So, we have been in this pandemic for what feels like a whole pregnancy. The first trimester sucked because we could not do anything. Then the second trimester hit, and we got some energy and were "livin la vida loca" (safely of course) and now we are in what would be a pregnancy third trimester, but I feel like this pandemic is never ending.
And through it all my mental health has been on an emotional roller coaster. I always say that my 14-week surgery recovery last year prepared me for quarantine. I was already used to not being able to leave my house so there is nothing new there. I moved into a new place right before our state shut down, so I had plenty to do as far as unpacking and organizing during the first 3 months, so I was not bored. So why the emotional roller coaster?? Let us break this down:
- I am extroverted. Like extremely extroverted to the point where I feed off of people’s energy and presence. So, when I am not around people, I get sad. Like I just want to hug all the people and when I cannot do that, I just want to eat my feelings (note how I gained the Covis-25lbs). Once we were allowed to leave the house LEMME TELL YOU how hype I was! But as flu season comes and the numbers continue to grow, I feel another shutdown looming and I am already sad for what has not happened yet.
- I am now a schoolteacher? Yup, I have officially enrolled my daughter into the Sanger school of hard knocks, and she is not a blessing to have in class. She does not listen. She is extremely disruptive, and the back talking is RIDICULOUS. We decided to keep her home and virtually school her due to COVID-19 but now I see that she is getting more and more upset and her mental health is declining which makes mine decline. I feel like I am failing her as her mother and her teacher. Like I know it is not my fault and she is taking her frustrations out on me because she is familiar with me, but it does not make the situation any better. I went to school for Fashion and business, not how to teach my daughter how to write her name in lowercase so it does not look like she is screaming all the time.
- I love my husband. And I hate my husband. I never really understood how messy my husband was until I have been stuck in the house with him for 24 hours straight. Granted, there are some people who are taking full advantage of this AMAZING opportunity (and they are very pregnant right now) but I am not that person. As extroverted as I am, I do appreciate my own personal space. And when you are stuck in the same house day in and day out...you have no space. We moved from a 3 story 3-bedroom 2 bath house to a ranch 3-bedroom 1 bath with a partial finish basement and there is no place to hide. I go to the basement and BOOM there is my husband. I go to the bathroom and BOOM there are my kids. I go to the backyard and BOOM there is my dog. And as much as I love my family...momma needs a moment by herself. So, when my husband asks, “how’s your day going” and I have screaming kids in my living room and my dog barking at the mailman...I snap. And I snap OFTEN. nothing personal against him but just like Bexley yells at me, I yell at Matt. He is just there...ALL THE TIME and as much as some people love the constant attention, I am good.
- Where is my structure, I miss my structure! Who would have thought that having a routine would make life so much easier? I hope you sensed the sarcasm in my voice with that one. I miss having a routine and with COVID-19, that got thrown out the window. Before COVID-19 the kids had to be in bed by a certain time so that when I got up the next morning, they would be awake and getting dressed so I could take them to daycare. Then COVID-19 hit, and I left my job, and my kids were not in daycare anymore. So, they get up early and go...NOWHERE. So, I tried the whole schedule thing and that worked fine for a bit. Then we sent Jamison back to daycare, Bexley started online schooling and the business started booming so that whole schedule went OUT THE WINDOW! Trying to run a business and teach my child and maintain the “living my best life” mentality I tried to live during the summer quickly came to an end and now I’m just left with this “well try again tomorrow mentality.
So this is the part of the story where I tell you how I overcame all of these and how my mental health is at an all-time high and here are some tips and tricks to help you get there…. yeah about that. It is not. I am still very much at a low. Even as I write this. It is not just one thing I am trying to combat but it is multiple things that I have no control over that is having me in this funk. But the first step is realizing I am in a funk. And asking for help before it is too late. So that is what I did. Today I went to talk to my primary care physician and said, “help me I’m drowning” and she threw me a life vest.
Before COVID-19 I was on antidepressants and was maintaining but felt like it was a band aid on a bullet wound. So, I got off of them and dealt with the real issues that were making me depressed. Now I got a whole new wound that needs healing and unfortunately, it is not as easy as before. This time the reasons that are causing my depression and anxiety are out of my control. I have no way to control the world outside or this pandemic. All I can do is do my part in stopping the spread of the virus. That means my child is being taught at home with me, that means I don’t see all my friends like I really want to, that means my husband is working from home and nagging me and that means that I have to create a new routine that accommodates everyone at home and make the most of it. But I am no good to my family until I get to a place where I can be happy and make the most of this crazy situation.
I used to think that taking medication was a form of weakness and to show true strength was to get off of medication and fight your depression head on. Welp, that is a lie. True strength is admitting that you need help and doing everything you need to take care of yourself. So that is what I did/am doing. I am starting my medication back up and there is no shame in that. This is what I need to be 100% for my family right now. So, I am taking you on this journey with me as I try to get through this “last trimester” of this pandemic and getting my mental health back on track.
So, I do not know what your mental health status is, and I am hoping its better than mine currently. But if you find that you are down in the dumps recently and just feel like you are drowning…. reach out and get help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. No one should be feeling down alone right now. Call your PCP, or your therapist or a friend and let them know how you are feeling and what they can do to support you. And hey, if you are reading this then in my mind, we are best friends, and you can always reach out to me. And I will keep you updated on my mental health throughout the remainder of the year and going forth!