Oh! Goody
One Month On

Scrambled Eggs

Every night, Jason would call me on the ward and put his phone on speaker so I could listen in on the familiar, boisterous chaos. He'd put the groceries away while the boys squealed and shrieked over all the new cereals and bickered over which box to open first. They'd all try to talk to me at once and the dogs would start barking and someone would say "whoops" and Jason would say "get a paper towel" and I'd sit there on the other end of the line with a big grin on my face and tears in my eyes because I missed it all so much. 

And then the ping of guilt, because I missed so much of it all. So many morning when I couldn't get out of bed to pour the cereal or scramble the eggs or kiss them goodbye before school. So many evenings when I was irritable and impatient and snappish, when whatever mess required the paper towel would be like, the last fucking straw. I'm done. I'm out. I can't deal with any of you right now. 

(And then the vicious, downward spiral of guilt, because I'm a terrible mother/wife/friend and I'm failing and I suck and everything is bad bad bad and will always be bad bad and etc.)

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Exhibit A, The Mental Process of Amy Corbett Storch

The boys knew I was in the hospital. We talked to them about depression and anxiety and the fact that people's brains can get sick just like the rest of their bodies. Mom's brain was trying to tell her to hurt herself, so the doctors and nurses at the hospital will keep her safe and find the right medicines to make her better. 

(Thank goodness for Inside Out, by the way. I've referenced that movie a lot lately, even though I'm fairly sure re-watching it right now would utterly destroy me.)

They were ecstatic when I came home, though perhaps a touch disappointed that I hadn't brought them anything home from the hospital gift shop. And then everything went pretty quickly back to normal, from their perspective, at least. Mom went away, and then she came back. Okay.

(It's been a much tougher path back to "normal" for Jason, admittedly, since he was the only member of the family who didn't get to sleep through the more traumatic parts of the whole experience. I've offered him this space if he'd like to write about it or share his perspective, but he's not really ready yet. Completely understandable. Just know we're both taking good, patient care of ourselves and each other, and maybe he'll drop in with more of his story later.)

A few days ago, after serving Ezra his breakfast, he remarked that I must be feeling better. Because I made him eggs. "It makes me so happy when you make me eggs." 

"It makes me so happy too, buddy," I told him. 

And it's true, now, again. 

 

Comments

CJ

It makes me so happy to see your posts. I'm glad you're here.

Susannah

This morning Abi asked me to make her eggs and I told her that I didn't have time. Thank you for this. For the reminder that making eggs is a gift life gives us. I will never tell her that I don't have time to make her eggs again. Welcome back. I'm so glad you are still here.

Amanda

Oh, I love this so much. I’m so happy you’re still here.

rose

Thank you.
I believe you are saving other people's lives by writing and sharing the truth honestly.
I am glad you are here (here is so many ways!).

Lindsay

I'm so sorry it's been so rough, and so glad you're here now.

Sara

I'm SO glad you're still here. I don't comment often, but you've been a part of my life for a long time and I'm so glad you're sharing and that others are showing you how much you matter. Your reference to Inside Out made me think of a treatment modality call Internal Family Systems https://www.selfleadership.org/ - which I've heard the movie was somewhat based on (or perhaps at least inspired by the principles). They have self directed programs or you can find therapists specifically trained in this program which might be worth exploring in your treatment.

Lisa

I hope new normal gets more and more normal all the time.

Lorrian Ippoliti

So glad you felt like making eggs. Thank you for contouring to trust us with your story.

Xoxoxo

Lee

Hugs. Keep posting. If Jason can manage it, I'd love to hear his perspective too. You are imperfectly awesome and I <3 you for it.

Molly

So glad you're doing well.
Been watching and sending good wishes from afar. And so glad Jason's doing okay too. I care about you of course, but from your first post I've been thinking about him. I can relate more to his experience in this than yours, and I'm happy you're taking care of each other.

Sarah

When I was in the darkest grip of depression, making food for my family was so, so hard. Overwhelming.

I get it. I've been there. So very glad you can scramble eggs for your boys today. And that you are there with them. You matter.

reenie

Ok, this one made me cry. Anxiety and/or depression are thieving robbers. They rob not only your happiness, but they rob our families of their loved one.

