I was diagnosed with clinical depression almost 15 years ago. I was in college and going to therapy once a week but still couldn’t get my thoughts to move in a positive direction. When I started taking medication for my depression – it was like a whole new world opened up for me. I felt like myself again. I was able to bounce from one thing to another without the weight of questioning every decision. Fast forward to today and I find myself going through a medication change and feeling all of those helpless, negative thoughts I felt so long ago. That’s the thing about depression – it has the power to take you down out of nowhere.
The difference between then and now is that I have 3 children…3 little children and I am still very much in the thick of parenthood. Sure, there are no more binkies or diapers or sleepless nights but there are hurt feelings, let downs, and boo boos that still demand my attention. I am a mom with littles who has depression and sometimes it’s really, really hard to get out of bed.
Sometimes I find myself questioning every parenting decision big and small. Should I have let her have the IPAD that long this morning? Should I have allowed him to stay at his friend’s house all day? Did I read enough to my kids today? Am I messing them up? You may be thinking, we all have those feelings and I don’t suffer from depression…the difference for those of us with depression is that these little talks we have with ourselves in our heads are debilitating. They consume us. They stop us from continuing on with our day. They cripple us. They make us feel like we can’t breathe. They make us question EVERYTHING. It is a battlefield in my head and I can’t stop it.
I’m a pretty open book but I don’t normally talk about depression with my friends because I usually have it under control. And really, who wants to talk about this stuff anyways? It’s hard to understand and explain to people who don’t know what it feels like. It’s also hard to be a mom when you feel like you’re not doing a good job. I know this is the depression talking and it’s not reality but I want you to know if you’re reading this and you are a mom who has depression or thinks she has depression – you can feel better. There are ways to get out of the pit. There are things you can do to help you get out of bed even when you can’t think past getting out of bed.
Start with one small step today. Just do one small thing to feel better. That will look different for each of you. It might be calling your doctor and scheduling an appointment to talk about what you’re feeling if meds are right for you. It might be calling a therapist and scheduling your very first appointment. It might be telling your husband you think you’re depressed even though you have an amazing life. It might be taking extra care of yourself today by not having a to do list. It might be just sitting on the couch, holding your children because you don’t know what else to do.
If you are a mom with littles who is suffering from depression, know this – it will pass. These feelings will pass and you will feel better again. You will feel like yourself again and you will get through this.
I found this checklist on the Internet and I think it’s a great place to start if you don’t know if you have depression. Hang in there mama. You’re doing a great job and this will pass.