Yesterday marked a major milestone. I had my last therapy session yesterday morning and I am a bit sad that the stranger who played a significant role in my life for a few months is now gone. She listened to me, and made me feel that my voice was being heard. And now it’s gone.
I started going to therapy earlier this year. Many factors brought me to the realization that I needed support. I am a wife, a mom to two toddlers, a college student, and a part time intern with a chronic illness (fibromyalgia). There were also other responsibilities outside of these roles and it added to everything.
I was taking three classes, some at night. I was waking around 4:45am to prepare lunches, get myself and the girls ready to take them to school by train. We were usually out of the door by 7:15am and at their schools by 8am. I then commuted to work for about another thirty-five minutes.
Whether it was school first or work first, my schedule was always consistent with the frequent commuting. I rode the train back to pick them up, then we returned home. We then did baths, dinner and story time. After that came clean up and tons of homework that on average had me up till 12am and sometimes later.
If you do the math, I was getting no more than five hours on a typical night. Weekends were not any better, because I tried to cram in activities for the kids, more studying and household chores. I had no social life. Everything I did was for my children and my education. I had been doing this for a year and I was burning out quickly from both ends.
I was sleep deprived and extremely fatigued all the time. I found myself going into my closet to cry more often than I could count. I didn’t want my children to see me like that. I was in more pain than I had been in a long time, but I kept pushing myself. I got frequent fibromyalgia flares that lasted longer with more fibro fog symptoms. It was bad. It was really bad.
There was one incident that took place. It was so insignificant, but I had such a strong reaction to it. I was irritated by it and I let it be known. I upset my mom. The following day was Mother’s Day and I was crying to my mom in her kitchen. Even writing about it makes me want to cry. All I kept saying to my mom was, “I’m so tired mom,” while crying.
Shortly after, I made an appointment at my college’s counseling center. I knew it was time to seek an objective sounding board. I could no longer tell myself I was managing things, because I wasn’t. I was barely surviving. I was hanging by the skin of my teeth.
I finally had to acknowledge during our initial meetings that I wasn’t taking care of myself and I was doing such a poor job of it. I was taking care of everyone, and neglecting myself. It was only then change began to take place.
The unfortunate part is this story is so common for so may women, and yet this vicious cycle keeps repeating itself decade after decade, century after century. So many factors impact our wellness, but knowing that there are resources and a community willing to help makes a world of a difference.
I am happy to have gone through this painful and torturous experience, because I now have the right tools for maintaining my wellness. I am feeling better. No more crying in my closet. I fall asleep many nights with my kids, and I have many more outlets to cope with stress and anxiety.
Being well is easier said than done. It is an uphill battle, and it will never be perfected, but it is worth being made a priority. A well woman is a well wife, a well mother, a well daughter and a well friend.
Make the step today.