‘Real talk: I am tired. I’ve gained 20 pounds, and I miss my church family. This isn’t normal. It isn’t okay.’: Woman struggling with mental health says ‘It’s normal to feel done and over it’

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“Real talk: I am tired.

Call it depression, call it pandemic fatigue, call it whatever you want. But my body, mind, and soul are straight up toast.

Burnt toast.

There is no saving face, no scraping the charred parts off with a knife. My swollen eyes and graying hair keep giving me away.

Courtesy of Mary Katherine Backstrom

And I don’t like lying anyways, so here is the whole freaking truth: I’m not just tired; I am really sad, too.

I miss normalcy. I miss seeing people’s smiling faces. Not just family, but strangers in the street. I miss those connections. They mattered to me.

I miss hugging my friends, flying my mom into town to see her grand-babies, and traveling with my husband.

I miss dropping my son off at his old elementary school and watching him carry his backpack inside—it was so big on his tiny, little body. I miss how he stopped at the door, right before entering the school, to wave one last time. I am sad he didn’t finish kindergarten.

I miss life the way it was.

I’m angry for all that I miss.

So, now I am tired, sad, and angry… while pretending this is all normal and fine. Six months into this mess, you know what?

I am also tired of pretending.

Can we just acknowledge how bad this sucks?

I don’t want to pretend this is some kind of ‘new normal.’ I hate putting masks on my tiny children’s faces before we go into Target.

Do I understand it? Yes.

Do I want it to be over? H*LL YES.

Adulthood was hard enough before it included a public health crisis. Before I had to wonder if the choices I made could sicken or kill other people.

This isn’t normal. It isn’t okay.

And you know what? Our bodies KNOW IT.

My mental health is in the toilet, I’ve gained 20 pounds, and I miss my church family. There isn’t a single part of me unscathed by this pandemic.

Like I said: body, mind, and soul.

And what’s worse? The internet is losing it’s mind. People are nastier than ever before, sharing fake news more than ever before, more divisive than ever before, and I don’t know when it will end. Add to this an election cycle, and we simply can’t escape it.

We log onto social media to experience some sort of community, only to find a flaming dumpster full of rage and confusion.

Are you over it?

Yeah. Me too, friend.

I want so badly to hug you. I want to hold your hand and pray for you. I want to sit across the table from you, and buy your favorite drink. I want to listen to how your week has been. I want to talk about how our kids are doing in school, without mentioning who is sick or quarantined.

I want life back. The way it was in 2019, B.C.

You know. Before COVID.

But, until the time comes where things smooth out, and the virus is defeated, and we reclaim normalcy, I want you to know one thing:

This is HARD. It’s normal to feel that. To cry sometimes. Or, heck, every day.

I sure do.

It’s normal to be sad and angry and confused. To want to throw things at the television screen (ESPECIALLY during political commercials).

It’s normal to feel done and over it.

It’s normal because NONE of this is freaking normal.

So, don’t feel like you have to pretend, my friends. These burdens are heavy, and your back is tired. We weren’t meant to struggle alone.

So, in the most socially distant way possible, I want you to reach out your hand. Take mine. Feel solidarity, and know you are loved.

We are apart, but we are in this together.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Mary Katherine Backstrom. Mary’s book Mom Babble: The Messy Truth about Motherhood is available here. Follow Mary on Instagram here.  Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

Read more stories from Mary:

‘I drove 11 hours with my babies. I just needed to feel my ‘home.’ I wanted to laugh together like the world isn’t burning.’: Mom talks about finding the positive during a pandemic

‘My patient died,’ he said with a sigh. ‘The one I was so worried about.’ The look on his face broke my heart.’: Wife of healthcare worker applauds heroism, ‘They always show up’

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