Finding Hope, Happiness, and Myself:
I ran across this post I made in October of last year on my personal page and on my fitness page, and I thought it would be a good glimpse into who I am and how I got here…
See that girl on the left? She was great at putting on a smile and if you asked her how she was she would always answer “good” or “ok”. She put on this facade in hopes that if she faked it long enough it would be true.
What you couldn’t see from the outside was that inside I felt empty and alone. I felt numb, day after day going through the motions: take care of the kids, clean the house, cook, shop, plan, go to bed, toss and turn with anxiety, wake up and do it all again because I had kids and I couldn’t give up, I wouldn’t give up. But I was exhausted!
The picture on the left was taken in December of 2012, I’d had what the doctors called “unremitting postpartum depression” for nearly 15 months and it wasn’t showing any signs of leaving. I had good days and happy moments which almost made it worse because the darkness always came back, accompanied by a loneliness that was at times suffocating.
Here I was surrounded by love and my beautiful little family and I knew I should be happy but I no longer knew what made me happy and how to be happy. The antidepressants helped dull some of my symptoms, but, I felt hopeless…useless, I wasn’t able to return to a job that I loved for fear I would no longer be good at it or that I might start crying in the operating room or freeze during a code. I let that fear take over. I was afraid I’d never be the old me again, that she was gone forever. I was afraid I was going to scare away my husband. I was afraid I was too much for my family. I lost friendships because I couldn’t show up. I was afraid the darkness would consume me and my husband would have to raise our two beautiful boys alone. I was afraid to share my thoughts. I was afraid to keep them inside. I was afraid to ask for help.
That fear and depression and anxiety could have been the end of me. But it wasn’t.
I started sharing with anyone that would listen. I asked for help. I leaned on family and friends. I looked for ways to be happy again. It was a slower process than I would have liked and it seemed like one step forward meant two steps back, but the important thing was to put one foot in front of the other and keep stepping.
I joined a local half marathon training group January 2013 and the first time I ran I thought I might die, literally, DIE!! It took me close to nine minutes to run half of a mile and I was huffing and puffing the entire way, all the while trying to play it off. But I continued to show up and I started to see little glimpses of me. It didn’t take long to see that running helped my sanity. If I was having a bad day, I knew I needed to lace up for some running therapy.
Fast forward almost 3 years to the picture on the right, that’s me, October 25th, 2015. Happy! Genuinely happy! In the last year I titrated off all my medication (with my doctors guidance), I have started eating to fuel my body not just to eat, I exercise, I am training for my second marathon, I am working on myself through personal development, I keep a gratitude journal, and I am learning what truly makes me happy. Maybe I’ve never known or maybe it’s just been buried deep down for so long that I’ve forgotten, but I’m learning now. I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and become a volunteer firefighter and a health and wellness coach and I’m loving it. I’m no longer letting fear decide my future! Take that fear (insert karate chop)!
Update: Fast forward another year and the light has remained, the darkness no longer creeps in and if it tries to I know I can roll out my yoga mat, take a deep breath and find peace. I can go for a walk or cuddle up with my husband and a cup of tea and talk through it. I can snuggle these crazy monkeys and know that I’m good, we’re good.
It’s not always all roses, I have a kiddo on the spectrum who challenges me daily, life still throws wrenches, I have a 4 year old (enough said 😁), we have bills, an old farm house, things break (all the time), but I’m working daily at being a better me and that work is really paying off. I like who I am, I’m proud of the work I’ve put in and I genuinely love me, which may sound silly but it’s huge, it allows me to filter out the negativity around me and be at peace with who I am and where I am. And I’ve learned to look for the silver lining in all things, sometimes it’s harder than others but I promise you, it’s there.
I am so blessed to have a husband and family and friends that loved me, unconditionally, and tirelessly through it all and still do, they embrace my changes and accept me as I am. I get to be a mom to two of the most beautiful boys this planet has ever seen and I get to wake up each day and do what I love. I get to share love and life with the most amazing man. I get to laugh with friends that have become family and I get to kiss my babies and puppies to sleep at night and first thing in the morning.
So if you’re out there and your alone in the darkness or lost, you don’t have to be, there’s hope, and happiness, and light ❤️