I’m writing this blog entry sitting on the deck of our cottage in Maine staring at the lake. Every summer we travel to Waterford, Maine to visit my dad and spend time at the family compound on Keoka Lake. My family has been summering here since the 1930s, and every summer we travel from South Carolina to Maine. This summer is the one-year anniversary of my depression diagnosis, and it’s humbling to think how far I’ve come. This time last year I was in a very different place. I’d been trying to balance work, family, and diabetes, and I was drowning. I couldn’t do it anymore. (I wrote about my depression diagnosis in a previous blog entry.)
I’d been apprehensive about traveling to Maine because of my depression. Daily tasks required a great deal of energy, but the tickets were booked, and my kids would have been devastated if I backed out. I worried that I would be expected to help out with various activities like boating and camping and hiking when all I wanted to do was sit on the dock and disappear. The idea of asking for help made me very uncomfortable, but I realized that not asking for help was part of the reason I was depressed.
My family stepped up and allowed me the time I needed to begin the slow process of healing. Every day I spent time on the dock and looked out at the flat, smooth surface of the lake. One morning I gathered my energy and went for a run. I ran to the base of Mt. Tire’m and climbed to the top. I stood on the flat, wide rocks at the top of the mountain and looked out at the view. There was Long Lake glistening in the distance, carving a snakelike path through the deep green sea of pine trees. There was the sun warming my face and the cool mountain air soothing my tired limbs. I turned and hiked back down, a little bit stronger.
We returned from Maine and I wrote a letter of resignation. I couldn’t do the supermom thing anymore. I returned to the office, took a deep breath, and handed my boss the letter. She recalled her days of trying to balance work and family life and accepted my resignation. I walked out of the office and a weight was lifted, but there was still so much more work to be done. The next several months were filled with highs and lows. The medicine kicked in and I no longer felt like I was drowning. I knew in my gut that I’d made the right decision, but I had to live with the stress that my decision had placed on our marriage. It was difficult to accept that my decision hurt my husband, but I also knew I had to give him enough time to come around.
It’s amazing to realize that a whole year has passed. It’s amazing to think I was ever so sad. My husband eventually came around and our marriage is even stronger. Leaving my job opened up more time for my marriage, my children, and myself. I no longer feel like I’m drowning. Now I am back at Keoka Lake with my family, and although it was one of the hardest years of my life, I am so grateful for the journey. Last night we piled into the boat and cruised out to the middle of the lake to watch the sunset. It’s a family tradition. We sang songs and watched as the sun turned the sky into a swirl of silver and gold. We laughed until our cheeks hurt and when it got dark, we turned the boat toward home and I closed my eyes to feel the cool breeze on my face.