Last summer I learned a very important lesson.
I've been grappling with depression and anxiety for almost as long as I can remember. Some days are harder than others, and sometimes my brain tries to convince me that the world has ended and I will never notice the sunshine again.
There are moments when I truly feel as though I am drowning.
The anxiety hits me with such force that it literally knocks the breath out of me. One second I am okay, the next I am curled up in a ball on the couch trying to hang onto myself as tightly as possible and praying that one way or the other the feeling will end soon.
When that happens, there is no BEFORE or AFTER...there is only the terrifying NOW.
The panic center of my brain completely takes over and all I can think is, "I'll never, ever be able to live through this." And then I do. Every time.
Over the years I have learned many strategies to deal with my anxiety and depression. I found that being proactive and preparing for an attack before it happens is the best tactic.
I collect happies. I try to be as mindful as I can at all times so that I may store up enough positive thoughts to help me battle through the next fall. In doing this, I am essentially collecting evidence to use to combat the ominous voices in my head that are spelling out my impending doom.
Because I've been there before.
This would not be the first time that music no longer brings joy, that my brain is too worn out to absorb the words on the page of a book, or that I have to drag myself to the shower because just moving one step takes SO. MUCH. ENERGY.
That may be what is going on in a single second, but it does not mean that this hell will last forever.
One second I am crippled and cannot fathom the world turning right side up again. The very next second things could be fine and I will be amazed at how quickly and silently the feeling of dread retreated. I will dance to songs in my car, I will lose myself in a new story, I will find something that inspires me to create something beautiful again. I tell myself that even though the world feels desolate and bleak right now, I have spent a large portion of my life smiling and laughing. Even after other horribly impossible days. The sun rises every single morning. It will warm me again.
The bad won't last forever.
Store up your happies (and pass them around!) so that you can call on them during the dark days.
Just a tip from one loon to another.
I'm about to write about a taboo topic.
Eating disorders and pregnancy.
A lot of people seem to think that if you suffer from an eating disorder it magically fades into the background when you get pregnant. Maybe that's true for some people?? If it is, I wish I were that lucky.
It doesn't disappear. It does, in fact, get louder.
I'm not saying that I am over here using behaviors. What I am saying is that the fight has been constant and exhausting since I found out about this new baby. There are so many (SO MANY!!) misconceptions about eating disorders. The majority of the population who do not battle with one can't even begin to understand what it is like.
Let me enlighten you.
When I found out I was pregnant, I was shocked. Not too far behind that followed elation. Of COURSE I want to be a mom to 3 kids! I love being a mom. I love the snuggles and the hugs and the good days and the bad. I love the constant challenges and the insane problem solving that comes with trying to help to shape what starts as a tiny blob on a screen into a happy, functional adult.
I LOVE IT.
What I DON'T love is the barrage of disordered thoughts that come along with pregnancy symptoms. Hormones go crazy, hunger increases (as does nausea for those of us lucky bastards who suffer from "morning" (aka ALL DAY LONG) sickness.) and clothing sizes go up. None of these things are avoidable. All of these can trigger ED thoughts.
So now you have all of these things making you feel mentally and physically worn out. Add to that the shame of having ED urges in the first place.
What kind of sicko would still feel temptation from their ED when they are supposed to be growing another human being in their belly??
The disorder doesn't just go away. What actually happens is the level of guilt increases exponentially. More triggers, more urges, more of all of the negative aspects of the ED continue to attack.
So, it's extremely tiring. And depressing.
I wish I could just enjoy being pregnant without having to worry about the monster that attacks my brain and seems hell-bent on grinding my soul to dust.
I'm not going to let it win.
So I keep fighting. I keep screaming back at the voice in my head trying to get me to do awful, disgraceful things.
The urges may still be there, but that doesn't mean I have to follow through on them.
Go away, you fool. You're not welcome here.
I'll never give up.
The past month has been very busy/hectic/crazy/overwhelming. I didn't even realize it had been so long since my last post. Now that I think about it, the past few weeks probably would have been a little easier/happier/warmer had I used this outlet to empty my brain.
Writing that makes me anxious, which then makes me angry.
I'm not anxious about having another baby (this will be #3), or at least not more anxious than I can cope with. I'm anxious because I know what people's reactions to that will be.
Seriously? Another one?
Do you really think this is the best time?
How are you going to be able to manage??
Is this really fair to the 2 kids you already have??
How can you possibly afford this??
Great. Just typing those out made me furious again.
I pride myself on minding my own business (most of the time) and tend to get really perturbed when I see a person being judged by someone who only knows the absolute basics of the situation.
YES, ANOTHER ONE. Of course this is not the best time, but when would have been? We will manage the same way we always have - we do what we need to do to deal with any problems that arise. Um, I'm pretty sure that giving our first 2 kids another sibling is just adding to the list of people they will have to love and support them throughout life. And as for the last question - I would never, EVER assume to know everything about your financial situation and it is COMPLETELY inappropriate to comment on mine. Nobody is going to be wanting for anything, and there will be plenty of food for all of our mouths. Just stop talking.
Why does everyone doubt me so much?
Yes, I've had more than my fair share of problems throughout my life - I'm certainly not the only one who has had to deal with setbacks. I'd like to think that I've shown time and time again that whatever I am up against I am able to overcome.
What I'm trying to say is....keep your opinions to yourself. You are not the one having this baby, you are not going to raise this baby, you are not going to be financially funding this baby.
So, unless you plan on being a positive part of our family's life, turn around and walk away.
I don't have time to worry about someone else's ideas on how we should be living our lives.
We like our life just the way it is.
A HUGE, HEARTFELT THANKS TO ALL OF OUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY WHO HAVE DONE NOTHING BUT SUPPORT US AND REMIND US THAT IT IS JUST FINE TO BE HAPPY ABOUT HAVING ANOTHER CHILD.
There is more than enough love to go around.
Mother and wife by day, psych RN by night. So many different ways to view life. I try to take everything in and be very slow to judge.