My mental health

Being a human is hard and when you're not balanced quite right, little things feel hard and hard things feel extra hard. When you realize you've spent more time crying big ugly sobs than you have smiling, maybe you start to ask yourself "is this be normal?".

Depression is a very real feeling for many farmers

A few years ago I started wondering that same thing a lot and in my husband's point of view stress is a natural part of life that helps us grow and strengthen. That works for him but I found myself getting not just angry but irate, not just sad but inconsolable, not just lonely but isolated. I didn't want to leave my house because if I couldn't control a situation with my children I would shut down. One such situation was at my sister-in-law's wedding rehearsal dinner where my kid's were being kids but I was so overcome by all these stressful emotions I began feeling a pain in my left side and it radiated into my collar bone. Yep, I quickly self diagnosed I was dying and the kid's and I yeeted on out. I knew I wasn't the same as I had been 6 months prior, I felt like I couldn't even function in regular daily tasks. 

I spoke to my doctor

There were so many unknowns in my life that I never felt at ease; the milk check can't cover monthly expenses, the spring field work is behind, the baler won't stop shearing pins, I have no friends who understand, my kids won't sleep at night, my husband's stress is my stress, etc. It wasn't until I read a blog post from another farmer who identified her mental health situation and wrote about her experience, that I realized maybe I needed help getting my emotions in check. And actually, that's how my doctor described it. She told me that my hormones/emotions were on such a roller coaster of highs and lows that I wasn't able to properly rationalize little issues from bigger problems. EVERYTHING was a big deal and I was way overwhelmed.

I began taking a low dose antidepressant and pretty soon I started to see a difference and even began feeling 'normal' again. It wasn't that I didn't feel sad, because I still had plenty of those moments. It wasn't like I suddenly stopped sobbing from stress, y'all I always cry. It was kind of like the really big issues became speed bumps and after I was able to process and move on from them quicker. 

Talking to your doctor or a counselor can do a lot of good, and it doesn't mean there is anything wrong with you. 

I am not an expert on mental health and can only share my experiences, but if something feels off about yourself I encourage you to visit your doctor. You may not need a prescription, you may not want to take that path and that is perfectly fine! But by speaking with someone you might be able to figure out what options you have to start feeling like you again. When we have a tooth ache, you guess it -- we see a dentist. When our car has engine trouble we see a mechanic, as and so forth. We HAVE to look at our mental health in the same way, our whole body needs a check up from time to time. 

Everyone handles their feelings and situations in their own way, I've had to applaud my husband for his push-through-it mindset while understanding that I'm not made that way. It took me a while to admit to my husband that I felt weak because I couldn't just push through the hard shit, but he told me that he hadn't expected me to.

Xo, Nicole 

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