A small disclaimer- I am ok. Please do not contact the mental health officials. I readily admit I struggle with depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and other forms of mental issues, but this writing is simply just me writing about my feelings right now....and I haven't had my morning coffee yet, so that hasn't helped....
So, with that said....
I'm going to be brutally honest here and ask that respect be shown for someone who writes down for all the world to see her vulnerabilities....It's not easy in this world to hold to any kind of value that contradicts the status quo and exposing ones vulnerabilities can open the door for rash judgments which also seems to be the new way to do things in this world. God help our children for sure...
I shared with a friend via text a few days ago about my struggles. She lives in another state and is who I'm certain God placed into my life this year for many reasons. And apparently vice versa because her and I both have had so many conversations about the struggles of parenting, family with addictions, and so much more. The term soul sister is really magnified in our relationship and for that I am so blessed.
But I was lamenting about my struggle as a mom right now. But after our conversation, I delved deeper into what is wrong with me.
I struggle with depression. Because it begins with sadness and because I know how I feel on medication, I have a fantastic support system in place for when I start to feel this way. I have a few people in my life who I can confide in and check in to see if it's something more that needs intervention. I have discovered that for the most part, something hormonal triggers it. And once it's triggered, I can manage it. For the most part. For me, it's compounded by the fact that my almost 14 month old is still waking several times a night and still requiring many nursing sessions nightly and throughout the day. Now, before my 'breast is best' crew chimes in, hear me out. I have breastfed every single one of my children. Almost a full year minus two of them who self weaned at 9 months. That technically is almost EIGHT YEARS OF BREASTFEEDING.
I ain't anti-breast is best. (i'm sorry to my big kids who read my blog- momma is laying it all out today).
But it's been a long 14+ months because as you know if you've been pregnant, you don't sleep much the last few months of pregnancy because you've got an almost 8 pound basketball in your belly that has 10 arms and legs and decides when it's quiet that it's the best time for a Jane Fonda exercise routine....not to mention the 84 times in an 8 hour period you can get up to go pee. No joke.
So to say I'm exhausted is a serious understatement. To say I am overwhelmed with my life is an understatement.
But life was supposed to get easier when my kids got older. They were supposed to be more helpful, willing to do things for me, babysit the littles, and eventually go away to college and create their own lives..... Don't tell my kids, but they didn't get the memo on this expectation.... ;)
I'm not saying I wanted my kids to take over. And in the words of my 15 year old, I do not expect them to raise my babies. Just help out. Maybe I am living in the Little House era and today's world is past that sacrificial way of life.... I mean, don't get me wrong, it definitely is past that era and sacrificial way of life, but I raised my kids differently.
But sometimes, no matter what we do, no matter how we raise our kids, they have minds of their own and will do things differently. And that's not entirely a bad thing, unless their choices are not healthy or good for them, because that's why we raise them, to go off and make lives for themselves. I used to blame myself not homeschooling or making more sacrifices to send them to Catholic schools to help "protect" them from the 'real' world, but the older I got and my kids got and the more I saw from other places and people, I realized there's no way to protect them from the real world and to shield them from everything would be so very nice, but as my kids already tell me, I did shelter them as much as I could and even a few of them have admitted to appreciating it because they see where some of their friends who have lived unabashedly are currently and it's not where they would ever want to be.
But even that is not the root cause of my loneliness completely, minus date nights with my husband being few and far between because they don't want to watch the younger siblings....oh and that darn baby who still nurses..... I am struggling with being a mom right now....but it's more because of me. I bring a lot of my pain on myself.
I am feeling deeply lonely. I am feeling a pain in my heart that I can not describe. I at first thought it was the announcement of the scandal in my own diocese back in August. It seemed to coincide and who wouldn't be more depressed over accusations against priests whom you've trusted. It was logically the best explanation.
Then all the Facebook attacks on people of my diocese began to seep out. There were actually people accusing good and holy people for not doing anything. It was depressing. These were people I knew. I was so disappointed and yet, knew Satan can make anyone turn against another. I decided that perhaps I needed to delete my Facebook page for the time being until the dust settled. Which after the debacle over the senate hearing of Judge Kavanaugh, I realized it was pertinent I get off social media until people stopped acting so juvenile and ugly behind their keyboards. It was too much. My loneliness grew deeper.
Of course, some of my pain was literally from the detox of being 'on' whenever I wanted. I could get the latest news and information instantaneously. It was great. Until it wasn't there. The detox lasted about four days. I had urges to check my page for about three days. Talk about an addiction! I don't think people really truly realize how addicted we are to our devices. Even if we claim we aren't on those sites. We are truly addicted to the need to be connected.
Which didn't help my loneliness.
I tried to put together a bible study. To hopefully corral a few people together and 'force' us to gather as sisters and connect. And it went well the first week. And then....well....life. It just kept getting in the way of getting together. Right now, just to give an idea of interruptions of life, I have literally gotten up about a dozen times to hand out snacks, get toys out of the stuck places, and change a stinky diaper. My two that are home with me are literally playing so nicely together but the baby is a Ninja. And she is honing in on her Ninja skills for when she appears on the "America Ninja Warrior" show in just a few years.... So protecting her from killing herself as she attempts to dive off the TV stand, climb onto the big chair, get on top of the play kitchen, or stand on the kitchen table are essential time outs for me....but it gets exhausting....
