So I've remained silent and stuck in my own head...and then I came across this quote today and knew my first step had to be to take a deep breath, stop being so hard on myself and share:
"The only reason we don't open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don't feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else's eyes."
We had a lovely vacation with Nathan's side of the family last week. We spent time in the Vail area and we all made the most of the beautiful mountain towns and the off-season stuff the ski resorts have going on. I found myself on more than a couple of occasions thinking about how content I was and how lucky I felt to be able to spend time in such a great area and get to know our family even better. Then a day or so before the end of vacation, I started feeling a little bluesy. Between that time and the day after we got home my mood dropped so quickly that looking back it almost feels like my brain crashed like a plane and I spent the next few days paralyzed in my seat, trying to figure out how badly I'd been hurt. I fell into a pit of self-loathing (I came across an article that described this feeling as a "black hole" and I nodded in agreement) and found myself watching the kids play one day, wondering if they might be better off without me. I spent about a minute weighing the options and luckily realized there's no way they would have a better life if I wasn't in it. In that moment I came to that decision not in a way that was compassionate towards myself but only that I believed having a mother like me was the lesser of two evils. Remembering that I even had that thought brings me to tears. It's scary of course, but it's mostly just sad and false and I can't believe I let myself go there. I promised myself I would never tell anyone I'd thought it because I don't want people to think they need to worry about me...that is NOT how I'm feeling at all and it really was in hindsight just a fleeting thought and I would never seriously consider it. BUT, I did think it and knowing that has finally pushed me to seek counseling. I know these feelings are very common...for mothers, yes but I think it goes deeper than that. I think being a mom tires me out and tests my limits for sure, but it is also my saving grace. For instance, I was coming in from a run the other day and Owen's smiling face came running up to the screen door yelling "Moooooommmmy!!!" and I could only smile and love and hug and kiss...and feel lucky and safe and happy in that moment. Also, on the worst day of my stint in the "black hole", I was helping Zoe figure out how to use her rollerblades..awkwardly holding her up and laughing with her every time she unexpectedly fell...at one point, as she stared at the cement just in front of her feet, concentrating on not falling, she quietly said "You're a great mom" and I felt so grateful and valuable.
So, I made an appointment and will start counseling. Despite my complete faith in counseling and my readiness to suggest it to others I feel nervous and weird (a bit relieved too, though)...Since I'm on my way back up and feeling much better, I almost decided not to go. Thinking back on this last week, I realize that although it felt like I was in the hole for a really long time, in reality it was only a few days. Many people live like that all. the. time. and I almost feel silly and selfish for thinking I'm suffering too. When I'm feeling good (which is most of the time) I'm honestly feeling good...no masking, no pretending, no overcompensating...just honestly content and good. It's normal to have ups and downs even if the downs are pretty low but something about these last couple of "crashes" (remember how I was feeling at the end of the winter?) makes me feel like I need to get an objective opinion and some professional advice about how to prevent going quite so low.
So, there you have it. Once again, after awkwardly telling Nathan, confiding in a couple of girlfriends and now putting my thoughts into words I'm starting to feel like myself again. Maybe now I can stop tearfully brooding and avoiding my friends and get back to living each moment and enjoying this life I'm totally blessed to have.