The Lies I Tell My Family as a Mom With Depression
It’s a Saturday morning, but not just any Saturday. It’s my son’s 12th birthday.
Yesterday I told myself repeatedly that I would pull through for my son as I have been in the midst of a bipolar depression. I told myself I would put a smile on my face and be enthusiastic. But, you see, depression doesn’t care that today is his birthday. Depression doesn’t care that I need with all of my being to be present today. For him. For the most important person in my life. The person who needs me today.
So it’s Saturday, his birthday. I’m lying in bed under my covers crying as I write this instead of eating a special breakfast I planned for today with my husband and son as they eat together. Before I retreated to my room, my sweet boy told me he was sorry so many times because I didn’t look happy.
“I’m trying!” I wanted to scream. I’m trying so hard I feel like I’m a dam about to bust! So I put on the biggest smile (which probably looked more like a grimace) I could muster and said, “Oh no, babe, I’m just really tired today for some reason. I’m happy. I promise.” Lie numero uno of the day. You see this is how my days go.
To my child I say:
Mom is crying because I twisted my back the wrong way. (I have a long history of chronic pain). Mom is just really worn out from not sleeping well. Mom had a lot of work at the office today. Mom has a migraine.
He knows I have bipolar disorder and he will ask me if that’s the problem but because I don’t want him to know just how frequently bipolar sucks me into its hell, I tell him different lies. Some days I do tell him it is the depression from the bipolar disorder.
In my heart I know I lie to myself as well. These are the lies that cut the deepest for they are the ones that eventually become truth to me as my brain processes them day after day, synapses getting closer together until my brain can’t distinguish between the lie and the truth. I know this yet I continually lie.
To myself and to my husband I say:
I hate myself. I am the worst mother in the world. I don’t deserve to live anymore. I don’t want to exist anymore. I am a worthless piece of sh*t.
Depression is like having the devil on both shoulders whispering in both ears. Lying constantly. Recalling to you the darkest parts of your thoughts and laughing as you give into them until you break and become empty. Depression lies and it forces me to lie to others, to myself.
I know this has to stop. How? I’m not sure yet. I am self-aware enough to be cognizant that these are lies so I feel I have a good foot hold on becoming honest. I will get there in time and my words and thoughts will become truth. For those around me, for my family and most of all for myself so that I can be present for his 13th birthday and all those days that come after.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.
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Getty Images photo via Tharakorn