I recently uncovered a painful truth. I had been living for some time on autopilot and I was missing out on my life. Day in and day out consisted of keeping to a fairly rigid schedule. I clean the bathrooms on Monday. I dust on Tuesday. I vacuum on Wednesday. Each day had an assigned household chore among the many daily things that I did to keep order in my home. My house was clean. I prepared homemade meals every day.
I put myself on this autopilot setting because I felt like my life was full of chaos. Cleaning and organization does not come naturally to me. However, visual clutter causes me to become depressed. I feared the visual and mental clutter that I lived with for the first two years after having Jaden. Although I did not suffer from postpartum depression after having Jack or Audrey, that time in my life was forever seared into my memory and I feared it. Postpartum depression was not the first time I have suffered from the disorder, having first been diagnosed with depression in my early teens. I am no stranger to sadness, numbness, anxiety, and panic attacks. The lifestyle that we live does not help. I uproot every year or so and start over. This causes many of the same feelings to surface time and time again.
Plugging in to a rigid routine caused little time to dwell on these feelings and helped at first. With a list of things to complete each day, it did not leave much time for thinking. During a lull in my day, I would fill this time with Facebook. I didn’t post much, but I lurked and scrolled. Keeping my phone tethered to me, I checked my newsfeed multiple times a day. Usually not stopping to really read what I was there to read. It was something to do to keep busy. Lately I wondered who would even notice if I went dark on social media. I also came to the realization that I was not stopping to see my family. I dealt with them daily. I read my kids stories. I bathed them. I cooked meals for them. But I couldn’t remember the last time I stopped to have a real conversation with Justin. Or just sit and watch my kids interact with each other.
“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.” – Benjamin Franklin
I realized that I was not ok. I was not happy. I felt dead inside, and had for some time. I did not stop to notice until recently. So I made a promise to myself to live with intent. To wake up every morning and just be. I don’t need to follow a schedule to see that life gets on. It gets on just fine.
My house isn’t as clean as it was a month ago. Currently, there is a sink full of dishes, brand new décor on the floor and counters that I have yet to hang on the walls, toys scattered from the playroom, through the kitchen, and into the living room. My kids are sticky with candy and still in their jammies (it’s nearly 3:00 pm).
But, I have never felt closer to Justin. We spend more time together talking and laughing. I learn more about his future job as an officer (which I am so proud of, he deserves it so much). I am listening to my kids laugh as they scatter Gerber baby puffs all over the playroom floor. I wont go in and tell them to clean up. They are living life in the moment and I need to follow their lead.
The dishes and laundry can wait. Crumbs wont hurt my floors. I have taken a 27 day detox from Facebook. I am not where I want to be just yet. Unplugging from something that has kept me afloat for so long undoubtedly will have many kinks to work out to be able to function on a higher level on its own. But there’s no going back now. I plan to live every day with quiet thought and intention, even when those days are dark and my mind races with anxiety. They are things that I can’t cover up. They need to be dealt with one at a time and I will go slow with what needs to be done to turn them around.
In the mean time, I will not be online much. I will be doing a massive “friend” purge because I don’t really have over 300 friends and it now seems absurd to me to pretend that I do. As far as life updates, the kids are still cute, we are currently in the process of our overseas screening, and Justin’s commissioning will take place at the end of September.
Love to all,