s something wrong with her brain. I mean, clearly this shit is adorable and infinitely fulfilling and it’s just irrational and frankly, incomprehensible that sometimes it could turn into a slow soul-sucking death.

Is hyperbole a symptom of clinical depression? I’m sorry. Inappropriate. Let’s move on.

When I was a kid, I grew up about 40 minutes from the ocean in Central California. We went there a lot. It was often cold and foggy (northern and central Californian beaches often are, no matter what they show you on TV). My mom would pack us up and head to the beach on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Often it would be 4 or 5pm. The fog rested on us, turned my hair into ringlets around my face. I loved those curls. I thought they were adorable. I’d wear a sweatshirt and jeans rolled up and my toes would flip the cold sand. It smelled like life. There were these trees that seemed to grow out of the sand with sprawling branches and a thick cover, like the coolest natural fort you’ve ever seen. Maybe cypress trees? We’d play under them while my mom made hot dogs and we listened to the waves and smelled the water and made up stories and got lost.

When I was in high school, I moved further north. After school when I was drowning in nondescript teenaged angst (maybe clinical depression?!) I’d listen to live Dead as I drove the 30 minutes to Bodega Bay. Often, at some point the sun would turn to deep fog, but I always had a sweatshirt in my car. I’d sit on the beach and smoke cigarettes and drink coffee and write profound shit in my journal. Sometimes I’d fall asleep. I was alone. I loved being alone. I got back in my car and nothing had changed but it had all changed.

The ocean still does that for me, though I live 2 hours from it now.

We went Saturday morning to Monterey. My 35th birthday was on Friday. It was a birthday trip. My mom was there, as she’s always been. She rolled up her jeans and held my toddler’s hand.

My closest friends came. They drove 3 hours and paid for a hotel room to be there, with us, to celebrate, with us. It takes my breath away to have friends like that, people who love me like that. And people I love like that.

It rained on Saturday, but we went to Lover’s Point where there are rocks and tide pools and shelter from the wind. Sometimes all we need is some shelter from the goddamn wind.

I always seem to find it, in time.

It was so beautiful I wanted a romantic selfie with my husband, but he licked my face because he’s a fucking moron.

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It didn’t rain on Sunday. We went to Pacific Grove and found this amazing little restaurant that serves perfect breakfast. PERFECT BREAKFAST is no joke. Shit’s revolutionary. George got a buckwheat pancake and Rocket ordered lox, which I found adorable, until I saw it was $12.50. OOPS. Oh well. Kid’s got class. Or something.

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Then we went to Carmel. And it was sunny.

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some people “jog” on the beach for fun. I shall never understand such behavior.

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my mom and georgie.

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And then I came home, on the almost last day of March, and fell asleep remembering that my hell month is over and the universe always, eventually, hands us what we need, in salt and fog and sand, or lox, or the kiss of a friend or a licked face. Asshole.

Saved again, in the nick of time.


3littlebirds etsy

Also, I wanted to introduce a new sponsor. I’m really excited to have her join us because a.) She’s a mom like us making genuinely adorable things out of her home in southern Oregon and b.) part of the reason she started her business is so she could keep herself from going nuts as a sudden stay-at-home-mom amidst her 4 (!) offspring, a fact that strikes me as amazing.

I mean, when I’m overwhelmed I EAT SCONES. Rhiannon makes adorable baby and children’s products.  

Check out her Etsy shop. She makes teething rings (totally getting one for my baby) and blankets, burp cloths and children’s clothing (all at fair prices). She uses bright, engaging fabrics not traditionally used for “baby” items. In her words: she tries “not to make single-use products so people can enjoy our toys for longer than just the teething stage. Same thing with the clothing  – the dresses can be worn for years just by adding leggings, shorts, long sleeved shirt etc.”

Favorite quote from our interactions:  “My kids are awesome most days…when they’re not I put them to work in the ‘sweat shop’ that is my home-based business.” Need I say more? She’s our people. We love her.

