Then and Now

Last week, I found the journal I kept back in 2005. It starts before E was born and ends right around the time he reached 10 months. It was strange to read it, knowing as I do now that it was the hardest, darkest and loneliest year of my life. I wrote of how tired I was, casually mentioning that at 6 months, E was still only sleeping if I held him upright against my chest. I wrote of my fear that I was neglecting Little Miss C. I wrote that I missed my husband. I wrote that I was praying every day, feeling lost and unequal to the task of mothering two children on my own. 

I read it now and wonder how I could have been so hard on myself. Couldn't I see that I wasn't getting sleep? That I wasn't getting support? That I'd slipped over the edge of post-partum depression into the scariest clinical depression I'd ever experienced? I can barely look at photos from that time, the pain is so raw in the stance of my shoulders; the deadness in my eyes. 

Though much of what I wrote include cute anecdotes of what Little Miss C said and what E did, I know better. A large part of me wants to reach back in time and give myself a hug... and a bottle of medication.

I can't change the past, but I can be easier on myself today. Like then, I'm not getting any sleep. I'm critical of my weight, my mothering, my lack of productivity, creativity and romance. Today, I'm barely functioning. I feel paralyzed and heavy, the tears wait behind my eyes and the smallest noise draws my wrath. But five years from now, I may look back and wish I'd taken a deep breath and relaxed a little. Been more tender and forgiving of myself.

So that's what I'm trying to do.

{Image by Elly MacKay. I'm going to buy one of her prints someday.}


Yvette said...

Good! be kind to yourself and do the best you can. Lack of sleep I think has a lot to do with it. Sometimes I feel a little blue at night and I remind myself of all I'm lacking. I prayed last time I did this and Heavenly Father told me to go to sleep. He was right I was really tired. But, if you can't do this because your baby won't sleep Just be kind to yourself:) and do the best you can. That's all Heavenly Father wants us to do anyway. I will pray for you. If all you can do is get your child some milk one day give yourself a pat on the back that you did that being as tired as you are. I don't know you but think you're incredibly talented. You're probably doing much better than you think.

Apis Melliflora said...

I often think of past selves, how I would have advised them, then wonder what future self would say to present self too. Sometimes it's hard to believe they are all on the same continuum.

LisAway said...

Wow, what a wonderful lesson to learn from you journal! I hope you get through this more easily, and especially recognizing that it can and will get better.

Kristina said...

Beautiful post. I think it's amazing that often, during our hardest times, we don't realize how hard they were until we're out of them. I know it's been that way for me. I recognized at the time that, yeah, it was hard, but not until the depression/mania cleared did I realize how sick I had been.
Love that print.
Also, my sister and I have a blog on being bi polar. Give it a read, if you'd like. I haven't posted much, but my sister has quite a bit. http://howtheunsoundmindthinks.blogspot.com/
Also, saw this and thought of you: http://www.katespade.com/samplesale/login.jsp?csm=185976928&csc=54073&csa=187247258&csu=54074
Let me know if that last link doesn't work.
Happy FridaY!

Anonymous said...

If, in looking back at difficult times, we see ourselves through the lens of love, remember this is how our loving Father always looks at us.

You are remarkable. Someday somebody somewhere should make a movie about you. Maybe a spy-action thriller. (ok, jk about the spy-action thriller - maybe a war movie?)

Camille said...

I'm totally and shamelessly stalking your blog. I found it on my friend's blog when you posted your cute Christmas video. I just have to say, your a life line for me. I have been coming to terms with my own depression and learning to recognize it for what it is and what it was. I look back and read journal entries and am astounded to think that I could have been so blind (or in complete and utter denial-which is more probable). I could've saved myself some heartache and stress and so much more. Thank you for being so honest and open. I really look forward to reading your blog. It's my reward for doing my homework and chores! :)

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