Most days, I wake up with a million things to do that I am excited about. Being home with Mila has been great for the most part. I’m working on this blog, I’m doing some Salesforce Trailhead tutorials, growing my houseplant collection, reading a few good books, practicing yoga, learning about crystals, tarot, and spirituality, and working on some paintings and other art activities. When she is awake, I’m happy to be playing with her, feeding her, and taking care of her. When she naps, I’m very content doing one of the activities I just mentioned.
Some days I feel like there is a layer of indifference covering my mind. I don’t feel like doing any of it. I force a smile for my baby and sing her happy songs, but it takes a lot more effort. When she goes down for a nap, I don’t really want to do anything. I feel unmotivated. Not sad, necessarily, just bleh. It’s different than anxiety, I just don’t care about anything. All of my hobbies I just mentioned lay on the shelf because I just don’t get the motivation to work on them. Exhausted.
This happened a LOT more before I was pregnant. A lot more often than it does now, thank goodness. Before I got pregnant, my hormones were really out of balance. I had really awful, pretty frequent mood swings and panic attacks, and on the days when I felt down, I would feel reallllly down. If it wasn’t a work day, I could easily lay in bed all day just staring at the wall. Sometimes I would feel pain and want to cry my eyes out for no good reason, and other times I would just feel numb and like I couldn’t move. Nothing could snap me out of these moods, I just had to wait for them to pass. I was on meds for close to three years in an effort to help the situation. When I got pregnant, the mood swings got so much better, along with other symptoms. I felt better than I had my whole life. I felt ‘normal’ for once.
During the pregnancy I had some concerns about my depression resurfacing once the baby got here. For the most part, I have been doing really well keeping myself in check – scheduling a lot of yoga classes, having activities lined up outside of the house that will keep me busy and happy, hanging out with friends. Even though I have felt really good most of the time, I can feel that familiar feeling creeping back in occasionally. I am really determined to stay off medication, so I’m trying to exercise, eat better, and stay busy.
It’s a bummer that mental health is such a taboo thing in our society. It’s getting more attention these days, but so much is still misunderstood by those that don’t suffer. When you are in a place like this, it’s so hard to ask for help; and the reality is that the average person is not equipped to deal in the most effective way. Is everyone just going to all of a sudden start reading books about what goes on inside a depressed and anxious person’s brain so they can better understand and help them? Nope.
Another thing that bugged me about my mental health issues was an underlying, at times subconscious, deep feeling of shame. I have grown up with a high level of privilege and access to resources that others do not have access to. For a very long time I felt like my issues shouldn’t matter, because soooo many people have it worse. Yes, people will always have it worse than you. But by denying your emotions, you will never be able to process and integrate them and move on with healing. It is not shameful to struggle. In my opinion, it is more shameful to realize that you are struggling, but refuse to acknowledge or address it because ‘others have it worse’. By releasing my shame, and addressing my ‘struggles’, I hope to be able to have more energy and resources to help those people that struggle as I do but don’t have the same resources.
SO, to get myself out of this hole I am currently in, I will go outside, acknowledge all of these shitty feelings in my journal on my porch and meditate with my plants 🙂 . I know from experience now that this practice will help the mood pass 🙂
My mantra during times like these is –
“It is a feeling, not a fact.”
It helps me realize that what I am experiencing won’t last forever. Anxiety and Depression are just ‘feelings’ and not ‘facts’ about my life. I am so much more than that! After the darkness there will be a new dawn 🙂