It is 6:51pm. My husband has taken our four oldest kids to an awards banquet. Our two high school age kids have been nominated for music awards and tonight is the night they announce the winners and give out awards. I am home with our four youngest; in my pajamas, on the couch, eating the chocolate from their Easter baskets. (Hey, if they haven’t eaten it by now it is fair game, right?)
If I am being honest I am relieved to be home. Of course I love my kids and am extremely proud of all they have accomplished but public interaction is hard right now. REALLY HARD. I spent last weekend showing my two oldest my alma mater and while I enjoyed the time touring campus and talking to other parents and prospective students, I came home feeling utterly drained. I am not staying home tonight because my youngest children cannot handle sitting in an auditorium for over an hour. I’m staying home tonight because I cannot handle it.
The truth is I am an emotional eater. That means if something good happens I eat. If something bad happens I eat . . . . . . more. Something bad happened. Our third child was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Except this time instead of eating I felt nauseous. It felt like a literal switch went off inside. Instead of binging on sugary cereal or salty chips, food had no flavor or satisfaction. I lost 10 pounds in a month. And I cried. A lot.
Hard things are not new to me. Nothing about motherhood has been normal (if there is such a thing). When our oldest son was four and still not talking or meeting milestones he was diagnosed with autism. A year later regression in our second son also led to an autism diagnosis. A year after that we were cautiously celebrating the fact that our third son was almost two and showing no signs of autism . . . . . . until he showed signs of having type 1 diabetes. All of these things in addition to our daughter developing diabetes a few years later and adopting three children with significant trauma history have been emotionally hard at times but this time I cannot seem to bounce back.
Maybe this is the straw that broke the camel’s back. Maybe it is because I am no longer in my 20’s or 30’s. Maybe it is because this was our last chance at having a “normal” child. Maybe I am tired. Maybe I am overwhelmed. Maybe I am spiritually weak.
I cannot tell you the reason. But what I can tell you is that I am depressed. The weight of depression (and probably anxiety) is suffocating right now. I cannot pray my way out of this (believe me I’ve tried). I have taken my favorite quote from my pastor and “stopped listening to myself and started preaching to myself” to no avail. I have no explanation except this time everything seems affected. Physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally I am defeated. Admitting defeat has been hard but therapy and medication are helping . . . . . . slowly.
As ridiculous as it sounds, this photo of my chocolate binge is encouraging to me. It is a symbol of my slow turn back to myself. I do not love the fact that food is a comfort when stressed but I like the fact that it tastes good again. I took this photo because in a small way I am hoping it means my thoughts and feelings are beginning to right themselves. Small victories are sweet!