Friday, June 6, 2014

Wrestling within - the next chapter

So I suppose I almost set myself up for failure from the word 'go' on this journey of my life.  Last year Jon and I decided we would make the jump in our family from 2 part time incomes, to one full time income and we would actually come out better in the end.  What that meant was that I was going to be a stay at home mom (SAHM), but I have NEVER stayed home exclusively with our children (shocking I know, but I haven't).  I have always done something outside of the home - be it school, working, PTA, cub scout leader... It didn't matter what it was, there was always something I was juggling (on top of wife and mother). But that was how I wanted it, that was how I made my life to be.  I have known since having Jonathan that I love my children dearly but I can not stay home with them.  I do not possess this quality of patience that it requires to raise little people well; funny since my life goal since second grade was to be a teacher; yet that too was justifiable.  I have the patience for all other children but my own, it truly was that simple, or so I thought.  All last summer I still worked though, two days a week for about three hours each day.  It was something that got me out of the house and gave me a break from feeling needed ALL day.

In August that all changed, and my boss said to just stay home and enjoy the rest of my pregnancy and call six weeks after birth. So I did; but at that time she said she no longer needed me.  It was official! I was a SAHM now with nothing on my responsibility list except to raise little people... I think as that realization started to set in was when I grew further into my depression.  I think if you were to ask Jon though, he noticed things shortly after Orion's birth, though I really couldn't tell you when he showed a lot of concern towards me.  I already suffer from seasonal affective disorder (or seasonal depression) so winters in Michigan are not my favorite time of the year, but this winter was hard. Not only due to being stuck indoors so much because of weather, but I had a new little person to raise, who needed me ALL THE TIME and Willow still NEEDS me ALL. THE. TIME.

If you know me and you are reading this story, it may be coming as a surprise to you.  I did a great job of hiding my thoughts and feelings. I denied being depressed because I saw it completely different than how I was feeling. I was tending to all the needs of my kids, but I wasn't interacting with them. I was keeping myself kept, and would go out to social gatherings (like Mom's group) or have coffee with friends and put a smile on my face at all times.  I did not believe I was suffering from depression, I felt I was tired due to Orion always being awake at night, and if it wasn't him, well Willow still wakes up at night.  I thought it was a rough day due to someone being sick, whatever the excuse was I found it.  There was no way I was suffering from depression.  Jon would ask me how am I doing and offer up the depression idea and I would say I am fine and not depressed.  I just told him things would get better when... (fill in the blank with whatever I thought would make things easier for me at the time).  But they weren't.

Jon reminded me about a month back that spring IS here (one of my excuses), and that I am still not myself.  It was then that it started to sink in that I have been coming up with many excuses as to why I was not well and that nothing had really gotten better.  Then I went to our last Mom's group meeting where the topic was depression (funny since I hadn't gone to a meeting since before Christmas for various reasons) and I realized that depression was not just how I thought it was.  My lack of motivation, my lack of feeling connected, the fog I felt in my head. The anxiety I felt that I was not being what a SAHM should be (whatever that really means), the pressure I had put on myself to do everything because Jon is working and that is what a SAHM is suppose to do.. All of it was part of how I was suffering from depression.

You see anyone who suffers from depression really does suffer differently; but it doesn't lessen the fact that it is there.  Yet no one wants to talk about it either.  It is so hard for me because for some reason, I feel like less of a person, mother, wife because I... I am not sure I have found the reason or the word for why actually. But I feel less than my old self I will say that.  I have never looked at someone else I have personally known with depression any differently than I had before, but I look at myself differently. That is also a bit of a struggle.

But for now, that is the story of my struggle, and I am sharing it because as I said yesterday - sharing our stories doesn't just help us heal, it helps others who are suffering too. I have always been an open book when it comes to my past of sexual abuse, miscarriages, bad days, good days, parenting fails, etc... But this is a lot harder to share.  So thank you all who have been so warm and kind since yesterday. It means a lot.

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