June 1st marked the end of my first year at home full time. Leaving the workforce was scary and most definitely a leap of faith as I brought in 65% of our income. There are many around us who could not understand why our family would do something like this. Sometimes I would ask myself that same thing since the numbers did not crunch to back up this decision. The plan was for me to come home full time, but we had a certain mark on when I would come home-- we had not reached that point yet. So why did we take this leap at this time instead of pushing further? The answer is embarrassing to me. I am so ashamed sometimes of it but I have decided to be honest about it because if it helps others to seek out help then it is worth sharing. Some might even become angry with me for the answer, but years of pushing myself because I love my family led me to that point.
I have shared that I was suicidal for years in another post from March of 2003 until November of 2011. Daily I talked myself out of suicide. The discussion in my head would go something like this. "Yes, you could do (whatever method I had come up with for that month of year and all of them would have worked and I had the means), but you can't do that because you don't want to hurt Vic that way and (after Caleb was born) you don't want to leave you children without a mother." However, it became worse than that. Somewhere in 2010 this internal dialog interrupted with "If they Vic and the boys die to then you don't leave them hurting." I don't know exactly when these internal thoughts started, but I am guessing it was in 2010. At first I fought this notion, but somewhere along the way I deteriorated inside enough where I had a plan about our last family meal together and then none of us ever wake up again. I am not even sure how long these thoughts had gone on inside of me. I don't remember at what point they started. I just know I was in so much internal pain that I felt I could not endure anymore. One day I caught myself having them and realized I had been thinking this for a while. So I decided to tell my husband. I was an emotional basket case all the time at that point. For a few months now I had been hiding in my office at work crying during lunch breaks, crying all the way to work, crying all the way home from work, and closing my office door to cry between clients. I would some how manage to pull it together for my children to not cry with them. One day during a moment of clarity I realized I was in terrible shape and decided to tell Vic.
I was not sure how this would go because I had tried to tell Vic I was mentally deteriorating back in 2004. I told him I was suicidal and needed his support, but he just got angry, did not understand, and he decided to share with one of his family members. It was then that I was verbally attacked and told that I was a mom now so I did not have a right to have any needs of my own, I could not have any breaks, that women are to be strong and not need support from their husbands, and to always be there to support their husbands no matter what. That was prior to brain surgery so my husband's lack of support was due to his cognitive impairment-- not his character. However, at that point I started resenting him and my one child at the time. I could go ahead and die if it weren't for them. Then I was continuing to do therapeutic work in the mental health field. I had asked for support at church and was told that all the issues in my family were my fault. That was when I was told I must have committed some terrible sin and would never be acceptable to the Lord again. Then one person told me that my husband was only a janitor and I wasted my career on inmates so I was not important enough to be given support. Literally the reason I was still alive was because I loved both my husband and my children. The only thing that gave me any reason at all to live was them. So at this point 6 years later I decided to take a risk and admit to Vic what was going on inside. Post brain surgery Vic comprehended things a lot better. We prayed and talked and realized that even though we did not know how we would make it financially I would leave the workforce and spend my time doing the remaining thing that gave me a reason to live. So I came home and became a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. Once I gave notice to my workplace my fantasy about our family's last meal stopped and never returned. The Lord has been faithful and even though we don't have extra we have made it through the first year.
The first year has been a healing year. I would like to say it was a happy year, but in reality I had so much pain that had been pushed aside to do the next thing that needed done (and most of it had even more emotional pain that had to be brushed aside and added to the mix) that any time I had emotional space emotional pain flooded that space. So often I felt like I could not even breathe. However, as I continued to serve my family I have been finding healing. Around Thanksgiving time I stopped wanting to kill myself. Even though I was still not happy that was significant progress. Then in January I went to the doctor and started taking an anti-depressant medication. I have not been to counseling as that office represents work to me. After eight and a half years of working in a counseling office and putting off what I was feeling I can not go into a counselors office and be a client at this point. To interject here if you are hurting in the way I was then I recommend seeking a competent Christian counselor. I am healing though. The Lord has been faithful, my husband as he heals is learning to be supportive to me, and at this point I even have a couple of friends that live near me that I can trust and couple of friends who live other places I can call if I need to. Healing has been the theme of my first year at home with my family. I stopped resenting my children as soon as my suicide thoughts stopped and back in January quit resenting my husband. At Christmas my husband finally turned a corner in his own recovery from his lifetime of seizures and was able to be supportive of me emotionally. Now we are learning to be there for each other at the same time. My first year at home was a success.
However, many of the things a homemaker needs to do have not been done like they should. I think that some likely think that I am lazy as a result of my home always being messy and not organized well. My family was fed, my children taught and there were clean clothes to wear. Now I am at a place where I am able to bring order to much of the chaos in my home. I am not sure how to do this, but I am tackling it. The Lord had emotional healing for me during my first year at home. Now He seems to be leading me to bring order to my home and our family's lifestyle during our second year. As I have been studying God's design for the family the Lord seems to be giving me insight and leading me to others who are able to help me in the areas where I don't really know what to do.
My first year at home was a success and my second year will be too in a very different way. I look forward to a second year reflection with all the good things from this coming year. I know it will be a post that will not be nearly as dark as this one.
If you need counseling call Focus on the Family 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459). they have a data base of christian counselors around the country. Likely they have contact information for someone in your area.