I was on the phone, wearing a fussy baby in a sling and pacing the apartment to keep him happy, when the doorbell rang. The dog flipped out. I thought the mail carrier was delivering our new phones, and I felt like I had to catch him and sign for the package. Nathan was going without a phone. His was broken, we panicked, we discovered that we were eligible for the 2-year-upgrade, and now we both have new phones. Are you getting a picture of everything that was going on in my head? I managed to cram “put on shoes” in there, and we were out the door. Which locked. Behind us. And I didn’t have the keys.
I locked us out.
I know, I know. The police aren’t coming to arrest me for child endangerment for getting stuck in the hallway. I didn’t even lock us out of the building. I didn’t leave the baby inside. In fact, we ended up spending time with our lovely neighbors. We had a good time! They love Walt. We really like them. In fact, they walked our dog, Lewis, when I was in the hospital having Walt!
So why have I spent the past two days spiraling down a tunnel of anxious thoughts leading to the “I’m a bad mother” abyss?
I am afraid that this was the first of many mistakes. What if I start locking the keys in the car? What if I forget to pick him up from school? What if he has to climb through windows all his life when I lock us out again? What if I do actually put him in danger? What if this just proves what I have suspected all along–that I am not a responsible, trustworthy person?
There is so much anxiety now that didn’t exist on Wednesday morning. It’s really intense! I don’t want to leave the house. I had a nightmare last night that I got separated from Walter while traveling and couldn’t get back to him. I had left him without a bottle of milk, without formula, without a carseat so someone could drive him to me. I woke up fighting my way against the current of a crowd trying to catch a train, knowing that he was already miserably hungry and doubting that I would ever reach him.
Look at this child! He is so perfect!
How can he be mine? Surely, he must deserve a mother who remembers to take a picture of him in the same spot every month to mark his growth or, at least, a mother who leaves the house every day. Maybe even just one who gets dressed every day.
I don’t know how to get out of this, today. It doesn’t seem to be getting worse. His dad stays home to help out on days like today, working on grad school stuff in the mornings, when Walter usually sleeps well. I can feel the panic lurking. It makes me just a little bit spacey, a little distracted. My breath is a little too shallow. I’m not depressed. But I can see it–how I might get from here to depressed. Which is, believe it or not, a good sign.
Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, sums up everything you need to know about depression in one simple phrase: Depression Lies. Watch the video. Do it. I’ll wait.
Ok, back? Now: if I were actually depressed, I would really and truly believe that Walter and Nathan and even Lewis would be better off with a better wife/mother/me. As long as I am here, writing about how having thoughts like this totally sucks, then I am ok. I am looking at the thoughts, and pointing at them, yelling at them, telling them to go away. I know that they are lies. When I start believing the lies depression and anxiety spew, it’s time to worry.
Now is the time to fight.
Pajamas aren’t so bad, when I think about how hard I am fighting today to remember the truth. It’s tiring. In fact, I’ll show you, because I am brave and now have a phone that does self-portraits, what days like today look like. I could use a shower, but I’ve looked and felt worse than I do now. Which is like this: