In December of 2013 I gave up.
I gave up on anything that I had been dreaming of. Things important to me and my personal development. I did not in any way give up on my Mom Duties. No, I gave up on me and put all the effort into my Mom Duties as a way of coping with the fact that daily life was nothing like I had anticipated it would be.
After the death of my parents, my family was nothing like what I had grown up with and it was never going to be like that vision I had in my youth.
After more foiled attempts at dating, I gave up on the notion I would find my “soul mate” or even a partner who would help and encourage me through this life. I gave up on love outside of the love you give your child.
After struggling to keep the house a state of Martha Stewart organization, I gave up even trying to find a place to put all the chaos that was still in my house from generations past. (The house I inherited with my brother after my parents died.)
After struggling with flooded basements, furnace problems, oil tank issues and frozen wood that wouldn’t burn I gave up caring about anything.
After fighting so hard for so much, I gave up and I let depression set in. Again. As it had other times in my life.
I was so exhausted and overwhelmed with all the stuff that was happening and had to be done that I couldn’t take it anymore. So December 2013 I gave up caring about anything but the well-being and happiness of my daughter and my inherited teen. But giving up didn’t make me happier. It made my depression worse. And this is something that you can’t hide from kids or teens – even if you are doing everything you can to make them happy.
Over the course of the next 11 months I slowly gave up everything that I was doing for me. Stopped making sure I was only eating whole food. Drank more booze than I should have been. Mommy-daughter nights became pizza in front of the TV on a for hours on end instead of hikes in the woods. I stopped teaching yoga and eventually even stopped going out with adults. Basically, I gave up and disconnected from most of the world.
And, to be honest, I didn’t care although the sadness in my soul ran deep.
There were some days when it took all my strength to keep the face of happiness and positivity for work. My job requires it. On those days, I bought home take-out for supper and told the girls to eat without me, then climbed into my bed to hide for the night. Eventually Princess D would come in my room and get into bed with me, saying she needed to snuggle but I think my then 5-year old was trying to get me out of the darkness that has encompassed me. Those were the days I was really giving up and the days after would leave me feeling guilty that I had been so weak.
My positive mantras were replaced with a negative discourse of self-loathing and the smile on my face was more of a painted on mask than a sign of happiness. Even those moments I was actually laughing I could feel the tears waiting to fall if I let them.
This lasted for 13 months. I didn’t want to go back on antidepressants because my experiences with them weren’t good. My doctor gave me anxiety meds in September 2014 which definitely did help for a while. In fact, I think they were the first step to starting to get myself re-connected with the world around me; outside of my daughter and inherited teen. And then in November I decided I didn’t want to give up anymore. I wanted to be in control of my life and reminded myself I was in control, and I started to dream of the life I want again.
Taking action to creating that was my next big step. And after that other things started to pop up. Many of them good, many of them little indications that there is more for me out there than what I do for others. And slowly, I am coming around. Slowly, I am finding a way to the life I want but it is a daily challenge. My energy levels are so low and it is virtually impossible to find time for me to get in a workout or some yoga. It’s the last month of winter which means I am still loading wood and dealing with wood stove heat and blizzards, still neck-deep in kid commitments and extracurricular activities. Still struggling financially to see my bad debt gone and my pay cheque last until the next pay cheque.
I have come to peace with the fact that my family dynamic has changed. It is nothing like I thought it would be when I was a little girl dreaming of the future, but I am OK with that now. Instead, I am no longer focusing on the things I can’t change and am determined to do the things that will create positive change in my life.
I can have the life I dream of for me. A life that isn’t dictated by anything else but things that inspire me and my kid(s). It is my power to make the most out of the talents I’ve been given and it is my right to be happy. I deserve to be happy and think of myself first, and my little family, instead of thinking of the people I want to please.
Depression still lingers and tries to rear its ugly head, but I am no longer willing to give up. Because if I give up then life will give up on me.