It’s OK Not to be OK

It’s OK not to be OK…

I love this photo of the 4 of us…and I hate it too.  I hate it because it was the last photo of all 4 of us. Together. Happy. Normal.  Two days later, I’m a widow and my children are left to grow up without a father.

These last couple months, I have not been OK.  We are building a house (which I am grateful for), pursuing my small business vision (which I am grateful for), taking care of a baby–and a 6 and 10 year old (which I am SO grateful for)…all great stuff.

 

 

I have been attempting to show up to functions, communicate and keep in touch with friends & family, and tend to the pressures of life in general without breaking. This past month’s icing on the cake, I found a lump in my right breast (which has been deemed benign, but worth watching), made the choice to discontinue nursing due to repeated bouts of mastitis (which is NO joke), dealt with the fact that I have lived life without my late husband, Kyle, for 6 whole y

ears as of November 26th, and now we are approaching my least favorite holiday of the year…Christmas.  I am not sharing all of that for sympathy in the least.  I’m sharing that in case you’ve had a crappy stretch of life too.  You’re not alone.

 

Marking off the days…

I took a photo of the calendar, waiting to be released after my mammogram and ultrasound….of all the days for my doctor to schedule it..ugh.  It made me think about how we are so busy getting through the day, just to check them off.  I’m tired of just getting through the day.  I want to love the day.  Every minute and every person in my day.

 

It’s been a season of busyness, lack of sleep, excitement, sadness, redirection, and acceptance.  My fuse has been short, my patience non-existent, and showing my children love and affection has been suppressed. I’ve been popping Xanax more than I’d like to admit. I had to FIRST accept that it is OK not to be OK in order to get the help I needed.  I didn’t even like me..so why would anyone else?  My big red flag was a friend of mine saying, “Wow, I’ve never seen you like this before!”, when talking to my kids.

 

I’ll admit…

I’d like to think I’m a stubborn, get through and survive anything kind of girl, but the last couple months have just about done me in.  I haven’t been the Mom my kids need, the wife my husband deserves, and fair to myself.  Anyone else feel like they should do it all with perfect hair, heels, and gratitude?! Guilty. Guilty of aspiring to achieve the unachievable.

 

It is in rare form that you will see me and my kids with it “all together”.  I see other moms with their perfectly coordinated outfits, their daughter’s hair neatly tied back with a bow, and their son with clean shoes and hole-less jeans…and instead of focusing on what I accomplished that day, all I can think about is everything negative about me and OUR appearance, or what I haven’t managed to do for my family that particular day.  I get bitter towards those perfect people and find myself avoiding them. They didn’t do all of that getting ready just to make me feel bad.  I make me feel bad.  I’ts all self induced. In order for me to survive, some days I just need to just focus on essentials: eat, sleep, and keep my children safe and loved.  To be brutally honest, no one likes perfection—it makes the rest of us look bad.

 

I feel different.

I have decided I’m OK with imperfection. Maybe it is me becoming wiser in my 37thyear of life.  A strong part could be my experience and perception of life in general. But you know what has been an important tool in my bag of tricks—the piece that I can feel relief from to my core?!?!  Yep— PROZAC.  I’m on it.  I have tried several different SSRI’s and anti-anxiety/depression meds since Kyle was killed.  In all honesty, I have felt anxiety my entire life.  But since I went from opening my door on a normal day, to a second later seeing a uniform and our best friends who are police officers, that shock has not left my body.  I can still feel it.  It’s like a backpack I carry around.  Some may call it PTSD.

 

A little Prozac never hurt anybody, right?

 

My Mom would reference me as being like a light switch growing up—I was either off or on.  I started taking Wellbutrin in college when I started to actually care about school and my education—knowing I needed to do well to succeed in a career to support myself.  Doing this helped a bit.  I continue taking it to this day. Wellbutrin is a really old drug—which I feel more comfortable with than the newest and latest drug being sold on the commercials.  I have a fair amount of drugs that I have tried—(sounds pretty awful, right?) but recently my physician and I discussed Prozac.

 

I was familiar with Prozac because my daughter takes it and has been doing SO WELL on it for over a year (we call it her worry pill because it helps her to not worry as much).  It was a hard thing to allow my child to take a medicine that has had such a negative connotation (and of course possible side effects) through the years.  It’s also an old drug that has been tested A LOT. I’m not saying everyone needs to go out and jump on Prozac, but I can attest to the difference it has made in the short time I have been on it.  I have gone from saying that I can’t stand being myself to now being more calm, rational, less heart racing and nervousness (even though my husband AJ may raise his eyebrows to that).  I have felt a little more tired than normal, but I’ll take that any day over my heart pounding and hating how I feel about myself.  This may not last, or it may.  Regardless, I’m going to enjoy what I can while it lasts…

 

Until the next nap time…

Sarah Deatherage Steele

I am a Mom of 3, re-married widow, dental hygienist, fresh food snob, grief supporter for widows, and the creator of Comforting Keepsakes Sympathy Gifts.  My husband, AJ and I hand make and finish every detail of our Memory Boxes, in our garage! I love my family and friends, second chances, exploring new places, and of course food!

Follow me!  I don’t know what I’m going to do or say next, but if it’s worth typing, it must be worth something…

https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/comfortingkeepsakes/

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4 thoughts on “It’s OK Not to be OK

  1. Sherry Day says:

    Opening up is the important in healing. Reading this post made smile, tear up and just feel more normal at 55yrs old. Every day will show you new ways to shake bad vibes and welcome the positive ones. Keep writing and sharing… You have more together than you know Trust me 😉

    • comfortingkeepsakesbox says:

      Thank you Sherry. Writing is helpful, but scary. I’ve written a lot of words that the world will never see, but if I can help someone else feel less miserable about something, it’s worth the nervousness of ridicule or rejection.
      Sarah

  2. Jamie says:

    Your words are a mirror of my life….although your husband passed in the line of duty, my husband of 18 yrs committed suicide on duty….2 days before our twins 16th birthday.
    The loss is deafening….you’re not alone and believe me when I say, I get it!
    Its only been 3 yrs for us being without our love one, although it feels like an eternity.
    You’re a beautiful, Strong soul. Thank you for sharing, I appreciate your raw honesty.
    My prayers tonight are for you to have continued strength and for your days ahead to not be so overwhelming.
    I say this too often….it’s ok to not be ok(I e contemplated getting this tattooed)as long as we try not to live there.
    Peace and love 💕
    Jamie

    • comfortingkeepsakesbox says:

      Oh, Jamie…you can relate all too well. Your words speak to what kind of person you are, to comfort me in my tough time, when you are living through your own nightmare. Thank you for that.
      Sarah

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