In the middle of December I broke down. I had a total emotional and mental crash. Depression is not new for me, but it's something I sometimes forget for months or years at a time. I don't suffer from it in the postpartum period, interestingly enough, but I do experience strong depression during my pregnancies (in spite of my excitement), and it seems that as soon as my menses return post-baby, the depression hits hard again. I wrote about my crash post-Bear, and this fall I should have anticipated another crash as my post-Eagle fertility returned. But I was busy and stressed and didn't think about it.
So, I've crashed. This is why I only wrote for the first two weeks of advent. This is why I have only written three posts in the last month. I enlisted family and friends to advise and support me, and intend to enlist a professional or two as well. In the meantime, I have made several significant adjustments in my life.
The combination of grad school with full time babysitting was wiping me out. I had never really planned to do both, it was an either/or plan...but I signed up for grad school and then the babysitting became availableSo am taking a quarter off of school. When that was not enough, I made arrangements to babysit part time rather than full time, so a couple of days a week I have a break from that. The money was hard to let go of, but I know this is more important.
On a physical front, I have weaned Eagle. That was emotionally draining for a few days but he has adjusted and I know my body appreciates that it is no longer supporting an extra person. I'm taking huge doses of vitamin D and have begun a regimen with iodine (and associated supplements) as well. We'll see how that goes. I don't feel a huge difference there yet, but then again, I'm not crashing the way I was, so maybe that's enough. I believe my depression is hormonally-linked, so I want to go in and have some bloodwork done and see if there is anything to be learned from that. I am also looking into counseling, simply because I believe that the discussion form of support will probably be helpful for me.
I do love grad school, and may return to it for spring quarter (with the lightened babysitting load and my improved physical condition I think it will be more workable). I have not decided for sure, but am considering it.
On a separate but related note, three days before Christmas break started, we decided to pull Wolf (age 11) out of 6th grade and homeschool him.
Two and a half weeks later, we jumped in with both feet.
He had been struggling with school here, both the teaching style of instructors and also the way that certain topics were taught (very book-based) and the homework load. His feelings about learning and schoolwork were becoming very negative, and getting him to do his homework was a battle almost every day. Negativity was flowing out into our home and family through it all, and we knew something had to change. So now it has.
Due to my own struggles and stresses, I felt some trepidation over bringing him home, thinking that it might add stress to our home life...but it did not. Part of me had wondered, even suspected, that bringing him home might lower the stress levels, and indeed it has. Sure, some days there are frustrations, but overall he is happier and more at ease, and so are we all. He feels that he is learning more, he is not being tied down to busywork on things he already knows, he is able to help me with all the little ones, and he feels positive about school in general.
And I must go. We're watching a movie about mummification. Did you know they stuffed peppercorns in Ramses' nose to make sure it kept his shape after he was dehydrated? and they would put little onions in the eye sockets to keep them rounded instead of sunken in (because eyes are mostly water...)