A couple of weeks ago, Sue picked out my clothes and my jewelry for my Listen to Your Mother audition. I, with the help of many, especially my friend Rach, had a piece I had to written in hopes of making it as part of the cast for this year’s Listen to Your Mother in my area. The show is a group of writers sharing about being a mom, having a mom, knowing a mom, you get the picture. I of course really wanted to make it, but alas, I did not. But I wanted to share with you the piece I read for my audition.
Life hurts. Not life with my husband or kids, but life with myself.
The depression started months ago. And brought up a lot of trauma I experienced when I was working full-time.
I was good at my job. I moved effortlessly from project to project, remembering years of data and information. I worked seamlessly through many management and corporate changes.
Then came Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, followed by Bipolar Disorder.
When I returned to work after my maternity leave, and a manic psychotic episode, I had lost all my confidence. It was just…gone. I could be asked a question I knew the answer to, but my mind would freeze. I would stutter out bits and pieces of information, only to realize later that I had made a mistake and needed to retract much of what I had said.
I could no longer trust my memory, or my mind. I got stuck in the rut of fear and self-doubt; in my mind, I was a failure.
I would cry and shake while driving to work. I was so medicated, I was falling asleep at my computer, but it was the only way I could quasi-function. My anxieties and fears drove me to dry heaving in the restroom, sitting in a stall planning my suicide I wanted to give up–instead I called my psychiatrist again, begging for help, begging for hope.
I struggled at home as well. I couldn’t sit still long enough to complete a task, any task.
And now, I seesaw betweeen spiraling into depression and soaring into mania. I struggle to think, as my mind is so focused on what is going wrong in my brain, I forget to care about life and the outside world.
I am terrified, but I keep moving forward. I continue to fight. I listen to every “I love you” my girls say, I reach out to my husband for his loving arms. I make cookies and brownies. I get dinner on the table and I fold laundry.
Somehow I hold it together. I take the rhythm of the day and allow it to force me to function. My three girls and I know what needs to be done, moving forward until we have covered all we need in our homeschooling. School looks different when I am depressed or manic– it includes a lot of independent work when mama is depressed and a lot of hands on activities and games when mama is manic.We follow the rhthyms of our day, taking breaks when needed, learning as we go.
My girls, they are the reason I am still here, fighting the noise in my head.
I accept hugs from my girls, when my mind is telling me I am not worthy of love. I ignore the sound of my brain in order to gather my girls for outings and field trips. Each moment I breathe in and out is a moment of victory. Can I win enough moments to equal a minute, an hour, a day?
Saying this, it seems so easy, but it’s not. Every day is a delicate balance of medication, activity, and self-care. There are days my girls have to be very patient with mama, they have to take initiative in their schooling, and love the broken me.
The last few weeks have landed me in a spiral into darkness. I couldn’t stop the descent into the black, so now I’m sitting in the bottom of a pit. I claw at the edges, but they are smooth; there are no handholds.
While I sit here, I feel the weight of life. Every breath is hard. Each movement is like walking through sand, all my thoughts play on my weaknesses, taunting me… “You will never get better. Your girls will grow up to hate you. You don’t deserve your perfect girls. They deserve so much better than you. You better hug them now because they will be long gone as soon as possible.”
I’m doing what I need to. I am taking care of my girls, throwing myself into raising them, making us a life that puts one foot in front of the other. I am breathing in and out for them. I am not out of the pit, far from it, but I am still here–waiting.
Slowly, I realize we, my family and I, are getting through the days a breath at a time.
Together we wait for a bright new day.
While, it would have been nice to hear applause and accolades at the Listen to Your Mother show, it apparently not to be so I will continue using my blog as the Lord leads and go from there.Survive til you Thrive!