For the past two years, I’ve privately battled depression. No one knew. I hid it from everyone, including myself at times. As humans, we’re not built to hide things this big, and keep things this bad inside. They will eventually come out – and probably in a manner in which you really wish it hadn’t! I hid my depression from everyone I loved, and it caused a lot of pain to them, and to me.
I had my Game Face on at all times. I thought I was doing a great job of hiding it from everyone. Sure, Motherhood is hard, and everyone has there ups and downs. That’s ok. I kept telling myself that I just couldn’t handle it like everyone else was handling it. Was everyone else handling it? That’s a whole other blog in itself. But, I wasn’t. I felt like a failure. I felt like I had no idea how to be a mother. I felt like a terrible friend. And I felt like a horrible wife. I had no idea who Lindsay really was anymore? Was I just a terrible mother? Was I just a terrible wife and friend? Was this all there was to life?
Game Face On. Stop – you can’t think those things Lindsay. You can’t be serious. Smile, chat, laugh. You can keep this up for sure. No one will know the pain you feel. Hide it. No one needs to know. You have a job to do. You need to be Archer’s mother. Game Face On.
Game Face Off. This was wearing me down. This was tiring me out. I didn’t know it. I couldn’t control it. It was just unraveling around me. My mum knew though. She knew from early on. There were signs that were going off like rockets in her head. The uncontrollable outbreak of tears. I’m a good crier. I can cry at television ads, soppy movies and fluffy animals. But this was different. When Archer stopped breastfeeding, it was a real shock. I hadn’t planned on that happening (there goes me and my planning again!) and when it did I certainly wasn’t ready – but he was. I grieved this more than normal. It destroyed me. I felt like the only connection between me and him was gone. I couldn’t see all the other wonderful things that he was doing. I just felt like a failure again. This is where Mum stepped in the first time. She suggested that I go and speak to someone about it. So I did. She was horrible. She treated me more like I was a whining, sleep deprived, spoilt child. She made me feel worse. But, Game Face On – I told everyone that it helped me a lot! I didn’t go back to her!
Archer’s first birthday rolled around really quickly. He was thriving. Such an amazing little soul. We just had our family over and everyone was able to come. This was a momentous occasion in his life, we were over-joyed that we’d made it through the first year as parents. But I was killing inside. It bought back too many painful memories, still too raw for me to even acknowledge. But I tried. I tried to speak to our families on this day to share how hard the last year had been and to shed some light on our journey. Overwhelmed with emotion I started my speech, but couldn’t finish it. I did want to tell them. I wanted to tell them all. But it just didn’t happen. So the Game Face came back on.
And life just carries on. For so long. And then Az and I started to discuss another child. Game Face Lindsay was all for it. Real Lindsay was petrified. I didn’t want another child, I didn’t want another pregnancy and couldn’t even look at pregnant women without cringing. But Az had no idea. He had no idea of my fear or my pain. This wasn’t good. This one thought, was capable of destroying me so much, and my marriage was going too. We stopped talking. We argued. We became isolated. We weren’t sleeping well. We weren’t eating well. We weren’t exercising. We weren’t dreaming together. It was horrible. I felt like I couldn’t tell him the truth because I knew he really wanted more children. I felt like a failure.
This all came to a head and Game Face Lindsay just let go. A massive meltdown occurred. It was exhausting. I had to tell everyone the truth. This was incredibly difficult. How do you tell the people that love you the most the horrible things you’ve been thinking. The pain you’ve been feeling. It was one of the hardest things I had to do. I was so scared of their reactions.
But you know what? They love me. They listened to me. It was hard for them. And I think it’s still hard for them. Az and I have had to have some really difficult conversations. Some challenging thoughts. I’ve said things to Az that I know have made him feel worse. But I’ve had to be whole heartedly honest with myself – and those that I love.
I was so exhausted after this meltdown, that my body just went crazy! It was my 31st birthday. I had seen my family the day before, and I could hardly stand up straight or keep my eyes open. The pain was excruciating. I had no idea what was happening to me. I had started medication for depression. One of the side effects was headaches, so I thought I’d just have to tough it out. I woke on the morning of my birthday and couldn’t move. I had to get myself to a doctors appointment so we could discuss a mental health plan. There was no way I was going to make it through. I went to my mum and dad’s house, so Dad could look after Archer. I just lay in bed, drifting in and out of sleep, wishing the pain would stop. Turns out it was a migraine, bought on by Shingles. My body had really shut down. I had to stop the medication, get better and then start it all over again. I was done. I could hardly think. I just wanted and needed to sleep for about a week. So I did.
You can’ t just stop life, press the pause button when you’re a mother. So I had some wonderful help from my family and Az. Everyone just rallied around me, to look after Archer and let me sleep. I sure did sleep.
I’m about a month on from the meltdown now. The medication causes me no harm at all, and I think it’s actually started to work. But I’m determined not to let the medication be the only band aid for this. It’s about being the best version of me. And to do that, I had to make some changes in my life.
Now I am fitness focused, I box and train with a friend. It’s bloody amazing what those exercise endorphins do! I sleep. Often. It’s wonderful. I love sleep! I take fish oil tablets. These are the best defense! And I see a Shrink. He is a legend. I’ll post about him another day – but just having someone who is not emotionally connected to the situation, to listen to you – it’s brilliant! We swear a lot in my sessions. It feels great! And, I’ve started looking at myself and asking ‘Who do you want to be?’…
I want to be the Best Version of Me. Without the Game Face.
These days are my days, Lindsay.