Originally posted on 4/29/2020.
As many of us have been doing lately, I was group FaceTiming with a group of my best friends the other night, and something came up that I need to share. Honestly, it’s something that’s been going on for a while and I didn’t want to share because, well, it’s scary. But as we talked, we realized that it’s those scary and raw moments that you connect with others the most, and that’s what the whole purpose of this platform is!
So, let me take you back to the beginning of quarantine. You know, when we weren’t in the thick of it, and it wasn’t ALWAYS raining and cold. It was a gorgeous day, and my husband was off work so we took full advantage! We took a walk with the kids and both dogs. Audrey even walked one of them all by herself, something she was extremely proud of, yet made me a nervous nelly! Then, we went to our backyard and played for hours. We chased each other, played soccer, threw a frisbee, wrestled, and laughed until our cheeks hurt.
There was a moment during this where I took a step back and realized that I am literally living my dream. I have a white picket fence for goodness sake! I felt like I had stepped into the exact picture I had in my mind during my younger years of what I wanted my life to look like when I grew up. How cool is that?
But then, the days turned into weeks, and now the weeks are turning into months. I started breaking down. I alluded this in my post, This. Is. Freaking. Hard. Being home all the time trying to work and be mom is exhausting. Not necessarily physically, but mentally and emotionally. I know I’m lucky that my kids aren’t school-aged yet so that I don’t have to also worry about distance learning, BUT I still feel like I’m failing them. I can’t help but wonder if my irritability and lack of undivided attention are going to be engrained in them for the rest of their lives. Dramatic? Maybe, but I think in extremes.
Things kept mentally piling up on me. As much as I tried to continue being the happy, go with the flow, bubbly person that I typically am, it seemed to be getting harder and harder. I was crying, for seemingly no reason, every day. The kicker? My friends and I seem to be experiencing a lot of the same feelings. It may seem weird to say that, but we all went through something very traumatic together as teenagers…a school shooting.
I’ve always thought that I was good at handling the emotional stress that came from the shooting. And to be honest, I thought I was pretty good at handling the stress that came with other traumatic life events too. i.e. my parents divorce, my best friend committing suicide, etc. But now that my friends and I are all experiencing eerily similar feelings/thoughts, I can’t help me think that maybe I’m not as good at dealing with this stress as I thought.
I guess simply blocking out thoughts and memories isn’t good for you…
Another point that was brought up was social media. My friend mentioned that if someone looked at my Instagram page, they would think I have the perfect life. That hit me hard. Not in a bad way, though! But, I really, truly want to be completely authentic for my audience. I want to show you the good, but I also want to show you the bad. If I’m going to connect with my audience the way that I intended, then I need to be completely transparent. Hopefully, if you follow me, you know that my stories are where the unfiltered, no makeup me is present, but still. I never want to depict a perfect life, because it simply isn’t the case.
So, after talking with my friends I decided to reach out to a professional. While I haven’t had my first appointment yet, I feel a sense of relief even knowing that I’m taking that step. I absolutely hate that there is still such a stigma around mental health. Just because you are seeking help doesn’t mean that you are broken. It doesn’t mean that you are crazy. in my opinion, it makes you strong!
I want to start therapy so that I can be my best self not only for me, but for my husband and especially for my children. I want them to know that it’s ok to seek help. It’s ok to not be ok. Most importantly, I want them to look up to me as someone they admire and hope to be like someday. I want them to look back and have joyous, fun memories of me. Not memories of me being sad and crying for seemingly no reason.
I’m writing this with hopes that maybe this will be someone else’s sign to seek help. You’re not weak or a failure if you want to talk to someone. You’re stronger than you know!