It’s a weird phrase, “Waiting for the other shoe to drop.” But I feel like that describes how I feel today. I looked up the phrase. Because it’s been going though my mind all day as I’ve been contemplating how to put my thoughts into words. It comes from the early 1900s when people would hear their neighbors shoe come off as they were getting into bed. They knew to wait for the second one because they would inevitably hear it next, right? If one shoe is coming off, the other one should come too. Something that’s expected that you are waiting for.
I don’t feel like this all of the time. But I’d say it happens often. Waiting for it. It’s weird how it works through me now though. Because one day I’ll feel it and the next day I won’t.
Today felt great. Today went great. We didn’t have melt downs. [[ Well except one. She broke something because she didn’t put it away how she was supposed to (despite me telling her a thousand times #momlife)… and this girl has a strong conscience because I wasn’t even mad and she still was sobbing. I just explained to her that mommy tells her to do things for a reason and it’s important to listen to me and be obedient when mommy asks. ]] I got to spend time individually with each girl. I got work done. Kept my house moderately clean. Did art and crafts with Winnie (which is her favorite thing in the world). Basically it was a day I’d put in the “win” category.
We went to the therapist and I talked with her about how Winnie was doing. Good news. (Click here to see what that was). But I talked to her about how I was doing too. I have graduated to every other week or a few times a month. Which is amazing. I’m doing well. I have good days and bad days. Every day is HARD. It’s so dang hard. I would use expletives if I could. It’s so so hard. All of the time. BUT… I’m getting out of bed. I’m accomplishing things. I’m able to help people. I’m keeping my kids as happy and carefree as I possibly can. I am keeping them as my top priority. I have happy moments throughout every single day. Despite the hard, we are silly, we do fun things, we love and snuggle all the time, we giggle often, we play games, we dance, we sing a lot. Winnie loves to sing. We are blessed. We have support. We have people. We are surrounded with love.
So with all this, I said to our therapist, “Sometimes I feel like I’m handling this too well. I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m constantly scared that I’m going to have a melt down and not be able to come back from it.” And as a good therapist (she’s amazing) does, she talked me through it. She reminded me of some things.
She reminded of when I came into therapy last November. I came in because my mom died of cancer unexpectedly when I was 16 weeks pregnant with Piper and (as you could assume) got moderate postpartum depression after she was born. By November, P had been alive six months and I still was depressed. I was falling apart several times a week. I had been the most amazing mom to Winnie and loved every second of parenthood, but it was like the hormones flooding my system after birth did something and caused me to not love being a mom. I hated that I didn’t enjoy it most days. I hated that more often than not I was waiting for Denny to walk in the door every evening rather that being surprised it was already 5:30. So I went into therapy and I went hard. Balls to the wall as the cool kids used to say in 1999.
I decided one Sunday that I didn’t want to feel like this anymore. I was sick of it. So Monday morning, I called. A therapist with no openings for weeks had a random cancellation and i got in. I immediately started by going 2 times a week. I remember the therapist saying, “I don’t think I’ve ever had someone volunteer to come twice a week.” Although she also said it would be good for me if that’s what I wanted to do. Then I actually did the homework she gave me. I worked my butt off. I gave everything I could to therapy. I wanted to be happy again. Not just some days but most days. I knew I would have bad days and grieve my mom or hard days where it was overwhelming to have two kids. But I wanted to feel like my content self.
I got a lot better. And by January I was going weekly; March bi-weekly. Denny noticed a huge difference with each passing week and month. So did I. I felt lighter. And more capable and strong. I had worked through my mom’s death and some other big traumas I’ve experienced in my life (these two deaths were the hardest but definitely not the first. My life is weird. Ask anyone who really knows me). I was doing better. Denny was happier. The girls were happier and Winnie was absolutely thriving. Piper had eased up a bit and wasn’t so difficult (she was one of the hardest babies in the history of babies). She was happier. We were all doing so well and were finally getting some relief. We just wanted normalcy.
And then life hit again. Clearly. Family stuff. Old addictions and habits from his childhood. Finding out about past abuses. Just a lot. And then the worst trauma of my life. By far. Times infinity. Which is probably what has brought you her.
But back to what my therapist was telling me… I had just worked so hard. I was in such a good place before this all came down. Denny and I were in a great place in our marriage and individually. I learned so many coping skills. I learned how to process things. I learned my strengths and weaknesses. I learned when I need to power through and when to go into a therapist. I learned what I’m capable of.
Today when I said, “What if I fall apart? What if I get depressed and can’t dig myself back out?” She said “You have fallen apart and you’ve put yourself back together. You won’t get to that point because you’ll know to come in.” And she’s right. I know that now. I know how to do this. My mom’s death was insanely hard and this was 1000000x harder. But I did it. I got through the worst of it with her. I miss her so much. But I was still healthy and happy and whole. And so now I’m working through this much larger loss. And I know that I will again feel healthy and happy and whole even if I miss him for forever. I can still have a great life. I fall apart all of the time. Every few days. But I pick myself back up and keep going. Because I have had to learn how to.
So yeah, it still kinda feels like the other shoe could drop. And yeah, I’m still scared of it. But I also know that if (or when) it does, it won’t be permanent. I’m not going to be stuck or feel that way for months at a time. Because I have been there and I know how to stop myself from going there again. I will let myself be sad and grieve and have bad days. But I know that it’ll be okay again. In a few hours or in a few days. And I’ll use the skills I’ve gained to get out of it and get back to work.
So come on shoe. Drop. I dare you.
But I’m okay if you don’t. It’s much more convenient that way.
But it’s fine. Whatever you wanna do. Shoe, you do you.
TLDR; Everyone needs therapy.