Friday, September 24, 2010

My Mental Health Day

This last week has been hard on me. We're coming up on a year since our car accident and I'm struggling with how much it is still a part of my life and my nightmares. I wrote a long piece reflecting all of that, but decided to only share it with my facebook friends. Honestly, I am embarrassed that I am still so affected and I didn't want to air too much of that here. But I am affected, and there was a lot of stress and panic attacks punctuated by a whole lot of tears and frustration this week. Sometimes, that wreck seems like it all just happened a month ago.

I've also been struggling with who I want to be, what I want my focus to be. Free time comes rarely with two young kids. I adore being their mama and they make my world a better place, but there are certainly those days where I feel like I need more. Like there is more I need to be striving for and accomplishing.

Tuesday night I told Daniel that I felt like I was having a breakdown. That if I didn't have some time to be myself, by myself that I felt like I was going to lose it. I hated that feeling. He said "OK" and he quickly figured out a way to make it work.

I slept in Wednesday. I took my time getting ready. I listened to David Gray loudly and drove where my car seemed to want to take me. I had no plan, but I ended up downtown and sitting in a local coffee house. I drank a soy latte and got back in the car. I ended up parking again and walking around a block and into an old antique store. I took some pictures along the way. I asked if it would be alright if I took some photos inside and was told to go right on ahead. With every image, I felt myself become lighter. My shoulders relaxed and I stopped feeling guilty for needing this time. I'm not sure how long I was in that first store, but when the time seemed right, I moved on.

Reflection

My camera was out of it's case as I walked through the next store. Something about the environment or the merchandise made me less inclined to take any photos except of this dress:

Vintage Dress

I did so quietly and went on my way. An old man running the store asked me what I was up to and I told him I was just strolling through. He wanted to know what I was photographing. I told him I'd taken a picture of a dress that I thought might work as a costume, but other than that I was about to put my camera away. He seemed skeptical.

"So you've just been taking pictures of things on the street?"
"Pretty much."
"But why?"
"To feel like I'm doing something. For art. For me. Because I keep seeing things that I think are beautiful, or interesting."

His expression made me think he thought I was crazy, but it amused me. I really was just doing all of this because it made my heart feel good to do it.

I ended up getting in my car and driving again. I drove to the local museum and walked the grounds, taking my time, playing with angles and sunlight. Aside from a few people here and there, I was alone and I liked the solitude. I sang softly to myself. I thought about this last week and the toll it had taken on me. I sat on benches and listened to the sounds of the park. I imagined the history the buildings, trains and equipment. I felt sorry for them in a way, once so full of life - now away from their original homes collecting dust and spiders. I looked at the bright side: They educated. They allowed me the venue to see them all at once and focus on them through my lens. I promised myself I'd bring Daniel and the kids back and that I'd come alone again too.

Sunshine

From there I went to the Padre and sat in their bar for a sandwich. I played with my iPhone camera and discreetly got my big camera out a few times. I hope to bring Daniel back with me sometime soon. I keep thinking it would be fun to have a stay cation there, just the two of us.

Truth be told, I've been daydreaming about taking a trip alone with Daniel somewhere. I've also been thinking I'd love to go on a weekend getaway by myself. I keep having to tell myself that there is nothing to feel guilty about wanting either of those things. I keep telling myself that taking these little breaks will make me a happier person and a better partner/mother.

What I do know, is that I was so happy to come home to Daniel and the kids Wednesday night. I felt like I had things to share. Despite all the walking around, I felt more energetic than I have in a while. We ended the day watching a movie as a family. Daniel and I took the couch while the kids shared a blanket on the floor. All I could think about was how lucky I am.

And I didn't think about our accident once, all day.

See the entire set of photos I took HERE.

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