This has not been my first day #1. It won’t be my last.

Yesterday I got slapped in the face with a real “grow the fuck up” moment. I knew going into my therapy appointment that my own quarantine habits were not helping my mental health, but damn did she lay it out for me.

Last week I snuggled in and watched movies all day. Sometimes with the kids, sometimes binging Tiger King by myself. I took a lot of naps when I could, and encouraged the kids to do quiet, indoor play on their own. I trusted that Jacen was keeping up with his Google Classroom work on his own, and didn’t intervene.

At the end of the week (Friday night) I had the biggest panic attack I’ve had in years. I couldn’t breathe, speak or stop throwing up. All coping mechanisms went out the window, I even failed to take my rescue medication. I felt like I was under rock bottom. I locked myself in the bathroom and cried on the floor by myself. The dark thoughts spiraled and they just wouldn’t stop. 

‘Things with Arielle seem weird today, does she love me less?’ ‘Jacen isn’t putting enough effort into his studies and it’s my fault.’ ‘Anna is so wild, is it my fault? Am I not doing a good enough job teaching her to be a lady?’ ‘Are we watching too much tv?’ ‘Those clean clothes have been waiting to get put away forever.’ ‘The weight is getting out of control, will I ever work out again?’ ‘You’re not contributing financially.’ ‘Your mental health is a burden on the family.’ ‘you are not good enough.’ ‘you don’t contribute anything.’ ‘you are worthless.’

The tears wouldn’t stop, and I couldn’t quiet the voices in my head that were just tearing me apart. On paper I can tell you that the best things for good mental health are routine, movement, socialization, getting outdoors, organization, etc. My body just did not want to participate. I didn’t have the energy or motivation. I slept as late as I could every morning, watched tv on the couch or in bed, took an afternoon nap, and looked forward to an early bedtime. The guilt started to mound while I just ignored the healthy me inside that was screaming “Get up! Get better! You can do this!”

But no, I wasted an entire week.

Monday morning I started to whine to my therapist, but she stopped me. She was right to do so. She reminded me that antidepressants are only going to do so much, and the rest is on me. That’s partly therapy- putting in the hard work of CBT, EMDR and talk therapy. It’s also the everyday stuff- getting out of bed, taking a shower, being active, getting work done. Okay, okay. I knew this already, I was just being lazy.

Today was my new day #1. I set my alarm, and got out of bed for 9. We got through our morning and breakfast routine. Jacen and I sat at side by side desks so I could be involved with his school work. I sat down to write this. I made a schedule. Even if we don’t do every single thing on the schedule every day, or even if we don’t do them at the same time everyday, it’s at least an announcement of what our expectations should be. It’s how we are going to get motivated and stay organized. It’s going to get the whole family back on track, and I’ll be the one leading the pack. I’m excited to pull myself out of this depression, even if it still feels really, really hard at this exact moment. (I’m dying to go back to sleep! Mama wants a nap!)

So, let’s lay it out. What work do I need to put in to get back on my feet? The first thing I usually do is reference my ‘overall family wellness goals.’

My Family Wellness Goals:

  1. Physical
  2. Emotional
  3. intellectual/mental
  4. Social
  5. Spiritual
  6. Vocational/educational
  7. Environmental
  8. Financial

Right in order, I’ve neglected my physical goals by relying heavily on processed “easy” food (due to my laziness for cooking) and skipping working out. Emotionally I have decided to wallow in my depression instead of taking time to resolve my problems. I have neglected to read, learn or grow my mind. Instead I have rotted it via Netflix. I leave Facebook messages on “received,” ignore calls, and avoid opening texts. I let myself use the “social distancing” excuse to isolate myself in every way. I have not connected spiritually as I prefer to. I have not been outdoors or seen the sun in weeks. I want to blame the quarantine, but there is no restriction to being outside as long as we still practice 6 foot distancing. Thankfully I haven’t messed up too much financially. I always feel guilty that I do not provide like Mike does, but I’m also not stupidly spending it either. I’m going to call that a point in my favor.

Simply jotting down a loose schedule has already solved so many of these problems for me. By blocking out time to cook meals, I know I will be preparing something healthy instead of microwaving something packaged at the last minute. I have time where I am expecting myself to workout, to read or listen to podcasts, to be outdoors with the kids, and to overall interact with my family more. It’s amazing that just writing these things down sparks a fire of motivation inside of me. I decided to change out of my loose, dirty sweatpants and into some workout leggings. I threw some dry shampoo in my hair, and even took out some meat to thaw for dinner. 

This has not been my first day #1. It won’t be my last. Everyone goes through the cycle to some degree of fluctuating between moods, motivation and success. We can not always control the organic sources, so we have to take control of what we can change. The first being our outlook. Don’t wait for a new week, or the next Monday. Don’t wait for the first of the month. Don’t wait for another day. Don’t even wait an hour. Do it now. Think of one thing that could make tomorrow easier. Implement it today, and watch your mood lift. Trust me I’m right there with you, but I have faith we can all climb out of this darkness with effort, help, and a desire to be healthy again.

Cheering for you,

And listening for your cheers to me.

Kate.

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Kate and the Kids

Mother of 3 taking her family on a journey to better health!

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