"The hardest thing in this world, is to live in it." In the episode "The Gift," Buffy Summers gave this sentiment to her little sister. It was an epiphany--for both of them, I'm sure. For me, too. I've always spent my life waiting for Happily Ever After. Movies, TV, books? All these outlets gave a younger version of myself brief immunity from reality. But as younger versions of ourselves are less matured and educated, I mistook the life pauses for life expectations. Happiness is not constant; it comes in and out of swells of grief, indifference, and discord. And, like Buffy, we all battle our demons and celebrate the victories as they come.
The last few years have been a particularly confusing era for me. The endless hills of emotions have been brutal. I settled into an amazing community, caught some kindred spirits to share our joys and concerns. I kept them in a heart-shaped jar and, one-by-one, watched them flutter away to the next home. It's the occupational hazard of being a military family, befriending other military families, that I hadn't expected in the beginning. I made friends. Friends moved. I moved on.
With the help of those beautiful creatures, I was able to overcome a lot of my insecurities and anxiety. I started exercising and lost the remaining college-marriage-baby-ate too much taco bell when I worked there-weight. I no longer cared if people saw me without makeup. My paintings were selling at craft fairs and customers wanted me to sew dresses and capes for their kids. My kids were happy and my marriage seemed to be slowly solidifying into a steady rock. So we decided to add another family member.
About 4 weeks into the pregnancy, I was nauseated by everything. Barfing was my newest talent and I was perfecting it. By 6 weeks, I had developed a hemorrhage behind the baby and was told to park my ever-widening-ass until it cleared up. I watched Supernatural via Netflix on my bed all day, next to a lime green puke bowl as I let the downstairs t.v. raise my kids for the summer. I felt myself slinking closer to a dark place I hadn't been to in a while. Was I becoming depressed again?
I told myself it was just circumstances getting me down, mixing a cocktail of hormones in my brain and that any day I would sober up. Eventually, Willow was born and I was ecstatic! She's perfect. Nurses well, sleeps great, smiles constantly! The older kids love her, as does her daddy. So why was I suddenly, after two months of pure bliss, feeling so defeated?
All I wanted to do was sleep or cry. My body had exploded to 200 lbs. during the pregnancy and I had even gained weight in the hospital, despite having a 7 lb. 7 oz. person surgically removed from me. My office is an abandoned wasteland of crafting supplies because time is a precious resource and I now have 4 other people in the house that need mine. A hollowness had taken over. I let my mind marionette me around, mimicking my old emotions, but it was just a performance for the spectators. When I was alone, I was hung up and lifeless.
It's just the Baby Blues. Every mom gets overwhelmed and exhausted with a newborn. It will pass. My thoughts ticked on with time. When I hadn't had any local visitors, they evolved from I guess everyone is giving me time to get settled at home all the way into nobody cares that I had a baby--no one even wants to meet her. Eventually, I believed there was no reason to exist. I actually uttered a daily mantra--Nobody cares if you are alive. You don't do anything but screw things up. Maybe everyone would be better off without you.
I was holding Willow, post afternoon feeding, when I whispered it to myself; that's the moment I recognized where I had gone. This was that lonely, awful place I had been sequestered to as a teen and again as a young adult. Hormones may have played a role in my return to depression, but it certainly wasn't going to fade without intervention. It wasn't right. A person who literally depends on me for life--who's whole existence would fade without me supporting her, feeding her, loving her, was staring up at me and I couldn't allow myself to truly feel it.
I've been on medication since April. There are days that I still struggle. This might be the monster I fight for the rest of my life. But, I'm fighting to make it a long one.
"Be brave. Live. For me."
Today's subject line quote is Buffy the Vampire Slayer
(1997-2003 TV Series)
Episode: The Gift (2000).
3 years ago