Self-love, self-help, self-awareness, selfishness, selflessness, self-approval, self-care, and on and on. All of these are terms we hear over and over again. It seems we are to put ourselves first and do whatever we can to improve our lives. What if you can’t? What if you try everything and you are still stuck? What if you don’t like yourself? What if you don’t like your life? What is you are depressed and you can’t take care of yourself? Then what? With the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, I wanted to share my journey of self -awareness. It isn’t pretty and it wasn’t easy.
When I was young, I was painfully shy. My mother did not believe is promoting self-esteem. My father loved me unconditionally and would never have understood that I wasn’t enough just the way I was. I was lonely a lot as a child. I had a few close friends, but I was not close to my sister or brother. My best friend from high school will tell you she thought I was “stuck-up” when we met in 10th grade choir. No, just too shy to talk. (Luckily, we did talk and are still close friends today!) It wasn’t until I got to college and my brother’s girlfriend (now wife) started boosting my ego that I got over my shyness. But that was just the beginning of my “self journey”.
When Kevin and I moved to Hickory, my whole life revolved around him. I was thin back then and I did eat healthy. I even exercised regularly. But emotionally, I was not “self strong”. I did not stand up for myself in the relationship like I should have. I did not manage my money correctly. I did not put myself first.
When we moved to Indy, I did stand up for the apartment I wanted. I did quit a job I hated with Kevin’s support. But it took us two years to find a house we could agree on. Kevin was really into racing and backgammon and again, I was lonely a lot. We made friends in our new neighborhood and I had friends at work, but my best friend was my sister in law and she was in Fort Wayne and not emotionally stable herself. When I decided that I wanted to have a child, I finally stood up for myself. I wanted a baby and that was final. Kevin acquiesced and I got pregnant. That is when my emotional rollercoaster first showed it’s ugly head. I had a tough pregnancy and was on bed rest for four months at the end. The day Molly was born was the most wonderful day of my life. The six months afterwards, not so much. I had Postpartum Depression and I had it bad. It took about 3 months to realize it and another 3 months for the therapy and Prozac to work. I don’t remember much of the day-to-day life of Molly’s first six months. I look at pictures and I can remember some, but most of it is a blur. She was born in January and my memories really start in June. Luckily, I had the support of my mother and husband to get me through this tough time-I couldn’t “self-help” myself-I wasn’t able. I couldn’t put myself first; I had a baby to care for. I needed help.
Things were great the next 12 years. I was a mom and I loved it. I stayed home for five years with Molly and then I started teaching preschool. I was happy. We built our wonderful home in Weaver Woods North (the house we just sold) when Molly was in first grade. We went on vacations, we had wonderful friends,we were active, and we were a family. Then, I turned 42 and my life fell apart. I had never discussed peri-menopause with anyone and I really didn’t know what I was experiencing. My hairdresser at the time told me to read The Wisdom of Menopause and that opened my eyes. I was an emotional wreck and I needed help. My doctor put me on Prozac since that helped before, but it was just the opposite this time. I had a horrible reaction to it. My soul wanted out of my body. I couldn’t stand daily life. I wanted to die. I couldn’t sleep, and I didn’t want to eat. I didn’t want to live. With the support of my wonderful husband and compassionate doctor-I got help. I had to quit working and attend group therapy everyday. I started a 10-year relationship with Lexapro. I took two different medicines to sleep and go back to sleep. Again, I couldn’t “self help” myself. I had no self-love. I had no self-esteem. I couldn’t make it alone and I sure as hell didn’t have a map for this journey. But, I made it! After 8 years of ups and downs, I finally got on the other side of menopause and my symptoms reduced. I could breath again. I could feel happy again. I could be me again.
I am not telling you this to feel sorry for me, just the opposite. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without this “burden” in my life. It has made me stronger. It has made me more compassionate. It has made me kinder. I am able to share my story now. I am able to support others with the same problems. I am able to put my life in perspective and be grateful for all I have.
I know my blogs make it seem like my life is all perfect-but it’s not. I started out following Kevin to Hickory and ended up knowing myself in Oceanside. I have evolved into the woman I am today because of all I have experienced. Would I change my past? Some of it, sure. But the essence of who I am is because of my past and I have thrived despite the hard times. If you can’t “self-help”, then ask for assistance! Please!!! As the bumper sticker from the bar where Kevin and I met says, “Never let the struggles of life interfere with the pleasures of living.”