Well, we had our first fall snow storm this week. About 15 centimeters of the white stuff fell in a hurry. We had at least 60km winds blowing making a real mess of the roads, highways, trees, etc. We were pretty snowed in at the farm. I wasn’t going anywhere in my little car that’s for sure. My sweet little cat, Peter (AKA Penny), saw snow for the first time and he was not a fan. I’m with him, I am not a winter/cold weather person. However, with the snow and cold temperatures come a time of rest for my farmer, so I have learned that it’s kind of a blessing for winter coming. As my first farming season of being a farm wife is coming to a close, I am reminiscent of what the last ten months of life has brought to me. There have been big changes for me mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Looking back, I could have never imagined my life looking the way it does now. I am so thankful.
When the farmer started seeding in the early spring, I was still working full-time in town. I wasn’t around during the day to see the progress that had been made and we didn’t have much time to spend together in the evenings. It became really lonely early on for me. I felt isolated. I tried to find excuses to be in town so I could have some human interaction. As time went on, my anxiety grew to depression. I was aware what was going on. I had been through it before so I thought I could fix it on my own, but quickly learned that I couldn’t. I started seeking help through counseling, but it didn’t quite do the trick like it had done in the past. This depression was different. For me, I had a hard time figuring out why I was feeling this way when I should be over the moon. I was a newlywed to a man I love so deeply, I live in a beautiful home on a beautiful farm, I have a job I should be proud of, and I have wonderful family and friends. What was there to be depressed about? It was a question I asked myself over and over again. I was scared to share my feelings with my family and friends because I was scared they would ask me the same question and I didn’t have an answer to give them. I finally hit a point in late spring where I could not continue living this way. I was not only hurting myself, but I was hurting the people who I loved. I had to admit that I needed more help.
The counselor that I had been seeing at the time had asked if I ever considered medication to help with my anxiety. I told them the same answer I had told other counselors before, ‘No, I don’t need medication. I can fix this by myself’. So I did what any sane person would do… I fired them and found a new counselor… Being medicated was the LAST resort for me. The stigma that surrounds mental health was something that really effected my way of thinking about treatment. For a long time, I couldn’t even admit to people I was seeing a counselor. I was ashamed. But, when I got to the point of no return, I caved and made an appointment with my family doctor to discuss medication and a potential medical leave of absence from work.
I went to that appointment not knowing what to expect. I was scared to ask for what I needed. What was he going to say about the problems that I was having? What was he going to try to push at me? Or worst of all, what if he doesn’t think medication was going to help me and to get back to work? These are all of the stories my anxiety told me before I even walked through the door. Luckily, I have a great doctor who took the time to listen to what had been going on in my life. I told him about my hesitation taking medication for my mental health. He asked me a question that I hadn’t asked myself, he said ‘If I gave you something to help the pain for a broken leg, would you take it? Yes, you would. I’m giving you something to help your pain. Simple as that’. From that moment, I felt a bit more at ease. He approved my request for a medical leave agreeing that I needed time to work on me. And I feel like that is what I have been doing ever since that appointment, working on me.
During this time of healing and discovery for myself, I took on a few tasks around the farm. These few tasked turned into full days working alongside my farmer and our crew. I found myself feeling pride at the end of a hard days work; something that I hadn’t felt in years. Being here at the farm was making me happy. A place that months prior felt like it was suffocating me was now allowing me to breathe.
It took some time for the guilt of not being at work to go away. I had a job where people relied on me for a lot of things and I felt like I was letting them down. There was also anger there. Anger for giving myself to a job that I wasn’t getting anything in return besides a pay cheque. I felt taken advantage of almost every day. I was mostly angry at myself though for letting it happen. It took some time, tears and a lot of counseling through the summer to come to my final conclusion. My job didn’t make me happy. The personal values that I have did not line up with the leadership in the company. This no longer was the place for me. So, I quit. There has not been a day since I have regretted that big scary decision.
So, here we are now. The end of my first season as a farm wife. I’m happy to report that I am feeling better than ever before. I wake up in the morning with a smile on my face next to a man who I adore. I have better relationships with the people who I love. I have ended relationships that no longer serve me and hinder my well-being. I feel more connected to my mind, body, and soul. I have tried to pinpoint what exactly helped me through this journey the most. Was it quitting my job? Was it the meds? Counseling? Who knows. What I do know is I am grateful every day to be here. Here with the ones I love. Here on this farm. Here in this country. Just, here.
If you are someone who is suffering, I encourage you to seek the help you need for your mental wellness. It can be a scary task, but in the end it will change your whole life. It doesn’t just go away or get better overnight. It us a daily process. It takes time, effort and a whole lot of work but it does pay off.
I want to thank you for taking the time to get to know me a little better. When I thought about what to write to recap my first season as a farm wife, I thought I would write about driving swathers and tractors. I quickly realized, though those were big moments for me this summer, there was so much more going on behind the scenes I had to share. There is no handbook on being the best wife, let alone a farmers wife. I do the best that I can every day and I know it is appreciated. What more could I ask for?