Recently, I sat by myself at the only table in a bakery, eating a cupcake and crying. Not just a few tears here and there. I was actively suppressing sobs as a river of tears ran down my face, keeping pace with the rain outside.
Customers entered and exited the bakery, picking up cakes, placing orders, buying yummy-looking pastries. The two clerks kept busy helping them as they came in and out. When I was the only one who remained, they seemed to find other work to do.
At least ten other people had been in the same small space with me, and not a single one asked me if I was okay. I tried to smile through it when I bought the first cupcake, then the second, and even once I’d finished those and moved on to a package of chocolate caramel turtle cookies.
Now, I realize I could have been crying for any number of reasons, but it makes me wonder how my day might have changed if someone would have cared enough to ask. I at least had ways of coping with my disappointment and also loved ones to help brighten my mood.
Those other people did not know this, however. It begs the question: would someone else’s day–or even life–change for the better if only a person stopped to ask if they were okay?
I’m a terrible friend. I really am. Not in that I don’t love or don’t care because I do both fiercely. Just sometimes, I can be a bit flighty. More than that, I get scared.
Fear has been a driving force in my life for a very long time. My anxiety is to the point that I can’t hardly bring myself to pick up the phone to call a friend or go hang out with them somewhere. My breath quickens. My insides hurt. I start clenching my fingers together without noticing.
It is only after I have managed to calm down a bit that I can relax my hands and maybe–possibly–pick up the telephone. Sometimes not. Sometimes if I do call, I actually hope to get voice mail so they can call me back as opposed to them saging hello and catching me off guard. Even with calls to friends and family, I rehearse what I want to say when they answer, but my nerves get the best of me and I tend to forget. I might even stall to remember or even to work up more courage.
I do honestly prefer being home most of the time, anyway, only because there is no pressure at home. I find having conversations with Choo-choo to often be less anxiety-producing than with others.
So if you ever get a nervous message from me or if I cancel plans or hesitate to make them in the first place, you now know why. And yes, I am sorry for this. I understand it does not make things any easier, and I am working on that. I just want to say a big thank you to those who have stuck it out through it all with me. Thank you for your kindness, patience, and understanding! ❤️
…is a phrase I find myself saying to Choo-choo all the time. All. The. Time. He prefers to play during his meals, and while I’m sure that’s normal for a two year old, it irks me to no end.
I have learned to step away, deep breathe, then return to the table. I even tell him why I’m doing it so he doesn’t wonder or worry why Mommy leaves the room.
So, the other day, Choo-choo was playing more than eating during lunch. I knew he was hungry. I was annoyed. Then came the dreaded “Eat your food!” line again.
To my surprise, Choo-choo turns to me and says, “Walk away and breathe, Mommy.”
I did, and as I did, I couldn’t help but feel conflicted. My son knew what I needed to calm myself and yet I was sad he had that knowledge in the first place. I returned to him with a smile.
I wish I could say he finished his lunch right away or that I didn’t have to step away to deep breathe. What I can tell you is all my deep breathing to reach a place of calm has influenced Choo-choo to the point that when he is angry, he takes a deep breath and feels better.
I have taught my son how to work through his emotions, and right now, nothing could make me prouder.
Choo-choo’s naps are my time to breathe, my time to enjoy being by myself, my time to work, and my time for renewal.
But what happens if he doesn’t sleep? Yesterday, for example, my child decided he did not want to nap. Why, I have no idea. Given the chance, I would love to sleep. I do nap when he’s in bed if I feel I need to.
The problem is, I can’t sleep or even relax when he won’t rest. With every clink and clatter of his toys as he played through naptime, I grew more weary and frustrated. Diesel told me not to worry about it. He said Choo-choo will give up his naps at some point anyway. While I knew this was true, it didn’t help in the moment.
Of course, Choo-choo was just as perky and happy to see me when I went to get him as he is every other day after nap or bed. And I reminded myself of the one plus that comes with Choo-choo skipping naptime: he is so tired by bed that he goes to sleep at night with no problems.
As for me, I still love my break during the day, but it’s nice to remember that if Choo-choo doesn’t take a nap, it doesn’t have to ruin my day.
“Why do you enjoy torturing me?” I shout on an extremely rotten day. I say it partly to Choo-choo and partly to God.
I know, however, that they don’t enjoy it. They aren’t even torturing me. My depression makes me feel like they are. It makes me believe they are. It makes me so that is the only truth I have in this particular moment.
Choo-choo says, “Me hug Mommy.” He squeezes his arms around me. “Mommy all better now.” Then comes the kicker: “Mommy happy.”
I don’t know exactly what my depression is doing to him. I worry about it every day. I hope as time passes, he has memories of happy Mommy. I try to give him as many joyful moments with me now as possible. I want to do all I can to give him examples of how to fight through the sadness and anger to peace.
I hug him in return, tears still spilling down my cheeks, telling him honestly that yes, Mommy is happy right now.
Hi, everyone! Lisa Keifer here.
I want to start things off by giving you all a sense of who I am. After being a housewife and stay-at-home mom, I have recently re-entered the world of writing.
Though I started penning stories when I was a teenager, I’ve only recently found the courage to send my work out into the world to be read, loved, and published. (You can learn all about my writing adventures on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lisakeiferwriter/.)
I live with my husband Diesel and son Choo-choo. While I will strive to be as honest with you as I can, I have changed their names to protect their privacy. Choo-choo is a smart, silly, fun-loving, and sometimes temperamental 3 year old. Diesel has been the love of my life for the past 12 years, though he struggles to fully understand what it feels like to be me.
In this blog, I will share my ups and downs of life with depression, anxiety, OCD, and PTSD. I will open up about how these illnesses started and how far I have progressed. I will also give you an insight into what life is like being a wife and mother in the land of mental issues.
(By the way, I find peace and serenity when I am out in nature, so I will share photos of beauty I have found in the natural world from time to time.)
I hope you will all join me on this journey!