I Am the Mom With Depression Who's Trying to Keep Herself Together
I want to feel motivated. I want to accomplish daily tasks without effort and play with my children. I want to get my life back and feel hopeful for the future. I cannot say I am unhappy or unsatisfied with my life, as I am extremely grateful for my family. But I can say I am unexplainably sad and am hanging on by a thread. I am restless and exhausted at the same time. I am barely able to keep my eyes open but can’t close them long enough to relax. I am overwhelmed and anxious, fidgety, forgetful and unable to concentrate on one task long enough to check it off my “to do” list. Unfinished projects are building up, and things are becoming cluttered around the house.
I am currently experiencing another major depressive episode. I’ve been in remission for a few years, but my medication isn’t working like it used to, and the wait lists for therapy take forever. During my regularly scheduled appointment, my psychiatrist tells me to hang in there while he hands me another prescription hoping this next medication will be a success.
The new medication is not successful despite my attempt to be positive. Side effects take over my life. I cancel my attendance for social events and avoid answering my phone. I can’t bring myself to look in a mirror. Negative thoughts invade my head. All I want to do is sleep and be alone. Being a mom of two under 3, my wants cannot become my reality right now. My children come first. I continue to struggle and find myself using distractions to avoid a complete breakdown. I ask for help, but no one takes me seriously. I am alone and I am scared.
My psychiatrist advises me to stop my medication when I bother him before our next appointment, as the side effects are serious. He gives no other instructions. I am left to fend for myself. Not wanting to bother him again, I try my best to hide my pain. The mask I once wore is reappearing, and I blame myself. I hide my tears behind a smile and sunglasses. How can I be a good mother when I can barely keep it together? I ask for help, hoping for a different outcome; maybe they will believe me this time. Nothing changes. I am alone, and I am scared.
As side effects from the medication tapper off I experience overwhelming emotions that are unexplainable and out of my control. In less than a second, I can go from happiness to unexplainable sadness or rage. My mood is unpredictable. My mind starts racing and wanders often. I feel unsafe being alone with my children, but I am too frightened to admit it to anyone. I fear I will be labeled as an unfit mother. Inquiries as to how I’m doing are made, but as soon as honesty spills out of my mouth, it seems interest veers in another direction. I am alone and I am scared.
I wait in anticipation for my next visit with my psychiatrist, hoping I can keep impulsive behaviors and my mood under control. I try to remain hopeful. I want to see the light at the end of it all. I want to get better but the doubt constantly lingers. No one asks or wonders how I am doing. They have given up or chosen to believe I am fine. I receive criticism for canceling plans. Expectations of normalcy surface despite my ability to get better. I am alone and I am scared.
Although abandonment by my support system is heartbreaking, it is a reality I need to accept. I may be alone and scared, but I have to fight. I am saddened that those I thought loved me have chosen to walk away, but I am thankful for the strength my children give me to keep trying to be better. Recurrent major depressive disorder is chronic, meaning I have to learn to cope with it or I may fail. Medication and therapy are necessary and long-term. Acceptance will take time. I may be alone and scared but I know I cannot give up.
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.
Image via Thinkstock.