Help! My Life Is Falling Apart! Just Kidding, Everything Is Fine.

Over the past six months, my husband Cory and I have been slowly separating from each other. This is not what we thought it was or what we called our transformation, at first—”separation.” I’ve said for a very long time that I would never get divorced, and even though that isn’t what’s happening technically, it is essentially the same thing without the legal and financial aspects. Cory and I are officially (though not legally) separating.

What this means, in practical terms, is that I am getting my own apartment. We are very fortunate to be able to afford this on a single income, since I am a stay-at-home mom. And on that note, I will continue to be a stay-at-home mom—I’ll just have a short commute, now! I’ve come up with a schedule that still gives us a lot of time together as a family, as well as individual time with the kids.  

Our separation also means that Cory and I have finally removed all of the romantic forms of affection from our relationship. No more kissing, cuddling, hand-holding, or anything else that either of us wouldn’t do with a platonic friend.  

How did we get here? Sometimes, I still feel shocked by how much has changed in just the past six months.

Everything started with the decision to open our marriage and become polyamorous. When we started that, we literally said the words, “This is not the beginning of the end for our marriage.” We said that we were rock solid, and you know what? We actually, truly were! But as it turns out, there are things that can separate even solid rock. Like an earthquake, for example.

When we opened our marriage, we had a lot of struggles. While we both embraced the idea very quickly as a theory, it was a harder emotional transition than we expected, in practice. Getting through those challenges was part of what pushed us to begin finding ourselves as individuals, outside of the “us” we’d been as a couple for so many years.

As we became more and more independent, we started to slowly face the reality of our true feelings for each other. Bit by bit, we peeled away things that we’d been forcing or doing out of habit for so long. We asked the hard questions, and found some hard answers.

What we discovered is that we are better as platonic partners. The biggest strengths of our relationship are our friendship and our teamwork. The best things about us are how well we get along and enjoy each other’s company, and how well we work together in life and as parents. We are good at communicating, solving problems, making plans, and acting on them. We are good at knowing what needs to be done and doing it, in a way that allows us both to feel balanced. We balance each other’s weaknesses with our strengths. We have fun together, make each other laugh, and know each other incredibly well. We provide each other with emotional support that is invaluable.

All of those things are still true, and I hope they will never change. What is changing, though, is that we are finally accepting the reality that what we have is no longer a “marriage” in spirit. It’s still an enduring and deeply committed partnership, but it’s no longer at the same level of intimacy as it used to be. Emotionally and physically, our marriage is over.

Coming to terms with this has been confusing and difficult for me. One of my core beliefs about myself was that I would always stay happily married. I was absolutely determined for this to be the case, and truthfully, I am stubborn enough that it could have been. I could have stubbornly held on to the ideal and stayed in my marriage for the rest of my life. I could have been content that way, I truly believe that.

But ultimately, Cory and I have decided to let it go. I believe that there is more for both of us in this life, and I want us to be free to live our best lives.

Still, the incredibly stubborn side of me is finding it very hard to fully accept. I’m trying to find a way to tell my friends and family, and honestly, I am scared to do that. I feel embarrassed. I feel like they are going to judge me, and think I’m ruining my life. Sometimes I wonder if I am ruining my life. I feel like they are going to see this as a tragedy, and I feel awkward that I don’t see it as a tragedy at all. Do I fake a somber mood when I tell people? Ugh, the whole thing just gives me a whole lot of anxiety. It also makes it feel real and that is scary in its own way.

The path my life has taken now makes me question marriage and “forever” love in general. I swore many times that I would love Cory forever. And to be fair, I have not broken that vow because I do love him still. We love each other very much and care for each other deeply. That hasn’t changed.

Yet, there was a time when I felt very much “in love” with Cory, and that part has changed. So, now, when I tell my boyfriend Jay the same thing, that I love him and I always will… is that meaningless? Will I stop feeling this total adoration and desire and passion and attraction for him someday, too? The thought is frightening and saddening, because these feelings that I have for RJ are amazing. I don’t want to lose them, nor do I want to make promises that I can’t keep.

