Math Problem: If you give 100% of yourself to everyone, how much does that leave you for yourself?
It didn’t click to me until someone made a statement similar to this. I was the person giving 100% to everyone because I wanted to. Even before I became a Mom, I wanted to be that person who my friends could ALWAYS count on. That older sister who NO MATTER WHAT would be available for whatever. That daughter who would ALWAYS come through. That girlfriend who was so desperately trying to show how worthy of being a wife she was.
Even with this high standard I had for myself with all of these titles, I still made time to do those things to PAMPER myself, such as getting a pedicure or rewarding myself with a new outfit or book. It wasn’t until I had my first child that I realized I had no more to give to myself. I was BURNT OUT. Along with other factors I soon entered that hole of Postpartum depression.
I couldn’t give to anyone anymore. I tried to take those phone calls from friends who had “problems”. I TRIED to give advice. I TRIED to show affection towards my husband. But I was EMPTY. The little bit of light and love I could muster was spent on my child.
This was a feeling I had never felt. I was always the smiling, optimistic, goofy girl. But she had seemed to have packed her bags and left. No will return in X amount of days sign or note of resignation. She just left. Who was I left with? Who was I? Is this the real me? Was I being fake all this time? Questions swirled my brain. Depression will do that to you.
During this time, I had just turned 30 and my husband took a picture of me with those cool number balloon – 3 and 0. This was supposed to be the best time of my life. NEW house, NEWLY married, NEW baby, great friends. I look at that picture and you can see the light is gone. In retrospect, I could tell my family and friends knew I wasn’t the same by the constant attempts to “cheer me up”. For them I am grateful. For this picture of a sad me on my 30th, I am grateful. It is a reminder of where I was, where I hope to never be again, and that I made it through.
Unfortunately, I cannot tell you how I made it out. Getting out of bed and eating were my only two goals. Moment to moment is how I lived my life. Staying close to my son gave me the strength to push through each day.
Once I cleared through the fog to the other side, I made a vow to start focusing on myself. I have a strong belief that I began piling other’s on top of myself until I had pushed myself out altogether. There are times that I still slip back into that old way of thinking because it had become habit. It was something as simple as saving my favorite piece of candy for my husband because I know he would like it. No, I am going to eat that candy. Or something more strained like stretching myself thin to cook a home cooked meal EVERY night because I want to be THAT type of wife and THAT type of mother. No! ordering take-out is ok. My food is better but at least they won’t go hungry. LOL
I used to think self-care was selfish. There are other things you could be doing to help someone else. LIES! Self-care is NOT selfish. Always remember that.
ME ADVICE: Love hard. This includes yourself.
ME DATE: Take a vacation day from work. Spend time getting to know yourself. As we age and go through different phases in our lives’, our needs and wants become different. Write down things you would like to do just because they make you happy. Keep this list somewhere where you will see it daily and make a conscious effort to DO THOSE THINGS.
For those battling Depression or just need someone to talk to: Don’t be afraid to seek help. Although I did not seek therapy at the time, that is something I would definitely, without a doubt, do and am currently looking into. You need a professional to guide you through those past and present difficult moments. Type therapist in your Google search bar, take recommendations from friends, and don’t be afraid to “shop” around for the therapist that is right for you. Also remember to make small goals for yourself so you can celebrate those wins. Small goals like just taking a shower and getting out of bed or taking a walk outside. You can do this! Ecclesiastes 4:10