I’m sitting in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class. Well, I’m not really sitting, I’m struggling to do a cartwheel. I look like a two year old. Everyone else around me is pretty much passing a sobriety test on their hands, performing perfect cartwheels in perfect lines down the middle of some bleached blue gym mats. I can feel the fat rolls under my gi, the uniform of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, heave and knock into each other with every preschool attempt at a cartwheel. You wouldn’t think it to read about it, but… I’m loving it.
There was a time when something like this was so far on the back burner that I could no longer even find the stove to put it on. My son came first and then when he turned two and a half, my son AND my daughter came first. Then there’s my husband, the amazing patient man who was fine becoming second fiddle and then third fiddle and finally, on rough nights, a roommate.
I was living off of massive amounts of caffiene, sugar and anti despressants. It was the perfect mix, or at least it seemed to be for a long time.
Then there were the times the mixed failed me.
I have the worst memory in the world and so there were many mornings I forgot to take my antidepressant. It was on those mornings that I felt the weight of the world crashing back down on me all over again.
I would be in a fog, my emotions were all over the place and I would get horrible tremors and brain zaps. It was miserable. Slowly I began to realize that this combo was not sustainable for me in the slightest. My moods weren’t stable and neither were the numbers on the scale. They were climbing and quickly.
I was losing myself. I was losing myself in this strange costume of extra weight and either total erraticness or complete numbness. This was never who I had set out to be.
I took stock.
Okay, I said, I have a four year old and a two year old. Both are mostly sleeping through the night and although my son is on the autism spectrum, we seem, right now, to be getting a handle on it. Is it safe for me to come out now? Is it safe for me to try “tweaking” the model I’ve been using for the last two years?
I simply decided, yes.
It was safe for me to come out of this shell I’d put myself in.
The journey out of that shell is still going, folks.
It started off with me stepping down from my meds. I don’t suggest this for everyone. I think anyone on medication needs to sit and weigh the pros and cons. I did. For me and my current mental state, the cons began to outweigh the many pros I used to have on my list.
I began seeing my wonderful therapist again.
And then, I began trying things. New things. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a tap class, an embarrassing hip hop class (more on that later), acting again, running, college courses and this. This has already given me more joy than I could ever have known. Having something that I have complete control over. Something that is no one else’s. Just mine. I never knew the amount of satisfaction a day can have when you know that something wonderfully intellectually challenging awaits you.
It was in the latter that I found the piece of the puzzle I was missing. I missed working. I never knew I missed it until I started it again. I love it. I have room to breath again and I love filling that room with more than just raising my children.
So if you’re reading this and you feel like you’re breathing room is nonexistent, that strange costume is taking hold of who you are right now. Take heart. While you’re peeking out from behind the caffeine and sugar and possible weight gain, there will be a part of you hatching a secret exit strategy and some day, before you know it, you’ll be saying,
“Is it safe to come out now?” And the answer will be yes!