It's been one year since I had a breakdown and slid into a near infantile state for a month. Friends and family brought meals and took turns caring for our children while I slept for 15 hours at a time. My face and hands felt numb. At first I needed help to walk to the bathroom. On a good day, I would sit in my rocking chair on the front porch and stare at my flowers. I couldn't read more than a line or two at a time. New information made me feel very tired. I found it difficult to make simple decisions.
We had to regroup and take a close look at what things were stressing me too much. I made some hard choices for the sake of my health, but I can say with confidence: I'm getting better about saying no when I need to say no and I'm caring less about how things appear to bystanders.
I'm living life differently now -- imperfectly -- but differently. I'm more careful with my heart, my time, my friendships, and my health. I'm deliberately making space for a slower, more peaceful lifestyle.
Currently that means that while much of my family is out having exciting adventures in the wide world this summer, I'll be staying close to home.
I'm heeding my doctor's advice.
"What weighs on you most?" she asked.
"I can't keep up with our lifestyle and I don't want to disappoint my kids."
"Your kids don't need you to do everything with them. They just need you to be there for them. That's all you have to do. Of course you care for their basic needs -- beyond that just be available to listen and encourage them. That is what they need most from you. The rest -- all the extra stuff that people run all over the place for -- isn't necessary. If it stresses you, don't do it. Just be there."
I had been considering writing about this topic when I came upon this post by Elizabeth Mallory. You can follow the hashtag she created on Twitter: #yesIstruggle
Have you ever struggled with depression? How are you now? Feel free to tell me as much as you feel comfortable sharing in the comments below.