Parenting is the hardest job anyone will ever love, and self-care is the hardest thing any mom will ever achieve. Anxiety and depression take an already nearly insurmountable task and put you in last place before you even get started.

I'm SO THANKFUL that you (and others, God bless them) are sharing your stories...it has the potential to save so many people their lives, and to give others THEIR lives back. Not the lives that they've been living...THEIRS. Their own, actual lives. Who they are, and who they deserve to be.

THANK YOU.

Isabel

Scrambled eggs! I love scrambled eggs more than ever now.

Kim L

Catastrophizing- so that’s what it is called. Someone on the internet posted they have learned to question that voice and repeat, “But what if it does work out? What if it is all fine?” That has been helping me out a bit. Your posts about generalized anxiety has made me acknowledge I struggle with it more than I admit. Thank you.

Sue W.

Sometimes we need those little things that we normally take for granted to bring us some new perspectives on this thing called Life.
So glad you are here to make scrambled eggs for your boys.

Holly

I teared up reading this, thank you. And your explanation to your boys was spot-on.

Maureen Holloway

Amy,
I heard about your suicide attempt two days before I left on vacation, and believe it or not I thought about you constantly while I sailed around the Adriatic for two weeks. Yes, my life seems and is pretty damn awesome, but I too have suffered from GAD. I’m better now, but it took a long time to figure it out. I’ve been with you since Noah was born, and I don’t want to lose you. I’m still trying to cope with Anthony Bourdain, another person I didn’t know personally but meant the world to me. Does it help to know you matter to so many? Because you do. You take good care of yourself now.

Olivia

How sweet of Ezra to notice that you must be feeling better.

Joyce

Thank you. You make me stop and look around and see what i have. Where i am. What is important. I am not depressed, never have been but still. It is important to stop and look around every one in a while. I love you amy.

c

I keep commenting thank you. because you make it NORMAL. Normal to have these feelings and normal to get help. I'm holding your story (and family) in my thoughts as I struggle.

Lauren

Hugs for you AND for Jason. I would love to hear from him whenever he is ready. I am glad you are taking care of eachother!!!!

Lisa

Parents, especially mothers, are being burned out. Our jobs require too much from us and don't give back fairly (Hello, pay raise? vacation? where are they) Society has automated 50% of work, and yet it takes two incomes working full to overtime just to come close, but not quite up to where parents were back in the 60s and 70s.

This is the problem. Not your fault. Not your shortcoming.

Jen

Help. I'm in it. I read your words today: "So many evenings when I was irritable and impatient and snappish, when whatever mess required the paper towel would be like, the last fucking straw. I'm done. I'm out. I can't deal with any of you right now. " and thought YES - THIS IS ME. Right now. I am a work-at-home mom and it's the whining and the tantrums and the endless list of "to-dos" and the 100-degree heat and the work deadlines and clients and then that plate of grated cheese hits the floor because no one could take turns and it just all feels like TOO MUCH. I feel badly for my kids because I'm snappy and irritable and I feel like I'm one paper-towel-mess away from bursting into tears or screaming at all times. What IS this? Is this anxiety? Normal overwhelmed-mom-ness? I've suffered from depression before but this feels different. This feels like I wake up with one raw nerve already stretched to the breaking point. And then I just try to hold on for dear life until the day is done - praying that I don't lose it and yell at my kids. Normal? Go see my therapist again?

Cyndi Tatum

I love every one of these comments. Life is hard. No one is alone.

jm

Thank you for sharing your story. I too have had Jason on my heart. Love, peace and comfort to each of you.

Elf

Yes. Thank you.

I am so there with you on the "I can't deal with you right now, go AWAY."
My son is three, which age you may have blocked out to a nontrivial extent by now but which you certainly wrote about at the time. But I just don't have the patience, and I know some of his bad behaviors are caused by me just not paying enough attention to him, and I feel like such a bad mom.

Remember to be kind to yourself. There will be days in the future when you can't deal with getting up to make eggs. That does not make you a bad mom. It is important to notice those times as warnings that you need to do some self-care, not as failures. The thing is, you (I) can power through for a day or a week or maybe even longer sometimes doing the things that are hard, but the kind of emotional labor and willpower that it takes to be present like that when you aren't feeling it is not sustainable, and its really dangerous to fall into the "if I just tried a little harder" hole. You (I) need to remember to be kind to ourselves, that no one can actually maintain Constant Vigilance. Willpower is a finite resource.

