I love looking back on what I’ve written before in old journals, blog posts, and Facebook statuses. I usually find them hilarious but some of them are quite depressing. My heart aches seeing myself so very depressed, so incredibly tired, and so hopelessly despairing. I go on and on berating myself for being so lazy which only made me feel guilty and thus even more depressed and tired. This vicious cycle spiraled for several years. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression pretty much my whole life, but this was different. I was so exhausted I would fall asleep in church every single week without fail. I would struggle to keep my eyes open while driving, even during the day. I wrote blog posts like, Lazy Bum, Lazy Elsie Marley, and I’m a Better Mother! Or not. about how horrible I felt (if I ever wrote at all) and I pretty much just totally, utterly hated myself.
It’s really horrible to feel hopeless for no apparent reason. When I could somehow manage to look objectively at my life I’d know in my brain that it was a great life full of blessings that I should’ve been feeling grateful for, but I just couldn’t seem to break out of the gloom that told me that my life was absolutely horrible and would always be horrible and there was never any hope for my future at all whatsoever. It’s demoralizing. It’s debilitating. It’s paralyzing. Why even try when no matter what you do your life will always be terrible? No matter what. Forever. And ever. That’s the feeling of hopelessness I was mired in for years.
I talked to my doctors and had all kinds of blood tests and medication switches and they could NOT explain why I was so tired. It wasn’t my thyroid, I wasn’t sick, I wasn’t hypoglycemic, and it probably wasn’t the medicine. I thought, great, so the only thing wrong with me is that I’m basically just a total failure.
One day I was annoyed with my regular doctor because when I went in to talk with her about a couple of issues (including my weight and my fatigue) she dismissed me, looking at me pityingly and saying, “Sorry, I just really don’t think there’s anything I can help you with.” I was so frustrated with her unwillingness to even attempt to help me that I changed doctors that day. The first thing the new Dr. said was, “Well, you’re definitely anemic. Also, have you ever been tested for sleep apnea?” Um…..no! No one’s ever even brought it up as a possibility! After a really easy test that I was able to do at home (not in some horrible sleep clinic), I was told that I had “mild” sleep apnea which caused me to “only” stop breathing (and thus wake up briefly) 20-30 times AN HOUR!!! No wonder I was so tired! They gave me a CPAP machine and 2 years later I’m pleasantly surprised with how much better I feel. I’m less tired now, with a 7-month-old baby who still wakes up some nights than when I was “sleeping” 13+ hours a day. Plus, I hate myself a lot less, and now I actually feel this little glimmer of…(can it be?)…HOPE!
This is huge. Life hasn’t been easy. In fact it’s been busier and harder than ever. A lot has happened in the past 8 months.
-Hubby got a new (busier) job.
-We moved to a new house while I was 7 months pregnant (moving is never fun and moving while pregnant is even less fun)
-Our little Baby was born a month early via emergency C-section due to a placental abruption. This involved general anesthesia and two blood transfusions for me, and sedating and inducing a 72 hour hypothermia to prevent brain damage for the baby (sounds pretty sci-fi, I know).
-The renters moved out of our house that we still owned in the mountains causing us to panic about the possibility of yet another foreclosure on our credit.
-J-Dog broke a toe playing rugby (The next day I went into labor) and 6 months later he broke a pinky (the day of Princess’ birthday party). Update: 3 months after that, he broke a DIFFERENT toe. *eyeroll*
Whew! I’m exhausted just thinking about all that! And this in addition to all the other stress, trauma, worry and chaos that come along with having 4 kids at different schools and in various activities and carpools, and with homework and projects, and all the lack of sleep and constant feeding (and CRYING!!!) that comes with having a new baby, and all the misunderstandings and frustrations and money problems that come with being married.
So don’t think for a second that my problems have disappeared and things have gotten less busy or stressful. My depression isn’t gone and I’m definitely an exhausted, forgetful mess. But even though my weight problem has gotten worse, I’m still struggling with the physical effects of an emergency C-section, I’m still severely anemic, the baby has a terrible chest cold, and now I also have a terrible chest cold, I feel a strange little ray of sunshine poking through the clouds giving me hope. And it’s glorious. I’m not peppy and energetic by any stretch of the imagination, and I had to increase my anti-depressant medication after having the baby because I felt myself slipping into depression. But I caught it early, am only on 2 medications instead of 5, and feel a little bit motivated and surprisingly, blessedly hopeful! Some days are better than others but that sliver of hope is usually there encouraging me to do better the next day, try to be more patient with myself, envision the successes I’ll have in the future, and keep plugging along. I started blogging again and I’m staying up too late doing things I like to do. These are amazing developments! There is joy in life! There is hope! And as Scarlett O’Hara said:
“After all, tomorrow is another day!”