Somehow it’s been nearly a month since I’ve returned to work. It’s incredible to me how fast a month goes when you’re having, err, fun? More like when you’re raising kids and working full time.
I was driving to work today and thinking about how I feel leaps and bounds better mentally than I did six weeks ago. I am so much happier than I was just a short time ago. And I still remember that darkness, that hopelessness, that fear. And I’m grateful for where I am today.
I attribute a lot of my progress to the medication. Even though I am on the lowest dose, I think it has made a tremendous difference. I also believe therapy and simply talking to another woman (and mother) has helped. And finally, I think getting back into the routine of work and getting out of the house and among other adults has also helped me get a little bit of myself back.
I’m still tired. Duh, I have a young baby who still wakes up twice per night. But I feel like it’s a normal tired. It’s not an exhaustion that I feel all the way to my soul in which I can barely lift myself from the couch – the depressed tired.
I have more patience for my three year old son. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a pre-schooler in the midst of one of the most challenging years for development, but I’m able to let some things go and remind myself that he is still so young and learning how to navigate this complicated world.
At my worst, I shut myself in my bedroom with my new baby one night, not wanting to be around my husband or older son because everything they did irritated me. This was the turning point for me, as this terrified the hell out of me. I was physically shutting out two people who I love more than anything, including my young son.
That was a dark time that I still think of vividly. And I’m happy that I’m in a much better place. I’m happy I sought help. I’m happy that I had a husband who supported me. I’m happy that I had doctors who listened and understood.
Here’s how much my life has changed in such a short time: today I put on my tennis shoes and went to the gym. It’s only been *cough* 9 months. But thinking of going to the gym a couple months ago? No way. I was too deep in my head.
It felt good to sweat again. It felt good to move my body to rebuild strength. It felt good to do something good for me.
The point of this post is for any woman out there who is where I was just a few weeks ago, or maybe is where I am now, keep going. Find your light, find your strength. As someone who absolutely hates to admit when I need help, it was hands-down the best thing I did for myself and my family. And there’s no shame. It is damn hard to be a human on this planet, and as moms we are so inclined to put ourselves last.
I try to meditate with my Headspace app when I don’t immediately pass out asleep at night, which happens more often than not. But there was a visualization technique it taught me that I really like and I constantly think about regarding my anxiety: picture your mind as a bright blue sky. The clear sky of the most beautiful day. That blue sky is always there, it’s just sometimes hidden behind dark and stormy clouds. But it’s there. And soon the clouds will part and you will see blue again.
Corny? Maybe. But it really helps to visualize whenever I start to feel anxious.
I hope everyone is having a blue sky day.