Thank you for sharing your story Lindsay!
You may have noticed a significant lack of posts made on this website for several months. It is for a reason. I have finally admitted to myself and now I am admitting to you, my audience (or what is left of it), that I am suffering from depression.
I have dealt with depression before. It started with my first child. I had been warned about “the baby blues” and what to look for. I didn’t think that I had a problem. I wasn’t crying excessively for no reason. I didn’t want to hurt myself or my child. So, I didn’t think I had a problem, and so…I never dealt with the problem.
Then I had my second child. I felt like I was handling things so much better this time around, but over time depression took over. I had thoughts about suicide many times, but there was one time in particular that I finally had a “shock myself into realizing how bad it really was” moment. I know, I sound like I am contradicting my title but bear with me. This was the first time in 4 years that I realized that I had been suffering from depression but I had been in denial. I finally got help and got on medication.
Over the course of the next 4 years I was able to get off the medication and was doing well. I earned a nursing degree, had a job, bought a car, and was able to support myself and my kids.
Enter to a year ago when I had my newest baby. My life was very different now. I had moved to another country, was no longer working, had to share a car (which meant 90% of the time I had no car), and also had postpartum hormones that seem to completely whack my system. Since I had dealt with depression in the past, I was watching myself for warning signs. I thought I knew what I was looking for. After all, I have lived it and I had been trained to look for the signs with my medical background. I knew I was struggling, but I still felt like I wasn’t actually depressed. I think it’s because I never thought about hurting myself or thoughts of suicide. Its like I could feel myself sliding down into this hole, but I still felt like I had a grip at the top. Only to realize that I had actually indeed landed at the bottom.
I’m not exactly sure what made me realize that I needed help. But this experience has made me realize that so many people (myself included) immediately associate depression with the desire to harm yourself, but that is not always the case.
I also realized how easy it is to excuse the symptoms you are having. When you excuse the symptoms, you don’t get help. The signs of depression that I was experiencing I excused away, such as:
Feeling Tired– just constantly feeling tired. I excused it away because I was usually up late working on school work, or the blog, or just cause my sleep schedule was off. Plus I was still getting up at least once a night to nurse the baby.
Mood Swings– It seems to take a long time for my postpartum hormones to balance out after having a baby and so I chalked it up to that. Feeling Overwhelmed– this one was a huge one, I want to devote a whole post on this alone. I excused it away though because I had so much on my plate and I felt like people always tried to pile on more
Unhappy With Life– this one is so easy to excuse away. But I blamed it on being here in Germany and all the challenges we have faced while living here. Everyone has problems though, everyone faces challenges in their life. You think it’s just temporary and then you’ll feel better when it’s over. But then a new problem comes along. Life is stressful so it’s easy to blame your feelings on that.
Not Taking Care of Myself– this could vary from wearing the same pajama pants for a week, to not eating meals, and especially not showering for a few days. But hey, I’m a mom! Who has time for all those things anyway?
Having a Hard Time Focusing & Remembering– ummmm…I think what I just said applies here again. Mom to a baby, plus 2 other kids. Not a lot of sleep. I normally have a pretty good memory but I also don’t have a smart phone and so my appointments would SOMETIMES make it on the calendar, but then I would forget to look at it regularly. Trying to get my school work done was particularly challenging.
Loss of Interests– this one was a bit harder for me to ignore and may have actually been the reason I finally sought help. But it is very easy to excuse this away, especially when you are feeling overwhelmed all the time and your time is now devoted to the human being you just created.
So for those who are interested, after realizing I had so many signs of depression, I sought help. Because I am still nursing, my doctor advised me to do counseling before resorting to medication. I agreed that was best. So this is my journey and I want to share it with you. I want to be accountable to you. I want to share with you what I am doing to fight off depression without medication. What is working, what is not. I am open to your feedback, though I can’t promise I will take your advice.
My name is Lindsay and I am the mother of 3 busy boys. I am married to a soldier and we are currently stationed in Germany. The greatest lesson I have learned about living overseas is that it is really hard to get a good group selfie when there are 5 people of various heights. I am a Registered Nurse but since jobs are limited overseas I am spending my time home with the kids and working on my blog imthemomster.com. The motto behind the blog is that being a parent may not bring out the best in us, but we sure do love those narcissistic little monsters anyway.