How long has it been? Almost a year since I’ve written! Life has been passing so fast, we’re almost back to Christmas again.
So many things have changed since this time last year- the kids are a year older, B is home, we have a dog! A wonderfully irritating addition to the family. We bought a house, we have a second vehicle, Pea has almost mastered her alphabet and can officially count to ten. I know she’s over three so a lot of people will wonder why that’s such a big deal, but trust me. It DEFINITELY is. Pea had NO interest in counting for a very long time. Moosh can talk, incredibly well. Tate (formerly referred to as Ry, but we came up with a real nickname for her) can jump with both feet and she’s currently in speech therapy! Oliver (our cat, in case anyone didn’t know) escaped a couple times this summer but since the temperature has dropped and snow has coated the ground, he shows no interest of venturing outside.
I’ve filled you in on most of the newest developments in the family, but my real reason for writing again really only has to do with me.
If you were a previous reader, you’ll remember I had a pretty steep downward spiral into post partum depression after the twins were born. It was impossibly hard, B being deployed, taking care of three very small babies all by myself. I had virtually no help. I felt so alone, I couldn’t even put the feeling into words. I felt judged, ostracized, stigmatized. Like I couldn’t talk to anyone about the horrible thoughts I was having because they would think I was batshit crazy. I couldn’t breathe, I was so unbelievably unhappy with everything. Myself, my kids, my life. And yet I avoided leaving the house unless I absolutely had to. A lot of people have a hard time understanding that- you complain about being alone, yet you stay home all the time? That was another feeling that I couldn’t articulate. The desperate need for human contact (other than my tiny personal army) but the overwhelming stress I would get being in public. Break out in sweat, sick feeling in my stomach, bite my nails down to bloody nubs. I avoided it whenever I could.
It was such a terrible time. I was drowning, the air an arms length away but I could not bring myself to breach the surface and breathe.
After B came back and we moved home, I began noticing it in different ways. I had no motivation at all, despite having so much more help. The laundry and dishes would pile up day after day. I wouldn’t shower or get dressed. I was irritable and angry. I had even less patience than I did when I was alone. Honestly, I was expecting all the negative feelings to just disappear and my head to right itself after my family was back together.
Why would I think that?
Because society has conditioned so many of us to believe that mental illnesses are circumstantial. That you can control depression, snap out of anxiety, ESPECIALLY when it’s related to having babies. Mental illness is very real. It’s painful, it’s draining, it’s an ugly monster that stalks every single move you make. Slipping it’s long cold tentacles up your back and telling you “you’re not good enough” and “they would be better off without you.”
I finally had enough, and I scheduled a doctors appointment. She confirmed what I knew in my heart. I was suffering from pretty severe depression and anxiety. I’ve been on medication for it for awhile now, and I can honestly say I’ve noticed a significant change in myself. Since that appointment I have had one panic attack. That’s a pretty impressive improvement, if I do say so myself.
I was nervous to start on anti depressants, because I know the stigma surrounding them. Look, you can call me crazy for needing them but I’m a lot more crazy without them. There’s no shame in needing help, and so often mothers are just expected to deal with their issues on their own. We don’t need to be last priority to be good mom’s, we don’t need to suffer for our kids to be happy!
I sound like an author of a children’s book, with the cliche moral at the end.. but seriously.