(Contains some course language so don't be surprised).
The view from the toilet.
No... Seriously this is our master bathroom in all its glory. I'm not even kidding you. I’m currently sitting on the throne looking at this mess and thinking to myself…” WOW! From the outside you really seem like you’ve got your shit together, when all along here you’re medicated and barely holding on most days.”
I’m “that” mom who really , truly looks like she has it “all together" and who actually is struggling at the best of times. I’m in that part of my life where I’m past the early years with tiny children running around making me feel like my life was going to explode at any minute. I’m past the stage of what feels like a LIFETIME of trying to figure out what makes me tick. What do I like, what do I love, what makes me want to get out of bed in the morning and keep on keepen on?
Back up a little bit and I had just had my first child. I was new to this whole mom thing and still going through a shit ton of issues with my own mother. Meanwhile I also wasn't feeling strong enough to have a voice with those around me demanding I be something I wasn't. Looking back on what was most likely a serious case of post partum that my “a” type personality wouldn’t let me accept as fact. I kept going strong with the biggest , happiest most fake smile I could muster up on my face. In fact, I did this twice more! I kept on going, bringing two more beautiful girls into this world and still managing that shitty fake smile.
It wasn’t until we sold our first home we built together that I actually hit my rock bottom. I think at that time I had finally filled my plate overfloweth and something needed to give before the plate cracked. I was now caring full time for a 12 month old, a 3.5 yr old and one just starting kindergarten. My photography business was taking off and my President position at the preschool was really keeping me on my toes. Seriously… I’m not even kidding, typing that just exhausted me. So now add in designing another WHOLE home inside and out, while working with the banks and brokers to find money to pay for this madness… Had I mentioned that we also just purchased our first business??? I almost forgot about that! We had decided that I could stay home and fill packages for HopDawgs while the “wee” ones napped or after the kids were in bed at night… We never took into account the extra book keeping tasks, ordering product time, responding to emails etc. etc. You get the point, we had both officially LOST our freaking minds and yet at this time in life, this all seemed very “normal” to us.
So by this point you see that I was about to looooose my shit right quick. This for me was the turning point in my life where I realized that all of this needed to change. I NEEDED to start picking and choosing what would stay in my life and what would go. I stepped down from my president position and took a huge blow to my ego. I felt relieved that I had decided to let something go that was NOT bringing me pleasure. At the same time I was ashamed that I couldn’t manage to continue doing ALL of the things I seemed to had managed so well for so long. Next to go was photography as a business. I realized that although I LOVED photography, doing it as a business didn’t serve me. So at this point I am feeling somewhat better about life “insert cough here”. I’ve given up two things that were no longer serving me but my plate was still VERY over full. We managed to get the funding in place and buy our dream property and start building as QUICKLY as we could because well…. We were about to be homeless and we had to move in with the inlaws (bless them for putting up with the madness). We had a booming business and had decided to put Charlotte into daycare, at this point Amalia was also starting kindergarten. We were loading the house into a C-can with no finite date on when we would see it again.
We managed to get all moved in with the inlaws and were nearing completion on our beautiful and absolutely perfect farm house. I had decided at this point that we would also open an air bnb on the property. Since I would be on the property working all the time anyways I could just add that to the to-do list. I also need to mention that I was popping ibprophen for “pain” that just wouldn’t go away (NO WONDER). Life was insane and to make matters worse, out of nowhere I had started puking every morning around 9:30am like clockwork. I'm not even kidding you, I know you’re wondering at this point how I am still alive right!?? There was no reason why I should be so sick to the point that I couldn’t even function and OH YAH….We had just got a puppy against my mother in laws strong disapproval (I'm sorry Debbie). It was HER house after all…OMG what the hell was I thinking! You guys it was terrible, I would drop the kids off at school and check on our new build. I would then drop the wee one off at daycare and try to make it home before I would start puking. This wasn’t just a bad flu or something I ate, this was pain and sweats all over my body like I had never experienced before. Retching and retching for what felt like hours. If I was lucky to make it home on time before the puking would start I would have the comfort of the floors, a rug and the toilette. But when I wasn’t so lucky and I had stopped at the veterinary office to drop a pee sample for our new puppy who had a bladder infection, I had to run out the front door and puke in their gardens. I cleaned myself up a bit and then got back into my van and made it across the street to the 7/11 where I would continue violently puking into a dirty, nasty public toilet.
WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!
Seriously. I’m not even kidding you. It was during this time that I had admitted personal defeat and decided that in order to make it through this ordeal (my life) alive, I was going to need to get on some good drugs. By drugs I man 60mg of APO-fluoxetine aka Prozac. You betcha I ugly cried, I ugly cried for days! I, Santana Brown was admitting that I could not cope and needed to go on antidepressants. Looking back now I probably could have also axed about half the shit on my plate and that would have also helped a LOT. Instead I held on to the tiny little bit of Ego I had left and headed to the doctors where they figured out that the cause of the vomiting was due to a bad case of H-Pylori (https://wb.md/2zy84Aq). Basically it causes ulcers to form and a tiny form of Bacteria to start eating through your stomach lining. Sounds fun doesn't it? It was anything but fun, it required a treatment of 14 pills a day for 14 days to kill off the bacteria. Afterwards of course they tell you that you're at a higher risk of stomach cancer and a repeat occurrence of the H.Pylori. Yay me.
So at this point you know I've completely lost my mind and you're shaking your head thinking "This girl is absolutely nuts". I suppose that's what happens when you have a workaholic mentality and a brain that doesn't shut off the constant chatter. I guess what I'm getting at here is that I should have
A. Asked for help either from family or my doctor.
B.Got on those damn pills years prior instead of remaining stubborn as fuck.
C.Talked about it in a social setting so maybe someone out there going through a similar thing could have suggested help.
All valid options for sure, but I'm honestly leaning towards being able to talk out loud about my situation so maybe someone could have nudged my in the right direction. Why did I feel that I couldn't talk about it? Why did I cover it up with a fake ass smile and keep going? WHY? Accepting help, accepting medication and accepting that I cannot do it all on my own should not have even been a question in my mind. It should be so fucking normal to talk about mental illness with anyone, that I should have never ever felt those feelings in the first place. I want that so badly for everyone struggling right now with some form a depression or mental anxiety or thoughts that don't shut off. I want everyone to feel ACCEPTED and "normal" because you wanna know what? I bet you in this day and age it is probably more "normal" for someone to have a mental disability then it is too not. Sad I know and I'm almost certain the number of people that have not come forward with their issues would make those numbers sky rocket.
Don't get me wrong, I am not pushing pills on anyone. I'm not suggesting that you should run to your doctor and preach that we all have something wrong with our brains. Rather I am suggesting that instead of covering your shit up with a fake ass smile, you talk about it. Stop filling your Instagram feed with the "highlights" and start talking about things that really matter. Stop pretending to be it all; and have it all and start talking about what makes us so happy or so angry or so constipated. Who knows, your story might actually be able to help someone who's suffering quietly. Most importantly I will guarantee you it feels a LOT better to speak up and just be you.