I won't bore you with the details of the despair (not showering for three days, crying endlessly, blah, blah, blah) but I will tell you the result of the despair:
God Loves Me.
As I sat on the floor in my pajamas while #4 watched PBS and the baby giggled at me (and I cried silently for the third time that morning), I kept praying for help. I wasn't sure what kind of help, just that I needed it. I hadn't had a "down" time in months and months, and so it was an extremely resented familiarity. I was immensely frustrated. It got worse when I took the boys to pick up the Kindergarten carpool. I saw "them." You know "them!" The women who don't have Depression. The women who shower each day. They do their hair. They have on make-up. They have cute clothes. They are put together. I used to be them. I sometimes still am.
I hid in the van and didn't get out until I absolutely had to. I hid from them. I didn't want them to see me. To judge me.
Rationality would tell me (later and now and always) that each woman has her demons, her weaknesses, her trials, and her secret longings. But I wasn't in a rational state of mind at the time. Obviously.
As I drove the boys home, I kept praying for help. "What should I do, dang it!? What should I do?"
And the answer came: Call M.W.
I talked to her (sobbed to her) for over an hour. She listened. She gave amazing advice. She helped me see things more clearly. And I listened to her advice because she knows what it's like to be in my shoes. In fact, there's something to be said about someone who KNOWS. She doesn't just sympathize with my Depression. She KNOWS how it feels because she has it. She doesn't just sympathize with my school-going-work-traveling husband. She KNOWS how it feels because she's been there with her own school-going-work-traveling husband. She has small children. She feels alone. She shares my demons.
After talking with her, I communicated with my gorgeous (and supportive) husband.
[In fact, I feel I need to point out that my husband is great. He's not perfect (who's perfect??!), but he really is fantastic. This whole school/working/being-a-dad thing is hard for him, too, especially since he loves his crazy little family. I don't begrudge his schedule, nor do I resent him for it. It's hard, but it is what it is. My problems could be seen as an indirect result of his time away, but I truly believe they are a direct result of my anxiety to change. To be sure --my chafing against change, and how it triggers my Depression (unfortunately).]
Then I made a decision I already made a long time ago, but never really did (and as my friend Amber said on Saturday, "Knowing and getting ready is easy. It's the doing that is hard!"). I am going to start doing what I know I should be doing.
So I quit teaching piano lessons.
This was my "third thing" that I needed to stop. In fact, I called all the parents this last weekend and this week will be my last week. I only kept two students: my daughters.
I'm also going to talk to the Bishop (hopefully very soon) about my two callings. Give him some info about yours truly. Maybe talk about reducing that to one (because I would go crazy without some sort of calling. Oh, wait. I already am crazy! Ha! Hahahaha!).
My friend (M.W.) told me that having a mental illness of any kind is like having your arm chopped off, and the stub is bleeding. Yet everyone else still expects you to perform the same way. YOU expect yourself to perform the same way! But the arm is gone. You are BLEEDING. If your arm was truly cut off, you would declare an emergency and tell people to cut you some slack and back off a bit, eh? I mean, hello! You're dying, here! Well, Depression is the same. It's real. It's an emergency. Holy heck, your stub is BLEEDING!
I liked that analogy.
Stay tuned for Getting Healthier: Part III!