Prior to being a mother, depression hit me throughout my life. I can safely say, it’s far more heart breaking to live with depression after your children arrive. Before kids, I didn’t even know it was depression. I just thought I was sad for extended periods of time, and I was a loner who felt agitated when around large groups of people. Again, I didn’t understand depression until AFTER having children, and asking for help. Mothering through the depression one day at a time is all I can do.
Depression, how the hell did I not know before this?
Long before the kids arrived, I battled with depression, but didn’t know. Well, let’s be transparent here: more than likely, I just didn’t accept it. A couple of times, I’d be at my doctor’s office, and pills were handed to me to “just try, see if it helps.” I’d throw the pills back at them, and say no thanks. Stubborn? No clue, but I’ve always been very anti pill. Looking back, I have no clue how I came out of my depression over the years. All I remember are the times I didn’t want to get out of bed; couldn’t hold down a job; always felt rage bubbling inside of me; and, feeling like I was always under water trying to make my way up to the surface to breathe.
Writing is all I can think of that pulled me through the low periods, and helped me see some of that much needed light. Years passed, I had two children, and a lot of shit thrown at me over the years – I had no depression. Don’t get me wrong, I had sad moments, but nothing like what hit me in 2016. Slowly, it grew over me, like a slow moving retractable roof. You know the ones they close up over a stadium when the bad weather threatens a game.
Apparently, my retractable roof was closing up not to help me through bad weather, but brought bad weather, instead.
Mothering through the depression one day at a time
The difference before this year, and in previous years, was never having to worry about another person while I was basically drowning in the darkness. Boyfriends came and went. Friends? I have such a small circle, and always have. When I dropped off their radar, they somehow understood it wasn’t about them. All of them were there when I resurfaced.
Kids, though? Having two children relying on me to “learn them some things,” feed them, clean their clothes for them (because our washing machine is a bizarre one, and the kids would fall in if they had to do their wash,) and, of course, all the other mothering things one does. I pushed through for months, and went through the motions. However, I cracked. I crumbled. I told Mr. Sunflower “I can’t do it.” He picked up the slack, but my kids were without a true mother for days on end.
It’s ultimately what led me to seek out help. It finally occurred to me it wasn’t normal for me to not want to be a mother, and to be a part of everything my children were doing. Soccer practices, soccer games, dance classes, jiu jitsu, homework, hanging out with the kids watching television…. all of it, it all caused me unbelievable anxiety. Just having to drop the kids off, and pick them up from, school required a lot of self talk.
You have to do it, school is necessary. They have to go, and they have to be picked up. You’ll be fine. Keep your head down, smile if someone says hi, and haul ass to the car to get out of there as fast as hell.
Kids suffer when a parent has depression. Well, mine have suffered. However, they have also gained amazing strength. My daughter knows mommy is battling through something, and sees me work hard every day to get through it. Both children have learned an insane lesson on empathy, and compassion. It’s brought out even more kindness in both of them, when dealing with not just me, but others, as well.
Little Miss has shown a maturity in her ever since birth, however, over the last six months, it has blossomed. At home she has taken on making her own lunch each day, and helping her brother to do the same. She packs up their lunches each morning, and makes sure her brother has his water bottle, lunch and things he needs for his day, before she leaves for early morning activities.
Homework is done without any issues, and they help each other give spelling tests to prep for upcoming tests each week. What gives me comfort, as I go day by day with depression, is knowing I raised these two. The first almost 8 and 10 years of their lives I mothered them something good, because when their own mother needs to be mothered, they are on it.
But they suffer as I’m mothering through the depression one day at a time. My fear? They won’t be able to forgive me for this bump in the road, but seeing who they’ve become these last few months, I believe my fear is unfounded.