One Mama's Depression Story
This last year has been anything but easy for me. There were days when I wasn't quite sure how I was going to get through the day. An exhaustion set in that was so deep that it was almost over took me. Words have always been my friend. I love to write, and I could not find the words to write when I was in the middle of the storm. I knew it would be freeing and help, but I just couldn't do it. The words would never come. I couldn't write about me. Anything else but me.
Well peeps, I'm here to tell you the struggle does eventually get easier and there is light on the other side. The words are finally flowing. The darkness of depression has let up and once again I've found myself. It feels amazing. However, I'm careful, because I know if I look back, it's still there and could easily slink it's way back in - depression is like that. Know your triggers, peeps.
So how did it over take me? I'm not quite sure. Maybe one of life's perfect storms. Last year there were lots of life changes (professional directions for both Coach Man and I, homeschool to public, moving, etc.). I was experiencing more and more autoimmune inflammation and fatigue as well due to high stress. Plus I miss my mama more than words can say. I'm angry that she's gone from this earth way too soon. I hate that she isn't here to see my babies grow up. Grief can be a hard, hard thing. My freelance career was beginning to bloom and there were lots of new demands on my time. I had just switched from being a full time work outside the home mama to a work at home mama, juggling freelance, two busy kiddos and a busy Coach Man. There were a lot of balls to keep in the air, and I was sucking at it.
If you know me well, you know I struggle with wanting everything to be perfect. I worry way too much about crazy stuff that really doesn't matter, such as how clean my house is before I actually let friends come over. I've since realized that scruffy hospitality is an awesome thing. Yep, look it up. You'll like it too.
In the amidst of the deepest of my depression I was ashamed. I felt like a failure. How could it have gotten this bad? I pretty much felt like a horrible mom, wife, sister, friend, daughter... you name it and yep I beat myself up about it. I wanted to hide from the world and sleep, sleep, sleep.
There are a few specific moments in the amidst of the worst of the worst that I recall and just shake my head now - the depression had a deep hold. Oh and peeps, depression makes you believe a lot of stupid lies. They circle in your head and just drag you deeper every day.
I recall sitting in the pick-up line at the elementary. The parking lot was so full that day, but why? Then all these moms I knew came streaming out as the bell rang with their kiddos in tow. What had I forgotten?! The fall class parties. Oh no! I sat in the car and sobbed. How could I have forgotten that? I had said I would volunteer to help the class moms. Failure.
My routine during those horrible months was to hunker down in this one corner of the coach with the laptop daily and force myself to complete the work I had to get done due to agency deadlines. It was my biggest fear that clients would find out about my current situation, and oh my gosh what would they think?! That I was less than capable? Somehow a lesser version of myself. I let housework go. I rarely cooked. I missed family events. I flaked out on friends, but I never missed a deadline. I knew that would only make everything worse for our family. We needed the income. Somehow during it all, by the grace of God, I handled the workload, I was able to find the words for other people, but everything and I mean everything else slipped.
I remember a day when Ashley, my co-Fortville Mama, showed up at my house. She knew I was in a hard way. She knew I had been avoiding her and everyone else. She knocked on my door and stepped over my piles and forced me to let her into my world. She's a good soul and good friend. And the amazing Kara Fleck would message me frequently telling me this too shall pass, and it was okay to just do what I was able right at that moment. No more, no less. And Crystal Davis Paschal who encouraged me with her own story. Oh and Beth Pack, forever and always my biggest cheerleader and the best BFF a girl could have! They all were my lifelines, along with many other good friends that stood by myside. Oh and my sweet sisters and sister-in-law. Somehow they always knew the right day to call and push me to continue to get better. And a little pooch named Chase that rescued me, more than us rescuing him.
During the darkest of the days, this song was pretty much how I felt. Oh so worn.
Do you feel a bit worn too? Trust me, it's going to be okay. This too shall pass, but seek help. You deserve to feel better and to live life to the fullest. All truth, peeps. You deserve wellness. You really do.
It's crazy, but I felt so judged during the deepest of my depression. I felt like people were looking at me and saying, look she's failing big time. In my head they were saying things like: She can't keep all the balls in the air. What's wrong with her?! She quit her volunteer positions?! How dare she? She should be able to handle her life. She doesn't even work full time anymore!
I missed local events and didn't get things covered on Fortville Mama either. People noticed. They commented. Once again in my head - failure. Depression is full of lies, peeps. Full of lies. Don't believe them.
A full year later. I'm feeling way more like the chick I used to know. Yes, if you are curious, I did seek help. I didn't tackle it on my own. In the moment, that too felt like a failure to me. To not be able to fix it myself. To not be stronger than that. But once again, depression lies.
I'm finally back peeps, and oh it feels good! I'm humble though, and I know I have to be proactive to keep myself healthy. It's my most important job in order to accomplish all the other jobs - writer, freelancer, mama, wife, sister, daughter, friend...
So I learned a lot in the last year. Tons about myself, but a few insights that might help you too, so I'm sharing...
5 Takeaways from Depression, Now That I'm on the Other Side
- Every yes you say to something, is a no to something else. Sometime a yes to take on a new responsibility or task is a no to your family and the time they need from you. Be careful with the things you say yes to.
- Me time isn't selfish. Filling your own tank once in awhile is important to be the best mom, wife, employee, daughter, sister, friend, etc. Schedule routine me time.
- Be still. In a life of busy, busy, busy, find time for stillness. Have that quite cup of coffee in morning and watch the leaves of the trees dance in the breeze, or find your own stillness. We're all different in what works for each of us.
- Be grateful. No matter what is crappy in your life, there is always someone way worse off than you. Count your blessings. There is always something to be thankful for.
- Savor even the hardest moments. There is always a lesson to be learned. Don't wish the hard away. Often times there is grace hidden in the hard.
And with that... Ashley and I are on to a new cool chapter in Fortville Mama. We are upgrading to a new website. It's been the longest work in progress project! Part of that is due to the challenges I experienced over the last year. It slowed our progress. I am ever so thankful to her and her patience with me. Thanks for loving me as I am, Ashley. Cheers to the next chapter of Fortville Mama!
Oh and to the ones I adore most, thanks for loving me through it all.