Today was a big day. Today was a day where I sought help and I took courage and I stood up to a huge creature inside of me. Today I went to the doctor and I confirmed what I had been dreading - depression. Today I started these...
Please do not judge me about the dog hair that is on my couch. Unfortunately, our sweet Nala loves our couch and will find anyway she can to get on the couch while we are gone.
I had Postpartum Depression with Nora, when she was born a little over 2 years ago. I remember being totally out of control, my emotions, my mind, my body, everything was out of control. I had started meds and took it for awhile but started to feel better. So I stopped.
For the last year, I have felt it creeping up. I did things to help keep it under wraps. I changed jobs, Matt and I did counseling, I took things off my plate so I wouldn't feel overwhelmed, I exercised, I ate healthier, I used oils - folks, I did it all. This list could go on and on. Some of these things bandaged it and helped for awhile, but the depression and anxiety would find a hole and creep out. A month ago, I called my doctor in tears and they said they could see me in a month. (This isn't a jab at my doctor because I love her. It is just a big clinic and everyone loves her.) I cried after the phone call because I wasn't sure if I would make it through the next month.
But you know what...I did! And as I type this- I think I should celebrate with some ice cream tonight as I sit and watch the Olympics.
As I sat and talked to my sweet doctor, she looked at me and said I wasn't alone. A lot of women have this and those that have Postpartum Depression can fight this their whole life. She told me there was no shame in this and she was proud of me for recognizing signs and for coming in and checking on it. She put me on meds and she recommended weekly counseling.
As I left the doctors office and was driving to a meeting, I thought about what my doctor had said to me. "A lot of women deal with this." I thought about how Glennon Doyle Melton at Momastry.com just wrote a blog about this, and how just this morning one of the swimmers for the USA team was talking about how she had fought depression and had almost quit swimming. Folks, this is a topic that needs to be talked about with our friends and families. It needs to be talked about with our sweet youth. And not just famous people should talk about it or just in a doctors office. Depression and anxiety are real. The problem is that it makes you feel like you are so alone. It makes you feel like you want to curl up in a ball and never get out of bed. It makes you feel like you suck at life and any curve balls that are thrown at you. I did not want to write this blog. However, it was itching up inside of me to get this stuff down on paper (or a screen) and not just in my journal but to share it with others.
As I sat down to type, I set my alarm for one hour (a trick Glennon taught me) and started Pandora. The words "make something beautiful out of me" was being played out of my speakers and I instantly knew - this is it. Let this brokenness and sadness be lifted into something beautiful.
So here it is folks - here is what has been going on.
I would start my day with a list of 10,000 things I needed to do and I had the expectation of myself to get all 10,000 things done. It would also be nice if it was done by noon so I could have a little down time. (Ugh..just typing this makes me cringe.) As you can predict, each night that I went to bed, I was so disappointed that I didn't accomplish everything that had been on my list. I started having mornings that I felt defeated before even getting out of bed because I stayed in bed a few minutes longer than I should and that would throw my whole day off.
I got to a point where any curve ball that was thrown into my day, would send me over the edge. I would either cry or scream. Now, with having 3 beautiful children, but still children, my day is filled with curve balls. So you can see, there were a lot of tears or raising of voices.
At first I could hide it by swallowing the tears or hiding in the bathroom or flopping down on my bed to scream in my pillow, but then it was happening so frequently, it was really hard to hide it. Matt had to start coming home in the middle of the day this summer to check on me and make sure I was okay. Luckily he has a flexible job so he could do this.
Then the tiredness came. Now being the mom of 3 children, working full time and keeping my marriage up and going, I figured being tired was just part of it. Even though that is somewhat true, this was a tiredness that came on strong. I no longer could get out of bed early and if I did, it was torture. (This was huge because I have always been a morning person.) By the middle of the day, I felt like I couldn't go on and would want to sleep for hours. Night time would come and I couldn't wait until my kids went to bed so I could go to sleep.
I would try to start things, like exercise programs or diets and I would keep up with them for a couple weeks and then I would fall off the wagon. Defeated and feeling like a loser because I couldn't keep up with something would be the next set of emotions.
And then there were dark thoughts. I won't go into much detail on these things, but I will tell you that communicating these thoughts are crucial and was a saving grace for me.
The day I made a phone call to the doctor, I had come to a realization of something. I realized that I didn't like myself. I didn't really like my life. I couldn't find joy in anything. I had went from this zealous extrovert to a low confidence introvert. If I was feeling like this, how was I supposed to parent these three amazing children. How was I suppose to teach my children how to find joy in life? How was I supposed to teach my children to love their bodies and their minds? How was I supposed to teach them how to love on others and to give of themselves?
I had also tried to explain to Matt what I was feeling and why I was acting so crazy. God love that man because his words about sent me over the edge. He said "But Jodi, you seem so put together. You seem so strong. You are a good mom and wife." Now on any normal day, these words would have been a compliment. Not on this night- I about pushed him out of bed. I told him that was what got me here - trying to be so put together, trying to be strong so no one knew - and I was done with it. I didn't care who knew I felt like I was going crazy or how bad of a mom I was. Poor guy, he had no idea what had happened. I did apologize the next morning. He just hugged me and told me he loved me.
I want any women or man who feels any of these emotions that I have listed above to know - YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I promise. Find someone - a doctor, a friend, a counselor, a pastor, whoever it maybe to listen to you. Be brave to say that you don't feel good or that life is overwhelming to you. It could be meds that you need or maybe just a listening ear.
As I get ready to hit publish, there are butterflies in my stomach. So here is the end of this post -
Dear Heavenly Father,
I pray you take these words and move them into someone's heart. Lord, help any person out there that is feeling inadequate or defeated, to speak up and find help. Lord, I thank you for leading me to this point. For walking alongside me, and even carrying me through some yucky stuff this past year. Lord, you are a powerful and great God. You are a loving God, who wraps His arms around his children and protects them from the storm.