Cleaning Out the Cobwebs of Depression
I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but there seems to be a distinct moment in my life that the light turned off and the cobwebs started to collect. There was no joy, no sadness. There was no feeling. There was just darkness and empty. I just didn’t care anymore. For a long time, I kept the door locked and just pretended I was fine. I discovered I was a great actor, and no one knew exactly how sick I was. But, kids have a funny way of blowing your cover.
My oldest daughter is 5 now. She’s bright, loves learning, loves playing at the park and her smile and giggle can light up a whole room. But I didn’t bond with her until I was pregnant with my second daughter. You see, I had postpartum depression. There was no spark when they handed me the screaming bundle of blankets. There was no joy. I was just in shock. How in the world was I supposed to care for this baby? You mean I have to do this by myself? Forever thankful for my husband, he held me up while we waited for the medication to kick in, for the light to turn on.
Then my youngest daughter was born. She is nearly 3 now. She is so headstrong and opinionated, just like her mother. She comes by her hard head and excellent debate skills well. Things were great after her birth. Until they weren’t. I developed anxiety and intrusive thoughts that I was terrified to tell anyone about because I just knew my daughters would be taken from me. The fear took over. So, I kept quiet and the light turned back off.
Then, we hit the breaking point. We found out I was pregnant with our last child, and the door broke. The cobwebs built up so much that they finally broke the door. My husband begged me to please, please find help. He told me what I needed to hear, that he wanted his wife back.
So, a mere month into my third and final pregnancy, I started therapy and my therapist picked up the broom to help me clear the cobwebs. We started by naming them, and that made them visible. Severe depression, generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia with social anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, trichotillomania. Suddenly, the light was on. The cobwebs were still there, but we could see them, and they didn’t seem so scary anymore.
I occasionally question myself in seeking therapy in the midst of pregnancy. After all, pregnant women are not exactly known for their stable emotions. But, in hindsight, it’s what I needed. I needed the intense release. I needed a safe place to unpack my bags while I cleaned out my head.
My third child, my son. He is almost a year old, and he is a clown. He is always laughing and smiling, and he has really brought us all together. I may live on coffee and adrenaline, but there is never a day I don’t smile now.
The cobwebs are still there. Ever present, but I now have a team to help me clean them out. They’re no longer invading every corner, and I’m not a slave to my sick mind. The dark days still happen, the fear still takes over. But, the difference is, I don’t have to face this alone.
I only wish I had let someone pick up a broom sooner.
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