Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Truth or Dare!

I'm a wuss and always picked truth, so here goes... I've been feeling pretty down lately, a combination of approximately a zillion things. The weather is gross and gray, I've been sick and then sicker, the house isn't selling, Eli's diarrhea seems never-ending (and the dirty clothes and sheets along with it.) I always feel let down after the holidays, I've been feeling depressed about my body lately, and to top it off, I've been having anxious thought patterns which are making me worry that the PPD anxiety which I experienced after Addy was born has sneaked up on me after all. I've basically been experiencing all of this, just a little late this time.
But I think it's turning a corner. First of all, I've been emailing Kara a lot, and I just wanted to thank her publicly for making it okay to talk about depression, anxiety, dark thoughts, and the private things which usually make us feel so ugly and ashamed. Just telling someone else and getting perspective can make it so much better.
Also, I talked to Jim about my mood (which has basically been despondent and detached, unfulfilled and fearful) and he made some good suggestions. One was that I stop thinking of keeping the house clean as my job, because, as he put it, "You don't stay home so that we don't have to pay a HOUSEKEEPER. You stay home so that you can be the one to take care of the KIDS." He has made this point multiple times, actually, and I think I should really take it to heart this time.
SO! I am on strike from housework. I am just going to get up in the morning and get to work HANGING OUT WITH THE KIDS, and do housework only as needed to keep us from sinking into filth. But I will not be cleaning windows or dusting baseboards. While I actually LIKE cleaning, trying to keep the house perfect makes me feel both anxious (I have to do THIS and THIS and THIS...) and also kind of like a hamster on a wheel. A RESENTFUL hamster. So NO MORE!
I also had a talk with my mom awhile ago about my body image (BAD) and she really helped me snap out of my obsessing. So at least my stretch marks aren't tormenting me multiple times a day anymore.
Perhaps the biggest change is that I am trying to incorporate my faith more in my daily life instead of just attending church and letting it go at that. When I forget the truths that I believe in and listen to the negative voices in my head instead, I can quickly spiral into feeling that my role in life is pretty pointless and that none of us really matter anyways, life is just a giant rat race ending in death, etc, etc. Cheerful. So I've been really concentrating on feeding myself a steady stream of healthy, positive messages that I know to be true (I am loved and needed, there is a purpose for my life beyond changing diapers) instead of anxious, fearful thoughts all day (I am a bad mom, I am fat, the sun is never going to shine EVER AGAIN, etc.)
To further cheer me up, today Addy leaned over to kiss Eli and out of the blue, for the first time ever, murmured, "I wuv you, Eli." If that can't make you feel better about your job...
AND my mom ran into my OB-GYN today and mentioned that she and I have been working out lately, and the doctor replied, "Well, that's good, but Sarah's in good shape already." Mwahh, KISSES!!!! And THEN he said that I'd had a pretty rough pregnancy but that I was a TROOPER! I heart him so much right now. It makes me want to schedule an extra Pap smear just so I can bring him a plate of cookies.

16 comments:

Jess said...

This is all really challenging stuff and I'm glad you felt comfortable writing about it for all of us to read. It sounds like you are taking a lot of positive steps to improve the situation and that all the people in your life are being really loving and supportive. I'm glad you have that all around you because you totally deserve it. I hope things improve soon.

Shelly Overlook said...

Okay, you must be high if you're considering an extra pap just for the man speaking the truth! :)

I swear it must be the time of year, seems like everyone (including me) is down right now. C'mon spring - bring sunshine and some happier times back!

Swistle said...

I have a crush on your husband now.

Mommy Daisy said...

Aww, first of all Jim is great! And so is your mom! And big HUGS to you. I hope things start looking up better. It sounds to me like you are taking the right actions to make them better. If you ever just need to vent or talk, I'm a good listener. Or we can get together for lunch or something some day. Come over, bring the kids. Any time. And I can help by praying for you! And we'll pray for some sunshine too. That helps my mood so much.

d e v a n said...

I think I love your husband.
(also, your Dr and your Mom!)

I'm glad things are turning around for you, it can be really tough sometimes.

Black Sheeped said...

I hope you keep feeling better! I want to get out of my slump, too. And I'll agree with the others: your husband is great!

Marie Green said...

1. Why is it so validating when our doctors acknoledge what we have been through and pat us on the back? Why?

2. I love your husband's attitude. The problem with me and the clean house is that I feel so much better when things are in order. But I've really had to lower my standards and get realistic about how clean things can really be.

3. I've also written about my challenges with PPD and how I waited SO LONG to get help b/c I thought getting help meant I failed as a mommy. I'm so glad I got over that hump!

4. You are working out. This is good. It will raise your mood, is small ways.

Mairzy said...

The voice in your head can wreak havoc -- more than runny diapers, a messy house, and stretch marks combined! Never mind that you are doing your best, you are a good mom, you are in good shape, and it is the middle of winter when EVERYBODY feels yucky. The Voice whines and wails and says you're worthless. Good for you to recognize it! I'm learning to consciously stop and say, "No, wait, that isn't true." What is true is that I do what I'm called to do, and trust that God will make up any lack.

Jim gets an A+. I'm going to tell his comment to August so August can trot it out next time I need to hear it. :)

Hold out! Spring is coming!

Tessie said...

Have you read Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott? I am reading it now. I like it a lot. Not to be presumptuous (oh my GOD, how do you spell that?) or anything, but it SEEMS like a book you might like? Maybe?

jess said...

LOL at the plate of cookies.

I understand where you are coming from. I had a small meltdown a month ago. We seriously can't be expected to do it all. Adam and I had a sit down and decided to divide the housework more evenly, since as Jim mentioned, my job isn't to clean the house, but rather take care of Gabe. It has been so great. I feel less resentful now that Adam is helping out around the house. It all seems more manageable and not so overwhelming. Maybe Jim could help with some of it. But, it sound slike he is being pretty understanding as it is. What a good guy.

I started journaling recently and thinking about the things in my life I appreciate. I am trying to do it daily, but it seems to be more like every other day. I find that focusing on these positive things (especially if I do it at the beginning of the day) keeps my mind off of all the negative nagging thoughts that bring me down. Just an idea.

Hopefully the sun will shine again soon!

desperate housewife said...

Tessie: It is a book I've been meaning to read, actually. And you spelled presumptuous right!

Jessa said...

Don't go for the extra pap...you'll regret it later. ;)

Keep doing what you are doing and you are bound to turn that corner full speed. You have so much support and love behind you.

Flibberty said...

Keep talking about it here. I think writing about it helps, and hopefully hearing from those of us who can commiserate and offer you support. Hang in there and keep talking to your hubby, he sounds like he is doing the right thing for you.

Chelle said...

I would totally take my husband up on the cleaning service.

And, if you're making cookies for the gyno anyway....

Well, can't blame a gal for trying.

Pickles & Dimes said...

Your husband, mom and OBGYN are all awesome.

Good job not worrying about the housework as much. It's so hard not to, but definitely easier on the old hamster-wheel brain.

Jenna said...

Do you really dust the baseboards?!?! I don't think I've ever done that!

This time of year kills me. And I live in LA. I think the short days, bad weather, illness infestations, etc. all combined with the hormonal roller coaster post partum is a hard thing to combat.

Feeding oneself healthy positive messages is such a great thing. I wish I could do more. I usually am able to do it when I catch myself thinking something bad about myself. Then I try to turn it around. So hard but SO important.

Big hugs from me. Keep us posted!