When You're a Mummy Who Struggles With Anxiety and Depression
I think depression is a change in perspective.
In reality, nothing is usually different from one week to the next, but rather, the perception of that reality becomes completely altered, changing your perspective. For instance, I can actually take a photograph of myself and keep that photo on my phone. Nothing in that photo has changed, nothing has been edited. But I can look at that photo on a Monday and completely loathe what I see. I can look at the same photo — the exact same photo — on a Tuesday and be so astounded at how attractive I look.
Nothing has changed – except on Monday I was depressed and on Tuesday, the cloud lifted. My perspective of my reality had changed.
I think part of getting older is slowly learning to accept yourself.
I have depression and anxiety.
I have always had these things. And while I used to be afraid of these aspects of myself – I am no longer scared. I am also honestly no longer ashamed of it. It’s something I’ve always struggled with.
I used to spend days asking: “Why? Why do I feel this way? My upbringing? My choice of career? Hormones? Something not quite right in my brain? The weather?” Then at some point I stopped asking why and just accepted it. I accept these two things as a part of my personality.
A personality that, by the way, includes being extremely funny, creative, generous, impulsive and perfectionistic.
When I have been depressed in the past, I have looked around me to see what was causing it.
It must be the man I’m with – I’ll get rid of him.
It must be my hair color – I’ll change it. I’ll change it and I’ll be “cured.”
It must be the job I’m in, my weight, my friends, my lack of success.
And I’ve learned it really isn’t anything external and there’s really not much I can do to change it, other than wait it out.
It was a surprise that pregnancy didn’t “cure” my depression and anxiety — it only heightened it. And it was a surprise that having children wasn’t a magical cure either. I don’t know why I thought that should be a surprise — after all, I can’t escape myself, can I?
Whether I’m single and free in Rome, elbow deep in gnocchi and red wine, or I’m in my house for the seventh consecutive day cleaning and looking after two children, not having time to shower or eat a decent meal — I’m still me.
And I have depression and anxiety.
On a bad day, things can seem hopeless. But after living with these aspects of my personality for 33 years, I am lucky enough to understand that this feeling, although entirely real to me, isn’t permanent and will eventually lift.
On a good day, I am overjoyed with the beauty and luck of my life.
So children, mummy might be depressed, but there’s nothing to worry about, she knows all about it, she’s been living with it for a very long time and it’s got absolutely nothing to do with you.
It also means she’s adequately adept at understanding and helping you with any feelings you may have in the future.
If you’re the mummy who, just like me last week, sat crying in your pajamas, unable to get dressed, the house going to pot around you, just getting through the day feeling utterly hopeless and like you’re failing — it’s really OK. I know how that feels. I know how it feels to be completely exhausted, completely done, and feel like you can’t be mummy – that you don’t want to be mummy anymore.
Try not to trust your perspective of the situation right now and know that you won’t always feel like this. Tell someone, you’re not alone.
Follow this journey here.
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Lead photo via contributor