One of the big turning points in my life was when I went for a doctor checkup when my oldest child was a little over a year old. I had just turned 30.
I had lost most of my pregnancy weight but I had a stubborn 15 pounds that wouldn’t budge. I couldn’t figure out a schedule to my day because the kid kept growing and changing. I could tell what time it was by what PBS Kids show was on television. Yeah, the TV was on a lot. Let me tell you where to put your judgement.
The doctor I saw was young and energetic and sharp, a resident, employed by the local university teaching hospital. I saw in her who I had been five years before (different profession but same personality). She even looked a little bit like me. I missed her. I mean, I missed me.
She asked me as we were finishing up if there was anything else I wanted to ask her about, and I started complaining about the baby weight but then somehow things got very teary and messy. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but it was something to the effect of being frustrated with not being able to get my shit together, not being sure why I couldn’t, and she looked at me and said, “Oh, honey. You’re depressed.”
And just her saying it, her naming it, made it a little bit better.
She reminded me that I’d just been through four major life stressors in the past year: a cross-country move, a change in my job–from working professional to stay-at-home-mom,–a change in my husband’s job, and a new baby. “No wonder you’re depressed,” she said. And once she named it, she gave me permission to have it.
I’d had it for years, but I certainly never gave myself permission to have it. I just needed to get it together. Get organized. Get moving. But her diagnosing it recognized something that was beyond my ability to address alone. To this day, I feel like I owe her a big piece of my life. So thanks, Brett, wherever you are.