So as my weariness grew, and my feelings of being unsettled got worse, I really began to resent things. Here's where my blog is going to delve into a dark place for a minute or 20. Please don't judge me.
I began to question things. Why did we move here? What on earth was God's purpose in bringing us already displaced southerners to an area where most people work, people either know all about their faith or don't care about their faith, and where winters can literally last 945 days.... (I am not kidding. last winter was b-r-u-t-a-l for this southern gal who spent 37 years in the south.) Sure we had cold. But it was always interspersed with warmth. Lots o warmth. 10 months of warmth. Mostly.
I began to ask questions that caught even me off guard.
Like, what would life have been like had we stopped with two children? Why did we decide to have so many children? Wasn't it embarrassing enough to go places with 3, then 4, then 5? Why on earth did we decide to not just embrace "the worlds ideals of normal family life?"
Who asks those questions? I love each one of my children fiercely. And these last three that we've had as an older couple have actually been some of the best moments of our lives. But that's where I've found myself the last few months. Questioning my vocation, questioning where God wants me, worrying about developing a much worse depression and ending up a sad, lonely little old lady who yells at the kids who get in her yard.....you know who I'm talkin about!! We've all had old crotchety neighbor ladies!
The final straw that had me sit down and type was this morning. I had come downstairs and was getting breakfast and lunches made and packed and noticed no one swept the dining room. Now, a little history for those who don't know this, my house is actually built on an ancient dinosaur time ant colony. I have ants all over my home. They like to switch it up and torture me each new season in a new and delightful spot so this summer, their location has been my dining room with my dining room table and chairs....no less than 9 billion ants have crossed the threshold of my dining room and nothing we are doing is working. I have conceded to just poisoning my home just to get rid of them....but my husband doesn't want to put poison in our home since of course, we have little ones who crawl and are on the floor all day long. I agree, but my sanity is waning over this....
But I was looking at the mess of ants and food not swept and the overwhelming emotion of loneliness crept into my heart and soul so deeply, I literally ran into the bathroom and sat down and began deep sobs just begging God to please remove this loneliness. I haven't seen many of my friends in months, some of them not since the beginning of summer or even last year. I have been praying every day to meet a mom who lives near me who wants to do bible studies, drink coffee, laugh over silly ninja babies...and all of this came to a head at that moment this morning. My sobs were so deep and painful that with each cry I cried more. It was as if I was releasing a built up dam that had been holding up this wall of insecurity and sadness and it just busted open and was spilling out. I cried out to God that I was tired of being lonely. I told him I was tired of being that odd ball person with too many children that people stared at and thought wasn't 'normal...' I lamented to Him that I couldn't even sit down to pray anymore, or write in my journal, or have any time for myself to do the things I enjoy doing for me....with each cry my sobs grew deeper and the tears flowed more freely and they were huge crocodile tears! I couldn't breath at one point because I was like a child who had just had the most epic temper tantrum and was doing that gasping breath in between sobs sound. I literally cried my eyes out. I begged God to please heal me. To help me be a better mom because I knew my sadness was like a black cloud over my entire house. My children know I'm not happy. They know I'm not ok right now. They tip toe around me so I don't explode on them over....my husband knows I'm not happy right now....he feels it, too. He knows I'm exhausted and ready for things to slow down and settle...With each prayer to God my revealed to me my deep pain. I just kept crying and calling out my prayers and begging God to just fix me....
I would like to say I felt better after that good deep cry. I certainly felt as if the weight had been lifted slightly, but I'm still here. Still feeling this deep loneliness. I didn't hear God come down in His Darth Vader voice and tell me I'm ok. I didn't feel His warm gently hug or even His hand on my shoulder. I know that He's here. I really do. I know He hears my cry. I can't explain how I know it. I just do. God is holding me so close right now. I know He is. He has my babies I've lost. He has my grandma, my grandfathers, my best friend from high school. I know He does. I've had things happen to me I can't explain that give me this comfort.
I would like to also say I feel like a new person after this deep consoling emotion, but I don't. I still feel the same. But God is here with me. I take consolation in that. I'm not as lonely as I feel, I am surrounded by angels and saints....I do hope He hears my plea for friendship... it's something I struggle with.
I am, however, going to keep plugging along. I'm going to keep praying. Doing my daily rosary. Talking to God whenever I can. I know I can't sit still for long periods and really sit in silence at this point in my life. I am going to try to focus on what I'm grateful for. I have good health. My kids are healthy. They are kind and generous souls. My baby is super strong which is why she can Ninja climb. I have a great house that has room for all of us. I have generous people in my life who give us amazing hand me downs as I do load after load of laundry for my kiddos. I am blessed to be able to buy groceries we need. I am grateful for my amazing husband who loves me unconditionally and knows my love languages. I am blessed his job enables me to not work and be here for my kids.
I am blessed and grateful for all I have been given. I ask for your prayers. Be assured of my prayers for you. To God be the Glory.