After having a very lengthy discussion with my oldest son (23), last night, alongside Ryan, I’ve decided to start being more open about my own personal battles.
Open communication, as Ryan often reminds me, is one of the best self-help tools I have. And one I rarely use, outside of my close, personal relationships.
I have come to the realization that my own child may be battling the one thing that nearly cost me my own life over the summer. Undiagnosed Depression.
In the months following my husband’s death, I spent countless hours just going through the motion of life. Waking up in the morning, getting the kids ready for school, going to work, coming home, cooking dinner, getting the kids ready for bed.. Tossing and turning with the weight of the world on my shoulders and perhaps getting a few hours sleep each night.
In my confusion and utter disconnection from the world, it was my own brother who reached out to grab me and pull me back from a place I didn’t fully realize I’d fallen in to. The proverbial rabbit hole. It was him who kept me from swallowing the mixed handfuls of pills I had been staring at for hours. And at the end of the day, it was him who lovingly put a foot in my ass and forced me to see what I’d been unwittingly doing to myself all along.
I am one of the lucky few who had someone who cared enough to help pull me through. I know hundreds more who have no one to whom they can turn, or could/would recognize the pleas for help, silent as they may be.
With the self-reflection I had to force myself to endure came a plethora of self-realizations I didn’t care to see and/or acknowledge.
I had to admit that I was not being as good of a parent as I could be. I was not taking care of myself nearly as well as I should have been. When I failed, everything around me failed right along with me. Including my own sons. I pushed away the people who loved me. After all, there was nothing wrong with me. I was just ‘busy’.
Admitting that there was, in fact, something very wrong with me was my first, and most difficult, step of all. To follow that was admitting that I couldn’t deal with it on my own. Both of those realizations furthered my fall down the rabbit hole. I was sinking and couldn’t find a way out. Even after the near-suicide attempt, it still took more than a month to force myself into going to see a doctor. That doctor gave me a prescription and the number of his local preacher(but that is a story for a different day).
I struggled with the medication for a few weeks, having exactly zero information about depression and the medications used to treat it. During that time, several more self-realizations came to light. Ones I was very displeased with.
Having spent my entire life being poked, prodded and pushed by religion and those touting religion for personal gain, I found myself compromising my own morals and standards just to keep the peace, as it were. I had allowed a semblance of control into my life, even with my last husband, that still nauseates me to this day.
I realized I had been allowing a LOT of outside control into my own personal space. And that control was choking the LIFE out of me.
I had to force myself out of bed in the mornings because the pressure to live up to everyone else’s unrealistic expectations was so overburdening. I took no pleasure in doing the things I love doing. Everything was a struggle; a chore. And I was doing all of it with a forced smile. I threw myself into projects at light speed, and without thinking about my own well-being, because I was simply trying to grasp on to something that might elevate me enough in the way of encouragement. Only instead of encouragement, I found more pressure, more ‘work’ to do to help everyone else.. And I completely neglected me in the process.
I had to tell my own son all of this last night, in the hopes that he would see and understand that Mom had failed repeatedly. And it was okay. I’m finally okay. Failure does not make one weak, even if it may feel like that at the time. What it does is help in directing you to what you really need to work on to move forward and become a better person. I still have things I need to work on, and always will. I’m just trying to be a better person than what I was yesterday.
These things take initiative, a bit of willpower and most of all, patience. Especially within yourself. I want to make the world a better place. And that starts with making me a better person.
My name is Lucy. I am an Atheist Humanist. I am Mom to 4 amazing sons and a daughter-in-law. I am a Research Scientist and Accountant. I am a partner to a wonderful man. And above all, I AM human. And I am going to be okay because I choose to be.
As a footnote to this: If you are suffering from depression, or think there is the slightest possibility of it, please, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Call a family member, a friend, your Doctor, or even me. Just talk to someone and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It just might save your life. And you all have so very much to live for.
~Just be good. The world will follow.