You know. The whole "walked to school, uphill, both ways" kind of mentality.
But things were simpler back in those days than they are now. In some ways, things were better. But in other ways, not so much. Children and adults with mental or physical disabilities often were outcasts. Freaks. And Circus side-shows. People with "issues" were confined to asylums, locked in attics, and treated less than human. They were marked as damaged goods. Something to be ashamed of like a dirty little secret. Fragile. Weak. "Nervous." My own aunt was hospitalized and given shock treatments after suffering a nervous breakdown. That wasn't very long ago. She literally was strapped in a bed by the arms and legs and given doses of electric shock.
In my parents' generation, admitting you need help or support is admitting you couldn't handle it.You're not tough enough. The stigma associated with mental illness, disabilities, and disorders is staggering. So much so that we have teens who feel so alone, so desperate. Ashamed. Overwhelmed. Confused. Some self-medicate. Others participate in risky behaviors. Sometimes sadly, they even take their own lives or someone else's.
Do you know what it feels like? To feel so much pressure to be perfect? To never fail or disappoint?
The fact is, mothers AND fathers AND children have a lot more on their plates now than my parents and their parents before them. It's apples to oranges. What happens when we place those expectations on ourselves and each other is that something eventually has to snap. It's the law of physics. If you apply enough pressure to something, eventually it breaks.
Some of the major life changes people go through are death, moving, the birth of a child, miscarriage, and career change. Of those events, I have gone through all four in the past six years. We've had several deaths in our families, Desi and I uprooted our family for a career change, I left teaching, opened a business, and our youngest daughter was born. And then I miscarried Thing 3.
For the past six years, I've felt things slowly unravel. The pressure I put on myself was slowly beginning to suffocate me. Pressure. To be the crafting, homeschooling, sexy mom with dinner on the table and a smile on her face? To never make a mistake or let anyone down. To be all and do all from everyone.
That's a lot to manage. And it wasn't realistic. For a Type A person who thrives in structure and routines, I should have seen it coming. It was the perfect storm. Everything about my personality and genetics that made me a great teacher and mother and wife before, started to pull me apart from the inside.
I lost my identity. I became that wife. The kind of wife who stayed at home milling my thoughts in my head around and around all day. Then laying in to Desi the second he came home. The demons who lurked inside slowly started taking over.
First, the insecurities came. Insecurities with myself, my marriage, my choices, my future.
Then the resentment. I am not happy and no one knows how I feel.
Then the unhappiness. The depression. The anxiety. I am just SO tired.
Then, in December my Gramma passed away. The legacy she left was of abuse and manipulation. And material things. But never love. She tortured the people around her. She beat the shit out of my mother as a child. She continued to beat her up emotionally right up until the day she took her last breath.
It was in that span of time that I started to ask questions. I started to remember things I didn't want to remember. I knew I had to do something for myself and my family. For my children. Or I was afraid I might slip down the same road.
And that scared the total shit out of me.