Thinking about this now, I can admit that I have no control over my feelings of attraction or desire for RJ. I can’t guarantee that they will never fade—I can only hope that they won’t. I have a hard time imagining that they ever could, simply because of how overpoweringly strong they are. I have never felt passion and need for someone like I do for RJ, and the best part is that he feels the same way for me.

But regardless of that aspect of our relationship, I can promise that I will always love him. Even if somehow our relationship lost its romantic and sexual sides, I would still love him. He has become my best friend and confidante, a person I want to spend unlimited amounts of time with, a person who knows and cares for me so deeply and who I know and care for just as much. We are partners. I will always love him and want him to be happy, and that is a promise I can keep.

The biggest comfort I have in regards to my marriage to Cory is that these things are also still true for us. Cory is still my best friend, too. He’s still a person I never get tired of spending time with. He still knows and cares for me deeply, and I feel the same for him. We are still partners.

Our song over the past year or so has been “The Bones” by Marren Morris. The song goes like this:

“We’re in the homestretch of the hard times
We took a hard left, but we’re alright
Yeah, life sure can try to put love through it, but
We built this right, so nothing’s ever gonna move it

When the bones are good, the rest don’t matter
Yeah, the paint could peel, the glass could shatter
Let it rain ’cause you and I remain the same
When there ain’t a crack in the foundation
Baby, I know any storm we’re facing
Will blow right over while we stay put
The house don’t fall when the bones are good

Call it dumb luck, but baby, you and I
Can’t even mess it up, although we both try
No, it don’t always go the way we planned it
But the wolves came and went and we’re still standing.”

I love this song. It gave me and Cory strength and faith in our partnership, when things were difficult. We knew that everything would be okay, because the foundation of our relationship is strong. And this is still true. Our partnership has shifted from romantic to platonic, but it is still there and it is still strong. Did it go the way we planned it? Nope. But we’re still standing.

When I met RJ, I said I found my second soul mate. At that time, I wasn’t aware of or ready to face the truth of my feelings for Cory, so I meant that they were both my soul mates in a romantic sense. Now, I still believe that I have two soul mates. But now, I can accept and understand that not all soul mates are romantic ones. It doesn’t make a relationship any less valuable because it’s based on platonic love rather than romantic love. Love is love, and I am so thankful for how much of it I have in my life.

A Look Back at 2021

In the past year, I didn’t post much here on I Do… Now What? It was a busy year! Here’s what I’ve been up to:

In January, not much happened except that I spent a lot of time managing my horse, Apple. We moved her a few times, trying out different boarding facilities, and I also did a lot of training sessions and lessons with her in the beginning of the year.

In February and March, I taught my final Hypnobabies class, after which I “retired” as a Hypnobabies instructor in favor of focusing on completing and teaching my own birth education course, which is called Better Birthing. I completed building my comprehensive online course and launched it, which was a big accomplishment for me.

In March, we got our puppy Moosey. He’s now fully grown and he’s very sweet, a fast learner, and gets along amazingly well with Macy. He is still learning manners, potty training, and respecting personal space, but I’m confident that after he gets through his teenage stage he will be a well-behaved dog.

In April, Cory and I got our first Covid vaccinations which we were very excited about! That month is also when we got our pony, AJ, and decided to start trying to sell our horse, Apple. We were able to find a new home for Apple fairly quickly, which was a relief.  

In May, our kitty Luna passed away. She had chronic asthma which was no longer responding to treatment, so we chose to end her suffering. We said goodbye in the comfort of our own home with a mobile vet.

In June, we started trying to put Cody and Abi in some extracurricular activities to help them socialize. Unfortunately, Cody was not into it, and while Abigail loved her dance classes and gymnastics, we only continued for a few months because of concerns about Covid resurging. That month, I also started fostering kittens through a local rescue, which I did for a few months and plan to possibly do again in the future.

