October 2003: a two year old, a newborn, a husband who worked late and 6 or 7 days a week and depression. More than once a day I told myself I wanted to die. I really thought about it, about how it could be an accident so my children would get my life insurance. I was sleep deprived, had to go back to full-time work after 6 weeks, going to school (a condition of my employment), had a mess of a house and out of control finances.
Then I got sick and I thought, this is it, I am dying now. After a week of feeling terrible and coughing I went to the doctors was told it was a cold, go home and rest. It got worse and I moved into the guest room so DH could sleep and when I was up coughing in the middle of the night I would think, “it’s almost over, I’m dying now, I can make it a bit longer”. I went back to the doctor three days later and I was told it was a bad cold, go home and take OTC medicine for the cough.
It was 4 days before I had to return to work, less than 6 weeks since I had my son and my employer called to confirm my return. I could hardly speak I was coughing so hard. She said I had to have a back to work note before I could come into the office. Went to the OBGYN for my 6-week checkup and he said no way would he extend my time off for a cough, it was unrelated to the delivery of the baby.
In the waiting room I was trying to read some magazine and don’t remember anything about it except your website and I remember how I tried, crashed, burned and failed when I attempted it before. I used my task list in my hand-held computer and tasked myself to the point where nothing got done. That night I got up when I was coughing and looked in the mirror, my skin was gray and my lips were blue, “not much longer” I thought. I went to the computer and opened up your site. I thought about some of the testimonials I had read previously and I remembered you and your escape from your first husband to save your life and I got angry. Angry at the health care professionals that were ignoring me, angry at my husband for working so much, angry at my employer – a rage I can’t describe but for those who have been there, you know what I am talking about.
In the morning I showered, got dressed to my shoes, holding the wall because I could barely breath and called the doctors office told them I was on my way, I couldn’t breath and needed help.
I got there and they wanted all my information. I was coughing, trying to breath and find my insurance card in my purse and then I started crying, standing in front of the receptionist, I said “please help me” and two nurses came running. They put me on a gurney, put a blood oxygen monitor on, it was so low they didn’t believe I was conscious. They took care of my baby, gave me oxygen and took x-rays. Pneumonia in every lobe of my lungs. The nurse practitioner held my hands and said, “you are right, you could have died from this but you won’t”. Women I didn’t know were helping me.
As I was waiting for my antibiotic prescription to be filled I remembered the peace my home briefly had before I crashed and burned and I vowed to take control and get better with baby steps this time. I had to return to work but I made arrangements to work from home for a few weeks while my strength came back. I took naps, I went to bed early and slept in the guest room if my DH wanted to watch TV. DH hired someone to clean our house weekly. I made my before bed routine and my morning routine and didn’t try anything else. My before bed routine was long, it took 3 hours but I knew if I didn’t include make dinner and eat it, I wouldn’t do it. It included taking off my makeup, brushing my teeth and taking a shower. It took months before it felt normal but my routines helped me overcome depression and they forced me take care of myself. I was probably depressed and sick from not eating dinner, nutritious meals and getting enough sleep.
It’s been over 6 months. I tackled the laundry monster just like you said and went to the laundry mat. I have kept up ever since. I tackled my finances, shined my sink and added it to my routine. I don’t dread weekends anymore, no longer are they a laundry, dishwashing, shopping, cleaning marathon. I have time to take my children to the park and we walk there to get exercise. I have tackled my pantry, freezer, dinner menus, grocery lists and shopping. I take care of myself first and have lost weight, have nice simple clothes and wear my makeup. Dinner time is 6:30.
DH knows if he misses it, there will be a plate for him and he tries to make it home more often. I am working on my stinkin’ thinkin’ right now. Last night when DH was late, instead of getting upset, calling and nagging him, I did a hotspot drill, and told my 2-1/2 year old we had two cleaning missions in the master bedroom. She said, “yeah!!!” (oh the enthusiasm of a 2-1/2 year old!). I gave her the little flyduster and she said “it’s beautiful mommy, there is a purple flower in it”, and she danced with her wand as I did the window and ceiling missions. They were the first two missions I have done and I was so happy I had good tears in my eyes because what popped into my head was, “I want to live now”. Last night I realized I have not thought, “I want to die”, in almost six months.
My anger saved my life and sometimes that is what it takes. Thank you and the FlyLady team for being there every day with your email. I thank God for the breeze that made me see your website address at that important time in my life. Peace is returning to my life and one day, when my husband notices the changes, I will sit him down and tell him about my friend FlyLady and her friends who helped me save my life.
Love a Flybaby in Rochester NY
FlyLady here: When you feel this bad please do not get in a car and drive! Call a friend, call 911 but don’t take a chance on hurting yourself more by driving.
Sometimes we have to get mad before we can heal! This happened to a dear friend of mine. Doctors told her she had 6 months to live. After 3 months she got mad. That was 5 years ago. Our stubbornness can be an asset!