Monday, August 13, 2012

My Mental Health Update

Because I just can't help but overshare, I'm back to talk about my mental health.

I feel like me again.  Actually, I started feeling like me again within a few days of starting on Zoloft.  I suspect this was the medication working.  My anxiety lessened.  My constant fear of failing at everything in my life lifted.  And most important, the immediate screaming voice inside my head urging me to make a sudden major life change finally shut up.  I no longer need to change everything in my life at that very moment.  And that was how I was feeling before I started on the antidepressant.

I do think the medicine is to thank for the quick fix and lifting the dark veil that I was swimming under.  But I also think the therapist helped me sort out things in my head.  And things were quite muddled in my head.  I yet again felt like I was doing my child a disservice by working.  I had convinced myself (again) that he was better off with me than in school all day long.  Finally after talking to my therapist, I realized the root of my problem: I had somehow developed the notion that the only way to be a good mom was to ONLY be a mom.  I was telling myself that I was already failing because I was not devoting all of my time and energy into being a mom.  I wasn't taking this mom thing seriously because it wasn't all I was doing.  I really thought that I wasn't a good mom since I had another title other than "mom".

My therapist helped me see the flaw in this reasoning (if you can even call it that).  Being a good mom is not dependent on being "just" a mom.  I can be a good mom AND also be a lawyer.  And perhaps, some of the things that make me a good mom are because I'm more than "just mom". 

We talked about the reasons I thought I'd be happier staying at home with Lukas.  And we talked about what the reality of that change would look like day to day.  We talked about the difficulties my SAHM friends tell me they have and my fears that I'd have those same difficulties, plus some.  We talked about how happy Lukas really is at school and how he's developing socially and why I think I need to change his environment when he really is thriving.  We talked about the fact that I'm jealous of my stay at home mom friends, but at the same time I'm thrilled to go to work and be an "adult" most days of the week.  We talked about how I love the people I work with and how my boss is amazing.  We talked about how I'm lucky to have female mentors at my firm who are mothers and are paving the way for more mom-partners at the firm.  We talked about what all I've done to get to this point in my career and whether or not I could really leave it behind to "just" be a mom.  We talked about what is really important to me and she helped me discover that I really do want more kids sooner rather than later even though that might slow my career a little.  We talked about my friendships and how friendships change when one friend becomes a mom and jumps into that new life when the other friend is still childless and unattached.  We talked about effectively communicating with your spouse. 

We're continuing to talk.

Before getting a therapist for myself, I didn't know the benefits of having one.  But now I think everyone really can benefit from some therapy.  And you might be surprised by the things that come out of your mouth when you're talking to an unbiased third party.  I know I was.

This whole experience has been a big lesson for me.  I realized that I was worried about what people would think about my decision to take an antidepressant and see a therapist.  I didn't want anyone to know.  I was worried about being judged.  I even went so far as to decide to stop writing this blog because I didn't want you all to know what was really going on in my head and my life.  I wanted to keep up the appearance that I have it all together.  That I was "doing it all".  

But instead of being judged, I was embraced and reminded that I'm not alone.  Other moms go through these exact same feelings of insecurity and questioning.  And for those of you that have and continue to reach out and share your own experiences and troubles with being a mom, I thank you. 

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