Monday, May 7, 2012

Climbing Out of the Well

And I’m not just talking about racing (but there is racing only it’s coming in the following post).

Listen, I’m just gonna be real for a few minutes.  There's no funny in this post, because there hasn’t been a lot of funny in the last few months.

See, I actually wrote this post twice – the first time was in March, and then the revised version was about three weeks ago.  But something kept me from hitting “publish.”

I am not sure why – I don’t usually hide “me” from this site (as evidenced by my gross-ass pregnancy posts), but there is something about what was going on for me in the last two months that I wasn’t comfortable just putting it out there.  Shame? Maybe.  But my career is mental health, so I am not sure why when it comes to my own, I hide it.

So here goes.

Basically, I’ve been wallowing in a black hole of depression for about two months.  Not of the post-partum variety, but more of the my-husband-is-gone-for-three-months-and-I’m-tired-and-stuck-and-overwhelmed-and-overworked-and-my-life-is-unrecognizable-and-I-feel-like-shit-about-myself.

Sort of along those lines. 

It’s kind of hard to sum up in way that is not so whoa-is-me (maybe that’s why I didn’t publish the previous post – because I sound so whiney).  But basically my husband’s been gone, like, for the last thee of the five months.  So it’s been me.  Just me. And baby.  All day.  All night.  Just us. 

And I work from home too – which on the surface sounds ideal, but my job is a 16-hour a day ordeal – so balancing a newborn/infant and a grueling job for months on end – well, my life just sort of because me, work, baby.  No running, no gym – fuck, most days no showering, toothbrushing or fresh air. 

Some days would be so bad I would realize I hadn’t left the house I a few days, so I would just pack up the little dude and walk around Target.  Just ‘cause. 

I'm not articulating this well, and there’s way more to it – but I’ll leave it at that.  I was just super depressed, which was compounded by extreme fatigue.  I still am, and everyday is a battle, but I am trying hard to shake it off.  

So here I am with my mental and physical health both on a downward spiral.  To top it off, I had registered for a half-marathon, thinking that May would definately be enough time to get back on track.  And it would have been, if I actually had a second to myself. But by three weeks pre-race, my longest run was 6 miles, and I hadn’t run for the two weeks after Easter.  For the second time in my life (the first being my first IM attempt), I was sure I would have to DNS a race. 

And the icing on my misery cake? The stress of my job and single parenting (and gross lack of self-care) decreased – and then terminated – my breast milk production.  So on top of my failure at life, I was now a parenting failure.  I couldn’t even be trusted to feed my own kid with my boobs. 

And that was the worst of all.  When I came to terms with it (I was trying to pump out every last drop for a few weeks), it just sealed the depression. I hated my life, I hated my job, and I hated being a parent.  I didn’t hate my child, but I cried almost every day because it all just felt so endless, exhausting, and miserable.  I don't even know how to explain it - how bad I felt. 

But then my husband came home for a few days, and I had to make a decision - sit in my own shit, or take some sort of control.  So like a light switch, I flipped it around and got my mind right – I took advantage of his presence, took some time off work, and had some private time (even it was only to get a pedi, some coffee, and drive around without a diaper bag and kid screaming in the back seat).  

Oh, and I ran.  I just ran.  I went to the gym, I got an 8-miler in, and actually did a few speed workouts.  And even though my husband left again six days later, I felt like I could participate in my life again.  Just getting out for a few days for some "M time" made all the difference in the world. 

And at the end of it, I decided that – no matter what – I would race.  I would gut it out because I committed to it. I would show up because I needed to finish what I started.  I knew it wouldn’t be my best time, and I knew it would hurt.  But I would do it. 

And I did.

More on that later.  But before I put that race report in the next post, I am going to leave you with some pictures of my little man – growing so fast, it squeezes my heart.  I feel so horrible when I get to the dark place, because this little guy doesn’t deserve that.  No matter how bad I get, I work hard not to let it show to him (and some days, wow, that’s hard).  And I'm really proud that he's a super happy and strong kid.  So here is what I’ve been developing in my two-month blog absence:

"Did someone need directions to the muscle beach?"

 Easter weekend at my mom's
 Don't we all have our deepest thoughts in the tub?

