The Life of a Mother and Wife With Recurrent Major Depressive Disorder
The thing about recurrent major depressive disorder is that it never truly goes away. It may not always hinder my ability to function, but sometimes it does, and right now it is.
I find myself sad, irritable, restless, exhausted, anxious, and overwhelmed. It takes everything I have to complete daily household tasks and take care of my family. I put on a smile and hide my pain behind a mask as I force myself to play with my children. I cannot let them feel burdened with my struggles; their innocence doesn’t need to be influenced so early in life.
My husband and I are a team, but right now he is doing more than his share, and I feel guilty. My thoughts keep veering to my past. I can’t help but compare who I was then to who I am now. This time, I am stronger and ready to fight. I have to remind myself that I may have been through this before, but I never had so much to lose.
My las breakdown took over my life and forced me to face my mental illness after years of struggling in silence. People I cared about and trusted abandoned me, and I fought to recover alone. I returned home from a treatment center to an empty house and divorce papers. My fear of abandonment and being alone haunted me. I could have given up, but I didn’t. I worked through my depression and anxiety, relied on mindfulness techniques, and learned to believe happiness was possible. I found true, non-judgmental, unconditional love when I least expected it.
Searching through previous writings, I came across the following journal entry from a year ago when my major depression and anxiety were manageable:
I never knew life could be like this. I am finally happy and understand what it means. Three years ago my life was so different. I was different. When I look back on those memories I can’t believe how much I have changed. I am stronger. I am so much stronger. I feel invincible. I have come so far in three years, and I am proud of myself. Although depression and anxiety are still around, I have learned how to manage them better and don’t feel as negative towards myself as I remember I once did. Maybe it’s because I am now a wife and mother. Perhaps I have let these things consume me. If this is the case then I am happy they did. My life was so empty before my husband and son. And now there’s another bundle of joy arriving in four months! I am now accountable to others, and I am needed. Most of all, I am wanted. I actually feel like I belong and I am wanted. I cannot remember a time in my life where I ever felt this way; I’ve always felt unwanted, unneeded, and unworthy of happiness.
As I read this entry, tears fall down my cheeks. I can remember my feelings of happiness through my words and long to get them back. Major depression and anxiety have once again consumed me, and I am lost. I remind myself I need to get back to myself more than ever before. My family depends on me; they need me. My family reminds me I have to keep fighting to get better and that I am strong. Despite the fact that I am currently experiencing a recurrent major depressive episode, I can get better.
This time I don’t have to face it alone. I have the support and love of my family to keep me strong. I picture my family and our lifetime ahead as I wipe away my tears. I remind myself that not only is happiness possible, but I am worthy of feeling it again.
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