Cards on the table: I have been in a seriously dark place for most of this year
I kind of broke, which sounds ridiculous, but I’m not allowed to fully break am I? Not with three kids at home. I came closer than I ever imagined I would though, and it terrified the life out of me.
Having experienced mental breakdown twice already, I’m no stranger to the dark place. I know the warning signs. Sometimes they are helpful, and other times they just make me feel worse.
A toxic, negative rut
My biggest problem was that the toxic thoughts inside my head became all consuming. I found it impossible to count my blessings and focus on the good. I was deeply engrossed in a cycle of negativity, and could only see disaster everywhere I looked.
I became bleak about the direction my family was going in, and what the future held. I was catastrophising and couldn’t snap out of it. I started fantasising about running away, and not just for a weekend.
How did things get so bad?
Back in March, as we headed into Spring, I was full of optimistic hope. We’d decided that school wasn’t for Clara, and were happy with the idea of home educating her. It felt like we were making massive progress with Polly. Freddy was going through a particularly wonderful phase.
Then a series of unfortunate events occurred, and every time I picked my little family up, something else would happen to knock us back down.
It started with Polly smashing up her front (adult) teeth on a slide at the park, then three months followed where it was literally one thing after another. Including the shock, not to mention heartbreak, of being ghosted by a person I considered to be one of my very best friends.
I was done for
I had no motivation for anything over and above the bare essentials. Or as the infamous lyric in Amy Winehouse’s Rehab goes:
“I just think you’re depressed.”
Another couple of months passed, and I found myself drinking far too much. Reaching for the wine or gin bottle multiple times a week, to drown my sorrows. This led to comedown type hangovers, leaving me feeling totally despondent, drinking endless cups of coffee to try and perk me the next day.
I did not like what I saw in the mirror. As I’ve already said, I’ve been here before. It wasn’t pretty then, and it was even uglier this time around. For the first time since becoming a mum, I questioned whether I was capable of doing this job.
There was only one thing for it: GAPS!
Call it a detox, call it a cleanse. I like to call it the ultimate reset, and it worked a treat. Check out my other blog if you’re interested in the full details.
Suffice it to say that I’m now feeling much better, and I can’t tell you how great it is to be able to say this.
After hitting rock bottom, and turning my life around in 2006/07, I honestly thought the dark place was behind me. This year has proved that it can happen to any of us, at any point.
So for the stressed out mama’s and papa’s among us, make sure you look after you. If you sense the grey clouds looming, and the dark place coming, do anything and everything in your power to stop them in their tracks.
Take every opportunity you can grab for self care. Eat well, and nourish your body and mind. Do more of the things that make your heart sing. Feed your creative soul. Do not feel guilty about having time away from the kids. If you don’t put your oxygen mask on first, and save yourself, you don’t stand a chance of helping anyone else.
The deeper you fall, the harder it is to pull yourself out of the hole.
**Huge thanks to Unsplash for the gorgeous photots.**