When you’re right in the middle of it…

I’ve blogged before about how I experienced antenatal depression and how sharing my experience helped to heal.

While it isn’t easy to be vulnerable and open yourself up to potential judgement, it’s easier to share your historical experience with depression and how you overcame it than to share when you’re right in the middle of it…when you’re still in a fairly vulnerable spot. Where you’re susceptible to well-meaning folk who might say “just think happy thoughts!” which makes you want to give off a “resting b*tch face” that would make them want to quietly tiptoe backwards away from you.

But here I am saying – I am right in the middle of it. And it’s tough.

For me, depression is this unwelcome familiar feeling. The feeling that your body is heavy, your emotions are numb (because what you really feel is so unpleasant that your attempts to numb the bad feelings unintentionally numb the good feelings too). When you logically know that things will work themselves out and that you can only control what’s in your control…but even with that knowledge you can’t control the emotions that leave you in a constant Eeyore-like state.

It’s subconsciously pulling out all of the stops so your outer appearance “looks normal” (and others have said you look like your usual self), but inside you feel bits of your soul and happiness crumbled inside your body. It’s “just not feeling yourself” for extended periods of time…hoping that you’ll “feel yourself” today. but feeling like at any point in time you’re not too far from shedding a tear or unintentionally snapping at someone. And you’ve done both a few times over the last few weeks.

It’s telling yourself don’t give up, you can get through this, there are so many benefits to just sucking it up and getting through this, just stick it out a bit longer because things are bound to turn, I know you can do this……………………………but not knowing when things will turn, and if you’re at a point where continuing down this road is throwing good money after bad money…or if you’re at a point where it’s time to make a different choice.

It’s exhausting.

It’s tempting to end this post on an optimistic, chipper note…as if to say “This sucks, but look at me – super rational, ambitious, goal-oriented woman!!!!!” – complete with a charming grin, wink and thumbs up.

But let’s not say that.

Let’s say that I’m a work in progress and that that’s okay.

Let’s just say that I’m prioritizing sleep and exercise, to try to naturally battle it, I’m keeping commitments to a minimum (but spontaneously spending time with friends when I feel up to it), and I know that if I continue to feel unhealthy months down the road, that I will need to make some intentional decisions to limit stressors & ensure my health doesn’t suffer – for both myself and my family.

And that’s okay.

Daily Snapshot – Day #22

“We can give ourselves a fresh start whenever we want…we just need to give ourselves permission to do so.” (Is it wrong to quote yourself? Last night, this phrase was a welcome reminder after a stressful work day)

I am grateful for … a church that believes in promoting inter-faith dialogue and that actively seeks out opportunities to work together with our Muslim neighbors. On a regular basis. Not just in response to terrorist attacks.

I am hopeful that… I prioritize rest this upcoming weekend. And challenge myself to … focus on taking care of myself in the now, instead of focusing so much on taking care of others and pre-planning for the future (if that makes sense). That sounds kind of brutally self-centered, but everyone needs some time to rejuvenate and refresh. And let’s be honest, between work messy-ness and toddler tantrums I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed these days.

I enjoyed … the mint Aero bar I devoured with my lunch.

Previous Challenge: I am hopeful that… I spend the hours of my day intentionally and focus on my priorities, instead of falling into old habits. And challenge myself to … see when I’m falling into an old habit and pause for a moment to ask myself “Does this make my family healthier or bring value to their life? Does this make me healthier or bring value to my life?” Does this bring value to someone else’s life?”

Update on Previous Challenge: I felt like I did a pretty good job on this! Minus some facebook surfing yesterday, for the past few days I was very mindful of what I was spending time doing at home. And it was really either cleaning, laundry food prepping, spouse time, or catching up with people on the phone…yesterday was a difficult day and sometimes you lean on the crutch that has supported you in the past.