The Slippery Slope

I found myself going down that slippery slope this weekend…..You know the one where you start feeling sorry for yourself.  I HATE that slippery slope and I try to avoid it at all costs!  People always wonder how I get some things done….The secret is that my house is rarely clean and I have to stay busy to avoid that slope.

I knew something was different with Brian a few months after he was born.  I was all set to try my hand at nursing but was so disappointed when Bri didn’t nurse well and was labeled “failure to thrive.”  I put an incredible amount of pressure on myself because I had so much support from family and friends to breastfeed, that I felt like I wasn’t only disappointing myself and Bri, but everyone else as well.  It was later in our journey that I found out his hypotonia was one of the contributing factors to his inability to create a proper latch and use his muscles to suck.

He was such a good baby and rarely cried (Molly on the other hand was just the opposite!)  He was so good that I was worried about the fact that he would lay on the floor for long periods of time and be perfectly content.  My best friend remembers one of our conversations where I mentioned autism to her.  Strange how a mom seems to know things in her gut from the very beginning.

From that point on, so many things happened one after another.  I was busy scheduling appointments, getting referrals, traveling from our home in Germany to visit my parents and see some specialists in Alabama, trying to participate in the Family Readiness Group (FRG) of my husband’s unit,   and get to the gym to workout every chance I could.  CRAZY BUSY!

I guess people have their own way to avoid the slippery slope of depression, mine is to stay as busy as possible.  If I give myself too much time to sit down and relax, I find myself thinking nonstop.  If there was a way to relax and turn my brain off, I would be all set!  I haven’t found a way to do that yet.  Let me know if you have any ideas.

When we moved from Germany to Ft. Drum, New York, Brian still wasn’t walking yet.  I do remember that Morgan was there when Brian took his first steps (21 months old), so that was something worth celebrating!! Morgan had already been deployed a year to Afghanistan, and he deployed two more times while we lived in NY.  One year was to Iraq and then the 3rd deployment was back to Afghanistan.

I have to admit that I’m not one of those military wives that have the deployment dates memorized.  With everything going on with Brian, and then being pregnant with Molly during the last deployment, the dates are all a blur.  I guess part of the reason is because when Morgan was home, he was also leaving for schools and TDYs, so it was hard for me to keep everything straight.  All my calendars and dates are somewhere in my scrapbooking supplies that I will one day use again.

Between everything else, one of my obsessions in New York was baking.  I enjoy making cakes, cupcakes and little treats for Bri, his friends at school and the staff that works so hard with Bri.  This actually became a problem at Bri’s preschool because his first teacher thought I was using it as bribery.  No joke!  After I talked to the administration and they realized that it was my therapy, they approved the treats.  I understand where the first teacher was coming from, but it truly was my therapy at the time.  I remember staying up all night to make some of the cakes.  Yes, I was crazy but it kept me from thinking too much!

Apparently she has really short legs....oops!

Apparently she has really short legs….oops!

 

Bri really loved this one!

Bri really loved this one!

 

A little over the top for a 2nd birthday?!?  Perhaps....

A little over the top for a 2nd birthday?!? Perhaps….

So while I had a blast making a lot of fun cakes and learning something new, it wasn’t a good mix for another coping mechanism of mine, eating!

You’re depressed – you eat food – you gain weight – you’re more depressed!

Such a vicious cycle and nearly impossible to conquer!  I did when I was living in Germany with the help of some amazing workout friends and trainers (thanks to Carol, Brandy, Shelly, Caiti, Jess, Kathleen, Amanda, and Bethany!)

Once I moved to NY and started baking and raising a special needs child, my weight skyrocketed again.  My mom always battled weight problems and I’m finding myself right in her shoes.  I hate that I’m so weak but I imagine any addiction is like that…alcohol, smoking, drugs, porn and even food.

Shortly before we moved to Alabama, I started working out with some friends at the gym.  Becky, Katie, Katie and so many others starting motivating me again.  I was really starting to feel good about myself and then we moved to Alabama.  I tried working out at a new gym but I haven’t really made any close workout friends.  Sure there was always Maria and Tammy, but those sexy ladies were so fit already and both have moved away.  I found myself avoiding the gym and I ended up canceling my membership using our budget as an excuse…..and I’m going down the slippery slope once again.

This past weekend was a very trying weekend with Bri attacking Molly and pulling out huge amounts of hair.  I had to keep Bri away from Molly all weekend which proved extremely frustrating, tiring and very depressing.  I had a lot of time to think….

I thought about how much easier life would be if we were a typical family.  If I was like other parents and could easily take two kids anywhere……plan out all of the extracurricular activities Bri would be doing at this age…..plan a vacation where you didn’t have to think about crowds, safety latches on everything – especially doors, moving everything breakable within reach, having your kids listen to you and not try to run away……going to someone’s house and not having to worry about your son making poo art or breaking something……going to a movie or a restaurant…..playing at a playground with both kids…..

Then you start sliding down the slippery slope and you have to bring yourself back.

Sometimes you have to start with the fact that you’re alive!  Last year in less than a 2 week period in November, my cousin lost his wife to breast cancer and my aunt died from complications of Lupus and a heart-attack.  Both of those women would give anything to still be alive today and watch their children grow up, get married and have children of their own.  When I think about this, I get so angry at myself for not living every day to it’s fullest and savoring every moment!

Once I have my head on straight after those thoughts, I realize that there are so many more things that I need to be grateful for and I need to stop feeling sorry for myself.  Bri has taught me to slow down and look at the smallest details that the average person wouldn’t even notice.  He has taught me to celebrate every_single_success no matter how small.  He’s taught me to love unconditionally.  He’s taught me to have an incredible amount of patience.  He’s taught me to treasure every sound that comes from his lips.  He’s taught me kindness for others, especially those with special needs, that I might never have experienced if he hadn’t opened my eyes to a new world.  He’s taught me that every life is valuable and has a purpose.  He’s taught me that there is no “normal”, just a different way of thinking and seeing the world.   He’s taught me to be a better person.

So if you find yourself sliding down that slippery slope like I was this weekend, start thinking about all the good in your life.

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