It was late one August evening. I was exhausted, which seemed to be the new norm for me those days. But I had a birthday party to plan for a beautiful soon-to-be, 3 year old boy. My son, Gabriel, had been talking about his Thomas the Train party for almost a full year. He was obsessed. At a very young age, he had basically planned his party himself and me being the party planner that I am, no detail was going to be overlooked.
So even though every ounce of my being screamed at me that I should just downplay his birthday and go buy him a grocery store cake and shove one of his trains on top of it, I just couldn’t bare the thought of a disappointed 3 year old. So I went out that night.
[pullquote width=”220″ float=”left”]So even though every ounce of my being screamed at me that I should just downplay his birthday and go buy him a grocery store cake and shove one of his trains on top of it, I just couldn’t bare the thought of a disappointed 3 year old. So I went out that night.[/pullquote]
After a long day, home alone with 3 kids under the age of 4.
After making dinner.
After cleaning the house and doing laundry.
After putting the kids to sleep.
After all my normal, everyday, mommy duties, I went out to the store to buy supplies for the party.
I had scoured Pinterest for hours, pinning every inspiring idea out there. I made up a plan, I wrote down my supply list and I was set. As you know, I’ve been planning parties (and weddings) for years now. I know the drill. I know how to dream, plan and execute an event. And this was a child’s birthday party…how complicated could it get?
Then, I found myself in the rope aisle. And that’s when it all went downhill. I’m not even sure at what point it happened, but something definitely happened.
The task was simple: pick a rope that is strong enough to hold up cardboard trains around the kids shoulders (so they could pretend they were riding inside a train). Simple. Right? Wrong.
In that moment, everything shifted in my world. I went from being a very decisive, quick-to-pick woman, to not having a sweet clue what I was even needing in that section of the store. I stood…frozen in time…blankly staring, at a wall of various ropes…and I had no idea what to do. The mental fog had set in.
[pullquote width=”360″ float=”left”]In that moment, everything shifted in my world…the mental fog had set in.[/pullquote]
What am I doing here? What do I need again? Why are there so many rope options? What day is it? Why I am still awake? Am I crying? Why am I crying?
These were actual questions going through my mind. Once I started to piece back together why I had found myself in this aisle, the overwhelming task of selecting just one rope became next to impossible.
Which rope is best? Is this rope long enough? Will this rope hold up the cardboard? Will this rope hurt the kids shoulders? Why is this rope so much more expensive than that rope? Why am I still crying?
Questions followed by more questions and I remained frozen in my stance. Good thing this was literally the furthest corner of the store, where no other customer normally ventures. So I stood alone…unaware of what my next move would be.
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Questions followed by more questions and I remained frozen in my stance. [/pullquote]
After about 10 minutes (or so), of standing there…I was finally able to make one decision: take a picture of the rope options and text the hubby. Surely, HE will be able to decide for me. Done. Text sent.
Why isn’t he responding? What’s wrong with my phone? Did the text send? What’s wrong at home? Is everyone ok? Doesn’t he know this is a pretty serious question I have for him? Doesn’t he care about the ROPE?! Doesn’t he see me here CRYING?!
Nothing. No response. (I later found out that he had fallen asleep while putting one of the kids to bed…no crisis, as my mind had made up!)
So, I had come to the point where I had to make the decision on my own…the crux of my shopping outing. The “make or brake” of this party (apparently). The fog cleared, only somewhat, after about 15 minutes in this isolated aisle of the store. I finally gave my head a literal shake and grabbed any old rope and proceeded to the cash to pay for my items and head home.
Something was wrong. Something was wrong with ME. This isn’t how I behaved. I’m decisive. Assertive. I don’t need help with a petty decision such as a rope for a party craft! This was ridiculous! Insane! But more questions filled my mind on the ride home.
[pullquote width=”230″ float=”left”]Something was wrong. Something was wrong with ME. This isn’t how I behaved. I’m decisive. Assertive. I don’t need help with a petty decision such as a rope for a party craft! This was ridiculous! Insane! But more questions filled my mind on the ride home.[/pullquote]
What is wrong with me? Why am I like this? What is this fog feeling? Why am I so tired? Why I am so overwhelmed? Why am I so sad? Why can’t I make a simple decision anymore? Why am I crying all the time?
Something’s not right, I concluded. But I was too tired to even think for 2 more seconds. Thinking actually hurt. It made me feel even more exhausted than I already was. So I would continue on like this, for a few more weeks. Putting on a smile when I was around people, yet so sad when I was alone. Drowning myself in coffee, thinking it would help give me a morsel more of energy, but it didn’t. Going to bed earlier, thinking it would help with my mental clarity the next day. But I would soon start to realize a pattern that wasn’t going away…but only getting worse…
Something was definitely not right…
More to come: identifying the problem | diagnosis | treatment | living with PPD.
Thank you so much for following along with this journey. This is hard for me to be so vulnerable, especially to a somewhat unknown audience. My hope and prayer in sharing this personal journey with postpartum depression is that someone, even just one person, will know that they aren’t alone. That the stigma of PPD can start to be lifted as we realize so many mommy’s (and sometimes daddy’s) struggle with this very-real, very-frightening illness. That there is nothing to be ashamed of and to seek the appropriate help, at the right time. I pray you will find solace in knowing and reading someone else’s struggle with this.
Love & Blessings,
* Stock image used