Finding Myself Again

 

If there’s anything as difficult as experiencing severe anxiety and depression, it may be emerging from it.

In the past three years, I’ve been missing in action, all my projects on hold. I spent most of my time just trying to get through the day and keep my head above water, anxious and depressed.

Now that I’m feeling better, every day is bringing new discoveries about who I am or what I want to be. As I look at the projects left unfinished in the computer, it’s confusing and disconcerting at times, shocking at others, to discover pieces of myself I’d long ago forgotten or put on hold. Am I still capable of being that person now? Do I try to go back to her, somehow integrating the last three years of craziness? Or is that impossible? How do I even find where I left off when I started to feel badly?

Recently in the computer I found a messy but lengthy draft of a book for midlife moms. I knew I’d compiled something, but was shocked at how long it was. What do I do with it? Some of it is good. Some of it is not. Do I try to integrate the good stuff with the experience that followed in the past three years or do I start over again?

While I’ve been sick, my children have been growing up on me. One is now at college and the other is constantly at ballet and will go to college in less than two years. I’d been writing about parenting when I got sick, but these days I face more the challenge of the almost empty nest. And I can’t help but feel bad about being missing in action for three years of my kids’ childhoods, though neither of them seems to hold it against me. Indeed, if one thing is clear it is how relieved both of my children are to have me feeling better.

It’s all exciting, if confusing, at times. It feels good to excavate pieces of myself. For instance, I knew I had been sending out a newsletter and had a list of recipients for it. But I didn’t have the faintest idea where all that was.

Yesterday I found an entire account on iContact.com, along with my login information and past newsletters. After watching a few video tutorials, I learned to use it again and this morning, I sent out a new newsletter complete with the story of my illness. I called it “Catching Up.”

So that’s one piece of myself that I’ve found and it feels good. With the help of my website designer, I also learned to use this blogging platform again. There are other parts that are still missing, and it is going to take some time to integrate the new me with the one I’m finding in bits and pieces on the computer. All I can do is start where I am, and sometimes that means starting all over again.

About the only thing I know for sure about this self-discovery process is that nothing seems to help more than writing about it.

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Is there a part of you that needs to be reclaimed? Share by commenting below!

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About Jennifer

A former journalist for The Wall Street Journal and Time, Jennifer is the award-winning author of Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life and pens the MidAge Mom blog.

She’s profiled exceptional women from the Middle East to Latin America. Widely published, her essays have been included in two anthologies.

Jennifer is also a frequent radio and TV guest. Full Bio

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In Beyond One, Jennifer chronicles her leap from one child to two, describing the enormous impact the second child has on a woman’s body, marriage, family life, friendships and work.

"Hull is the kind of woman many moms long to be friends with. . ." -The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Credits

The Wall Street Journal, Time, The Atlantic Monthly, CNN.com, MS., Parenting, Real Simple, Salon.com, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Working Mother, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, American Way, Brain, Child, The Christian Science Monitor, and more.