I have taken too long a break from my writing. I have not worked on my novel since Riley died. I have not posted here in weeks. I have wallowed in this depressive funk and made no real efforts to get better.

I didn’t realize just how bad it had become until CJ thanked me for performing a mundane chore before his parents arrived for Q’s birthday.  It had unknowingly gotten to a point where my husband felt the need to thank me for doing my job as a wife and mother. It’s hard to come to terms with that.

Progress, by definition, requires effort. I have been allowing CJ to put forth all the effort while putting forth none of my own. I have taken solace in my obsessions and compulsions. I apologize to my family for this.

It has become clear that my “coping mechanisms” were grossly inadequate. Writing however, seems to be the one outlet that has never failed me, yet I have failed it. Why do we avoid things that can help make us well? Why not dive headfirst into the things that can make us happy?

So, here’s the schedule. Mondays will be for updates. Thursdays will be for reviews. Surprise posts are always an option and are free from restriction. Editing will occur at least three times per week, for however long I can dedicate to it. I hope that giving myself these deadlines will help. I am a queen of procrastination, but I like a good due date. I will read more. I will continue therapy. I will do my job. I will strive to be able to return the extraordinary care I have received. You can count on it.

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Today

I have been having a difficult time the past few days.

Of the [quite a few] women I know who have recently had a baby, almost all of them have returned to work. Their Facebooks have been full of baby pictures and messages of regret in having to leave their child in order to return to work.

These messages upset me. I mean, at least they have a baby to leave. I don’t have my baby at all. But even that thought right there – the one that came unbidden – makes me feel horrible. Am I being harsh and unjust to these other mothers when they are just bragging about their beautiful new babies? And does this mean I am ungrateful for what I already have?

Am I cherishing my other children less because I cannot cherish their sibling enough? I find myself torn sometimes in moments of joy because I think about the one who will never participate in these moments with us. Will that always be the case? I know they say things will get better with time, but as I have no experience with the death of a close loved one, I just can’t help but feel that I am forever altered.

As my OCD has been exacerbated in these stressful and painful last few months, I find myself withdrawing from things I do want to do/participate in as an effort to avoid my triggers. CJ and I keep talking about things we would like to do once I reach what we refer to as my “baseline,” but I’m worried that may not be the same anymore. And I don’t know how to cope with that. I don’t want to become a recluse who stops living their life and not doing things they enjoy. I want to feel the desire to play, write, even just be helpful around the house.

Before, my bad days were few and far between. Now, as there have been so many gathered together, it’s hard to see that it won’t always be like this. It’s difficult sometimes to convince myself to continue pushing through. But I am a strong woman. I am intelligent and occasionally, kind of funny. I will try my best to keep smiling until the day where it’s not pretend anymore. Starting today.