After dealing with the months of little to no sleep since Pie was born I had been feeling down. Well actually truth be told I was feeling down before then but I assumed it was the pregnancy and chaotic hormones. Anyway after months of battling Pie’s colic, GERD, formula allergies, and very little sleep I thought I would get better once everything stabilized.
Everything did stabilize but I did not feel better.
I started trying different things to perk my mood back up. I started exercising daily but that didn’t help. I cut out coffee for a month, no help. I cut out coffee and Coke the next month, no help. I cut out all caffeine, no help either. I ate more veggies and fruits. While I love my green smoothies they didn’t help me feel better. I cut out dairy the next month. That didn’t help either. We cut out gluten for other health reasons and I hoped it would help me but it didn’t improve my problem. I cried and prayed for help silently.
I thought maybe if I had friends to talk to I would feel better. My sweet friend Brittany invited me to her young wives Bible study group. This was the answer to my prayers. I loved the ladies right away and was so excited because I thought this was what I was missing. This group right here will feel the emptiness. After weeks of going to those meetings and praying with those lovely ladies I wasn’t feeling any better.
Then at one of those meetings one of the ladies shared her postpartum depression story and this light went off in my head. I rushed home in tears. Between the sobs I asked James if postpartum depression was my problem. He agreed that it was very probable and suggested I talk to my doctors. As you all know I’m a DIYer (real word? I’m not sure but I’m gonna go with it anyway). I decided to give myself one month to “fix it” myself.
Two and half weeks later on a Tuesday I fell apart.
We Skype with the girls’ grandma on Tuesday mornings. Most Tuesday mornings, Lala (that’s what Cakey calls her grandma) is texting me asking if we are still on for Skype. This Tuesday morning, however, I was on my game. Five minutes before Skyping time, I had the girls seating at the table with breakfast in front of them and my laptop open with Skype already up. We were ready.
Three minutes after we were suppose to be Skyping with Lala the girls were done. Lala was not there. They did not want to sit at the table anymore. Breakfast was all over them, the table, the floor. It was pure chaos and disaster. Not at all something you want to show your in-laws!
I was texting Lala trying to find out what’s was going on, Cakey is running around, Pie is smearing yogurt all over everything she can reach. Finally, Lala shows up on Skype but as I’ve already stated the girls were over it. (Lala if you are reading this please do not think any of this was your fault).
Cakey decides she needs to get dressed so she can dance on the linoleum floor. She goes to her room and comes out with her Mary-Jane’s on. Those are her “church shoes.” She only wears them to church because they have no traction on them. Of course, she does not listen and comes marching out in them, steps on the linoleum, slides and falls. The crocodile tears start and the boo-boo kisses begin. I take the shoes off of her and tell her to go put them away. She walks a few feet away, sits down, and puts them back on. When she stands up, she falls again. This is repeated a few times. Finally, after realizing we have been on Skype for 15-20 minutes and have not actually had a conversation with Lala I tell her we have to go.
The dining room is a mess. The girls are a mess. I’m on the verge of tears.
I decide to give myself a break, aka bath time.
My girls love bath time and will play for 15-20 minutes easily. That’s more than enough time to clean up the mess and settle myself down. I did just that. Cleaned up the mess enough that it was not annoying me anymore and got the Bible out. I decided to read our morning Bible story while they were playing in the tub.
Wait before we go any further I need to tell you about our bath time rule. The girls are allowed two warnings about standing up in the tub. On the third attempt at standing they get taken out of the tub regardless if they are clean or not.
On this morning, Pie decided to stand up as soon as I sat down to read. I sat her back down, turned around to pick up the Bible and she was standing up again. I sat her down again and barely released her before she was standing again. I picked her up, wiped her off with the wash cloth, and took her to her room. I diapered, dressed her, and put her down (early) for her morning nap.
I returned to Cakey and discovered she had yogurt in her hair. Cakey does not like the water to be poured on her head but she refuses to lay down in the tub. She let me wet her hair and soap it up but she would not tilt her head back so I could rinse it. As you probably guessed we had a hair washing battle. Water and shampoo were everywhere! Once I managed to get the shampoo out of her hair, I took her to her room, and got her dressed. I put Cakey in her bed and told her Mommy needed a break.
I collapsed into a chair and balled. I managed to text James and tell him I could not do this anymore. I was tired of pretending I was okay. I was tired of pretending I was happy. I was just tired. He called and heard my feeble attempts at telling him not to come home and didn’t buy them. Cakey, of course, heard me crying and slowly made her way to me. She touched my arm and asked, “Mommy sad?”
“Yes, baby. Mommy is sad.”
“I’m sorry. Hug?”
Which of course made me cry more. James came home, we talked, we decided to seek professional help. A week later I meet with a counselor. We talked. I cried a lot. He gave me some wonderful advice. I started practicing it immediately.
By the next visit a week later I felt great. I was truly happy for the first time in a long time. I quit worrying about all the petty things I had been stressing over. I started thanking God for all my blessings numerous times a day instead of obsessing over all I didn’t do.
Nothing in my life has changed except my attitude. My house is still crazy. The girls still make huge messes. We are normally late to Skype-dates and outings. But I don’t let that upset me anymore.
My depression is not cured 100%. I still have bad days where I want to wallow in myself. I just had one last week in fact. Instead of struggling myself I ask for help. Before counseling I would have felt guilty for feeling this way and guilty for asking James to do more. After counseling I’ve learned to embrace my feelings one at a time and to not feel guilty because I’m in a funk and need help.
My point in writing this is simply this. We do not have to have it all together all the time. It is okay to feel down. It is perfectly okay to ask for help. We should not take ourselves on a guilt trip just because we are not happy 24/7.
Have you ever battled depression? What has helped you on the hard days?
Have a blessed day!
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