Thursday, February 14, 2008

Catch me if you can

Amazing. Get a good night's sleep, wake up to actual sunshine and a delivery of new furniture, send Sam off to kindergarten, send Steve off to work, call and say I'm working from home...and I'm practically a new woman.

This is easier, in a lot of ways, than it was when Sam was a baby. I'm definitely more mature and better equipped to handle this stress and pressure. So there is a definite letdown when I have those moments where I seemingly can't handle it. Disappointment in myself, I guess you could say.

I commented on someone else's blog that losing a baby doesn't make you Mother would be nice if it did...but it doesn't. I mean, shouldn't we reap some sort of benefit from the crap hand we've been dealt? It only seems fair that burying two babies should have some sort of transformative power to turn me into SuperMom (with a capital S and a capital M). But no such luck. I get to struggle like everyone else...which seems unfair.

The thing is, I'm realizing that my efforts to slow things down have not been entirely successful. As several people noted in my comments on this blog, I'm doing way too much. I had slowed down when we moved into this house and had Sam. It was a lovely laid back country living pace. But then we lost Alex and I needed distraction. And I started. This. That. The other. A seemingly endless parade of commitments. It served its purpose and kept me sane during those dark days when I needed something else for my mind to pay attention to rather than the empty holes left by Alex and Travis.

But now Myles is here and I'm going to have to make a conscious effort to stop (and smell the roses...if you're into cheesy cliches). It's time to stop being distracted and start paying close attention to life's little details. It's time for less stress.

The thing is...I'm terrified. What will happen if I lose the distraction in an effort to lessen the stress? Will the grief and sadness creep back in? If I stop moving, will it be easier for the darkness to find me?

One of my biggest fears through all of this has been depression or other mental illness. My grandmother had some form of mental illness. Though it went undiagnosed for her entire life, we knew something wasn't right when she told us she had tea with Jesus or had invented the Lego. I fear genetic predisposition like I would if alcoholism or cancer were to run through our family blood lines.

People who know me would probably say that even though I went through some really scary stuff, I never totally lost myself...I never totally lost control. Quite honestly, I feel pretty damn proud of the way I've navigated the shitstorm so far. I wonder though, as I stand at this crossroads, if a different direction or a different pace will slow me down too much and allow the genetic predisposition to overtake me and run me off course. I worry that any choices I make now will cause me irreparable mental or emotional harm in the future.

I fear that my efforts to slow myself down and lessen the stress will cause me to lose my mind.


Aurelia said...

You won't lose your mind. As long as you take care of yourself and keep getting sleep, you will be okay.


Connie Reagan said...

If you had a genetic predisposition for mental illness, the stress you have undergone the past few years would have brought it out. So I think you are safe.

Worst case scenario? There are good drugs now. I bet you are working with bipolar lawyers every day and you wouldn't even know it.

You're fine.

Marcia said...

I started to respond to this yesterday, but decided I needed more time to give a more thoughtful reply...
Catherine, it seems to me that the fact that you are readily facing and acknowledging this deep fear will actually serve you well in preventing it from ever becoming an uncontrollable reality. And remember there is a huge difference between a lifetime of dillusional thinking and some in-depth dealing with some bouts of understandable depression that might result as you continue your transition from your life of the past three years into the future that lies before you. Yes, if you make the necessary changes to set and abide by your new priorities, you may have some more time for contemplative thought along the way. And, perhaps, you will discover that some of that is even necessary for your continuing healing process...and will lead you through some difficult times of discovery and confrontation with emotions that are still very likely running strong and deep under the surface.
But, Catherine, it has been my observation in the time that I have "known" you through this blog, that you are very much a person who takes the bull by the horns, and does whatever it takes to confront and conquer whatever life throws at you. Watching you persist throughout your terrifying pregnancy with Myles was a wonder to behold. Your coping skills and support system that brought you through that time will continue to serve you well in whatever situation you may have to face in the future. You have the love of a good man at your side. You know you can rely on Steve to walk with you through anything, and encourage you to do whatever you need to do, if you ever face any sort of dark days in the future.
But for now, I think you are on to something when you feel you may need to cut back on some things to be able concentrate on this wonderful time that you have with Sam and Myles when they are young. That time is so precious, and so fleeting! Believe me, before you know it, there will be other little boys or girls, who look very much like Sam and Myles, running up to you for hugs from Grandma! I agree with the commenters above--you are fine, and you will be OK!

Julia said...

I understand the desire to bury oneself in busy-- after all I went back to work not three weeks after A was born. But in the end, I think, the busy may be worse than standing still and taking care of the things that come. You are still going to be plenty busy if you let some things go, just maybe not too overwhelmed. I hope.
Predisposition to depression runs in my family too, and I had a major bout of it before. However, somehow I escaped it in the past year, at least to the huge extent it hit me before. So past performance is no t a guarantee of future whatever, one way or the other. So I guess I am saying I would hope that you could slow down some, but also watch yourself carefully, and have Steve keep an eye, just so if you do start to slip you can catch it early and take care of it.