New me, new meds

After two years of trial and error, a lot of failed self-care and a break down in the doctor’s office, I finally did it.

I got medicated.

I’ve officially been taking my anti-depressants for six weeks now, and honestly? Why did I not do this sooner? I’ve been so much calmer. I don’t snap as quickly. I say yes more often. Rage is not my default reaction anymore. I can’t say that I’m happy, per se, but I’m laughing authentically again. And I think that’s really the end goal. I needed something to get me out of the hole. A ladder, a boost up to the first step. Now it’s up to me to find ways to climb the rest of the way out.

I’ve been writing again. Sort of. This is the first blog in a while but I’ve been jotting things down. I’ve been bullet journaling, and using my planner more. Turns out designing and organizing my planner is actually really soothing for me. I never look at it once it’s filled in but the process is really calming. Something about beautifying a blank space. I’ve been reading but not letting myself get completely lost in it. I want to start yoga again but I’m a bit worried that I’ll start in on some negative self-talk because it’s been so long since I’ve done yoga that I’m nowhere near where I used to be, and back sliding is a trigger for me. Also, there’s the pregnancy which makes things more complicated. I want to be able to move my body, I know it’s good for me and baby to move my body, but I’m just so tired. It’s much more exhausting to be pregnant with two kids at home than it was the first time around. So I’m taking baby steps. Learning what brings me peace and what doesn’t and acting accordingly. Or at least I’m trying to.

Maybe it’s the pregnancy, maybe it’s the meds, but this is the first time I haven’t been feeling overwhelming guilt when I take time for myself. I have a history of taking the time and then beating myself up over it but things seem to have shifted. I’m not pushing myself at 100% all the time. I can take an hour or two in my office working and not feel awful about it, and then I take the kids outside and not spend the whole time dreading it. It’s strange, but in a good way. It’s like I’m getting back to the old me again in some ways. I don’t think I’ll ever find her again fully, but I’m accepting that. Slowly. For today anyway. Like I said, baby steps.

An Ode to My New Duvet

Seriously. Is there anything better than new bedding?!

Between my ginger furnace of a husband, my very needy cat, a four year old that still wets the bed at least 1 (if not 3) times a week, a 17 month old who just doesn’t sleep, and plain old insomnia, what sleep I get is precious. Very very precious. I needed at least 8 hours before kids, and now I’m surviving on five broken hours and usually the same amount of coffee. I could sponsor Folgers at this point, and Starbucks might as well just get my pay check direct deposited to them. It’s been rough for everyone involved.

The lack of sleep both was a huge trigger and a huge sign of my PPD/PPA. I barely slept when I was pregnant; as soon as I would fall asleep my hips would ache, and I would wake up every time I’d have to roll over. Then L was born SGA, with low blood sugar and losing more weight than he could afford to. We needed to wake him every three hours, nurse, pump, bottle feed, sleep for an hour, repeat. No “sleep when baby sleeps”, his seriously neglected sister needed me during daylight hours and heaven forbid she nap – too much time away from Mama. Then she was up at least twice a night screaming for me. Our first night with Daddy gone to camp, we all cried in G’s room at bedtime. They would tag team me – L would wake up to feed, go back to sleep, G would wake up and cry for two hours for me to snuggle, which I would resist because I wouldn’t be able to hear the baby, and then as soon as she would fall asleep, L would wake up to feed.
I didn’t sleep for weeks.
I would dread bedtime.
I would lay awake at night once one of them got me up, because I knew it would be pointless to go back to sleep, I’d be again up in less than an hour.
You have no idea how many nights I regretted having another baby, how shitty I felt about throwing off the balance we had as a family. I wanted to go back to the way things were before. I wanted to walk away. I loved him so fiercely, but I resented him at the same time. The same with his sister. I loved her so much, but I resented her not being able to adjust like *that*. Which is ridiculous. I couldn’t adjust and I was a grown ass woman. She was 3.

Everyone kept telling me “You just need some sleep”. “Everything will be better once you get some sleep”. Turns out, not helpful. Know what was helpful? When I started therapy. When I began to pay attention to myself and take care of myself. When we went into Lockdown and I was forced to find a way to make life happen without shutting down, burying myself in my phone, or rage screaming when all I wanted was 5 minutes of peace. Turns out, when you’re stuck in the house together in a long Alberta winter, you start to figure your shit out. We made it work.

However. Now with work, and school, and kids, and life, things are creeping up. I’m starting to lose sleep again. I’m starting to withdraw. My boss suggested a therapist through our Family Resource Centre, one would better understand my needs and would relate a little better than my first (A story for another day), and I’m very tempted to make that phone call. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t.

Just. I know it starts with sleep.

So this week I splurged. I bought a new duvet that was lightweight but still warm, and so soft to the touch. I also got a new throw blanket and matching throw pillows. Hubby is gone for work for two nights, the sheets are freshly washed, my legs are freshly shaved. Consider this an act of self-love. It’s gonna be fucking fantastic.

Breathe.

Photo by Elly Fairytale on Pexels.com

The biggest thing I struggle with is guilt. I think that’s pretty common among most mothers. However, mine is debilitating. I can’t breathe under the weight of the guilt. Over everything. What I feed them. What I don’t feed them. How they play. How they don’t play. Am I providing enough experiences for them? Should I even provide experiences? Should I just let them be? Am I being too hard on them? Am I keeping them safe enough? Am I keeping them too safe? Are they getting too much screen time? Am I giving them enough face time? Enough one on one time? Am I yelling too much? Am I too permissive? Did they even eat vegetables today?

It goes on and on and on.

It’s not fun in my head.

So, I started something last month. I joined some girlfriends on Facebook, and we decided we would do a free 30 day yoga challenge. Every night, I had 20-30 minutes where I turned off the lights, lit some candles, and did yoga. Even when I had online classes, even when Hubby was home from camp, I still escaped into my office and did some yoga. Fuck me, it was hard. I lost so much muscle tone in the last year, I could barely hold my body up. But, I wasn’t going to chicken out this time. I fucking did it. I finished all 30 days.

And then something weird happened that I didn’t expect.

Monday was supposed to be a new work out program. A new fresh start. I did Day 1. Hated it. Tuesday, I did Day 2, hated every minute of it even though it was yoga/pilates inspired workout. Today is Wednesday, and I did Day 1 and 2 of a new monthly calendar of yoga and it felt so good.

Turns out, even though I didn’t notice it happening, I was addicted to yoga. It was a safe space, away from everything going on. I missed it. And lets be real, it gave me some space away from everyone else’s needs. Hubby had to step up and be the default parent while I was in my space, and it felt so nice to not be “It” for a while. This never happens – Hubby works camp, and so I had to step up when he’s gone, and it’s a routine that never changes even when he’s home – which leaves me feeling pissed off and overwhelmed. I didn’t think 20-30 minutes a night would be so life changing (not to be melodramatic or anything).

I still have guilt. No doubt. Crippling guilt. Just, for once, none about knowing I need self-care and all that stuff mom blogs post about, and then failing at taking care of myself in the most basic way.

Weird.