In July, I turned 29. We rehomed our parakeets, Oliver and Oakley, who absolutely hated me and would not let me touch them. I’d been accepting that they’d just be cage-bound and that was fine, but at this point I finally decided that everyone would probably be happier if we found them a different home, and the home I found for them is a great one.

At the very end of July, Cory and I decided to “open” our marriage and we became polyamorous. That was a big shift, needless to say!

In August, we both started dating other people and the poly adventures began. Cody finished homeschool Kindergarten, and then after a short break I started first grade with him. At the end of the month Cory turned 30.

In September, Abigail turned four. I also met my boyfriend, RJ and we fell in love.

In October, Amelia turned one and Cody turned seven. We rehomed our bunnies as well, Kit and Karma, because my allergies were becoming less bearable. As always, I found them an amazing home where I know they will be loved and well-cared-for. On Halloween, I went to an exotic bird store just for fun to play with the parrots, and accidently fell in love with a cockatiel. I couldn’t stop thinking about him, and ended up buying him later. I’ve named him Pikachu, and he is a wonderful bird. He’s very friendly, cuddly, and makes many lovely sounds (as well as some that aren’t as lovely, but that’s part of the deal with birds).

In November, Cody got his first Covid vaccine, and we started catching the kids up on their vaccines for school as well, since we had at that point decided to be done with homeschooling after this school year. That’s right, my kiddos are going to public school next year! Hallelujah!

In December, we ended up selling our pony, AJ. We are now horseless and for the time being that feels like the best thing for us. Ultimately, neither Apple nor AJ were the well-behaved trail horse that I was looking for when I started this journey. Both had training and behavioral issues that I wasn’t motivated to take on, and while I learned a ton from my brief time as a horse owner, I am glad to be done with that for now.

In December I also met my new puppy, Pepper. I know, I know—another dog? Yes, another dog.

As you may have noticed, most of my updates this year are involving animals. We started the year with one dog, two cats, two birds, two bunnies, and a horse. We ended the year with two dogs (and one puppy on hold at the shelter), one cat, and a bird. Why so much pet shuffling? Well, I’m glad you asked. Here’s the long explanation of how it all happened:

While I really enjoyed having Macy as our only dog, which was the situation for about eight months, I fell in love with my parents’ new puppy in February. She was their second dog of the same breed, which is an American Bully, and both the puppy and their adult dog are absolutely wonderful. I found myself with a burning desire to have an American Bully of my own.

For background info, Macy is an American Staffordshire Terrier, and both breeds fall under the category colloquially known as “pit bulls.” However, American Bullies are a newer breed and they are specifically bred for their incredibly gentle and calm demeanor. That’s what I fell in love with and that’s exactly what I got in Moosey. He’s still an adolescent, so he can definitely have moments of being extremely, well, bullish. He’s bowled people over a few times, which of course is not ideal! But, he’s slowly learning to behave himself a little more politely, and is overall the sweetest and cuddliest of dogs. I know when he grows up he will be more gentle and well-behaved—but even as an energetic pup, he’s a total sweetheart. We love our Moose!

Now, I adopted Pepper just a few days ago, and the main reason was that I wanted a small dog again. She’s a Pomeranian and American Eskimo Dog mix, very similar to our old dog Sky. I had hesitated getting another small dog because of the situation with our old dog Lila and Macy. They did not get along and we ultimately had to rehome Lila, which broke my heart. But in Pepper’s case, I specifically looked for a particular personality which is submissive but not overly fearful when meeting other dogs. They met before we adopted her, and it went great. Since I brought Pepper home, she’s gotten along perfectly with both Macy and Moosey. Moosey is a little rough at times for her, but personality-wise, they are an excellent match. Moosey gets along with any dog he’s ever met, so that’s no surprise!

