Here we go again. A little over a year since my depression and anxiety got out of control. I am by no means in as bad of a place as I was last winter but I have been inching closer and closer the last few months. I have taken a different approach this time. I didn't talk about it. I didn't really even tell Steve how I was feeling. occasionally I mentioned that I felt like I was slipping back into depression but otherwise I said nothing...just a passing comment here and there. I didn't tell friends or any other family for a long time. I started crying every day again. Started feeling overwhelmed with life every day. Started feeling scared of irrational things again. It felt too familiar. I thought that if I avoided talking about it it would go away. It wouldn't be my reality. I could pretend nothing was happening. Maybe if I didn't talk about it I wouldn't think about it as much. This hasn't actually worked for me. (Surprise, surprise.) I am still struggling daily but I am just mainly doing it alone. Steve has caught on to how I have been doing because I couldn't control my emotions. I was crying at the drop of a hat over what seemed like such ridiculous things. I didn't want to leave bed. I would forget to eat meals. I started to care less about the normal day-to-day clean up of the house (Steve would come home to lunch dishes still on the table, laundry piling up and dusting that hadn't happened in days....very unlike me). He encouraged me a few weeks ago to reach out to some people. Just tell some people how I am doing instead of acting like everything was going as normal. I am not sure if that has helped me or not but I did it anyways.
I was recently at a counseling session and I told the counselor that last time this happened I was very public about what I was going through. I blogged a few times, went to friends' houses to escape what would overwhelm me at home, cried to friends, called people when I needed to talk and was generally an open book. She asked me why I wasn't being like that this time. I told her that I am embarrassed this time. I feel like this shouldn't be happening again. Did I learn NOTHING last time? Why can't I power through this? I feel weak because I have slipped back into this pattern. I told her that last time I felt like I had something valuable to share. I wanted other women to recognize what postpartum depression (or just depression in general) can look like. It has so many faces and I wanted to share what it looked like for me. I wasn't ashamed that I needed meds and counseling and help caring for Jacob. I wanted to share my journey through depression. Well that journey ended last march...or so I thought. This time I am ashamed. I hate that I am back in a similar place. I hate that I thought it was all over and it crept back in. I hate that I couldn't stop it from happening again. She told me that she thinks my experience this time is potentially more valuable then last time. Depression tends to be something that people struggle with for life. Sharing the first big low is great but sharing about living with depression on a longer term basis is actually more real. I don't like hearing that this is something I will likely battle for my whole life. I don't like not having complete freedom from this.
So....this is what I have to share. This is my experience. Depression, for me, comes in waves. Sometimes the waves are big and swallow me up, sometimes they are small and easier to wade through. I just have to keep going, keep pushing through. Steve, Jacob and this little baby girl inside me need me to keep going, keep battling and keep living life day-by-day. That's the key for me. Day-by-day. I can't look at the big picture. I can't look at tomorrow or months down the road. Everything feels like a domino affect if I do that. What happens today will mess with tomorrow and the next day and the next day....so I need to stay present in today. No stressing over this baby that is coming. She will come regardless so worrying and stressing over how Jacob will adjust and how I will adjust to 2 isn't going to do much good. We have prepped Jacob. He is in a new room. He talks about his baby sister. We talk about how she will cry and mommy and daddy will need to hold her. Steve and I have discussed ways in which we feel we can best help Jacob adjust once she is here but until then there isn't much more we can do....so why think and worry about it? That's incredibly difficult for me. My mind is generally racing. So to slow things down and actually be aware of what I am thinking about and forcing myself to not think about certain things is new for me. And finally I need to be ok putting up boundaries. I need to stop apologizing when I can't handle something. I need to know how much I can take on and be aware of when I have done too much. I need to take baby steps and give myself a break when I feel like I have fallen again or failed again. I need to ask for help. I need to put my pride aside and just simply ask for help.
It's a journey I didn't plan on being on but I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other because this is the path I have been given.