Inspiration from the Dark Days: Depression

Being a work from home mommy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be but it’s simultaneously the most rewarding work I’ve ever been called to do; Only SAHMs (stay at home mom)/WAHMs (work at home mom) will understand the spiraling misery and joy that each day brings and the monotony that can send you into a depression despite your best efforts.

My husband and I decided I would quit my cushy corporate job and work from home after our second child was born and alternately run my photography business from home. She was born early, quickly and she had colic; it was something we couldn’t have prepared ourselves for if we’d tried.  I found myself in the midst of postpartum depression for a very long time and often wondered if I had made the right decision to stay at home but it was too late, we couldn’t afford daycare even on my old job’s pay….I was officially a SAHM.

Our daughter just turned two and I can honestly say that I am FINALLY starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel! I am kicking depression’s butt and I am doing it without medication.  Considering I live in Colorado and for most people the answer to everything involves weed and beer, I am the outcast because I choose to use neither.  I couldn’t name three different brews if I wanted to, let alone tell you that a high is the least bit enjoyable for me (it makes me paranoid, actually).

Here’s what I am doing to improve my outlook:

  • Yoga & belly dancing – the endorphins are amazing…..if you can get your butt off the couch and start in the first place! I find that when I do start, I will do more than I should because I get hooked on the “high” that working out or dancing can bring.
  • Meditation – I follow Brendan Burchard on Facebook and absolutely love his outlook on life.  He recently put out a video on mediation.  I’ve been using his technique, but I change the word mediated on with each session depending on what I need to work on.  I tend to use the word “happiness”, “thankful”, and his favorite, “release” the most.  I’m pretty sure my husband would use “Money” but that’s only because he is the reincarnation of Scrooge McDuck!  Use whatever works for you in the moment but realize that when you send out positive energy into the universe, positive will return; and likewise the otherway around.
  • Spend less time pondering “Why” and more time on “How.” We tend to spiral down when we think about why the world sucks or why everyone is against you.  Who cares about why.  Why never helped solve anything other than a newspaper headline. Think about how you’re going to fix it or solve it.  Think about how you got there in the first place; are you to blame? How can you fix the situation?
  • Music.  I play acoustic steel-string guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, banjo, ukulele, I sing and I like to pretend that I can play drums too. When my kids came about, I stopped practicing my instruments and literally hung them on the wall where they became decor instead of emotional expression. I love music with my soul but all of the excuses in the world shouldn’t keep me from proper emotional expression! Find your emotional outlet, whether it be writing, painting, drawing, yodelling or underwater basket weaving…. find it and do it.  Don’t let your life get in the way; we are all guilty of this.  I am scheduling “me time” for music because my life just doesn’t quite afford me the option to have this time outside of the home and the added bonus is that my kids love to play music when I do, so it doubles as a music class!
  • Essential Oils.  Some of you may “poo-poo” the idea of essential oil use, but I honestly don’t know where I would be without my Young Living Lavender, Frankincense and Stress Away oils! I’ve shared them with a couple of mommy friends who can back me up….. Life. Savers. End of conversation. I do sell YL oils, but the point here is to tell you about how to kick depression’s but, not to sell you on anything.  This is what has worked for me.  Some people really like the Joy or Cedarwood blends, but they didn’t work well for me.
  • Get out of the house. It sounds simple, but I found that the more I stuck around the house in my yoga pants with my hair undone and generally looking slummy, the more depressed I was.  The trips to the grocery store became something to simultaneously look forward to and dread at the same time (because who wants to tote a 2 & 4 year around the store?)  Getting dressed and “putting on your face” each day actually helps to boost your own self esteem because you will approve of yourself each time you look in the mirror…more so than if you didn’t get dressed at all. No money? Just go to the park, go for a walk or hang out in the yard, but always get dressed up.  Those 50’s housewives had it right!
  • Socialize with real people…in person.  This one is the hardest for me because I actually used to suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder and aborhed public places to the point of a major panic attack each time I left my home.  I eventually kicked it with repeated exposure, St. Johns Wort  and added Valerian Root when things were still too out of control; I’ve never taken a pharmaceutical mood inhibitor drug in my life, only natural remedies. I am a shy person by nature and often struggle with talking to new people, so people see me as quiet and standoff-ish which makes it extremely hard to make new friends. I keep at it and figure the law of averages will work in my favor at some point, that I’ll find some people to really connect with.  Clearly, the name of my blog already told you I’m not Miss Popularity, lol! Anyways, I keep trying to make new friends because it is that in-person interaction that has the best effect on my mood.  I love my little people to pieces but sometimes Mommy needs an adult to talk to.
  • Being open about my feelings with myself and my spouse. Granted, he doesn’t want nor need to hear about every insecurity that passes through my brain, so I am selective and share with him the things that weigh heaviest on my mind.  Luckily, he knows women are crazy and is not afraid to tell me when I am being crazy! I accept my hormones go cuckoo from time to time, but sometimes it’s not my hormones and a little heart to heart with my hubby is all I need to feel better.  He is the force that balances me out. If you don’t have a significant other, try a best friend, family member or counsellor. My hubby is my best friend, so he gets to work double time 😉
  • Try to find humor in everything. I was once criticized by someone when I was younger for cracking jokes when conversations were heavy; it’s my way of coping and whether or not they felt it was appropriate, it has worked for me and continues to do so.  Ask anyone in a first responder position how they manage and they’ll invariably tell you the same thing.  Try to learn from mistakes but try to find humor in them, too; It will bode lighter on your spirit if you can keep things lighthearted.
  • Pay it forward, when you can.  I have always been a giver and a shoulder to lean on to anyone I have ever met, even strangers. During my darkest times, I wondered angrily, where the myth of karma came from because I had lost faith in it being a real thing. I thought so many times about how I’d always been there for others but after being in the dark pitt for so long, where was my help when I needed it most? Someone paid it forward and restored my faith in humanity once again….just by giving me a pair of old shoes when mine fell apart. Despite my darkest moments, I am happy to say that things are starting to look up for once! I am spending less time dwelling on the past and once again enjoying the sunlight on my face even though things may be tough still.  Two people have “paid it forward” in my direction within the last few months and, while to these contributors their acts were small and trivial, they have changed my life in a very positive and very real way. The second person to pay it forward renewed my faith in God, humanity, karma and reminded me to stop ignoring myself and the things that I need in life (like music).  He just thought he was giving me an unused concert ticket, but to me it was so much more.

The reason I tell you about all of this is because I realized my issues were not unique. I have a mommy friend, the one who indirectly inspired me to start this blog, who is battling depression, too.  This is me trying to help out all of the moms who are fighting the daily battle and me trying to help you. I am paying it forward in the only way that I can right now, with words of hope.  You’ve got this and I am here to help.

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