As far as re-homing our parakeets and bunnies, those were both decisions that we didn’t take lightly, but ultimately, we knew that both our family and the animals would be better off by re-homing. I have very high standards when it comes to finding new homes for any of my pets, and in both cases I was sure that the people I chose would take just as good care of them as I did.

The Apple and AJ situation was more complicated. Apple was supposed to be my trail horse, but she had a lot more training issues and personality quirks than I was really prepared to deal with as a relatively beginner-level rider. While I did end up gaining a lot of valuable experience from her, and I got to the point where I felt confident handling and riding her, I still wanted another horse that would be better suited for the kids to ride and enjoy. I decided to go with a pony since I felt it would be less intimidating for the kids to ride.

When I bought AJ, I thought he was going to be the perfect, mellow, trail pony for both me and the kids. I decided to sell Apple because AJ was big enough for me to ride, and two horses was a lot, both financially and time-and-effort-wise. I found Apple a home that was committed to continuing her training, and I feel good about where she ended up.

Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent that AJ also had more training issues and personality quirks than I expected, so riding him on the trail was a huge challenge. Still, AJ has a wonderful personality and is incredibly sweet and affectionate, and I was able to just enjoy spending time with him and putting the kids on him for rides around the arena for a few months. By the end of the year, though, I decided that financially it would be better to find him a new home. He is now the pony of a sweet little girl who is learning horsemanship—and he lives in pasture with other horses, and an experienced owner. I am very happy with his new home.

I’ve already explained the sad situation with Luna, and the unexpected situation with Pikachu, so that’s all of it! It’s been a lot of changes to our little “zoo” but ultimately, my goal is now to keep our number of pets stable. Animals are a lot of work to take care of, not to mention expensive. My plate is full! Now I just need to avoid visiting pet stores at all costs! 😉

The animal lover in me is always battling the practical side of me, which knows that I would regret getting any more pets at this point. But Pika and Pepper are truly special animals, and I don’t regret adding them to my family. I really did fall in love with both of them upon first contact! Out of all the cockatiels in the store, Pika was the one who clearly wanted me to pick her up, and then didn’t want me to put her down when it was time to go. She also snuggled on my chest and make happy chirping noises at me, and really, who could resist such tactics?! As the saying goes, “I choose you, Pikachu!” We both chose each other, it would seem.

Pepper was just a happy little face looking back at me from her kennel at the animal shelter, and when I took her out for a visit she immediately jumped into my lap and wanted to stay there. I figured she was always that friendly—until I saw how she tried to run away from the shelter volunteer who came to put her back! It turns out, she is friendly, but she’s also cautious, and for whatever reason she just trusted and bonded to me right away. Since I’ve brought her home, she has been amazingly well-behaved and is learning the house rules extremely quickly. She’s also a snuggle bug and a wonderful companion. <3

Anyway. That’s been my year. My word of the year for 2021 was “balance” and I found a lot of different applications for that as the year progressed. Balance has been important in managing three children, especially getting through the very challenging high-need-baby-stage (which has now transitioned to the high-need-toddler-stage).

Balance has also been very important in my poly journey, as one can probably imagine. Managing multiple relationships at once, while also taking care of my family and home, has been quite the balancing act!

Balance, for me, has meant knowing when to say “no” or “goodbye,” and put certain things down, so that I can better focus on the things that I want to keep in my life. Balance has also meant letting go of perfectionism, and knowing that my best is really enough.

As I go into the year 2022, I feel the word “becoming” speaking to me the loudest. There have been so many changes in my life in the past six months alone, and they are all part of something new—a new stage of my life. I feel like I am finally becoming more truly myself. And this year, I can’t wait to start living that out more and more each day. As always, I’m excited to see what the next year holds!

Happy New Year to everyone out there! I hope this year holds wonderful things for you.

We Were Happy

For anybody who doesn’t know, I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan. I’ve loved her and her music since I was 15 years old, and she wasn’t much older. Cory is also a huge fan, and our mutual love for her has been a special part of our relationship.

