On Being Your Self

It is such a luxury to be your self in this life.

I used to take my self for granted. My little preferences and ways of being – I never gave them a second thought. Then three years ago I started suffering from severe anxiety and depression and that familiar self disappeared.

 

Replacing it was an anxious, shaky, weepy woman with a new set of behaviors. I went to bed at 7 p.m. Always highly organized and social, I suddenly didn’t return phone calls, texts or emails. I didn’t wear makeup or brush my hair and stopped reading. At one point, I didn’t take many showers, leave the house or talk much. Writing anything was unimaginable; I could barely pay our bills. I even stopped drinking coffee, one of my true loves, believing it contributed to anxiety.

And as hard as I would try, I couldn’t access my former self or to act any differently. Every day felt scary and impossible to get through. Life was a nightmare.

Lately, I’ve been feeling much better, probably due to the electroshock therapy or ECT treatments  I’ve been having. (Medication has not been very effective in my case.) And one of the first things I’ve noticed is that I feel like my self again.

Me Again

As I sit here writing and sipping coffee, I feel like the woman I once knew. I can’t tell you what a joy that is. To go to bed at 11 instead of 7, to wear lipstick, to be smiling instead of crying when I pick up my daughter from school – all this is thrilling. To be my self rather than that scared, depressed woman I was feels like a great treat, almost too good to be true.

Being your self – so simple and yet so profound. When you can’t access your self life can be pretty rough, both for you and for those around you. It’s a testament to my family that it has stood by me all this time. It can’t have been easy. My husband prayed for my return every day.

So I’m grateful and you should be too for that self you greet in the mirror every morning. It’s as if someone gave me back an old jacket that fits just right and looks good too. I didn’t realize how much I liked it until it was gone. But then, perhaps we are all a lot better than we recognize and should appreciate our selves more.

Isn’t it great to be who you really are?

(For a vision of my old self with young children, check out my book, Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life)

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What do you like about your self? Share by commenting below!

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  • Jennifer GoodSmith

    November 19, 2016 at 4:39 pm
    Reply

    What a great post Jen. So glad you have going your true self again!

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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.