Phoenix From the Ashes

Started this post but couldn’t get up the nerve to publish it. I guess now’s as gooda time as any.

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True confessions; I’m pretty sure I’m clinically depressed. Or at least was. I haven’t seen anyone so don’t know for sure, but given the uptick in my anxiety, I’d lean toward Postpartum Depression. I love my daughter, and I have never had any ill thoughts about her or having her, she is such a delight. But. Everything I knew about me was gone. I have decided that I’ve been mourning all the deaths of me.

For a variety of very good reasons, I decided to make a career change right at the start of my pregnancy. I learned as much as I could but to be honest, stuck with the task based assignments and didn’t delve too far into other aspects of the position. Partly because I was going out on medical leave imminently, but also partly because I was pregnant, just got out of a bad working situation, and wanted to take the easy road for a few minutes. I still believe this change was a good decision. When I came back from maternity leave, I dove back in head first. A lot of changes were made while I was out. A lot more responsibility was placed where it hadn’t been before. I feel like I was dropped right in the middle of the ocean with no one to help me, no guide. Things I used to live for are majorly anxiety inducing. I can’t seem to do anything right. For every inch I creep forward, waves of ignorance wash me ten feet back. And I carry all this guilt for taking so much time away from my home. Spending hours and hours away from my baby just to miserably fail at a job that shouldn’t be so hard. Interpreted as: failing as an employee, failing as a mother, and by extension, failing as a wife.

For a variety of very obvious reasons, I had to decline theater activities up to and immediately following my expected delivery date. Theater does not stop. New blood was brought in and as it so often does, eagerly overachieved and wowed the local scene. Shelby kept up with his obligations and I accompanied him to parties and social gatherings. Each time, I could only focus on my new position as “significant other”. Shelby brought his +1. These are his people now and I’ve killed my theater “career”. I became a boring corporate person with no creative outlet and wasn’t even doing the corporate part very well.

I focused all my energy on my weight. And it was all consuming. And it drove me to tears several times a day. I couldn’t remotely like myself, how could I expect anyone else to ever like me? All of my self confidence had been wrapped up in my former cuteness. It didn’t matter if I could perform well at tasks, I could always feel confident in my ability to smooth things over with a wink and a smile. Not because I thought they thought I was cute, but because I thought I was cute. A friend at work likes to remind me that I had a baby (as if I need that reminder), but I just can’t accept that as an excuse. That person walking down the street doesn’t know I just had a baby, and I know they are passing judgement on my squishiness. I scold myself every time I put something even near my mouth. Even salad with it’s croutons and dressing. And none of my clothes fit.

There’s more, but these are the biggies. The soul sucking shackles of depressive and self loathing thoughts. The total waste of mental energy which drains physically energy making it so hard to do anything of note.

I am feeling better most days. Most days I don’t have to argue with myself for so many minutes before being convinced that people need me to get out of bed, that Hannah and Shelby are counting on me to go to work. I can usually start the day if not happy, then at least not depressed. And I think I’m getting better at putting on the face. But there are still times when the weight of everything is too much and I throw in the towel and just cry for a few minutes.

Family helps. Exercise helps. Slowly picking away at the enormous and ever growing task lists at work and home helps. Winning the lottery and taking a trip to St Lucia would really help. I am looking forward to my sister’s wedding way more than I expected. Actual vacation, with actual family and fun times. A chance to put the stress of food for baby aside and trust the village to care for us. Thanks Justin, for making my sister the happiest ever, and bringing a little sunshine to other dark corners of the universe.

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