you don’t know this, but this cup of chai tea with honey is my reward for a productive morning.
i got up when the alarm went off this morning, without waiting for the four alarms afterward to drag me from the warmth of bed. i brushed my teeth, made my husband his bottle of tea for work, ran his work shirt through the dryer to warm it up, and started getting ready for the day. i found clothes quickly, helped my husband out the door and kissed him goodbye. got the kids up, got them breakfast, took my daily vitamins, and helped the kids find clothes.
i talked with my son about the legos he wants for christmas. i not only made the effort to do my hair, but also tamed my daughter’s wild mane as well. i took my son to school without having to yell at everyone to get in gear because we were late. i got starbucks for me and my daughter before going to walmart. i went through the store leisurely, all while playing with my daughter and smiling a lot. our smiles made others smile as well.
so? you are probably asking yourself why these things matter. these actions are not major feats. millions upon millions of people do these types of thing every day, all day.
but all of these things are a big deal, especially for someone who has battled with depression and anxiety for the last decade.
with manic depression, this was me most days. my moods flipped so much, i lost track of who i was.
at the end of august, i made the call that i have needed to make for so long now. i cried after making that appointment, those loud and torturous type of sobs. i chewed my nails until they were raw in anticipation of that day. he was going to laugh at me. he was going to ask that dreadful question “what in the world do you have to be depressed about?” that doctor was going to dismiss me, just like so many people before.
but he didn’t. that 80-something man sat me in his office like i was a real person and he told me what i already knew. he said that i am manic depressive, and that he was going to help me.
he started me on a low dose of paxil for the first month, a slightly higher dose the next month once we figured that it was not working in the way that i wanted. the higher dose was still not giving the desired result, so he placed me on citalopram two weeks ago.
and now, i feel good. i feel happy. i appreciate my kids and husband in a way that i haven’t in a long time, if ever. i’m writing again, which fills me in a way that cannot be described. i don’t hate my body and everything about myself. i can accept compliments without having to bite back my harsh denial. i can sleep through the night without waking up in killer panic attacks. lastly, i cannot remember the last time that i cried in the shower.
i even took my picture today, which is a big deal, since i have avoided taking pictures of myself for the last six months.
i am not sharing all of this out of some cry for attention, but rather, to shine some light on an issue that is so often considered taboo.
stay at home moms are supposed to be thrilled to be at home. we are supposed to love absolutely every moment with our children, and we are supposed to be overfilling with an absurd amount of patience. because, after all, we are bad mothers if we aren’t these things.
the truth? most moms i know are only homemakers because daycare is too expensive and we don’t trust strangers with our preciously wild little ones. these factors aside, we could really do without the monotony of being at home with kids. we would be out in the world, rather than running errands and driving kids back and forth. we do this because we have, not necessarily because we want to.
you will probably think to yourself a few examples of moms that are rockin’ this ‘at-home’ thing. i can too. but a part of me wonders if they are faking it on any level. do they zone out on their books or smart phones at any point, mindlessly removing themselves from the world? do they ever binge on netflix and put aside their chores until the very last moment? do they ever feel inconsolably alone, especially among the chaos that is their family?
it will probably take a long time before people begin to recognize, accept, and attempt to treat depression in themselves and others in a comfortable manner. depression just isn’t something that is found appropriate to discuss, and the stiff conversation surrounding the topic only continues to drive the stigma behind the illness.
it took nearly 8 years for my husband to accept the truth about my struggle with depression. i am not sure that i could have handled his denial for much longer. this last year began to hurt entirely too much.
but now… now, my soul feels so much lighter.