 Sweet angel.  Fat, sweet angel.

 Cowboy Easter, yo.

 "Great ham, grandma.  What's for dessert?"

 Fun with stickers.  Eye brow raise courtesy of his momma's genetics.

 Looks like he's got some peaches stuck in his cheeks.

 The afternoon following a morning of screaming bloody murder - him, not me. Surprisingly.

 Who is this lady with make up and real clothes? Is that perfume I smell? Call 911! I've been kidnapped!  

Workday fun. 

 And some more

 First zoo trip!! Someone is unimpressed by the enormous swimming BEAR in the background.

 And then unimpressed with bath time.  Man, I can't win some days.

 Big enough for his cousin's saucer! Or as mom likes to call it, "Mom's morning coffee time babysitter."

16 years from now, some hussy is going to make him swoon.  My heart is already breaking... 

 "Aw don't worry mom! You'll always be my favorite!"

 Nap time's over.

 "So then I was like, 'Girl, no you didn't with those skinny jeans!' 
And then she's like, "Oh yes I did!'
And then I'm like, "Oh snap!"
 Dad's home!

 I remember this guy!

 Busy time with his saucer. 

 Dad love.

 "Mom you're so silly! Stop with the pictures! Or at least get my good side."

 Why am I on my belly, you ask? Well, because I rolled over onto it! I RULE!

The coffee time babysitter saucer is back.  "Hey mom, I made a surprise in my pants for you, so hurry up and finish your coffee!" 

First attempt at real food! 

Toe jam.  It's what's for breakfast. 

My love.


WildChildT said...

Oh M, my heart goes out to you. Super congratulations on finishing that race, I know it had to have been tough and I am quite sure there are a TON of people proud of you. You are one helluva strong momma, don't doubt that for one second!! Your boy is so adorable and so happy!

Amber said...

You are not alone.

New motherhood is really really hard. I cannot even imagine how much harder it is when your husband has to be away for long periods of time.

I was dreading last weekend because my husband was working OT and I was going to be alone with the baby all weekend. Months at a time... you deserve slack.

Also, working from home seems ideal to the uninitiated, but I worked part-time from home during the last month of my maternity leave, and I was *grateful* to go back into the office because it was so much easier! Taking care of the kiddo was a full time job. Adding a part-time job to that was simply too much.

I've always gotten the impression from your blog that you have a very supportive family. Call on them for some babysitting. Or hire a babysitter that you can trust. At least once a week, if only for a few hours so you can get some time to yourself. I think it would do wonders for your mental health, and therefore would be worth every penny.

Take care of yourself so that you can take care of your precious little man!

Carrie said...

Lean on your support and be present. Motherhood can be overwhelming at times- breathe into it. Even with the struggles, you'll look back at this time of your life with such fondness. Love you Meg!

Alili said...

You know I have your back - always. No shame in being real and I am so, SO proud of you for getting out there for that race. Pardon me while I get all mushy and hormonal.

MissAllycat said...


That's all.

Carolina John said...

I get that too. Since I also work from home, there are days when I don't get dressed until 5 pm, or never actually set foot outside the front door. Combine that with an infant, and you've got a recipe for disaster. I really hope you feel better soon, and it really helps having the husband home again.

kilax said...

I love all the pics. Esp. the captions. "Oh snap!"

I am so sorry you have bee (and are) feeling so low. Your day sounds extremely overwhelming and lonely. When will you be reunited with your husband?

prin said...

<3 Sorry I'm so late reading this. I wish I was closer so I could help somehow. Single momming it must be so hard, especially since you're a new mom too. I can't even imagine. I wish you would ask for help more though, you know? You need to reach out. You've got some great sisters, right? It's ok to need help, especially because you're not always two parents... or rarely two parents. *hugs*

*more hugs*

Suzanne said...

Oh man, I'm so late in reading this! My husband left for China when my boy was 1 month old (he was gone for only two weeks). I went to the Doctor's during that time and found out I had postpartum depression. I didn't start crying until I was diagnosed. I can't imagine having my husband gone for so long - you are made of strong stock and of course that boy is ADORABLE!!! Glad you are reclaiming yourself!!! It gets easier (I know you know that. Still nice to hear it)! LOL