Monday, March 28, 2011

One Woman Race

I'm not a competitive person by nature. I let go of that years ago when my big brother, Che', would always beat me at checkers...

But, does inner strength get muddled or misinterpreted as competition?

Early in my girls' lives, I needed to prove that I could raise twins - but it certainly wasn't for competitions' sake. Rather, it was for recognition, validation, and perhaps a little sympathy.

And pride.

Take breastfeeding for instance. Upon speaking to a good friend and new mother, I remarked that if I had to do it over again - breastfeed twins for 10 months - I wouldn't have.

But I know that's not entirely true - as I write it, deep in my mind, I felt that familiar pang of pride. Plus, I would miss that raised eyebrow or shocked look that I get when I tell people.

Recognition. We all crave it, don't we?

All those months of being chained, quite literally, to the breast pump were not for recognition. My daughters won't ever brag that their mother spent hours in that blue leather chair, balancing my laptop and sometimes a baby (or two), praying that I could fill both eight ounce bottles.

But I will know that I did it. I'll know that I squeezed every ounce of that magical liquid from my body, and that I sobbed when the girls were three months old when I realized I couldn't keep up with increasing demand, and was forced to supplement with formula. Today, that seems just plain silly, and I encourage new mothers not to give it a second thought - to do whatever will help you get through each day.

The other afternoon, while lounging in the bathtub with my daughters, the three of us attempting to get warm after an early spring gardening lesson, I told them the story of their birth. They will be four years old in 2 weeks, and they love to talk about babies. I told them they surprised us by wanting to come out early, on Easter morning 4 years ago. I described how small they were when they came out of my belly.  That their feet, now thrusting out of every new pair of shoes, were smaller than my thumb. How we had to put them in isolets to monitor them (they stopped me to explain each term they didn't understand), and that I wasn't allowed to hold them without permission from the nurses.

I told them we stayed in the hospital for 21 days before we brought them home and introduced them to Pumpkin, the cat. That they were too small to fit in regular car seats, and we had to buy special seats to accommodate their little bodies.

And that I still have the gavage tubes that were forced into their tiny nostrils, down into their stomach, so mommy's milk could nourish them.

They stared at me with wide eyed wonder.

If I was racing, it was for the health of the two perfect human beings that snuggle up in bed between my me and my husband on weekend mornings, nagging us incessantly for waffles.
Tired out from all that racing 

Monday, March 14, 2011


Depression is like weight gain. Its a slow progression that sneaks up on you and one day you wake up and your pants don't fit.

Losing it is slow, with milestones and stumbles along the way. Lots of stumbles.

And once your reach your goal, there always seems like there is more to lose. Can I be happier? Is this where I want to be? Is this normal?

It has occurred to me since my diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder, that depression is like diabetes - you learn to manage it, but it never really goes away entirely.

A quick Google search confirms this via Wikipedia: Major depressive disorder is also known as recurrent depressive disorder.

Or perhaps alcoholism is a better analogy, you're never truly cured, and to some degree, will always struggle. I will always be "depressed", in a way, because I will always know what its like, will always empathize with others, will recognize the signs.

Will always be susceptible to recurrence.

There have been days or weeks over the past four years where I wasn't sure what "normal" felt like, I couldn't grasp onto the rope I wanted to swing from, the feeling that felt natural and without intent.

To me, the ups and downs we all experience should be more related to external factors, as opposed to simply feeling anxious or helpless for no reason.

I have always believed that you can't control your emotions - that you can only control your actions. I still believe that (mostly) to be true, but that hasn't stopped me from trying to control my emotions. When the roller-coaster of depression starts its decent down the rails, I have told myself NOT to be anxious, not to be annoyed or angry - to be thankful and happy and.... only to hate myself for not having the power to do so.

When I write on this blog, or speak to people about my experience, I often use the word "struggled" (as in, 'I struggled with depression'); past tense.

I don't think there is a past tense when it comes to depression. Maybe only the dwindling sensation of the loop-de-loop after you step out of the roller-coaster car, but your body keeps the memory of it, ready to up-end your stomach at a moments' notice. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...