Sunday, November 9, 2014

Enjoying the small things

Sometimes depression can be an abyss that you can't imagine escaping from. It can be so very heavy.  The weight of it can push you so deep into the darkness that you can't picture a life with any light at all. The last week has been like this for me.

Some people will tell you that you can't give into it at all or that you have to fight it every single day. Others may say that there's nothing you can do about it, that it's a hormone imbalance and you need medication. I have my own view.

For me depression has been a lifelong struggle. I can remember battling it long before I knew the proper name for it. When bad things happen I spiral. When good things happen I have trouble recognizing them and truly feeling the joy in them.

So when my grandma died immediately after I lost my job and I sprained my ankle on my trip back home I spiraled. I laid in bed all day. I took 4 hour naps. I had anxiety attacks about leaving my bedroom. I couldn't breathe when the phone rang. I stopped talking to my friends and family. I hid, and I only came out to perform the basic functions of being a mother. I didn't play with my children. I fed them and bathed them but I did not take joy in them.

I let my depression win. I let grief and anxiety cripple me... but I knew I would take myself back. This is how I manage what has and will continue to be my disease. I ate ice cream and didn't exercise. I barely left the house. I gave it 7 days. And on the 7th day, today I took myself back. I got up and I watched my children play in the sunlight on our porch and I laughed with them. I smiled. I played. I made dinner for my family. I tickled my babies. I talked to my son about his day. I played video games with him. I did laundry.  I exercised. I went for a walk with my family. I watched the sunset through a rainstorm and appreciated the symbolism. I took a long shower. I shaved. I kissed my children. I had sex (sorry mom). I laid with my baby and snuggled him to sleep and was thankful for all the blessings in my life. I found things to be grateful for instead of things to be angry or sad about. I took joy in the little things.

This does not mean my war with mental illness is over. It means that I have won a very small battle. A victory that I should, and will, celebrate. Today I chose to chisel out my own happiness. My world is a little bit brighter. Will I have an anxiety attack tomorrow?  Probably. But I have promised myself that I will pick up my baby and squeeze him and remember how lucky I am to have such abundant love in my life.

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