My days back then were survived, not lived. Every moment passed into hours and hours into days and days into months. I was in the house almost constantly, worrying about naps and cooking and cleaning when all I wanted with every fiber of my being was to walk through the woods and sit beside a lake. With two toddlers, my time was constantly demanded. Nights were full of waking up for night time bottles and occasional changes or trips to the potty and I was up early in the mornings to send Cris (hubby) off to work with his coffee and breakfast. There was tension between us because after stressing out all day with work, he'd come home to a stressed out wife. An entire day home and our house was nowhere near clean. Food wasn't cooked with the devotion and attention it should have been but man, I was sad...I was always sad.
I had fallen into a complete depression. Not many knew about it because I've always been the type that could hide behind a smile and a joke but God knows how badly my heart and mind ached for a moment of peace and solitude. My spirit was suffering because my energy was so low that I couldn't even read the Bible or pray the way I should. I just wanted to get out of the house - to go hiking in the mountains or fishing or camping - but Cris was busy with our business which was taking off and the last thing I wanted was to spend time in the woods with two kids who were cranky and screaming because they were tired.
Listen, this is not something I share with people usually. I don't want people to look at me and think what they're seeing is a poor, stressed mama who can't manage her time. Which, by the way, people, do you know how impossible time-management is when you're not feeling well? When you barely manage to wash your hair twice a week and even forget to feed yourself because you're so busy with others? That was my life then...
And, well, here's the thing...I'm there again. I'm back to having two toddlers constantly vying for my attention. They fight and scream and cry and fight some more and on top of that, my first two kids are old enough now to talk back and misbehave on a whole other level. I'm back to surviving my days. I'm back to an almost constantly messy house and food that could taste better. I'm back to being stuck in the house because Tank is, well, Tank and Phina is so heavy and still not walking. Worst of all, I'm back to feeling sad almost constantly and not knowing how to stop it.
But...there is a difference this time:
I experienced years of depression back then. Recently, I recognized the signs as they crept up on me and I am doing everything possible to resist the fall. I am mentally at work throughout the day to find every reason to not be depressed.
When driving to pick up my kids from school, I absorb the natural beauty of North Carolina. I know that sounds silly but I do it. Growing up in a desert, all I ever wanted was to be surrounded by the woods and here I am. So I literally take in the view as I drive. Especially now that it's fall, I can never drive without feeling breathless because everything is so pretty!
I remind myself on a daily basis that it's not the end of the world that there are dishes in the sink.
When the little ones nap and the older two are in school, I take time to sit my butt down and breathe. If I have to close my eyes to the mess of toys or crumbs on the floor, I do, for the sake of my peace of mind because God, I am losing it. I play my music throughout the day and mentally plan how I'll spend my time when my little ones aren't so little.
I occasionally drive out to a neighborhood we plan on living in sometime in the future, park my car, shush the kids and listen to the silence for five or ten minutes. I chat with the older two about how we'll decorate the rooms and spend our summer mornings by the lake with lemonade and muffins. The younger two are usually snacking in silence or playing with their books or toys. My mind calms and hope fills me when I think of how we'll make life in the not-so-distant future. It reminds me that my current mental state is not my forever mental state.
That's the thought that helps me most: through experience, I know that these two little ones will grow up and I'll get back on my feet. I know that I won't be in this mindset forever. I won't feel strapped down to sadness forever. The kids are difficult for now, but they will grow. The little ones won't be little forever and naps won't forever control my schedule. Tantrums will end in a few more years. My first two grew and I was able to spend more time with them outside. We could better communicate so I was better able to get things around the house done. I would wake in the morning and enjoy my coffee in silence as they slept in a bit longer than they did when they were smaller. I did have a time of feeling normal and happy and I can rest assured that I will have that time again.
|My Girls - Then and Now|
We need to find what soothes us and use that daily to keep up above the things trying to pull us down into depression.
I tell myself every day that I will not let depression take me again.
And I will say it again...
I WILL NOT LET DEPRESSION TAKE ME.