To the Mommas With Mental Illness Having a Tough Day, Week or Month
This week was tough.
I fell into my first full depressive episode since I was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder. Being aware of what was happening and not being able to stop the cycle was frustrating to say the least. I have felt it coming for a couple of weeks now, but I was fighting against it.
On Monday, it was hard to get out of bed. By the afternoon, my body felt heavy. I was exhausted, I was irritable and all I could think about was lying in my bed.
Monday night left me restless. I was awake at 2:30 a.m. with nothing but frustration. I finally fell back asleep at 7 a.m. and managed to peel myself out of bed to take my daughter to gymnastics and go to work.
The whole day was so hard. I struggled to maintain focus. I found myself leaning on things when I had to get up and sitting for long periods of time, constantly closing my eyes and picturing myself laying in my bed.
I got home Tuesday night and I told my daughter that mommy was having an “Eeyore” day and that I needed to lie down. I slept from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m., when my daughter reminded me she had nothing to pack for lunch the next day.
I peeled myself out of bed and headed to Sheetz to pick up a Lunchable. “Sure you can get a slushy,” I tell my daughter. Whatever you want as long as I can go back to bed.
On the way home, I apologized to my daughter. “I’m so sorry mommy is having an Eeyore day, baby. I love you so much”
Her response brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart:
“It’s OK, Momma, I know you have Eeyore days sometimes. That’s just the way God made you — it’s your personality. Besides, it would be boring if everyone was the same.”
When you’re on the verge of a breakdown and you hear your 9-year-old have more compassion and understanding than most adults you know, it makes your heart swell.
Of course, depression makes it ugly: “She shouldn’t have to see this. She shouldn’t be so mature. She deserves a mom who doesn’t have ‘Eeyore’ Days.”
Wednesday was bad, I’m not going to lie. I’m surprised I made it to my doctors appointment, but I did. She started me on medication.
Thursday wasn’t so great either. I barely got out of bed for two days. I didn’t shower or brush my teeth. My house was a mess. Depression isn’t pretty.
On Thursday evening, I got out of bed long enough to plug my waffle maker in, make some pancake mix and sit on the barstool at the counter making waffles for dinner. One hand was holding up my heavy head and the other was making the waffles. Some days, you just “gotta do what you gotta do.”
Today, was slightly better.
I’m still down, but my body isn’t nearly as heavy. After my counseling appointment I’m working on challenging some of the unproductive thoughts.
Maybe tomorrow will be even better.
Eventually the cycle will rear its ugly head again, but I’ll have better coping skills in place.
If you’re a mom having an “Eeyore” day, week or month— forgive yourself now. Our kids will have more compassionate and empathy for human suffering, at least that’s my hope.
One “Flawsome” Momma
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Thinkstock photo via ka2shka