A Cardigan and the Resulting Mood Disturbance

I fear that the effects of coming off my medications in preparation for pregnancy have started to manifest themselves. If I’m honest, the truth is that I haven’t really been doing the things I’m supposed to do to keep myself mentally healthy. I felt so much like my old self all my new ways of coping with stress and the structuring my days didn’t seem to be needed.

I was wrong.

The catalyst was a stupid cardigan. Since I’m a larger size than I used to be I’m having daily struggles to find something to wear to work. (This is mainly because I refuse to buy another larger size. I vow I will NOT stay this size.) I had an outfit in mind because I knew the pants would fit, but I couldn’t find the cardigan that went with it and it set me off. I spiraled. I’ll spare you the inner dialogue that had me screaming and crying but everything went from a missing cardigan to “I’m so fat and ugly” to “Life is so overwhelming, nothing ever goes right, I fucking hate everything.”  All the while, Hubs is trying to reign me in. He’s telling me how weight is a fixable problem and that I need to get myself to work and not let this instance ruin a whole day.

If you know me, mornings just aren’t my thing. Never have been, and I doubt they ever will be. Needless to say the cardigan went missing when I was already running behind. To top it off Baby Boy could feel my anxiety and it made him anxious in turn. He got clingy and needed extra holding. It’s for him that I feel the worst. He witnessed yet again in his short little lifespan his mother losing control. He even tried to comfort me by gently rubbing my face and arm while I held him. Obviously he had no idea what was wrong but he knew something was wrong with his mommy and it was upsetting him. By the time we eventually made it to daycare he was quiet and sullen. He clung to my neck when I took him in. The daycare lady asked me if he had a good morning, at which I couldn’t hold my tears in and said “No, we’ve all had a very rough morning.”

I didn’t want to, but I pried myself away from Baby Boy and went to work, practically crying the whole way. I legitimately felt that today would be have been a good day for a mental health day since I was stressed to the max before even leaving the house. I was a half hour late when I made it in. I really was in no mood to talk to anyone, but as soon as I got in people were knocking on my door. Then my assistant got sick and had to go home, so the option of leaving early after meeting deadlines was no longer available. Finally before lunch I made it down to see my very good friend on the first floor. (For now on I’ll just refer to her as Care Bear.) She knew right away that I was upset and let me cry in her office and tell her about my morning and how terrible I felt as a mother. As we were talking our dean came in and saw me crying, a side of me he’s never seen. Instead of letting me feel embarrassed, he laid on the encouragement. He doesn’t know anything about my mood disorder but he made a point of enthusiastically telling me that I’m a good mother and an outstanding colleague at work.  So between the dean and Care Bear I got a thorough pep talk and genuinely felt better.

No one may notice from the outside that I struggled with my moods today. I’m grateful the storm has passed, but I’m left with a sense of deep shame. I’m not ashamed that I had a hard morning and or that after 18 months I still haven’t figured out how to get in a good routine with my son. What shames me is that I let my mood negatively affect my family, especially my son. I feel like I took away his right to peace in our home. He shouldn’t be the one to comfort me in times of distress. I should be the one comforting him.

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