It has been a long while since I had this website up and running. For a long time I found it shameful and embarrassing that yet again, I fell off the wagon, lost track of my goals, and managed to stay in the same place, even after putting myself out there on the internet for all to see. I thought surely that was the recipe for success and when I once again failed, I wanted to go hide under a rock and never come out again until I was the healthy mom I so desperately wanted to be.
The truth is, I struggle with depression. Social media and the internet make it easy to show the world all the good without the bad. It makes it easy to have all of you reading this believe I’m doing fabulously well all the time, and that the Meggy who fell apart completely in her early 20s is gone forever. That’s simply not true though. I will always struggle with falling down the rabbit hole into dark thoughts, especially when I start to ignore my mental needs.
The irony of the whole situation is once I get back on track with my working out, and eating healthy, I always find a sense of peace, purpose and happiness that does not exist without it. I have always said that the reason I run is free therapy. One of my nearest and dearest friends always thought it was so weird I liked to run for miles without any music. I go through phases with that now, but I do not like the music drowning out my thinking time, my quiet time on the road or trail, putting my head back on straight, chasing away my demons. You would think that would make it easy to continue on the physical health journey as it helps my mental health so much, but unfortunately that’s not true.
All the difficulties of life can and do derail me. This past year I struggled way more with adjusting to being a mom of three than I thought I would. The twins have tested my patience what feels like every second of every day. Mason is too tall for his age and gets into everything. I found myself so beaten down and exhausted at the end of the day, that instead of making sure I took care of myself, I would collapse in exhaustion and ignore those very needs that help me be the healthy twin mom, and now mom of three that I pride myself on. I found myself falling into my usual depression, which is only more exhausting than pre kids because I still turn it “on” with my kids, only to let the dishes go undone, the laundry to pile up extra, a thick layer of dust to form over everything.
I called this post “The Most Honest I Have Ever Been”, because now that I am finally taking care of myself again and in a good mental space, I feel compelled to be very real about what got me here. The laundry is done, folded, and put away (all of it, and for you moms out there, you understand what a big deal this is), the vacuuming done, dishes in their rightful place, and okay, maybe still some dust, but no one is perfect. I have lost 15 lbs, after hitting my max weight of 198 lbs, and deciding enough is enough and I needed to fix it. Now that everything feels in order, I am ready to open up fully.
This has been inspired by the fact that this month is Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month. For all of you who know me, you know I lost my mother to this illness when I was 13. If you knew me during those first years, you saw how horrible the disease was. I used to sugar coat everything that has happened in my life, because I hate nothing more than pity for what I had to go through, especially knowing none of it was in my control. I am past that point. I am a very strong, capable woman, because of those struggles, but I will not sit here and act like they were not struggles anymore. It is incredibly difficult to spend your entire childhood watching your mom slowly die, and knowing that while you watch this, you too could have the same fate one day, as there was a 50/50 chance I had inherited it.
When I met my husband almost seven years ago, I had just started the process to find out whether I inherited HD from my mom. Friday, the 13th of November, 2009, was one of the most joyous days of my life, to hear that I did not inherit HD, and I could go about my life never having to worry about this particular disease for me, or having to worry about passing it on to my kids.
Almost immediately, however, I started having survivor’s guilt, as my brother found out a few months later, that he was not so lucky. My brother is the biggest reason I am who I am today, because he has always been my protector. He has allowed me to have as normal a life as I possibly could, so that I could survive everything we went through. Why do I get to be the one who goes on? Why is it my brother, who brings laughter and joy to every person he comes across, who has inherited this monster?
There has been so much joy in my life since meeting my husband, getting married, becoming a mom of three wonderful little boys, that my own personal guilt was able to be put on the back burner for a time. Unfortunately, the reality of losing another family member has set in. It is completely selfish when I am not the one who is sick to have these thoughts, and yet, it is hard being the one left behind. Moments that seem so simple to so many people, are hard for me to bear witness to, and up until about a month ago, I was letting all those dark thoughts occupy my mind.
There are not enough negative words in the world to describe Huntington’s Disease. No person should have to suffer it, and no family member should have to watch their family leave them in such a way. There is currently no cure, but there is always HOPE, and it is that reason I pulled myself back together again.
The only truly selfish act I could commit, is to not live my life to the very best of my ability. I am left behind to LIVE, not just to exist. I am left behind so that I can help people, and help raise money for all those other families who suffer this same fate. I am left behind to do all those things in life my family wasn’t able to, and won’t be able to. I don’t tell you this for you to feel sorry for me, but rather to remind all of us that life is short, life is beautiful, and life is worth the fight. It is worth living the best we can for ourselves and all those we love who can no longer be with us, and for those that still are.
I am always going to have to work to keep those demons at bay, and living with depression is never going to be easy, but I will always fight, and I will always find a way to come out on top. My life may not have been easy, but all of this has happened for a reason, and I will be damned if I let depression win. Welcome back to my journey as a healthy twin mom, not just in physical well being, but mental. Life is such a beautiful gift. Please don’t ever forget it.
To support this cause, please go to http://www.hdsa.org to learn more about what you can do to help. *EDIT* You can also donate to the Huntington’s Disease Society of America, and support my fundraising efforts as I run the NYC Marathon on November 5, 2017, here: https://www.crowdrise.com/huntingtonsdiseasesocietyofamericaNYC2017/fundraiser/meggyswartz
In honor of awareness month, you may also head on over to http://www.shop.com/shopswartz, or http://www.motivescosmetics.com/shopswartz, where I will be donating all retail profits for this month to the HDSA. Feel free to email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, with any questions, as I am here to help!