written in March of 2022
It was just supposed to be a trip to Target. My daughter woke up with a stomach bug at 6:30 this morning. We were in survival mode the last month, so we didn’t have any of the necessities needed when a child is sick. The early weeks of my medication change make my pre-depression bubbly personality feel foreign; instead, I feel more sad, easily irritated, anxious, and uncertain if I can continue living this life.
Taking a deep breath, I fumble with the zipper on my coat, trying to slide it up, but I feel like my fingers will not work. I haven’t driven a car in the last two weeks; let alone tried to put on my coat or get ready to go somewhere. I hoist myself into the driver’s seat, trying to tell my brain how to operate a car. My brain feels foggy. Immediately the negative thoughts catapult towards me, “How are you ever going to be able to take care of the kids on your own if you can’t even drive the car? How are you ever going to be able to do this? You can’t do this. Just give up now.” I breathe in the cold air and I turn the keys in the ignition. The engine roars, bringing our Chevy Traverse to life; this contrasts the way I feel inside-dead. I back out of our garage, the whole time narrating to myself how to do a task that used to be part of my daily life. I exhale, thinking to myself, “You can do this. Reese needs these things from Target, so you have to do this. Is this what my life will become? Only being able to do things simply because my children need them, not because I want to do them?” I try to block out the thoughts and focus on driving the car.
It is a charcoal gray day outside. A light snow dusting sprinkles the ground; in Indiana we are never happy when snow falls in March. However, the kind of unhappiness I feel is not just because of snow in March. It is a deep depression that feels like it is unmanageable to find the good in any part of life. I keep driving, watching the stoplights closely to make sure I don’t miss one. Every time I careen to a stop, I am consistently one foot in front of the line where the car should stop. My body doesn’t remember how to do a simple task, like pressing the brake with my foot. Again, the thoughts assault my mind, weighing me down like a backpack full of bricks, “You will never be able to take care of your kids again. You will never be able to take care of others again because you can’t even drive.”
Making it to Target, I fumble to get my phone out of the cupholder. All I have to do is enter the number of the drive up spot where my car is located, but that even feels foreign to me. With a trembling hand, I press the one on my keypad. “I can’t believe you can’t even go inside to pick up your order. You’re going to make someone come out in the cold to bring you groceries because you are inept of doing it yourself? You are terrible.” This narrative floods my mind without even trying. A young Target worker carries out my order and I show her my confirmation number. She opens the trunk door, heaves the bags inside, and pulls the door closed. With all of my energy, I muffle, “Thank you. I hope you have a good rest of your day”.
With a trunkful of items needed to tackle the flu, I begin my trip back home. Again, driving this route is familiar to my daily life; however, now it takes everything in me to complete this task. I can feel my chest tightening and the tears pooling in my eyes. I look out the windshield and wonder, “When will I start to have joy again in my life? When will I feel happy?” Right now it feels like I may never feel happy again. I don’t hold the tears back; I let them cascade down my face. The release of emotion is healing, but also thoroughly draining. I pull into the garage, open up my door, slam it behind me, and open the trunk. The cold air hits my face. I feel like it’s all that I can do to stand up and try to breathe in the frigid air. Just as I am leaving to go inside and deliver the puke tool kit, a wind gust hits my face. In that moment, I feel like God is trying to tell me He is there. He sees my pain and just as my husband and I are trying to care for our daughter, He will care for me-His daughter. This truth doesn’t make the pain go away, but it does comfort me. God is with me and He is with you AND it might take everything in you to make it to Target and that’s okay.
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