Hey you lovely Rags to Stitches readers! My name is Ashley and I blog over at 5ohWifey: life as a mommy and cop’s wife. I am so so excited that Alissa is allowing me to take over her space for a little bit and share a bit of myself with you. So, first, a little about me. I am amazed every day by what God is doing in my life. I am a southern girl now living in California against my will. I am the wife of 5ohHubby who is a police officer and wonderful man and no that’s not mutually exclusive. I am a stay at home mom to an amazing little girl I call 5ohBaby and she is my whole world. We have probably the cutest, ugly dog out there (5ohPup).
I try to blog about what I know. I try to keep it as real as possible. I love to blog about my faith. I blog about everything from holding on tight to my little one to the time I accidentally fed her jalapenos. I write about both the joys and the stresses of being in a police marriage. I love to cook and sometimes make up my own recipes. Sometimes I get a little crafty and dabble in fashion posts. I want my blog to be a place where we can laugh together, cry together, and just be real with one another.
But, there’s a topic that’s on my heart that I’ve never written about before because I’m insecure, I’m afraid, I want to pretend it’s not true I just haven’t gotten around to it. If you met me in real life, you’d see that on the outside, I have a bubbly personality. I smile, laugh and I try to be funny. And sometimes this is the real me.
But the truth is I struggle, and I mean really struggle, with depression.
It comes in waves. It started almost as far back as I can remember. I never really understood what it was until high school. I was a cheerleader, I had friends, I had a boyfriend, I did well in school. But I was never happy. There was always something eating away at me but I never could quite put my finger on it. I was sad. I had no ambition. I felt desperate. I would out on my daily mask, stand in front of the proverbial, and sometimes literal, crowd, with a smile on my face and a cheer on my lips. I felt like I was living a lie.
I’ve tried to fight it in every way I can think of.
I’ve tried therapy but could never really open myself up to the doctors.
I’ve tried anti-depressants but they left me feeling completely numb and contemplating the value of my life.
I’ve tried self medicating through relationships, alcohol and all sorts of other ways I’m not proud of.
I medically withdrew from college for a few semesters in the hopes of just waiting this thing out.
I’ve tried just stuffing it deep deep down and pretending it doesn’t exist.
But none of these methods worked for me. It was still a cycle. Year by year the days would get darker until it took all I had to just get out of bed. It took a lot of pain, a lot of heartache, and a lot of years to realize the only way I could get through the hard times was to lean on someone who just got me.
Now, that person is my husband. I lean on him because I just can’t do it on my own. I need to ride the wave with someone else, who even if he doesn’t completely understand, tries to. He lays down on the floor next to me when I feel like I can’t get up. He holds me when I cry. He reminds me to hold on to my friendships and to prepare myself preemptively for when the depression hits. He makes sure I talk to someone when I need to. He always reminds me that I can try medication again if I want. He focuses my eyes and heart on God. He does this because he loves me.
And because it’s not just me I need to get up out of bed for anymore.
Isn’t she the best? My daughter needs a mother who is healthy. Plain and simple. I can’t stew in my depression. When I feel it coming on I prepare myself. I make sure to make plans with friends. I take my daughter on long walks in the sunshine. I turn off the songs that make me feel like I’m starting to slip. I push thoughts out sadness out of my head instead of dwelling on them. I pray.. a lot.
I am not cured.
I am not perfect.
I am not always happy.
But I am fighting.
There is an old saying that I love and every time I think about my depression I think about this. The saying goes “You can’t stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can keep it from making a nest in your hair”. For me, I realize that if I don’t want the numbness that medicine brings then I can’t help these feelings from coming. I can’t stop a thought from passing through my mind. But I can stop myself from dwelling on it, from spending all my time thinking about it, and from feeding in to it.
So that’s where I’m at today. Just now, after 27 years, able to share what’s on my heart. Doing everything I can to make sure my daughter’s world is full of happiness. And holding out hope for the future.