When we got married, we used multiple songs of hers in our wedding. Cory and the wedding party went down the aisle to “Ours,” and I walked down to “Love Story.” Cory danced with his mom to “Mary’s Song (Oh My My My)” and I danced with my dad to “Never Grow Up.”

We’ve also been to several of her concerts together—Fearless, Speak Now, and Red. They were all fantastic, of course! We even had tickets for 1989, but ended up having to resell them because we had baby Cody at that point and he was insanely high-need so we didn’t feel able to leave him. Then we had Abi and couldn’t afford tickets to Reputation, but when Lover came out we got tickets for that one—which were unfortunately cancelled due to Covid. But the point is, we adore her!

I’ve stayed up until midnight for her album drops numerous times, watched her documentary twice, and her Reputation concert on Netflix many times. I know every lyric to every song she’s ever put out, and I could recognize her voice or one of her songs within seconds of hearing it. About 75% of the time I listen to music, it’s hers. Obsessed is a good word, I would say!

Anyway, that went down a rabbit hole and Taylor Swift wasn’t actually the topic I was planning on writing about today. But it was good opener, at least.

All of that to say, the other day I was listening to Swifty in the car as usual, and “Love Story” came on. Immediately I was taken back to my wedding day, and I felt a lot of happy memories about that time in my life. I remember how excited I was on my wedding day, and how deeply in love I was with Cory.

The next song that came on was a new one, called “We Were Happy.” Some of the lyrics that hit me most with this song are these:

“When it was good, baby, it was good, baby
We showed ’em all up
No one could touch the way we laughed in the dark
Talkin’ ’bout your daddy’s farm we were gonna buy someday
And we were happy
We were happy

Oh, I hate those voices
Tellin’ me I’m not in love anymore
But they don’t give me choices
And that’s what these tears are for
‘Cause we were happy
We were happy”

This song hit me hard, because I can relate so strongly to it. The reality with my marriage to Cory is that nothing is wrong. Nothing went wrong, nothing bad happened to make things change between us. We still love each other, and damnit, we have had an absolutely amazing relationship for as long as we’ve been together. Despite the doubters early in our relationship who told us we were too young to be in love and too young to get married, we have been rock solid for our entire relationship and marriage.

We’ve had fights and struggles, but we’ve never doubted our choice to get married or to be together. We’ve never regretted building this life together. We are soul mates, and I believe that our paths being intertwined was always part of God’s plan.

So my struggle lately has been reconciling those truths with the way that I feel now about us. Now that I’ve found a powerful romantic, emotional, and physical relationship with someone new, it has made it painfully clear to me that I don’t feel the same way towards Cory anymore. I love him and care about him very deeply—and I treasure our friendship, the way we work so well as a team doing life together, and the family we’ve created. But as far as romance and physical affection, I don’t feel the desire or even openness to those aspects of our relationship anymore.

I have learned that soul mates aren’t always romantic, and that romantic love doesn’t always last forever. I used to say that love is a choice. That in marriage especially, love is a choice and that when the feelings of “being in love” fade, which is natural and normal over time, the choice to continue to love the other person becomes the driving force of keeping a marriage together. And keeping our marriage together has been one of the most important things to me, for the past 14 years—even before we got married, I always said that I would never get divorced.

Now I’m not saying that I want to get divorced now. We still are happy—it’s just in a different way. There are a lot of reasons to stay married to Cory, even if our marriage is a platonic one now. We have a family and want to keep it intact—separation from my parents who shared custody of me as a child was incredibly traumatic for me. That’s not to say that other families aren’t better off with the parents being separated or divorced! In many cases, I believe that is the best choice for everyone involved. But in my case, I’m not there and I don’t know if I ever will be. Because we live very harmoniously as a family right now, and everyone seems happiest with the situation as it stands.

