It has been three plus years where the focus of our daily lives, at least in regard to health issues, has been centered on Steve. Learning what he can and cannot do. Learning what the medicines do to him. Learning how the rest of our lives fit in and around his needs.
I would love to tell you that I calmly and compassionately accept that my life has been changed so dramatically. I would love to tell you that I happily place everyone else's needs before my own. But, that would be a lie.
For months at a time I go through my days finding joy in my children, taking care of everything, helping Steve when he needs it, ferrying people from one place to another. Then, the downhill slide starts. Everything starts to overwhelm me. I become angry at the fact that I haven't had a day "off" in months. I no longer find joy in the simple things. I start to wonder where has my life gone, and how do I get back on track?
I start finding myself praying for any kind of a break. Any kind of happiness. But, I know, deep down, that happiness won't show up When I'm this low. You have to be able to see past the darkness to see the happy side of things. All I can see is the darkness.
Usually, it only takes a few days of "pampering Mom" in order for it to lift. Sometimes, all it takes is a change of scenery or a really good cry. But, sometimes, it takes a few days to lift and I start to wonder if I will ever see the light again. I start to wonder about my worth and I start to question whether I can be replaced by a maid.
This weekend was one of the worst periods of darkness for me. I had just gotten over an bout of the flu, the house was a mess and I had not worked as much as I like. I was still exhausted and not feeling up to par. As luck would have it, it coincided with one of Steve's low periods. He was feeling bad mentally and not his normal supportive self.
I spent a lot of time in tears this weekend. With terrible dreams and thoughts. Luckily, Steve snapped out of his depression quickly and could help get me out of mine. I'm not at all worried about my mental health. I see a counselor and a doctor on a regular basis and both agree that this is typical of people in my situation.
It is hard to look at your life and see such a drastic change. It is hard to change your hopes and dreams to match the new reality. It's also incredibly hard to deal with these changes while raising two very active little boys. Any Mom worth her salt can tell you that being "on" for your kids all of the time is exhausting. I simply hit the proverbial wall.
After a couple days of "Mom pampering," things have started to look up again. I'm not one for "getting a manicure" or "window shopping". Those things exhaust me and, to be perfectly honest, end up pissing me off. I'm more a "lay in bed and read a good book" type of person. So that's what I did.
I'm not going to lie and say that all is sunshine and roses again. These episodes are useful in that they make me think about what is important to me. Not for the kids, not for Steve, but for me. They help me make the little changes that will keep my family on track. They also help me discover what is really going on in my head. The honesty of what comes out in an all out crying jag is both disconcerting and enlightening.
No, it's not sunshine and roses, but there is a little bit of blue in the sky and the rain clouds are lifting. That's all I can ask for.