Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pouring My Heart Out….Forever Treading Water



I’m treading water.  My body is upright, my arms are flailing in a constant state of panic…commanding myself to keep my head above water, where I can safely draw short, shallow breaths in a feeble attempt to stay focused.

This too shall pass, I try to convince myself.  Keep moving, keep paddling…do not fall below the surface where the monster lurks, threatening to pull me so far down under that I fear I’ll never find my way back up again. 

At times, I’m unaware that I’ve begun to drown until the very last minute, when it happens so quickly leaving my body absolutely depleted of energy, running on empty with nothing left to give.

On the outside, I appear controlled, calm….at peace.  But on the inside, my soul is screaming for relief from the daily stressors of motherhood and life in general. 

While the kids fight with one another and the noise level escalates to a point that literally makes my head throb violently, I mentally check out as my brain becomes a pile of senseless mush.

I can’t think clearly, I can’t feel anything, I can’t find find any consolation other than to throw myself onto the floor behind closed doors in a heap of cowardly defeat, sobbing quietly into my hands.

But then there are times when the monster creeps up on me slowly, as the familiar feelings of wanting to snap and break free continually nag at me.  It begins with a feeling of uneasiness, where I could cry just as easily as I could laugh.

In order to gain some kind of control, I become preoccupied with cleaning the house...all toys must be put away, nothing on the counters, no dishes in the sink.  The kids have learned to stay out of my way when they see Mommy sweeping the floors obsessively, mumbling to no one in particular that no matter how hard I try, everything is always such a mess...a fine metaphor indeed.

Soon enough, I can’t even muster a smile as my children recall a funny story.  I implore myself not to speak, out of fear that my words will cause more harm than good.

I can see the confusion and sadness in their eyes, at times, and I can't help but wonder if that's what they see in me, as well.  It's not hard to imagine how tough it must be for them, walking around on eggshells, never knowing what my mood will be day to day.

They wait for a kind smile, a gentle word of praise, a loving hug….they wait for a sign, any sign, that tells them Mommy is going to be okay…for now.

Thankfully, children are full of unconditional love...their bountiful hugs and kisses serve as a soothing reminder of that well-known fact.

But there’s a reason I cannot stop treading water…because the monster is always on the prowl, crouching in the darkness below, waiting to suck me under in a moment of weakness.

I am obligated to summon the energy to keep my head up, force myself to breathe and continue the desperate dog paddle, for there is no other option except to be trapped in the darkness forever…something my family cannot afford to have happen.

If there's one thing I have come to understand, it is that this will be a lifelong battle....one I don't plan on losing.

Thus, the treading continues....

34 comments:

Kakunaa said...

Oh god, I know that feeling. Hang in there, hun.

Kristi said...

Beautiful post Helene! You took the emotions of many moms and put them eloquently into words. Thank you!!
My kids are teenagers now in some ways these years have been the ones that I've had to "tread" the most through. I must admit though that once I really learned to take care of myself....my days got much better. It's hard to find the time, energy and desire somedays to do something that is only for ME but it is sooo important. I hope you can do that too.
Hang in there...and know you have a lot of company out there in the ocean treading with you...maybe we can all have a drink when we take a break! :)
I wrote about similiar feelings on my blog a couple days ago. Stop by if you get a chance.

singedwingangel said...

OH Sweetie I know that feeling so well. I have been there so many times I don't want to count. But I can honestly say that I have done 1000 times better using Reliv then I ever was in my life. I would have never thought I could have stretches of just feeling good this long.. sending you prayers hun and strength

Barbara said...

Hang in there! I definitely know what that feeling is like!

Jen said...

Much love to you. :)

Evonne said...

I know this feeling all to well. Hugs to you!

Ami said...

Wow, how I can I not comment. You are so not alone! What a great service you just did so many moms by putting that out there. You're doing great!

kristi said...

Helene I go through this several times a year. Some days I feel I am barely hanging on. Hugs.

Lisa said...

Ugh, I am so sorry. Hang in there honey.

Eva Gallant said...

You are the voice of many moms and an inspiration to all. Just don't forget to take care of "You."

Heather said...

I wish I could send you some floaties!!
None of us have it all together and you know what......four kids is HARD!
Hang in there.

Di said...

I've been there. I usually escape to a family members house for a break now when I get that way. Its the only way I've found to stay sane!

Amanda's Mom said...

I know that place ... I called mine "I want to run away." And, like you, obsessive cleaning in an attempt at order, was my outlet. I think most moms go through this. Now, my kids are grown and gone (and that is a whole other story that I've blogged about) but, I would have to say that building time into your week just for you is a must, if you haven't already. Best wishes in your journey.

Miss Em said...

The fact that you worry about this, means you have a heart. Your kids obviously have a great mum! No one is perfect, just human xx

Heather said...

Completely get it and feel the same way often. Surely, it will get better as they get older, right? Hang in there...it's all we moms can do.

