Medical, Mental Health, Motherhood, Personal, , , ,

The Chrysalis of Chaos (Butterfly Series: Part 2)

“Love is a hurricane wrapped in a Chrysalis. And you are a girl walking into the storm.” – Lang Leav

I believe there are three things that make me who I am. Love. Joy. Hope. Maybe we can include kindness in there somewhere, but I never managed to lose kindness through it all. That part of me was and still is very much alive.

Love. Joy. Hope. The three things I never thought I would be without… one day I realized they were gone and I was lost. I was trapped in a fog where there was little pleasure in much else other than my son. It felt as if I were in a dream and I couldn’t wake up. I also think the best part of it all was simply that I knew no matter what, I would be okay. Nonetheless, it was a struggle. It was a fight. One fight that I had to face alone. I did what I thought was best, and I isolated myself. I was in a chrysalis. A chrysalis of chaos.

I don’t think I have ever truly loved myself. There is always room for improvement and I could never seem to look past every flaw I had, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I couldn’t look in a mirror. I struggled with the physical changes in my body. I felt disgusted with myself. I hated looking at old photos too. Not just because my body changed, but I noticed my crow’s feet were replaced by dark bags under my eyes. Frown lines replaced the smile lines. My interests slowly melted away and my dreams felt as if they were suddenly slipping from my grasp.

I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t even hold an adult conversation, let alone brush my hair some days. Post-Partum Depression destroyed me, but it also rebuilt me… as weird as that sounds. I wish I had a “how to force yourself out of depression” list, but unfortunately, I do not. If I did, I wouldn’t be on Lexapro, and I wouldn’t see my therapist as often as I do.

I have another post about my mental health battle, and as similar as this post may be to that, there are vast differences. I am telling you about the time I held a funeral for the girl I was.

I was no longer just Brittany. The plain jane girl was gone. I started by accepting my new role as “mama.” I hate when people say they don’t want to have kids until they are fully ready. If that were the case, no one would ever have kids. More importantly, even when you feel like you are fully prepared, SURPRISE! You’re not. At least, I wasn’t. Maybe if I had the typical, by the book pregnancy, delivery, and such this might be a different conversation, but alas…. my blog probably wouldn’t exist if that were the case.

I traded my friends for therapy. Brunches for bottles. Sleep for all-night baby snuggles. Socialization for isolation. You get the point. My mental health deteriorated so much to the point that I was grasping at straws to find enjoyment in everyday situations. So I started walking.

Spending time outside allowed me to clear my thoughts. It was a great way to get some fresh air with Mark too. Scheduling playdates and walks with the strollers that ended with a nice picnic on a beautiful spring day was perfect. Not to mention the adult conversation helped too. Mark began to learn more simply by being outside more. Honestly, so did I. All of the walkings led to me losing weight and having more energy. I started to gain confidence and a form of self-love. More importantly, it gave me an insight into my son’s world and we bonded through that.

Watching him watch a leaf as it danced in the gentle breeze is something that is ingrained in my mind. Something so simple, or mundane but at that moment, I was watching my son learn from the world around him. On our walks, he would stop and point out a duck swimming or do something as sweet as saying hello to a dog as it passed us by. I was finding joy again.

I melted myself down. I had to sit there and sort myself out. I had to go through hell and face every single emotion I was feeling, why I was feeling it, and figure out how to overcome it. I was forcing myself to look into a mirror and get really honest with myself, for the first time in a long time. I had to figure out why the flame in me was dying. I asked myself three questions that broke me in every single way possible: “Was I letting the flame die out?, Why?, and What kind of woman do I want to become when I finally get on the other side of this thing?

I fought my darkest days. I worked through the sleepless nights and if I am being honest here (who am I kidding, I am always honest here), I still have those dark days and sleepless nights. Slowly and over the course of 2 years, I managed to find love and joy… but I needed to find my sense of hope again. I think my journey to find hope was the greatest internal rollercoaster I had ever been on. It took a lot of soul searching and a very bloody battle between my head and my heart.

In my heart, I always knew I was meant to be a mother and when Mark was born, I was blessed with that gift. It has easily been the greatest gift I have ever had. I am also someone who loves to give back, do good, and just… help. I felt like my life was headed in the direction it was always meant to go.

I felt that I was exactly where I needed to be. But if that were the case, why would I avoid mirrors? Why would I feel disgusted in this body that gave me my greatest adventure? Why would I isolate myself? What changed? What happened? Why did this happen?

Clear, concise, simple answer? My priorities shifted. I grew up in ways I never thought I would have to. I had to learn how to make gut-wrenching decisions in very young adulthood and that manner of thinking carried over into motherhood, I suppose.

Long, informative, and emotional answer? Read next week’s post.