But what I am coming to understand is that marriages and relationships in general sometimes aren’t meant to last forever—and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean the marriage or relationship was a failure, especially when there are so many beautiful and happy memories to treasure in the relationship. I think it’s okay to celebrate what was and still accept that it is no longer that way, without seeing it as some kind of tragedy. It’s okay to say “we were happy,” and view that as a positive season in one’s life, even if it’s now over.

In my case, I’m still working through what it means for the romantic side of my marriage to be over. What does it mean for our future together? What are we now, and what does that look like in our day-to-day lives?

I am embracing the non-traditional more and more these days. I am embracing that every relationship can be whatever you make it, regardless of what other people think or what society expects. Cory and I can be married and choose to have absolutely no sexual relationship—and we can still kiss each other goodnight. We can sleep in the same bed when we want to, or not when we don’t. We can tell each other “I love you” and be physically affectionate, even though we aren’t “romantic.” What is being “romantic” really anyway? It’s for us to define (or not), and the way we interact can be however we’re both comfortable.

I’m just fine with all of that, and so far it feels like we are finding our new normal and it’s working out pretty well.

Where the wrench starts to get thrown into the machine is when I have powerful desires to connect my life to my boyfriend, RJ’s, more and more, and it’s not necessarily compatible with the life I’m currently committed to living with Cory. More than anything, I want to live with him, and Cory may not be ready to accept him into our lives on such a full-time basis, at least not yet. Even if Cory was ready, RJ isn’t quite settled on what he wants to do at this point in his life. If I didn’t have a family of my own, I would have so many more options. But of course, my family is my life and they have to come first, before my own desires.

When I think about my future now, there are a lot of unknowns. I know that RJ will be in it, and of course so will Cory and the kids. I just don’t know yet how all of the puzzle pieces will fit together. Half of me is afraid to hope for more with RJ, and the other half of me is afraid to not hope for that. Co-habitation—that’s the dream at this point. Is it a reckless dream? Impossible? I don’t know. But for now, I’ll just keep on dreaming.

Welcome to the Circus

I’ve been wanting to write a post for a while now about what my day-to-day life is like in this current season. Well, actually, since every day is a little different, it’s more like my week-to-week life. And it’s a lot! Let’s just say it’s a good thing I know how to balance and juggle at the same time, because this circus is my life now.

My schedule these days is highly dependent on when I get to see my boyfriend, RJ. And when I’m not with him, I’m just going about my life as usual.

We both juggle family obligations, which for me includes taking care of my three children, one of whom is homeschooled this year and one of whom is a toddler. Cory is an equal co-parent with me when he’s not working, but of course when he’s working it’s my job to maintain the kiddos. He works from home and has a very flexible schedule which allows him to start later in the morning when needed, and this gives me more options for being away from home in the early mornings. I also have pets to take care of, although Cory helps with that too.

RJ has a nesting partner as well who shares parenting duties with him for their kiddo, but typically he’s responsible for school pickup and afternoon supervision, as well as dinner and bedtime most nights. And he has a full-time job which is remote but involves an inconsistent schedule, sometimes working on weekends. Usually he starts his workday early, by 7 AM.

We have a lot of moving parts to work around, but so far we’ve managed to make it work impressively well. What that looks like is, on average, spending the night together every 2-3 nights. I’ll stay at his place usually once or twice per week, and he’ll stay at my place usually twice per week. But the reality is, there’s really not much that’s typical or predictable about our scheduling except that we simply fit in time together as often as we can.

When I go to his place, I either take my baby with me or go by myself and leave all the kids at home with Cory. My main consideration with whether or not to bring Mia with me is about breastfeeding, since I have mostly weaned her at this point but I still want to continue morning and bedtime nursings whenever possible.

Sometimes I go over in time to have dinner with him and his kiddo, and sometimes I arrive after bedtime. Usually I leave early in the morning, around 6:30 or 7, so that he can get started with his workday and I can get home to take care of my kiddos so that Cory can start his workday as well.

