The Mind Flayer is a raging ass bitch.
I was wrong. I’m not Will Byers. I don’t have Spidey Senses. There is no crafty, diabolical sneakiness at work here. There is no “waiting to pounce.” It’s just the depression bursting in like the damn Kool-Aid man screaming, “Oh yeah! Oh YEAH! Guess what? You’re going to be flesh goo now!”
On Sunday, when my son woke up from his nap, I suddenly could not stop crying. It truly came out of nowhere. There was no nagging, no sense of quiet foreboding. One minute Kiddo was asking for his music, the next minute I’m sobbing with snot running down my chin, texting my husband to come home please because I fell down into the deep dark place.
The most frustrating thing about it is that I could not, in the moment, explain WHY I was so upset. When my husband did come home, he kept asking what was wrong. He even threw out some good ideas, but it didn’t help me stop or really feel any better. It’s like there were too many emotions for me to process.
This has happened before. I remember distinctly the first time it happened.
It was January of 2018 (and YES, it just dawned on me that it was almost exactly two years ago). By that time, I was pretty deep into anxiety and depression but I hadn’t been able to recognize it in myself yet. Mostly because my postpartum depression didn’t look like what comes on the standard checklists. For one, I didn’t feel detached from my kid – I was OVERLY attached. I hated, hated being away from him. I felt like I was missing everything – every new babble, every new facial expression, every new connection he made. I thought it meant he wasn’t connecting with me. I genuinely thought he would forget me. I hated going to work each day. I hated work for being the thing that kept me from my kid. I hated that I felt like I had to work in order to keep our lives going, to help put food on the table and keep our house and all those things that money provides. I usually cried in the mornings before work, but one day, it hit a new level. I was on my way out the door, crying and holding the baby, husband following behind. As I was handing back the baby, my husband tried to say comforting, something to the effect of “it’s going to be okay.” I shook my head and responded with “you just don’t understand.” I couldn’t explain it. Logically, I told myself, my behavior made no sense. Mothers go back to work all the time and they were fine. I constantly wondered what the hell was wrong with me. Holding the kid, my husband asked me to try explain it to him, and it was just too much. There was too much FEELING. I was so indescribably sad and angry and now frustrated that I had to try to explain myself but knew that I couldn’t possibly make any real sense. It boiled over. I remember actually balling my hands into fists, jumping up and down, and screaming “you don’t understand, you don’t understand, you CAN’T!” There I was, 32 years old and literally throwing a temper tantrum. And then I remember the horrified look on my husband’s face. He had never looked at me that way before: a combination of shock and helplessness. A new wave of feelings washed over me then: shame and humiliation. Still silently crying, I went to the bathroom and stared at my stupid, drippy face. I eventually tried to fix my make-up and went to work.
Sunday was not that bad. Really. But it was bad-adjacent. I knew I had to stop trying to process my feels and just get out of them, so I started doing mindless tasks. I put away dishes. I dusted (it was disgusting). I Marie Kondo’d the crap out of our bookshelf. On Monday, I called my therapist.
I feel more hate rolling in. I hate that this is coming back. I hate that it keeps me from playing with my kid. I hate that he’s old enough to notice this time. I hate that to some extent, the Mind Flayer may never entirely go away forever. And I really hate knowing that there’s a risk it may come for my kids someday.
It’s going to be okay, guys. That’s the one cool thing about this go around. I can say (and hear) “it’s going to be okay” and believe it. With genuine confidence.