The answer is… rest.
November 19, 2012 § 1 Comment
Rest is underrated, I think.
For the last six weeks I have had a lighter load in life, with little more to do than run a household for seven people. Of course that is a big job, but compared to my commitments and expectations over the last two years, it is a holiday. Almost.
Initially, I HAD to pull back. In July, a month out of hospital, I went back to my role leading a Playgroup, just once a week. But by August I was feeling burnt out and overwhelmed whenever I thought about being at Playgroup. Then I began to feel overwhelmed about any time deadline, even school pick up. And soon a certain level of panic set in, a constant presence in the background, but rearing its ugly head when I felt pressured in any way. Warning bells began ringing in my head at this point, especially when my mind began to lose the energy to counter the inner critic.
I’ve experienced post-natal depression before. This time around, we took extra care to ensure I had plenty of support (on many different levels) so there wouldn’t be a repeat. And after all the efforts we made in this area, after all the strength I found to be there with Robin, to be present with him every step of the way, I was NOT going to get depressed. I was not going to make the same mistakes that contributed to PND before. No way.
Deciding to take a break from my job became easy, especially when the perfect, experienced fill-in person serendipitously presented themselves at just the right time. By the beginning of October I was free from all commitments, except school and one child’s extra-curricular thing. I’ve started an etsy shop, and done lots of sewing. I’ve begun this blog. But most of all, I rest.
Initially I had to rest because I was too panicked and paralysed to do anything. I read lots of books. I watched lots of comfort TV. I couldn’t handle the huge rush of bleakness if I sat still with myself for too long. Like a kite flying high on a windy day with a taut string, I slowly, so slowly, began to pull myself down.
I went back to the afternoon nap, with Robin in my arms. I realised lack of sleep probably accounted for 50% of the stress. Sometimes I took a step backwards, and began doing too much. The panic level would let me know. So I got more sleep again, and stayed home as much as I could. I told people how I felt. I asked for help if I needed it ( a huge thing for me). When staying at home was making me feel bleak, I went out and had fun… the beach, the mountains. Normal family things that we could suddenly do again, that gave my mind a break.
And since the energetic healing I had last weekend and the mini-holiday, I feel pretty much myself again. Which was perfect timing because Robin has had a very grumpy week, refusing to be out of my arms much at all. So we rest, lie around, play. The deep grief and other feelings surface now and then; little bubbles of feelings that I can gently pop and release, not the raging tidal waves of even two weeks ago.
Today I feel good about things. So thankful for all the people who have supported me. So thankful I have been able to let go and be guided into healing.