If we can remember to see these things as warning signs instead of failures, we will be ok. I want us to be ok.

momct

Amy thank you for sharing your story with us. We love you and are so happy you are here.

Ashleigh

I’m so glad you’re here to make eggs.

Betsy

Your thought process (esp the "I'm done" and ensuing guilt spiral) is painfully familiar to me. I have anxiety and depression too, boys who are loud, messy, and constantly fighting. I work from home and my husband commutes from Baltimore to DC and sometimes it feels like I get no break ever. My anxiety often causes me to be super irritable and just unable to deal with yelling/spills/loud noises/fighting/being jumped on. And as you know, a household full of boy siblings is so much of all those things! I just feel this SO MUCH. You are not alone. You are a good mom. I'm sorry things got away from you. And I'm glad you got the help you needed.

EmilyG

I’m so glad I can keep checking and finding you here. Your honest posts mean so much. Thank you.

Amelia Bowler

I hear you. I hear myself saying "I'm done" or "I can't." I'm working on this. I've been trying to remind the whole family to express more of the positive, and tonight my little critter said "Mommy is very good at... solving problems!" Woah, thanks kid, I needed that. I don't count the problems I do solve, but I sure kick myself for the problems I don't solve. Thankfully, we don't have to solve every problem or make every breakfast. Thankfully, our kids let us know that it still counts when we do. <3

Laura B.

Weighing in to reach out to Jen ^^ above. Yup, therapist, stat, and your family physician too. Amy has been prefacing her more graphic posts with the links to https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ (for phone help) and https://www.crisistextline.org/ (for text help) so if you are in the states TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE RESOURCES. They are truly there to help.

(Canadian resources here: https://suicideprevention.ca/need-help/)

Moms get overwhelmed, absolutely, but you're describing a chronic, persistent degree of overwhelmed-ness that needs professional intervention. Do it for you. Do it for your family. You may not have the massive internet cheering squad that Amy does, but you DO have people IRL, and even strangers on the internet (Hi!), who care about you, so make a phone call. YOU CAN DO THIS.

Amy, oh my heavens, EGGS. Your posts these past few weeks have had a direct effect (for the better) on how I react to my kids' incessant noise. Thank you for continuing to live, and share.

Kirsten

Amy, I’m so glad you are finding things that work for you. If you find your current meds aren’t what you’d hoped, I was going to mention psychogenomic testing. It’s a DNA cheek swab test. Our insurance wouldn’t cover it for my 15 year old son, but if you’re paying out of pocket it’s about $250 (insurance companies would pay much more). It tests certain genes and gives you feedback on which antidepressants (and some other drugs) are more likely to be effective. I wish we’d done it earlier. Four drugs my son had tried and done poorly on were all in the category that the test said would have low impact. We’ve just switched to one that is supposed to be most effective for him. Fingers crossed. It also tests whether you aren’t good at producing folic acid (necessary for SSRIs to work well) properly and may need a special prescription form of folic acid. My son needed that too. More and more psychiatrists are using this testing to help inform prescribing. I wish you the best of luck.

YP

Yay! So glad to hear this. Thanks for sharing how everyone is doing including Jason. It’s the little things that are so wonderful, isn’t it?

sheilah

Jason is an amazing friend/partner/husband/father. I would love to hear from his perspective if he ever feels able to share it. Take care of yourself.

Marci

I am so glad you are here and taking care of yourself, and your family. Your advice was invaluable to me as a new mother (I started reading your Smackdown columns in 2014), and you are always the first blog I suggest to new moms. Thank you for all the honest, down to earth, and real advice you've given, and for sharing your story with others. I'm glad you have wonderful supports around you too. Please keep taking care of yourself!

Jelourai

Amy, thank you for continuing to share. All of these nuances are critical and I love reading all the comments, too. Elf said "remember to see these things as warning signs instead of failures" and that just blew my mind. I love that, and I'll watch for that. We deserve self-care too - every day.

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