Have you ever felt like you get up and do the same thing every day? You wake at the same time, with the same morning routine, the same route to work or school and the same way home. You shop at the same stores, buying the same things and you wonder, “Is it Groundhog Day?”
I’m 7 years into parenting four young daughters. As exciting as it is to witness our 9 month-old baby reach her developmental milestones, there’s a part of me that feels tired and worn. Sure, it’s her first time, but it’s my fourth. Likely similar to how the doctor performing my gallbladder surgery this past summer felt: she had removed thousands of gallbladders over the years but not mine.
The question I’ve been asking myself lately is how do I get out of this rut?
Just as you aren’t going to quit your job or change your route to work, I’m not looking to give up my children or start a new career. The changes I seek are small, not drastic.
Introduce a new breakfast. Start a new exercise routine. Schedule time during the week just for myself.
When I’m feeling out of control, I recognize that it is time to get back in the driver’s seat and make positive, healthy changes for my body and mental health so that I may approach the same old things with a fresh, new mindset.
Because when Elizabeth takes her first steps in the coming months, I want to celebrate that milestone with her with the same sincerity that doctor reassured me with minutes before my surgery: like it was the first time and not Groundhog Day.
Drowning. Funneling. Spiraling out of control. Down the tubes I go.
This is something that happens to other people, not me.
I’m highly self-aware. I go to counseling. I write about my feelings. I am immune.
Or am I?
How far down must we go before we reach out for help?
I hit my lowest point a few weeks ago, when at 1 AM, I looked out to the water and wondered what would happen if I just slipped in quietly, and disappeared.
It’s hard to admit, even harder to type, but that thought went through my sleep-deprived brain. Followed immediately by the remaining tiny fragments of my healthy mind reminding me that by doing so, I was only transferring my hurt and pain to my loved ones.
So instead, I wrote. I typed out my deep, dark thoughts on a sticky note in my phone as I entered the fifth hour of non-existent sleep and waited for morning to come and save me.
How far must we go before we set aside our pride and shame and liberate ourselves by calling it what it is?
I’ve suffered in silence but now, I am reaching out. Recognizing I cannot do this alone. Holding the hands of others who suffer and holding onto those who lift me up as I sink.
Making it through breakfast. Making it to lunch. Making it to dinner. Through bedtime. Until Midnight. Repeating until I rise again, from my bed, from this darkness. Reclaiming my stride, my identity and my purpose as a writer, wife and mother.