Shell said...

I'm in tears reading this- I so get it.

Though, I don't focus on cleaning. I get too overwhelmed to do anything.

Dysfunctional Mom said...

This makes my heart hurt for you, so much. I know how you feel, truly I do. As if it's not hard enough to deal with the feelings, the guilt added to it is just overwhelming. My meds help me so much though, I still have my bad days & times but I credit them for saving my life and making me a better mom.

"Cottage By The Sea" said...

I call it spiraling. It's something you seem to recognize which is a huge step. Now what to do when you feel it happening and before it's too late. I walk my dogs or do anything that forces me out of the house and changes my routine up even if just for a few hours. The most important thing to remember is that it WILL be okay again. My thoughts and prayers are with you Helene. Depression is a curse and you have to have a lot of courage and strength to get through the down spirals. i know you can and you will - hang in there love. Blessings.

Myne Whitman said...

Here's hugs from me to you. It will get better, but you may need to take some time off. All the best!

Leah said...

Somehow you managed to say exactly how I am feeling at this moment. I will pray for you. One foot in front of the other. If not plant your feet firmly in the sand until you are able to walk forward again.

Mom of 12 said...

Things will get better, I promise! Those early days when the kids are little are SOOO hard, but they are so worth it! I'm watching my older ones growing into (mostly) responsible adults and it really helps when the younger ones are driving me crazy. When I only had little ones I looked at my parents' family and recognized the joy in watching the kids turn into grandkids. Just hug them tight and hang on...none of the other stuff is important anyway.
Sandy

Twins Squared said...

Helene you remind me so much of my step-sister. I mean, we all have our moments as moms where we want to be free, but I sense you are referring to something more and that you struggle with certain moods/thought patterns/whatever they are that you might always have to deal with. My step-sister is just like that and has a VERY similar background to yours. I love her to death but my heart has been breaking for her because UNLIKE you, she doesn't get busy and maintain order and control. She HAS been treading water but has recently let herself sucomb to the darkness. I can't even tell you what we are dealing with with her. And she is a mom too and has allowed herself to get dragged down instead of finding a positive outlet and dealing with it. You are to be commended! You ARE dealing with, and you will be able to show your children that even though Mommy isn't always smiling and perfect (none of us are!) that you just keep going, you endure to the end, and the rewards are ten-fold! Your kids probably just see it as a bad mood and nothing more. Nothing other kids see from their parents as well. I think you are strong and your kids will have so much to learn from you. They are lucky and blessed to have you as their mom!

MommaKiss said...

All I can say is you're not alone. Not even close. And you will not lose, I promise you.

Amanda said...

I understand completely.

Mamarazzi said...

i can totally feel the heartbeat behind this post. it is hard to imagine a home filled with beautiful blessings and still be so consumed with darkness. i have a feeling you are gonna fight the good fight. i admire you for that.

January Dawn said...

Oh God Helene. I was totally there a couple weeks ago...screaming into pillows and feeling overwhelmed with EVERYTHING. The slightest whine from one of my boys made me feel like I would completely go over the edge. And I only have 2 kids! *HUGS, HUGS, HUGS*

Aimee said...

"At times, I’m unaware that I’ve begun to drown until the very last minute, when it happens so quickly leaving my body absolutely depleted of energy, running on empty with nothing left to give."

Ahhh Helene that right there is the worse part of it all and as long as I have been treading I still have days that exactly that happens.

PS I clean too (I have been told it is a control issue - trying to control SOMETHING (my enviroment) in a totally out of control world.

Tread away but know that if you ever need to take a quick break...there are a bunch of us here that can throw you a float for a mintue or two. :)

Karen Peterson said...

I don't know what it feels like, but I'm thinking of you and I hope it gets better soon.

Kim said...

powerful post

Holly said...

This sounds so hard ... I agree with what so many others said: take care of you. And you truly are an inspiration.

Christina said...

Super awesome post. =)

Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

I can so relate to this and I only have one set of twins. The fact that you MUST keep going no matter what is sometimes a blessing and sometimes a curse. Beautifully conveyed...

-K said...

Maybe we can link life preservers and take some of the weight off together.

Claroux said...

Wow. That has to be one of the single most powerful posts I have ever read. I'm sure everyone will take the monster for what fits them but yours sounds freakishly like mine. I've only touched on it a few times on my blog but after my twins were born I spiraled into post partum depression that went undiagnosed and unrecognized for almost a year. After pregnancy number two I knew what signs to look for. I took the meds. I went to therapy. But despite all that there is still that monster that lurks right below MY surface. Some days I feel like I can do anything and on others I can't catch my breath and just give up. You are right in recognizing that children are resilient little buggers....they get over it. They forget. But mine are only as old as four. Don't you ever wonder if there will come a time when they DO remember???? My biggest fear is that my kids will be 35 and in therapy because of me. Yikes. Regardless - thanks for the honesty. You rock.

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
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