There are also weekends when I take my whole family out to his area, since Cory’s parents live very close to him. Then they stay the night at his parents’ house while I stay with RJ, and I shuttle back and forth to help take care of Mia during the days. Cody and Abi are happy to play with Grammy all day long, and she is happy to oblige, so this makes weekends like this much easier for us.

When RJ comes over to my house, he occasionally brings his kiddo with him on the weekends, but most often it’s just him. Usually he comes over after my kiddos are in bed, but on weekends in particular he’s more able to come over earlier in the afternoon. If he has to work the next day and his partner is able to handle school pickup, he can work from my house. I’ve set up a desk for him in my guest room. On other days, he’ll leave super early in the morning—around 5 AM—so that he can get home in time to start his workday and also pickup his kiddo from school later in the day.

A lot of our time together is spent simply being at each other’s homes, with kids and partners often present. We like watching TV and movies, cooking, and eating together. Sometimes we do things with the kids, or play board games. Less often, we’ll go on actual dates, which are always fun! No matter what we’re doing together, we’re happy just to be in each other’s presence.

While I spend a little less than half of my nights with RJ now, I still don’t feel like it’s enough. So often, we get only a few hours of waking time together on any given visit. It’s just the reality of the situation with both of us having full-time jobs (yes, being a stay-at-home mom is a full-time job, and then some!) and also living well over an hour apart. That part really does suck!

Yet even if we had more time together, I somehow doubt that it would be enough for me. What I want more than anything is for him to live with me. I think then I would be as satisfied as possible! Well, I want that almost more than anything. One thing I want more than that is for him to be truly happy and live where and how he really wants to. If that happens to be with me someday, then I would be beyond thrilled. As it stands for the time being, we are still just trying to get all the time together we feasibly can.

My life is a little messy, busy, and chaotic—but it’s also very fulfilling and I would be hard-pressed to think of a better life for me. I have everything I need and more; my husband, my kids, my home, my fur-babies and feather-baby, and now… my love. With him, my life feels complete and whole. If that comes with a little chaos, then so be it.

My Drug of Choice

I have struggled with depression for as long as I can remember. As an adult, I’ve come to accept that cycles of depression are just a part of my life. They come and go, sometimes lasting for just a few days and sometimes lasting for a few months, but never longer than that. They always end, eventually.

In between my depressive episodes, I feel perfectly normal and happy, but when I’m in them, I can often feel like I will never be happy again. Even though I know it’s not true, and that my depression always lifts, it’s hard to remember that when I’m in the middle of it.

I’m in the middle of a depression right now, but it was hard to recognize at first because it seemed to come and go very dramatically from day to day. In fact, there is a very clear pattern to my good and bad days—on the days I get to see my boyfriend, RJ, I feel great. On the days I have to say goodbye, and the days in between seeing him, my mood plummets again.

So at first, I chalked this up to being “crazy in love” and adjusting to the new relationship. But now I’ve recognized that these low feelings aren’t actually caused by my relationship with RJ—they’re the all-too-familiar feelings that I’ve been living with on and off for decades. And that’s when I realized that I’m actually in a depression right now, and RJ is just alleviating my symptoms on the days I get to see him.

Upon further research, this makes perfect sense. There is a theory that depression is caused by lowered levels of certain hormones in the body, specifically serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These three hormones are also produced or increased when you are falling in love or in love with somebody. In addition, oxytocin and endorphins are also produced through activities like cuddling, kissing, and having sex—and these hormones are mood elevators. They make you feel happy!

RJ is, quite literally, my drug. So naturally, I want as much of him as I can get.

Through the last few years, I have learned a lot about myself and the way my mental health operates. I’ve learned that when I get depressed, my mind tries to find a cause, or something to blame for the low feelings. Then, I can solve whatever problem I’ve discovered as the culprit and feel better. Ta-da!

