Thursday, March 7, 2013

Branching Out.

Last week I took a baby step. Monday I took a slightly bigger step. And yesterday I took a leap.

I've been extremely fighting the downward spiral for the past few weeks... Really, since a week or two after we moved. I've been feeling isolated by not knowing anyone here but the couple of work friends The Hubby has brought home here and there. Unfortunately they are all singletons who live in the barracks, so no wives or girlfriends for me to meet and maybe connect with. They're cool dudes, but that's not helpful to me.

I've been terrified to leave our home by myself with Baby Girl. Unfamiliar surroundings, stressing over "what ifs," and terror over the insanity that is the traffic situation (out of the *few* times I have ventured out on my own, someone has either started crossing over into my lane--into the space OCCUPIED BY ME--or made the more popular move of darting out in front of me, causing me to have to stand on my brakes to avoid slamming into them at 40-45 mph. One of those times I am not even sure how a wreck didn't happen.) has led me to withdraw into what's familiar and safe. Our home.

Logically, I know that the only way to get more comfortable with the area and getting out on my own with Little Bit is to actually do it, to get out there. But I kept putting it off and putting it off, letting the fear and depression run everything. I kept making excuses about traffic (I still feel that one's valid, some of those near-misses would have been so much scarier to me if she had been in the car with me), or about the weather not being right, or what if she fusses too much in the car or in wherever we end up going, etc. Or, "Hey, I checked the mail today. No need to do anything else." My capability for accomplishing tasks became a one task per day limit. And I check the mail almost every day, so there you go. Besides, The Hubby could go make the grocery/diapers runs when he got off work. No need for me to do things. If I start to do more than one thing, I quickly panic and become overwhelmed. That leads me to go back to doing nothing and becoming depressed about it. It's so easy to get into that spiral when I have a built in excuse, Baby Girl.

But last week I decided I was going to take steps. A few weeks ago I had signed up for a L.I.N.K.S class about the unit my husband is attached to, where free childcare would be provided, and I wanted to have some getting-out experience under my belt beforehand. I knew the class would be an excellent opportunity to not only learn about what to expect for the next couple of years, but also to meet people. Specifically other Marine wives, and handily they would be wives who would be from the same unit (even though from different job areas, of course). So I would be meeting people! But first I wanted to know I could venture out on my own with baby and the world wouldn't end. Logically I *knew* this, but depression doesn't give a shit about logic.

So after working up to it for a few days, I took my Little Bit to the mall last week. We walked around for a while, when she got fussy I took her into the nursing room and took her out of the carrier to help her fall asleep, then went back to walking around a little bit before heading back home. I had fed her before we left, so she was happy and alert until she had gotten sleepy, but she went to sleep quickly and easily. Earlier this week we went to Walmart by ourselves instead of just waiting to send The Hubby (he has to come home and change out of his cammies, Marines don't wear them in public), and again she was happy and alert, just checking everything out around us.

Two outings, and the world didn't end. We didn't die. She didn't have shrieking meltdowns in public. Neither did I. The outings were a success.

So yesterday was the day for the class, and although I seriously thought about not going because it was raining and windy outside I told myself I was being ridiculous and went. I had packed up Little's diaper bag the night before, so off we went. I actually had to wake her up around 7:20 so she could eat and we could leave. I cried leaving her at the daycare (which was right next door to the class), but I toughed it out, learned a lot, and met some awesome people. I visited her at lunch and got her to sleep, then visited her again at our next break, then picked her up after the class and we went home. She did really well, except she didn't eat much. But she did eat, and she did manage to take a couple short naps.

Apparently, she can be left with people I don't know and receive perfectly good care. And she won't die, and neither will I. I can meet new people, with whom I can exchange phone numbers and email addresses. And I won't die. I can find other groups to join so that I'm not just hanging with military folks, and can find kid-friendly groups at that. And I won't die. Et cetera.

The lesson of this story is that no matter what depression says, I can leave the house. I can meet people. I can participate in society. I can do all this while handling an amazingly sweet baby girl.

And I won't die.


  1. CONGRATULATIONS! That first step is often the hardest, and with each step it gets a little better and a little easier. Depression is such a liar, but dang if she isn't convincing. I hope you find many great moms to hang out with in the future! I found a great group on of moms in my area with babies my age, maybe another resource you could check out?

  2. I am feeling so much better now. I always do after I suck it up and force myself to make a move, whatever that move needs to be for that particular spiral. And thanks for the tip, I have totally looked at and found a local babywearing group, as well as a bunch of other exercise-type groups. Not too sure about the exercise groups due to my inherent laziness, but I can kick it around in my head a little longer. ;)