I typed up about twelve different introductions for this blog post, and none of them seemed right. Not even this one. But it really doesn’t matter, because this post isn’t going to be one of my “tips & tricks” or fun new looks or exciting news. You guys wanted to dig a little deeper than the sunshine and lipstick you may see on social media. So this is me, being real and transparent, and pulling back the curtain.
Even though I’ve been meaning to write this for a while, I chose today to write this because today was one of my infamous “down days.” If you struggle with depression and anxiety, then you already know what I mean. If not, then the best way I know how to explain my “down day” is I feel like I am in the lowest part of the valley.
Today I woke up feeling paralyzed. I had no motivation to move. I slept for about 14 hours and then could’ve slept more. My body physically gave out on me. I felt so fatigued for no reason. I have a piercing headache from my anxious brain running a mile a minute. I didn’t wanna answer texts or calls. (Sorry to my brother and my mentor.) I didn’t wanna eat. Hell, I didn’t even wanna move to pee, and I was kinda mad I couldn’t sleep in a diaper like my 21-month-old. And on these days more than others, the idea of having to leave my house and be social LITERALLY gives me mini panic attacks. Coincidentally, today we had doctors appointments and church. Yay.
Now this isn’t what every day looks like for me. Sometimes I have “stuck days”. On “stuck days,” I function. I say that like I’m a machine, well, because that’s how it feels. I’m just a machine moving and going through the motions, numb to my emotions. I wake up, I do the things, and I go to bed. There’s so excitement, no sadness, just flatlined numbness.
On good days, my “up days,” I feel good. I feel normal. I feel whole. I feel loved. I feel happy. On these days, my creativity sparks new ideas, I’m motivated to do new things and encourage others. I fully enjoy spending time with my family, playing with my boys, going on adventures. On these days, I feel like Caitlyn.
I am very blessed to say that, when it comes to my depression, I do have way more “up days” than I do “down days” and “stuck days.” A big part of that is God’s hand in my life, and another part is my medication. And I will say, I’ve tried about six or seven different medications, and this one I’m on now has been by far the best for me, but it’s man-made…so it isn’t perfect, and it isn’t a perfect cure. So I don’t suffer as much as I was, but I still struggle. And I know there’s such a stigma around antidepressants, and for YEARS I fought tooth and nail because I did NOT wanna be that person that relied on medication to feel normal. I still don’t wanna be that person.
The difference between then and now? Now I’m a mom. Now I have tiny humans that expect me to give them the very best version of myself every single day, and their well-being literally depends on me. So now, yes, I do everything in my power to give them the best version of myself every day. Even if that means taking a little white pill.
Now that I’ve kinda just rambled, I figured I could throw out why I’m even writing this in he first place. My job as a wife is to be loving, supportive, be a friend, be the other half of a whole…even if I’m not feeling whole. My job as a mom is to be patient, be a giver, be comfort, to be light in the darkness. My job in network marketing is to be a leader, a role model, an inspiration, be a friend. None of anything I just said sounds like depression, am I right? So how do I do all of this?
My depression and anxiety are a part of me, but they don’t define me. They don’t rule my life. Sure, there’s days like today where I miss out on things like playing in the first snow with my boys because my body just felt like I hadn’t rested in 4 days. On days like this, I pray even harder, and I tell myself that sometimes it’s okay to not be okay.
Most people don’t know any of this about me, because it’s not something that I stamp on my forehead and walk around downtown with. And that part reminds me to never be too quick to judge someone, because we never know their full story. This isn’t even MY whole story; it’s just a minor detail sprinkled throughout the chapters. And writing this, being transparent with you, this is almost therapeutic. And if you suffer from depression or anxiety, then that’s really all we need on the darkest days; something to lighten the load a little.
Sleep. Pray. Sleep some more. Pray some more. Take a bath. Take a drive. Read a book. Hug someone. Hold your babies. Remember there’s more to you than your depression. Remember you’re loved. Remember you matter. You matter.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28