I had a person close to me ask me a question, or maybe this person was making more of a statement about who they think I am. Regardless, it hurt my feelings and made me want to write about the realities of recovering from anxiety and depression, and why one should never judge a book by its cover. Especially when you don’t know what the chapters of that book entail.
Seemingly out of nowhere, I was recently asked, “do you always have to be so perfect? Is everyday really all rainbows and sunshine? It just seems like that would be so exhausting.” The person who asked me this question and made this statement, is kind of a dick. I’m just going to put that out there, and so I’m used to random and sometimes hurtful things being said by them to me and to others. Still, it really hurt my feelings and then made me feel so upset that I even allowed it to hurt me or make me question who I am and how I come off to those around me.
It would appear that to this individual, I act like I am perfect and I come off as too positive and happy, too much of the time. Who knows, maybe they’re right – but you know what else I know to be true, they weren’t there when I was drowning in life and depressed for 2+ years, so they don’t understand why I am the way I am today. Do I highlight the good stuff, yeah. Are 95% of the pictures I share on social media of my family’s smiling faces, yes, they are. Do I make big deals out of holidays and even the smallest of special events – yes, guilty as charged. Does this mean that my life, my marriage or my family is perfect? No, of course it doesn’t. Does this mean that I’ve never known struggle or the overwhelming darkness of anxiety and depression? Hell no, it doesn’t.
What this person doesn’t know is what I went through during my journey to get to where I am and who I am today, and how it broke me and then changed me for the better. They don’t know that along with having a broken spirit while trying to conceive, I lost what felt like half my head of hair due to a bad mix of anxiety and fertility drugs. They weren’t there when I was coloring my bald spots in with brown eyeshadow or crying in my car anytime a friend or family member mentioned my thinning hair. They weren’t there that Mother’s Day weekend when I went through the pain of losing the baby that was growing inside of me. They didn’t see me crying in the shower after not 1 but 4 of my cousins announced their unexpected pregnancies while I gained more and more weight harvesting eggs for my IVF retrieval. The IVF retrieval and FET that wasn’t meant to be. They don’t know how much anxiety robbed me of time with my family and friends for most of those 2+ years, because sometimes I just couldn’t bring myself to leave the house.
You all know about all of this, because I wrote about it and so many of you helped me through it. I can never thank you enough for that. I was open about it all. The sadness. The impact it had on my marriage. The mom guilt knowing that I wasn’t being the mama I wanted to be. It’s all there still, in black and white for anyone to read. There did come a point when I could no longer write. I had fallen apart and needed to step away. This was the period when I went nearly 5 months without blogging, because I just couldn’t.
Then things started to get better. The fight was over and I made the decision to put down my sword. I told Georgia that I was done and that I needed to work on me. I needed to heal and so she took on the role of expanding our family. This is something she never wanted to do and still, she did it for us. She did it because she knew that my heart would be forever broken if I knew I was the reason Gracie grew up as an only child. To say that this made me love my wife even more doesn’t begin to describe it. She saved me in every way and was there by my side when the fertility drugs completely left my system and my hair started to actually grow back! I began taking calls from my amazing friends again, who were still around and reaching out even though I had blown them off a hundred times before. I started leaving the house and began feeling pretty again. I stopped feeling sad every day and started noticing all the amazing things in my life and this is when everything truly began to change for me.
When you’re in the middle of a dark storm, you can’t see all the good in your life. There’s just too much sadness and everything feels like it can break you. It’s scary. On the other side of this, if you survive the storm and you find your way out of it, your blessings shine brighter than ever before and you become a changed person – if you choose to. The biggest changes I’ve seen in myself over this past year, are that my general outlook on things has changed, in a BIG way. I worry less about the little things. I’ve started feeling crafty again and I am back to making stuff. My sexual drive returned in a major way (hallelujah!) and I am back to being a social person who looks forward to being around other people. Most of all though, I celebrate life! I celebrate it in a big way! I do all the fun things I can and take as many pictures of my beautiful family as possible. I feel like I’m nicer than I used to be and I would imagine that this happiness shines through on social media, even if some days aren’t as happy as others.
If this means that my life looks perfect, I’ll take it. I will gladly own it all because it took so much work and such a long time to get here. I feel blessed every day, even on the bad days. I am eternally grateful that there was a plan all along for my little family and that we’ve made it to where we are today.
So yes, I think Georgia, Gracie and Will are perfect, and yes, most days are rainbows and sunshine. There’s tough days, for sure. The kids can drain every bit of energy from us. My house is still a total mess, 75% of the time. G and I bicker like the best of them and I still have so much weight to lose – but we’re happy and healthy and that’s all this mama can ask for. If this means that I am projecting a life that looks perfect, well thank you so much! Thank you for such an amazing compliment, because I wouldn't trade this life, with these people, for anything in the world.