I’ve drafted countless emails and blog posts over the last 6 or 9 months since my last post. Then I deleted them.
I’ve had some struggles (haven’t we all?) over the past two years and rather than being open and transparent, I have hidden and pretended I’m good.
All hiding aside, I am (for real) good now.
I had Depression (or have? Does it ever go away completely? I’m new to this.). The real kind. Not just a moment of sadness because things aren’t going my way. It’s a deep, dark, lingering Doom. When the Doom is present it feels as though I will never have a moment of joy again. No theoretical scenario I can conjure in my mind will ever bring me joy. When I think, “What will make me get past this?” there is no answer. And it’s scary.
I could be sitting with my kids in a relaxing space, when normally I would take a moment to practice presence and find JOY in their laughter or funny words, and instead I have the very heavy, physical, guttural, heart-sinking Doom. I would force down tears that had seemingly no reason to be there. The exhaustion from pretending interfered with my normal, healthy routine. What I normally considered rock bottom (eating nuggets and French fries from the freezer) became our normal.
Apparently, this can happen after you stop nursing your baby. It’s called Post-Weaning Depression. It’s very much like Post-Partum Depression, it just happens later. Breastfeeding prevents or postpones the hormonal plummet that happens after giving birth which would otherwise lead to PPD. But when you wean your child, as I did around about April, those hormones can finally plummet.
Thankfully, it has been months since the Doom has been present. I saw a therapist to get me through the worst of it. My hormones eventually righted themselves or are at least well on their way. This year is probably the worst time to be hit with something like this. There are so many detours to rebuilding yourself. As you try to return to what you once were, you are met with restrictions and new normals each time to take a step toward the Self you lost during that depression. The rebuilt You might not look exactly the same as the one for which you were striving. Truthfully, though, depression or not, no one is going to come out of these past two years the same as they entered.
I still see my therapist as the ultimate act of self-care. Because I know there are still ways I can be a better person. Because my career revolves around striving to bring others to their best selves, so why wouldn’t I do the same? I also think anyone in a care-giving profession should see a therapist. We spend SO MUCH time and energy focusing on bringing peace and healing to someone that we tend to neglect ourselves. It is just a relief to have the focus and care be directed at me for that hour.
Anyway, that’s what’s up. And why I’ve been pretty absent from email and social media. But I’m back now. (Not saying I’ll frequent your space any more often. Let’s be real.)
Why am I sharing this now? When things are WAAAAY better? I guess to let you know I get it. And if you're in the same boat, you're not alone. It is REALLY hard to talk about it, especially in the thick of things. The past two years have been a really trying time. Humans need community and support and that has been taken away from us.
I don't want you to think I spent my entire summer in a state of despair. Yes, much of the time there was an underlying gloom, but there were good times too! I spent time outside, getting dirty in the garden, and playing with my ducks! (And chickens now, too.) I spent time with family, enjoyed the sun, and got away for a weekend with my girlfriends. Its important to find the happy stuff.
Oh, and the boys are doing great. Everyone always asks. We sent Jackson back to school, and though things are still scary out there in the world, we know he needs to be around other kids, so he doesn’t become any more socially awkward than he already is. (This kid is seven and uses words like, “articulate” and “sinister” in casual conversation.)
Rhyett has gotten slightly less feral since he is starting to communicate a little. But he is still a lot. He is a lot of moving, climbing, pushing buttons, and defiance. He is the poster child for “it’s a good thing you’re cute.” The picture above could not have captured them better.
(Photo credit: Morgan Shepler)