In 2004, there was a completely different version of me. That’s pretty normal, I suppose, since I’ve heard/read that your personality changes completely about every 7 years. But in this case, the change came pretty drastically and under really unpleasant circumstances.
In 2004, I was going to school and I was frighteningly close to graduating.The Spring of 2005 was going to be my last semester. I was also a regular attendee at church. I taught Sunday School. I was the Church Librarian. I was in the choir. I’d even attempted to start a young adults program to encourage newly graduated youth to stick with the church.
All of that was about to disappear, though I wouldn’t have believed it if I’d been warned. I loved my life. I loved God. I loved my new husband. Everything was great. And then my brother moved in with us.
Now, I don’t blame my brother for what happened. It took a lot of bad stuff, happening all at once, to knock me out of my life. But I can trace a lot of it back to letting him move in with us. Or at least, letting his wife move in with us.
Their marriage was basically over. They’d gotten involved in drugs and lost their house and their car. But my brother loved her, so he wanted to try to save their marriage. And I was witness to his attempts. He tried desperately to make her happy while she spewed venom at him. She would pick fights over anything and everything. She would convince him not to go to the day labor place, then complain about him not having money. She worked to sabotage his attempts to stay clean. She was basically just an unhappy person, trying to make everyone around her unhappy too. And I haven’t even gotten into the physical abuse she inflicted on him.
But this was the environment in my house as I began my last semester of school. Because they didn’t have a car, I basically became the household chauffeur. I would drive my husband to work, then take my brother to the day labor place (when he went). I’d either take him to a job site or take him back home to wait for a call, then go to class. After class, if I didn’t tutor, it was back home to wait for calls with my brother. Which meant I was trying to do homework and research amidst a lot of fighting. Eventually, I was so stressed, I couldn’t even concentrate long enough to read and comprehend a sentence. So, after talking to my husband and my adviser, I dropped out. The plan was to come back in the fall and finish, but I only just recently went back to school, so you can tell how that turned out.
Around this same time, I’d been working to start the young adult program at my church. Most Sundays and Wednesdays, it was just me and my husband. Occasionally, someone else would show up, but the other regularly attending young adult had declined to join us, stating that she felt it was an unnecessary division in the church. So, after continuing to try for a while, we quit and moved back in with the main adult group for Sunday School and Prayer Group.
Also, at this time, I was switching parts in the choir. I’d been a soprano since middle school but I was having problems with my voice so we decided that maybe I should try alto. But attempting to retrain myself for the alto parts was proving incredibly difficult.
So basically, I felt like a gigantic failure. And when my brother’s wife began turning her venom on me, it didn’t make things any better. I got depressed. I barely got out of bed. I stoppedclaning anything in my house. Things just piled up. And then I felt like a failure as a housewife, because look at my house! It was a terrible time, and even though we ended up evicting my brother and his wife, it kept going. I was severely depressed for six months before I finally said something to my husband. By that time, we’d already stopped going to church. He was working nights on the weekends, so he wasn’t going to wake for it on his own, and I wasn’t getting out of bed on any day of the week. I definitely didn’t have the energy to get us to church on Sunday.
When I started to feel better, I tried to get us back in church. But that same person who’d claimed that my young adult class was divisive invited us to attend (with her) the young adult class that was being attempted by someone else. That just made me depressed all over again. I was resentful of the other person because it seemed to me like they were succeeding where I failed. And then I felt guilty for being resentful because we’re all supposed to be on the same team and it’s supposed to be about God, not us.
So all of that is how I lost track of the most important thing in my life: God. I lost such complete track that when Disappearing Mommy Syndrome set in, I didn’t have an anchor to hold on to. And unfortunately, my husband lost track of God, too, so he couldn’t provide me with an anchor, either. But I have definitely learned that finding my way back to myself is a journey that involves finding my way back to God. And every day I seem to get a little closer to that person I was. Or, at least, a grown-up, Mommy version of her. And that’s why I’ve changed the name of my blog. To better reflect the journey that I’m really on. The journey to rid myself of all the things in my life that have separated me from the life I was meant to have. All the things that were caused by that period of depression. I’ve made a lot of progress. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of clutter and I’m back in church when I don’t have to work. But I haven’t been making it to Sunday School very regularly and my house has plenty of room for improvement. And there are still days when I fight with depression. But overall, I have direction now.
And knowing which way you’re going is half of the trip.