23 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized, weeks of mayhem | March 31, 2014
  • Natalie

    First, I’m glad you’re feeling better. Second, you deserve to feel (and write about) the spectrum of human emotion without being diagnosed with clinical, and chronic (!HAHAH!HAHA!) depression. My first thought was, “Yeah, depressed people can’t write. They cry in bed and their cheeks get chapped from their tears.” And if this bitch who “diagnosed” you doesn’t believe me, she can read Andrew Solomon’s “The Noonday Demon” and she’ll understand that depression is a real fucking thing. It’s not a fucking catch-all for sadness. It’s not like one day you’re like, “I feel bummed.” Chronic depression is months or YEARS of waking up to the painful reality that, fuck, you’re still fucking alive and how much nicer it would be to take a gun to your head. So fuck her. You’re rad. HUGS!

  • jill (mrs chaos)

    The coast is my happy place. I so get this. It just…fixes the soul. Somehow.

    So glad you could go, my friend.

  • Chantal

    You made me cry… Once again… Good tears of hope and love, thinking of my family and my now over post partum depression (a real diagnose one ;)…) life is good when you know where tomlook.

  • Randi Buckley

    Woah. I live here and recognized the rocks in the pictures. I moved here a decade ago because the sand, salt, and fog find me. Always in time. I get it. Happy Birthday and lots of love. What a great post.

  • Kendra

    Happy belated birthday!! I’m glad you recharged your soul.

  • Jessica

    No one told me that it was possible to love my kid and to not love parenting my kid — at the same time. If that’s chronic depression, then I must have it too. Even with a rock solid husband/wife/partner, parenting can feel like some lonely and hardcore drudgery. Spring finally arrived on the East Coast today, and every family in the ‘hood was out in force. The burbs of Virginia are no coastal California, but I think we were all in our happy place. And we were all in it together.

  • Heather

    I long for Bodega on a bad day (but now live on the other side of the country). In college my roommates and I would drive over whenever someone got dumped or failed an exam…and also to celebrate the big things at Lucas Wharf with clam chowder. Something about that place just fixes me every time and when I go home to Sacramento I schedule a day to go there and just….breathe. It’s magic.

  • Kerry

    Happy Birthday! The ocean revives me too. Especially the wild oceans that are not so warm and sunny 🙂

    Gorgeous writing as always.

    Thank you 🙂

  • Roxanna Smith

    ok – so this is dumb and random but I love your blog and follow you on Instagram (neither of which is dumb or random) and last Tuesday I was in Carmel and looked at Instagram and saw the picture you posted of your husband and I was thinking about you and hoping March gets better (or passes) and thinking “that would be so wild if I ever see Janelle on the coast” (because I live part time in Santa Cruz) and I was kind of daydreaming about what I would say and how it would totally make me sound like a stalker no matter what…and now I am reading your post and just a few days later you were in Carmel (!) small world. Happy belated birthday. Glad the sea sets you right. Me too. Definitely a power greater than myself.

  • Heather Holter

    The post last week sounded more like exhaustion from taking on too much than depression. Why do you let ignorant peoples opinions bother you? Don’t. Be proud of being who you are and ef the ones who can’t see that beauty of your own acceptance of yourself!

  • Erin

    As someone holed up with whiskey and cocaine, and potentially (obviously) depressed…how dare they? I found your blog some months ago, and read the whole thing in a day. I have all these friends that are having babies, and I keep sending them to your writing. I don’t have babies yet, but take much inspiration from your writings and I think you’re amazing. Your brutal honesty makes me think some day when I put my selfishness aside I may just make it. When the time is right. But what I’ve learned as well is the time is never right?
    Much love,

  • Jessie

    Happy birthday! Well done, what a great weekend.
    Also, wow, Georgie is so big!
    Additionally, that lick is pretty darned romantic!

