Three Years Since the Breakdown

July 27, 2017 at 9:01 am

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On July 31, 2014, I wrote these words:

Since coming home, I have felt considerably worse. . . . I’ve really regressed. The anxiety is worse, the depression is deep. I really don’t know how much more I can take. I feel like I’ve gone so far backward. Everyone keeps telling me I will get through this, that things will get better, and they seem so confident about it. But I feel so done. I feel so exhausted. I feel like it will never end.

I want to be the mother my children need. I want to be myself. I hardly remember what it was like to be myself.

I am desperate.

The minutes and hours drag by so slowly.

I want to be done. More than anything in the world, I want my self back.

Three years later, I’ve been myself long enough that sometimes I forget. Even so, it doesn’t take much to remind me how far I have come.

Yesterday afternoon I was driving, and someone or something I saw on the side of the road triggered a flashback. Suddenly in the pit of my stomach I remembered. I remembered how it felt–how bleak, how sick, how desperate, how dark. I remembered the yearning for death. I remembered that the joy and peace and comfort I now feel daily are precious miracles.

My new normal is peace. It is only very rarely that my anxiety or depression flare up, and they usually pass quickly. I see a psychiatric nurse practitioner ever six months. I’ll be seeing her on Monday, in fact. She checks in with me to make sure I’m still doing well and to re-prescribe my medication. I’m still on a very low dose of Sertraline for now and the foreseeable future. In addition, I take a whole-food multivitamin, maca root, and 1000 mg of Nordic Naturals EPA Xtra every day. (Country Life’s Omega-3 Mood stopped working for me.) This combination of medication and supplements seems to be just the right support to keep me feeling well. You can read more about why these particular supplements are helpful HERE and HERE.

Yesterday, this message from one of my readers totally made my day:

Good morning Lani! I have been following your blog forever and I think The Gift of Giving Life is probably my favorite book. I was just watching some Splitting the Sky videos and watched yours again, and wanted to send you a note saying thank you. I think you’re just lovely and I am so grateful that you put your story out there. I can relate a lot to many of the feelings you have experienced, and it helped me a lot today. I just wanted you to know!

I have put a lot of my Self and my story out there. Sometimes I wonder if I put too much out there. Occasionally I do have a reader “unfollow” me for being so raw and real at times. But the overwhelming majority of the feedback I have received has been positive. It’s always such a gift to get a message from a reader who has found strength and courage to face her own difficult journey through reading my blog. Those messages remind me to keep sharing, keep being vulnerable.

Another message I received today has reminded me of something else. Someone sent me part of her story for my Choosing to Stay project, and at the end she wrote, “Sorry my story isn’t very inspiring.” My immediate gut reaction was to contradict that statement.  Maybe you, too, feel that your story isn’t inspiring. I’ll tell you what I told her:

I think it’s tremendous that you have endured all that you have endured. It takes a lot of strength and courage to keep going even when sometimes you don’t want to. I think that is very inspiring. I’m here if you ever need to talk.

And I mean it.

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