I had every intention of getting through my day yesterday, which turned out to be a pretty good day overall, and write about how my mood fluctuated, what affected my mood, how I managed to cope with the mood fluctuations, and sharing my biggest accomplishment of the day; WILLINGLY and without HESITATION, taking my girls on a walk by MYSELF, without any help. Unfortunately, yesterday’s big day of accomplishments took a turn for the worse, and I had some really low moments filled with tears, frustration (it was hard practicing the idea of not feeding negativity into depression at that point), fleeting hopelessness, prayers for mercy, and insomnia. The crazy thing about depression is that you may have done all you were suppose to do in the day to stand up effectively to the beast (therapy, taking your prescriptions on time, exercised, etc.), but depression sometimes is ruthless and you can go from a mood of 7 to a 2 in mere seconds and feel like you have just been hit by a semi truck. I’m currently recovering from that mental injury.
As Maxwell’s song “Lifetime” plays softly on spotify (the kids are napping), I feel like I am in a rock and a hard place. Nap time is suppose to be a time for me to get things done, wash the dishes, mop the floors, do some laundry, work on my lectures for the fall, and so much more, but I am plagued with extreme exhaustion that seems other worldly. All I want to do right now is sleep, but I know that this exhaustion is depression, because it’s how I feel most days even after getting at least eight hours of sleep; it’s mentally and physically debilitating. What made me lay the kids in their beds and gather the strength to walk down the stairs to the computer instead of taking two steps into my bedroom, was the will to push on for those who feel like there is nothing to push on for. No one may read this and maybe only one person will read this, but if I can be completely transparent and help someone find a little light in darkness, that is more of an incentive to wage war against the tiredness that tries to consume me.
So here I am. I can tell you at this moment, I already feel a little relief and a slight increase in my mood, because I am letting out how I feel and for me, there is healing in writing.
Yesterday’s mood pretty much started out like today’s, but instead of feeling like I got hit by a semi truck, it felt more like a head on collision with my daughter’s remote control convertible; just the usual fogginess. I had enough energy to do the things that are required of me as a mom, but those tasks started to become a trigger for my mood moving in a direction that would have not made the day pleasant for myself nor my kids. Therefore, when I noticed that I was at the starting line for a race to 0 on the scale of depression, I had to find something to do to calm the storm in my head; for my children. I’ve always felt bad about being “less of a mother” to my kids, because I couldn’t give them all that a healthy mind would be able to give them. Of course, where I am now, coping wise, in this journey with depression, I no longer feed depression with such negative thoughts as this, but now I have more of a responsibility to take the steps to be better, as best I can; to whom much is given, much is required. I’ve been in relapse for 11 months and have been given coping skills and have matured in my walk with this illness so much, that I now feel a little more motivation and accountability for actively responding to my mental distress.
I am grateful for where I am in my thinking right now. PROGRESS.
Derrick, my husband, was so sweet to buy Sydney a lion king coloring book the other day; she loves lion king and lion guard. I’ve been told by my counselor, those who battle with anxiety, and my doctor, that coloring helps you to focus and distract you from how anxious or low you may feel. I never jumped on the coloring bandwagon, I was in a much more child like mind set in the beginning stages of my illness and not feeling like anything would help me; I’m so glad that I hung on to what little bit of faith I had that SOMETHING out there would help me get through this. Sydney loves to color and of course wanted me to set up her coloring book as she drew a circle with a crayon she found on the ground from days before. I started to feel like I was on the verge of feeling desperate mentally, like tipping into the pot of anxiousness due to the fact that I was all alone, feeling low, couldn’t run away to recover, because I had a responsibility to my children.
I’m so glad that I hung on to what little bit of faith I had that SOMETHING out there would help me get through this
I didn’t run. I continued to put on a brave face as usual, smiling my way through these moments so that my children won’t see my struggle, and then instead of sitting down and doing nothing, I decided to take a little direction from my daughter and simply color. In that moment I didn’t feel childish or weird for looking at a lion on a piece of paper and using colorful crayons I hadn’t used since I was a child, but I felt like the shackles of negativity that were beginning to increase their grip were slowly loosening. With each stroke of the crayon, it felt like I was erasing the scars that were developing sheer minutes prior to this brave act. As clarity slowly creeped in, I felt a since of peace and happiness that not only was I able to help myself while still wearing a smile of disguise, but my daughter lit up with joy that I was sharing this moment with her.
I sat there and colored non stop with her as the barriers in my mind continued to fall and my 11 month old played happily beneath my see through table.
By the time we finished coloring, one hour had passed and it was nap time once again. I almost forgot what it was like not to think about time. It felt good to feel a sense of shock about how time passed because I was having a good time, instead of why is time going so slow, I feel so bad. What a monumental moment in my walk through life with this illness. After two hours of silence in the house and a much needed reward of a break, filled with doing something I WANTED to do (writing), I reached about a 7 in my mood and felt WILLING and ABLE to take the kids outside for a walk.
It had to have been about 90 degrees and felt like the humidity was 90%, but none of that mattered to me during that time I had outside with my daughters. That small amount of clarity coloring gave me, helped me feel life in the moment, something I have been distracted from with cloudy vision and fogginess. The warm air felt good on my skin, the sounds of Sydney laughing gave me joy, and walking gave me a little more hope. At this point it felt like I had reached the hill on the way to the top of the mountain. The fogginess and haze never left completely, but I felt a little more motivation, for which I am grateful for.
My husband saw us walking as he was driving past us on his way home from a busy day seeing patients, and after sharing loving excitement for seeing each other again, he joined us in our walk. Sage cried non stop, I’m sure because she is teething, it affected my mood a little, but when I would normally give up at this point and go home, I kept walking another block.
Though my night may not have ended on the highest of notes, I’m grateful for what little strength that I have gained in this journey and to be able to walk for hope, as well as color away scars of pain that injure me daily.