  • Rachael

    Strangers are weird. Really weird. No one has the right to quantify your emotions and feelings. This is your space, your place – and you are not alone in not enjoying every moment of motherhood. If mothers would be more honest, people who feel this way wouldn’t feel so shamed. And other people wouldn’t feel the need to shame us instead of support us. Good for you!

    • Claire from the Yukon.

      Three years ago, my husband, our three year old and our baby bought a 1986 Chevy campervan called the Nighthawk get-away van. We drove from Vancouver down the west coast. When we got to Monterey, we found Lover’s point and decided it was the perfect place to park overnight because a) there’s nothing like living in a van with small children to make your spouse appear more “lover-esque” than usual. And b) the no camping overnight sign seemed more like a friendly suggestion rather than a super serious by-law. Anyway. The Monterey police spotted us at 3 am, called for back-up, and super seriously made us leave. It was okay though. We parked at Safeway which meant we didn’t have pee on the beach in the morning. Hurray. Just wanted you to know that Lover’s point is a magical place for us too.

  • Holly

    I’ve been reading your blog for some time now and every time I see the words Renegade Mothering in my blog feed, I become absolutely ecstatic. Never have I read anything so down to earth, in-your-face, and hilarious as your blog. It’s refreshing.

    “I’d sit on the beach and smoke cigarettes and drink coffee and write profound shit in my journal. Sometimes I’d fall asleep. I was alone. I loved being alone. I got back in my car and nothing had changed but it had all changed.”

    This. I love this.

    I’m an introvert and love time to myself just to think and write, however as a mother and wife I find that there is hardly time for that anymore. And when life becomes so crazy and unbearable, sometimes all it takes is a little getaway. Even if that means heading to the beach on a gloomy day, just to get out.

    The pictures are awesome (including the face lick) and the post was great, as always.

    Here’s to all the Momma’s with chronic depression! Cheers!

    p.s. Happy Belated Birthday!

  • Val

    I can only imagine what skewed view of MY mental health a complete stranger would gather from my scattered random postings…
    (It might be as bad as my ex-husband’s lawyer – when Ex stole my handwritten journals & Xeroxed ’em to prove I was an unfit mother, his lawyer tried to introduce evidence that I suffered from “disassociative personality disorder” since I referred to myself in the 3rd person)

    Anyway, belated birthday wishes! Sounds like it turned out well.

  • Celeste

    It does the same thing for me. I’m on the Gulf of Mexico. After your last post, I wished I lived nearer so I could bring you dinner. So glad you found a little peace.

  • Amy

    Hahaha! Yes! I read that comment a few days ago and was like ummmm wtf. The nerve of some women. I love my son (duh) but yikes there are times that I wish I could take a vacation BY MYSELF. I guess I’m depressed.

  • Erin

    reading your posts makes me happy 🙂

  • Kat

    When my hubby was in matric…grade 12…he wrote a really dark essay for English in first person dialogue about a troubled teen who was considering offing himself. His guidance teacher would call him in and try and have deep heart to heart chats to make sure he was ok, which baffled him… he later found out that all of his teachers had been told to handle him with kid gloves. He said to me, but it was creative writing…I was being creative!

    Isn’t it nice to know that all the way across the world in Sourth Africa 15 years in the past a horny young boy was feeling just like you are now?

    Makes you believe in synchronicity and all that karmic shit don’t it?

  • Sara Howard

    Love!!!!!!! I don’t usually share my posts with people I don’t know, but for some reason, I think, I hope, you might like the most recent one. If not that is okay, I do it for myself. 🙂


  • Julie Smith

    You inspire me.

  • itzybellababy

    mmmmmMmMMMmmmm Monterey is my most favortist place in the world. I swear it is true. I would live there if I had a bunch of millions to play with and no fear of earthquakes and falling into the ocean.. Maybe I am just chronically depressed too?
    Nah.. I just live in the desert.

    More pictures! 😉