Monday, March 3, 2014

The Healthy Decision

This post was originally written yesterday, Sunday, March 2nd 2014.

Today was a fun day. My family and I slept till 8, and had a lazy brunch of bacon, eggs, and fried rice (because we're Asian). Then we all went to Coolidge Corner. I broke my resolution and got a haircut (post on that upcoming). We had Emma's bangs trimmed and took her to the bookstore where she was allowed to choose a book as a reward for being so good. Then we all went to the froyo place next door and had caramel pecan frozen yogurt with piroulines and gummy bears (because toddlers). We rounded it off with a trip to the toy store, where Meng and Emma played with magnets and I fed Elliot in a comfy chair in the baby department and had a huge revelation about my well being. This is what our good days look like. Specifically, this is what a good day that comes after a day like yesterday looks like.

Yesterday was not a fun day. Yesterday I woke up too early and didn't take a nap. The house was a mess and I spilled salt on the floor, which we all know is a pain to sweep up and a pain to walk in. I lost my temper and shoved the dog. I swore at the baby when I couldn't figure out why he was crying. And when my husband asked me what was wrong, I didn't have a good answer. Also yesterday I decided to go back on antidepressants.

The day after a bad day is always good because we want so badly to make up for the things that happened the day before. And when you have depression, a bad day is a very very bad day. It's funny how a disease can effect you like that. It can take inconvenient little speed bumps and turn them into mountains. Depression takes your anxiety and fear and applies it to everything that goes wrong. This is how yesterday happened:

Yesterday I did not want to get out of bed. I never want to get out of bed, but yesterday I woke up with a heaviness in my chest, as if my heart were trying to drag me back to my pillow. Everything that I tried to accomplish after I got up failed, and I was so distracted I couldn't make lunch. I had no patience with my children. I thought hurtful things at my husband. My throat tightened every time someone said, "Mommy, I'm hungry." I raged at my apartment that is too small and our belongings which are too many. I mentally punished myself for not being able to keep my weight under 160 and all my duties under control. And when my husband asked me what was wrong, I curled up into a ball on our bed and let it all spill out. I let the root of my anger and worry flow out of me at him, my certainty that I will only hold him back, that I am more trouble to him than I'm worth. When I'd finished I felt guilty, because he is the breadwinner and shouldn't have to deal with my depression.

He held me. He told me I'm not allowed to feel useless because he couldn't manage without me. He told me that he'd stand by my side with any other sickness and this was no different because (and he's a doctor, so he knows) depression is a disease, too. I didn't really believe him, but it was nice to know he could excuse my behavior.

This is how today happened:

Today I woke up with everyone else, and my heart felt lighter because it knew we had bacon, and my heart is planning an attack in 30 odd years. We all had breakfast together, and I drank coffee, because everyone needs a socially acceptable addiction. Then we all got haircuts, and I walked a bit taller, because my stylist told me my hair looks healthy. I read almost every book on the seasonal display at the bookstore and I gave up control at the froyo toppings bar, which is how we decided on the gummy bears. And while I was feeding Elliot in the toy store, I realized that if I go on antidepressants, I will only have a few more weeks to breastfeed.

That was a disappointing thought and the part of my heart that feels sorrow widened to let pain in. After so much work to achieve exclusive breastfeeding, I am giving it up. Then logic, which usually speaks with my mother's voice said, "Despite all the laud given breastmilk these days, there is nothing more important than a healthy mom." And that's when I realized that what I am right now truly is unhealthy, and I accepted that I have a disease.

So here's to tomorrow. Here's to wearing a pair of socks so you don't have to sweep the floor. Here's to more better days than worse ones, and mommies who don't need haircuts to walk tall. Here's to getting ice cream and reading books when you're already up instead of when you're down. Here's to little girls who love gummy bears and husbands who buy pecan froyo. And here's to the baby whose mother knows when to quit. Raise your glass (of water with a prozac) to them. Maybe someday I can go off medication again, but for know I must treat the symptoms of my disease.



  1. Depression sucks and it hurts everyone not just the victim. I grew up with a mentally unhealthy parent, who loved me but did not love herself. I wish she had taken the steps your taking now.

  2. I love every word of this, and you too!