I've had a few very busy, very good days. Then I was up late last night (later than the drive in even) with pain and I woke up in pain, and I can barely turn my head. So, of course, then I started with the grumpies. But then I remembered the whole purpose of me starting this blog, writing in general, and most recently the Joy Dare. The purpose is to be joyful and happy even in the midst of things going bad. Life happens, we age, we get aches and pains, we get busy and frustrated, but Our Father wants us to be happy anyway, He wants us to find joy in the little things. Today will not be an easy day, but thanks to my habit over the last month and a half doing the Joy Dare (shared or not I do it), I did not spend more than a couple of minutes with the grumpies. I remembered that today is a new day, full of promise, full of blessings, full of opportunity.
And so I am going to share one of my Joy Dare Gifts that I had not. It just fits today. May 30th was 3 Gifts Blue. Of course the first thing I thought was color... but the last one was giving me trouble. Just 3 - it shouldn't have. Even on the days when the gifts we are supposed to find seem difficult, as a whole, once I get started I can list three with no problem. Blue - of all the things to be stuck on.
3. Blue - as in moods, as in depression so deep the blue turns black. Yes, I am thankful for that too. It taught me to accept vulnerable. It taught me that sometimes it's ok to ask for help in the most difficult situations. My "blue" started out slow after the birth of my fifth child. Although I think back now and can see the "blue" was there long before that, it was just light blue like a calm day, looking at the blue sky through a puff of clouds. After Jesse was born the blue got darker, and darker. Some rather disappointing things happened that year as well, a trip I had looked forward to going on was cancelled - for me.
As I sat there with the mounting depression watching others in my family ready for the trip and the disappointment that I would be missing out on an incredibly important even in my oldest child's life the blue turned to dusk - almost black. It was the chemicals in my brain, I know this, but the guilt I felt for acting such a brat about such an important event. I was disappointed in myself. Eventually I got so ugly that I knew I needed help. I went online and took a "test" a questionnaire about postpartum depression. It was long, but with each question I reminded myself that my doctor was there to help, they would not look at me through MY eyes, the ones that saw the monster I had become.
When I went in she said that she was glad I had gone in, she asked me several times if I was sure I had not felt like I would hurt myself or someone else. Those were not issues for me. When I finally asked why she continued to ask the same questions she said that she had never seen someone score that "high" (depressed) on the scale who did not have those thoughts. I truly did not, but there were other factors in that I am sure. I knew what it felt like to see a family member get that low and that was not something I wanted for my children, even at my lowest point I would not have done that specifically BECAUSE I knew what it would do to them. I'm not sure I would have been so convicted had I not seen others go through this. I might not have had that buffer.
I got help. It was astonishing.
I took the meds for a good while. Then slowly went off of them. I did well, then came child #6. The blue's came quickly even though this child woke up smiling, talked to me like there was no tomorrow and she had to tell me all the secrets she kept in her tiny little brain. I fought against the blues, but they quickly became murky and dark. When my wee one was six weeks old and I had to go back for my doctor visit, I was at my wits end. I don't know why I had not seen the "signs". Maybe again the guilt of feeling so dark at such an amazing time, maybe it was just too dark. I don't know.
I went in for my visit and the receptionist told me that my appointment was not until the next day. I am not even sure what I said, or did at that point I just remember walking out of the office going to my car which was in the car garage and crying as I nursed my new precious baby. I couldn't even think of driving at that moment, the tears would not stop. I got a call to come back if I had not gotten too far. That receptionist was a smart cookie. She had seen my desperation and gotten an appointment for me.
When I walked back in I was in a daze, but they took Emma, and told me not to worry they would take good care of her. I was afraid to let go, with me in a puddle of tears and mess I was almost sure they would not give her back. But she assured me they were not going far, they knew all I needed was a little mom time, even if it was on a OB table in one of the most hated positions by women ever... she made me smile just a little. When the exam was done she sent me out with the same meds I had been on before, and a hug, and told me that she knew I would be feeling better.
My doctor even stopped in for a minute and told me she was sorry she could not fit me in right then, but wanted to let me know that I would be ok, that I had a beautiful baby girl and that soon her charm would be the only thing I could see. And she was right. The blues had been the blackest they had ever been, again I never had even the slightest thought of hurting anyone, I thank God for that.
With the help of my doc and the support of my family I learned a lot about myself, and about my family. The blues, have taught me about unconditional love, about strength we can find even in weakness, and that even the blackest black can be turned back into the most beautiful shade of blue. And for that I can be thankful for the blues.
If you are feeling depressed, talk to someone, get help. It does not have to get to the point of being desperate before you seek help. There are medical reasons for this, it's not a sign of weakness it just makes you feel that way.