It was April of 2019, sitting in a woodsy breakfast café in St. George, Utah when I told the boys and Rock.
We had traveled from our home in Southern California a few days before. This was the morning after when just finished performing a successful and super fun Carole King/James Taylor Tribute Show at the Electric Theatre the night before with our friend and fellow musician, David Jorgenson.
The boys and Rock did such a great job on vocals, violin, sax, and percussion!
Me and David before the show. He did a great job on all things James Taylor!
After the concert and a fitful night sleep, I woke up in the rental, stared at the unfamiliar ceiling, and couldn’t stop crying.
There’s a normal case of the blues that can hit most artists after a big project ends... I felt it when I finished recording my first solo music CD in 1997, after directing the opening choir on a project with Celine Dion for a stadium of 17K people in 1998. And it happened when I published my first book in 2011.
I felt it after leading my first Italian retreat in 2017.
And I especially felt it after I delivered Caleb in 2004 and Seth in 2006 -- my two favorite artistic achievements ever.
Post-partum (which means “post-creative” in Latin) depression is a real thing in the body when you birth from the physical - - or mental or spiritual.
Tears. Blues. Feeling meh. Numb. Exhausted. Restless. Easily agitated. Not easily inspired…
All of those are classic symptoms of a big, creative push just being completed.
So, I would have called this the Post-Tribute-Show-Blues except it had been happening more and more. Not just after a significant event but on regular days like Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday...
My eyes swept across the faces of the three men I love more than anything in the world, and with tears in my eyes said, “I want you to know something I’m dealing with. I would love your help and I don’t want it to be a burden to you, but I need you to know: I feel like I’ve fallen in a hole -- a hole of depression -- and I can’t get out.”
As their smiles faded, they put down their orange juice and coffee, respectively, and concern filled their eyes.
I hated this moment and cherished it, too.
I felt such deep and immediate love from each of them but would have much rather figured it out by myself -- through my research, self-care, and spiritual practices; like I normally did for the things I worked on in my health, peace, or happiness. I tried to not involve the kids in something they didn’t have the power to make a difference in, but I didn’t want to hide from the people who loved me most and could help with the greatest heart.
I had tried so many other self-help things but it was time for the next level. I sighed and scanned their eyes… “I know that Hashimoto’s and hormones from peri-menopause don’t always play so well in the sandbox together. I think that my body is just changing to the next season and it’s just really bumpy for me right now.”
I felt the tears ready to spill over…
“Plus, you guys know the last year has just been particularly hard… losses of friendship, spiritual community, and some deep betrayals were just so gut-wrenching for me...”
They nodded. They knew. They had stood shell-shocked at some of the things that had happened. And on top of that, we had lost our homeschooling group that disbanded over some really unfortunate circumstances like bomb threats, broken communication, and bad leadership. Not small stuff.
Everything that was painful felt supersized.
So, in a year of a lot of loss and grief, it was hard to know how much was coming from circumstances around me and circumstances within me.
My head was down and I became particularly fixated with folding my napkin into the smallest triangle possible while I said the next part,
“Everybody seems to be recovering more quickly than I am and I have been wondering why. On the days when I don’t feel like I’m in a hole, I feel like I’m on one of those merry-go-round things at the park where you used to sit and I would run around and spin you...”
I looked at both boys who smiled sweetly and nodded,
“Well, some days I feel like, ‘Yes! I’m on the ride!’ But then, I get easily thrown off… it’s like the smallest thing can send me into orbit. I forget who I am and what I’m here to do and I can’t get back on again… it’s like it’s going too fast for me to jump back on.”
I couldn’t stop the tears now.
I knew that the boys couldn’t relate but that they cared so I had to give them something practical to do… to feel helpful and powerful to make a difference. I patted my face with the thick, mini-triangle I had created,
“Here’s what I think I need from you guys: Just some understanding that I’ve gone through a lot and my body is trying to make a transition. I could use a little more help around the house without me asking and you guys taking more of the lead on the meals…”
I paused and could tell they were more than fine with my requests so, I went on:
“I also need some more time alone. But also more time together. I know… that sounds crazy but it’s a different balance right now. So, maybe you guys could study more at the library than in our apartment but then, when we’re together we can chat and snuggle or go for a walk. I just feel like I need more space, less demands, and more fun connection.”
I felt their relief in their exhales. They could do that:
More cleaning: check.
More meal prep: check.
Less time at home: check.
More snuggle time with mom: check.
Even though I knew that wasn’t the whole thing that I personally needed, I had to delegate commensurate to what their level of development could handle at 16 and 14.
They all responded with so much love. Rock told me how he loved his unicorn. The boys all did a go team huddle over the table until they could hug me after breakfast.
I let myself be seen, known, loved and supported.
It's not my strongest muscle but on that day, in the hole, I got to practice what it is to call out and get helped.
Me, finding a unicorn after Rock called me one.
We went and performed an after-concert at Affogato's and sipped strong coffees before a hike in the red rocks to discharge the energy.
It was a perfectly-imperfect day.
So, that’s life. This has been our new normal for the last 2 years because hormones take some time to transition and life, as you know, in 2020 was like the whole world was going through menopause.
So, here I am: ebbing, flowing and changing as I learn me in a new season.
One where I transition from birthing babies to birthing my soul.
From meeting everyone's needs, to living in my ‘wants.’
To being Wonder Woman who does things on her own, to being part of The Justice League with my fellow superheroes of Rock, Caleb, and Seth and my closest, most trusted friends.
The guys are doing their part - so helpful.
Coronavirus lockdowns and the world going mad -- not so helpful.
Life has still been about staying on the merry-go-round and out of deep holes.
I wanted to let you know if you’re dealing with anything like this: You’re not alone.
It’s really important you know that -- because hormones can be both a distorter and an amplifier. Depression can be a distorter and an amplifier. Either or both of those can make you feel like fake things are real and everything is bigger emotionally than you can handle.
Feeling alone -- while you’re one click away from a scrillion people on the internet, or one call away from your bedroom to your family -- can seem like you’re in the Sahara desert, in the midday sun, with a thimble full of water.
There are many reasons we can feel blue:
To name a few…
We need to remember to:
- Reach out and be known
- Ask for support from family and friends (the non-toxic ones who will help and not gloat or gossip. You know what I mean…)
- Get to your trusted health professional who can help assess inflammation, deficiencies and chemical/hormonal imbalances
In the meantime, we can use our power to:
Whatever it is that you need, don’t let yourself spin out or fall too far, my friends. There is so much good in you and so much good for you. There is a reason that you’re in the place you are and there’s a pathway out.
If you can’t see the way through clearly, please reach out to those who can help.
It can make all the difference to you
And you, my friend, make such a difference in the world.
Life wouldn't be the same without you.
If you want to experience remarkable soul support and love through an empowering coaching session, please contact me for individual or small group sessions.