This last week my Facebook friends saw me post what they initially thought was a humorous epitaph on my page. They quickly realized I wasn’t being funny. I guess it was a depressed cry for help but I didn’t see it as such from the depths of my depression. I was just stating what I felt about being funny and that not being enough. Somewhere in the thread of comments I said I wanted to die. More than one friend apparently called 911, another friend came over and I ended up 5150’d (again) at the local hospital and then at a mental hospital.
What the doctors (fairly) quickly realized is that while I was indeed severely depressed I did not want to really want to die and wasn’t going to kill myself. I just wanted to sleep until it was all better. I wanted to be resurrected. Jesus and I have that in common.
I can’t go into major details for a variety of reasons (one being that my ex reads my blog and uses my humor posts as ”evidence” for legal battles – hi there!!) but I’ve not been looking forward to this summer. My depression is definitely a family trait, but in this case the severity of it was mostly situational.
Even though my rental home of two years has rats, not flowers, in the attic and is not properly maintained by the owners, it’s been my home with my boys for two years. After a quick succession of moves post-divorce, this is where we landed. It’s in an ideal location and we’ve done a lot of growing there there. My boys have celebrated two birthdays, we’ve lost a dog and gained a dog. We’ve downsized and realized we really didn’t need all that stuff. I’ve fallen in true love for the first time and my boys are benefiting from that relationship.
There has been significant financial stress and the choosing of a lawyer for a long and in my opinion unnecessary battle. There has been much indecision on where to live. I was inclined to live within or even below my budget to save for a new kind of future – on the advice of several money management professionals – which would have meant a move farther away and a change of schools for my kids. Not ideal, but not THE WORST THING EVER either. This led to tantruming by a certain someone and email to my kids’ teachers and the school administration implying that the only reason I was moving was to be closer to my boyfriend and a thinly veiled threat that the children would be told the real reason for the move.
I ultimately chose to move somewhere equidistant to my boyfriend but farther from the town we live in now – by about 20 minutes at the perfect time of day. This is going to mean a tremendous amount of driving for me to get them to and from school because of traffic, where before the school bus picked them up from in front of our house. But I really needed three bedrooms for three people and this was the best available option, though not at any savings.
I’ve been moving every two years or so for about two decades now. I hate it. And moving from a house to an apartment is totally new for the boys and me. It’s really a lifestyle change – no more just running around in the backyard or letting the dogs roam free. But we are in an amazing planned community with obscene amounts of amenities and the boys and I are over the moon we’ll have air conditioning. All of this has had me stressed beyond belief, coupled with other life issues that are stupid in a “first world problems” way but very real in a “this is my life” way. I tend to meet deadlines and stress head on, and by head on I mean in bed, paralyzed. Paralysis is not particularly helpful when facing a move, but it’s what I do. I’d crank out some funny Facebook posts or pop something on Instagram, no one being the wiser that it wasn’t going well. I did go to my doctor because I knew the depression was getting worse. I also started having panic attacks.
I was able to keep it mostly together when I had the kids with me, in as much that a single mom with two boys has anything together during summer because oh my God they’re always around. Then, after months of deliberating and lawyering up and finally making a decision on when and where to move and why, I got a last minute lease in the impossible to find a lease in neighborhood I wanted in a house that I adored. But I turned it down because I chickened out (that won’t happen again), afraid my ex would flip and be more litigious and I’d be stuck driving the kids to and from school in our old neighborhood to the tune of three or more hours per day. And then I really got depressed, thinking I had no choice but to obey my ex for another decade, like an underage bride in Warren Jeffs’ FLDS compound.
When I was a first time second time mother to my Gollem-looking preemie with health issues, I got severely depressed. An emergency c-section and his 13 day NICU stay were not what I’d had in mind. When he was finally home, I remember holding his pissy, fussy self and looking out the window thinking, “What would happen if I just accidentally dropped him down two floors onto the driveway?” Or, “What would happen if he fell down the stairs?” It scared the crap out of me. I had zero, none, zip intention of hurting my baby, but the thoughts were there. I’ve since learned this is a classic and common symptom of post-partum depression and that several friends have experienced the same thoughts and all of their kids are happy and well too.
So when I recently starting thinking, as I drove alone, “Maybe I’ll just drive straight into that telephone pole” or “What if I accidentally hit ‘accelerate’ instead of ‘park’ and went over the edge of the bluffs?” I knew I was in trouble. I was scared. I didn’t want to die but I did want to hide and not think at all and wake up with my kids happy, no contentious ex and in our new apartment.
And so I ended up in a ward, for well under the required 72 hours. I’m in therapy and being carefully monitored. I’m exercising and taking it slowly but surely. I’m being lovingly tended to by my boyfriend and checked up on by friends. My mom is doing an amazing job with my kiddos. I’m trying to remember that no matter what my ex says, being a depressed person does not make me a bad person or a failed mother. That’s hard for me to process and I don’t know why. I’m working hard to realize that my recovery efforts say more about me than my depression does.
Still, it’s a challenge. I’ve been keeping busy at mindless things like wandering Ikea, Target and TJ Maxx. I’m fragile. I don’t buy, but the there’s therapy in the looking. I’ve been sorting my boyfriend’s ample change collection into coin wrappers. I got my nails done. I got my eyebrows threaded. These are all baby steps to feeling better and worthy and healthy. I’m seeing a therapist and following recommendations. Still, the other day over mimosas and conversation with my love, I looked into traffic and thought “What would happen if I dashed into the street? Maybe I’d get hit.” But I didn’t do it. And I told him about it. And now, a few days later, I feel better. I’ve been sending proof of life pictures with his toy Godzilla while he’s at work. I’m not back into reality yet and full time parenting but I know better than to push right now. But I’m very close and I’m making a plan again. But now it’s a plan to live.