Unfortunately, the reality that I am now coming to accept is that these “problems” I find to blame for my depression are not the true cause. Making changes in my life does give me a mood boost (probably also because of hormones!) which in the past has seemed to support the idea that “fixing” the problem is all I need in order to end the depressive episode.

But now I believe deep down that my depression is caused by something inside of me—not a trauma that I need to heal from or a disorder that needs medication—but just something that is part of the way I operate. Could medication help me? Perhaps. But honestly, even when I’m depressed, I function amazingly well. Depression doesn’t negatively affect my life on a practical level. Does it feel shitty? Absolutely. But medication isn’t something I’m interested in, because I truly don’t believe that I need it. There are other things I can do to cope with these feelings, and even if I do none of them, they always pass in time. Medication comes with side effects and other things that just aren’t appealing to me. I think it’s wonderful that it’s available to people who want or need it, but for me, I’d rather not go down that road.

So anyway. My best coping mechanism at the moment is to stay busy when I’m not with RJ. I focus on my little daily routines (which bring me comfort), as well as taking care of the kids and pets, catching up on chores, and doing things I enjoy such as writing (hello), reading, watching TV, organizing, and having solo dance parties. I treat myself with grace and care, and let myself have “survival” days when I need them—doing the bare minimum and letting go of the rest.

Then I get to enjoy wonderful feelings of utter contentment, overwhelming love and affection, and of course excitement and passion whenever I’m with RJ. As our goodbye approaches, I often feel the sadness creeping back in, and that part always sucks. Sometimes I can fight it off until he’s actually gone, and sometimes it casts a bleak shadow over our last few hours together, but the great part of this is that RJ is so sensitive, understanding, supportive, and caring. He doesn’t get annoyed or frustrated at me for feeling down. He doesn’t think it’s silly or stupid, even when I do. He’s amazing, y’all. He gives me comfort, sometimes tries to distract me, and lets me have a safe place to feel my feelings.

I know that in a few days or weeks, I won’t be struggling with this anymore. I will still miss him when we say goodbye, but I won’t feel so deeply sad, hopeless, or lost when we’re apart. I’ll be back to my “normal” self. I write this knowing it’s true without feeling it’s true—because despite my past experience telling me that this is how it goes, I still can’t see the truth in it right now. I still feel stuck in a dark, black hole that I think I will live in forever. But sometimes, we know things are true even when we don’t feel them. And holy mother of Moses, that’s hard to accept as an empath! Wow, I just realized this.

As an empath, I have a high level of confidence in my intuition and the truth of my feelings and what I sense emotionally in others. That is making it very hard to accept that my feelings aren’t my reality right now. This is a big realization for me… and I think it’s very helpful, too. I can accept that this is true, because now I have an explanation. Okay. Feeling better about that.

On that note, I don’t know how to end this post exactly so I’m just going to say this…

Depression sucks. But it gets better. In the meantime, find whatever joy you can and let that be your drug. I know I found mine, and I’m going to get as much of it as I can.

(Please don’t take this as medical advice. This is just my personal experience. Duh.)

I’m Back, Bitch!

Hello! This is my first post in almost a full year. That’s for many reasons, but to sum them up: Amelia, and also becoming a very different person. Baby took it out of me for the first half of the year. She’s high-need like the other two, of course. Then I went through a lot of crazy transitions in the second half of the year, and while I am still the same person of course, I have changed so much that I actually took down this website for a little while because it no longer fit me. Now I’ve made changes to it to reflect my new self, and I am happy to bring it back to life. 🙂

All of my old posts are still on here, but they won’t be on the home page anymore. They can be found by clicking on Posts From The Before in the top menu. They can also still be found in the blog post category pages, or in the archives section, both in the sidebar.

From here on out, my new posts will be popping up here on the home page and you can read them at your leisure. I also have a new subscribe button coming soon, so you can receive an email any time I make a new post.

Thanks for visiting, and welcome to the new I Do… Now What?