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MidAge Mom is for women who are parenting in midlife rather than celebrating the empty nest on a beach in Bali . . .

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Finding Myself Again

findingmyselfagain_konstantinsutyagin_dreamstime

If there’s anything as difficult as experiencing severe anxiety and depression, it may be emerging from it.

In the past three years, I’ve been missing in action, all my projects on hold. I spent most of my time just trying to get through the day and keep my head above water, anxious and depressed.

Now that I’m feeling better, every day is bringing new discoveries about who I am or what I want to be. As I look at the projects left unfinished in the computer, it’s confusing and disconcerting at times, shocking at others, to discover pieces of myself I’d long ago forgotten or put on hold. Am I still capable of being that person now? Do I try to go back to her, somehow integrating the last three years of craziness? Or is that impossible? How do I even find where I left off when I started to feel badly?

Recently in the computer I found a messy but lengthy draft of a book for midlife moms. I knew I’d compiled something, but was shocked at how long it was. What do I do with it? Some of it is good. Some of it is not. Do I try to integrate the good stuff with the experience that followed in the past three years or do I start over again?

While I’ve been sick, my children have been growing up on me. One is now at college and the other is constantly at ballet and will go to college in less than two years. I’d been writing about parenting when I got sick, but these days I face more the challenge of the almost empty nest. And I can’t help but feel bad about being missing in action for three years of my kids’ childhoods, though neither of them seems to hold it against me. Indeed, if one thing is clear it is how relieved both of my children are to have me feeling better.

It’s all exciting, if confusing, at times. It feels good to excavate pieces of myself. For instance, I knew I had been sending out a newsletter and had a list of recipients for it. But I didn’t have the faintest idea where all that was.

Yesterday I found an entire account on iContact.com, along with my login information and past newsletters. After watching a few video tutorials, I learned to use it again and this morning, I sent out a new newsletter complete with the story of my illness. I called it “Catching Up.”

So that’s one piece of myself that I’ve found and it feels good. With the help of my website designer, I also learned to use this blogging platform again. There are other parts that are still missing, and it is going to take some time to integrate the new me with the one I’m finding in bits and pieces on the computer. All I can do is start where I am, and sometimes that means starting all over again.

About the only thing I know for sure about this self-discovery process is that nothing seems to help more than writing about it.

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Is there a part of you that needs to be reclaimed? Share by commenting below!

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                                                                                      Photo © Konstantin Sutyagin/Dreamstime.com

Disclosure: I use some affiliate links. If you click and buy a product, I make a small commission. Thanks for your support!

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Saying Goodbye

sayinggoodbye_sebastiangh_dreamstimeWhoever said on Facebook that having a kid in college means saying goodbye over and over again had it right. And it’s not easy.

Our older daughter, Isabelle, left bright and early yesterday morning for Tulane University after spending four nights with us over Thanksgiving. And I can’t believe she’s gone already. The house feels empty without her, as if something huge and important is missing that should be replaced.

Didn’t we just go through this a few months ago? And we’ll go through it all over again in another month when Isabelle comes home for Christmas.

Somehow, though, I don’t think I’m ever going to adjust; in my mind my older daughter remains a permanent fixture on the couch with weird hours. I don’t even mind being woken up at 3 a.m. when she’s home. Or let’s just say that I adapt pretty well to her late hours.

But she’s not a permanent fixture so I better get used to this coming and going, especially over the holidays. Having a kid in college means saying goodbye a lot more than I’d like, particularly between November and January.

But then, we can’t keep them from growing up, can we?

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                                                                                      Photo © Sebastiangh/Dreamstime.com

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For the Better or Worse

I finally understand the meaning of the phrase “for the better or the worse” when it comes to marriage.

In the past three years, I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression. As a result, my marriage has weathered some difficult times, and my husband, Bill, has faced some tough challenges.

betterorworse_galeverhague_dreamstimeIt’s a testament to how strong our bond is that we’ve made it through and a measure of his commitment that he’s still here. Now that I’m feeling better, I’ve had a chance to appreciate the difficult role thrust upon Bill and how much he’s done for me.

Perhaps most difficult was his decision to get me electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which involves shocking the patient with electric current so that they have a seizure. (I just had a treatment this morning.) Experiencing convulsions and seizures on my own, I wasn’t in any condition to make the decision myself. But the treatment is somewhat controversial and other family members were divided over whether to do it.

Bill made the decision to move forward with ECT after asking himself what I would do if I were well. For guidance, he thought about how I had decided to have hip replacement surgery  a few years earlier. In that case, after trying various therapies for a year, I decided to follow my doctor’s advice and get my hips replaced. Getting ECT seems to have been the right choice; since having it I’ve felt like a new person.

But that was just one of Bill’s challenges. For three years, he dealt with a weepy, needy, anxious wife. One day Bill left his desk at work for a few minutes and returned to find seven messages from me. In addition, he had to communicate with numerous doctors, manage my medications, deal with my frequent fainting spells and make the difficult decision to hospitalize me three times. I can’t say I enjoyed it in the hospital but putting me there seems to have been the right thing to do.

And that’s not to mention all that Bill’s done to cover with our two children during my anxious period. My husband took our older daughter, Isabelle, to four cities to visit nine colleges the summer before last. I don’t even remember them going. He also took Isabelle to the hospital for a kidney infection and accompanied her to the emergency room for subsequent complications while I was sick.

My older daughter says that seeing us get through all this has helped her understand what marriage is all about and why I married him. I can’t think of any better decision I’ve ever made.

So consider this post a thank you, Bill, for all that you’ve done in the past few years. I wouldn’t have gotten through it without you and I’m sure some husbands would have left.

In our case, for the better or the worse has also meant for the crazier. I’ve been lucky to have a husband who has stuck with me through thick and thin, and no one could be happier or more relieved than Bill to have me back.

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Have you ever suffered from anxiety or depressionShare by commenting below!

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                                                                                      Photo © Gale Verhague/Dreamstime.com

Disclosure: I use some affiliate links. If you click and buy a product, I make a small commission. Thanks for your support!

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