Actually, Yes, I am Depressed (Mental Health Series Pt. 2.5)
So I started a series on mental health and my first topic was depression and about how it’s okay to ask for help. Ironically, about one week after I published the post on depression, I didn’t want to get out of bed. I had the strangest weekend. It was like I’d open my eyes in the morning and my first thought was, “I don’t want to do anything but close my eyes again.” And I felt angry that I had to get out of bed.
The temptation to shut the world out and sleep away my day was so strong. I got up but I wasn't happy about it. That was my first indication that maybe I wasn’t doing so well emotionally. I went through the motions of my day, all the while very cognizant of the fact that just barely under the surface of my thoughts was a black hole threatening to swallow me up. Everything just seemed shaded over in varied grays. Other than the fact that life is stressful in general, I couldn’t think of a single reason I would be depressed. It made no sense. The following memes from instagram that weekend perfectly described my mood.
In the past, I would have just done my best to ignore it. I would have pretended and faked being “fine” with an Oscar-worthy performance. I’m strong. I don’t need help. I’ve got this.
But not this time. This time, I took my own advice from my blog post on depression. I asked for help. I told my husband, Bill, I wasn’t doing very well. I shared with him how I was feeling and told him I’d do the bare minimum for work and I needed him to pick up the slack. I worked for a few hours then slept for a couple hours, rinse and repeat. All day. And all the next couple days too.
I just let my body get the rest it seemed to be craving and I didn’t make any other demands on myself other than what I absolutely had to do. I told my boys I wasn’t feeling well and directed them to dad for all the, “What’s for dinner” and “Can I get a ride to…” conversations. I practiced self-care. This is hard for a people-pleaser. It feels selfish to put my needs first on occasion. But it’s necessary. Kind of like that oxygen mask deal on the airplane. Put your own on first so you can help others, right?
And you know what? Bill was amazing. He did whatever I needed him to. He took care of all of our clients that weekend. He made dinner and he cleaned up (I mean…he already does both of those things anyway…why do you think we’ve been married 27 years??). Sunday morning I wandered downstairs around 9:30am to find flowers on the counter. Just a bit of color to brighten a dark day. And the next morning he offered to get me Starbucks.
I’m slightly addicted to Starbucks and Bill is slightly (okay very) annoyed at the amount of money I spend there (and rightly so, it’s obnoxious. But I don’t drink or smoke or shop, so hey…). He rarely ever offers to go pick up Starbucks for me. This was when I knew he got me. That he realized I was not doing well and he was going to bring me joy in whatever form it took. Even if it was a 12 ounce cup of overpriced steamed happiness.
After a few days of laying low, taking care of myself and allowing myself to be cared for, I was feeling a bit better. (I also got my period a week early, so I’m thinking it was some crazy hormonal thing because I’m feeling like myself again.) And I’m finally getting back to my keyboard. Time to write again! But I wanted to put up this quick post to let you know why I haven’t posted in the past couple weeks and also to publicly thank my husband for being a prince. We haven’t always seen eye to eye on things and we haven’t always communicated well with each other so I’m celebrating this because it’s really refreshing progress in our relationship and I’m thankful. I have a tendency toward Wonder Woman complex…so it’s an effort for me to let others in and rely on people. Because, you know…I’ve got it. All good here. I don’t need help. Well, yeah, sometimes I do. And I bet you do too. Who can you let in? Who can you trust to ask for help today? It might make all the difference.
The next installment in my mental health series will be on Anxiety. A topic I used to think I didn’t have personal experience with, until I realized my tendency to want to cancel RSVPs to parties on the day of and the dread in the pit of my stomach when I had to give client presentations…those were symptoms of a tad bit of social anxiety. Once again, Instagram (and @scarymommy and @sarcasm_only and my friend Kait) gets me:
Realizing that those whirling dervishes in my stomach before almost any social event were actually signs of anxiety shocked the heck out of me because I never thought I dealt with any anxiety. I think I’m generally the opposite. Too laid back to raise a fuss. But now I recognize those areas that I need to work on (and also better understand why there are drinks served at social functions 😂). I’m also well acquainted with with the differences between general anxiety and an anxiety disorder as I have a number of friends and family members who deal with these issues. So that’s next on the docket because I know it affects so many people. Hoping to have that out this coming week. Leave me a comment or shoot me an email if you have something specific you'd like me to cover regarding anxiety.
Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great weekend. We’re having a family reunion Saturday and I’m looking forward to seeing all the peoples. Till next week!
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NOTE 2: For my readers over 25, the term "meme" was coined by Richard Dawkins and defined as a noun that "conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation." But the term has been absconded by our younger generation and now also means (according to the internet) "a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users." So basically, all those funny sayings on instagram are memes. But also, when your kids make fun of you, they're likely calling you a meme. Just an FYI. You're welcome. Also, when my now 13 year old was 11 he said, "Mom, never use that word [meme] again." So I try to use it as much as possible. 😁
Special thanks to instagram friends like @scarymommy @sarcasm_only @kidsaretheworst who keep me laughing when I want to cry and let me know I'm not alone. (If you can't handle snarky, ironic, hysterical mom humor, DO NOT SUBSCRIBE to them but if that kind of stuff makes your day and you know not to take it seriously...SUBSCRIBE! You can click their names above and it will take you to their instagram accounts.) Any memes not labeled with an instagram handle were just anonymous when I saw them.