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Depression is a Constant Nagging Monster in My Head

It’s the end of the day, I’m out of patience, energy, and the will to do anything other than lie there completely anhedonic. In reality, my choices are to clean this same exact mess for the 400th day in a row, or take some time to myself and stay up late feeling guilty about it. I suppose the obvious choice is to clean. No one likes a dirty house anyways, and so I’m there, picking up cereal puffs, putting up toys, washing dishes, sweeping up goldfish crumbs and I can’t help but think: why do I even bother anymore? This isn’t even what I expected my life to be like.

If we take a step back and look at the bigger picture, my life is by no means terrible. Our bills are paid for the most part, we have food, we have water, my kids are well, yet there is this nagging monster constantly in my head. She reeks of self-loathing and basks in inadequacy. She whispers gospels of self-doubt and makes unholy alliances with my complete inability to feel pretty much anything other than fatigue and irritation. She weighs me down like a big, wet comforter weighs down a clothesline. You ever seen that? Sometimes they snap. Just like me.

I can recall almost every single time I have snapped at my kids and felt utterly awful about it, but you know what I can’t recall? Most of the little things that made their hearts flutter and beam with joy. It’s more so relevant for my eldest; my youngest is still a li’l babe. It feels as if I crush her spirit, almost as much as I crush my own. Even if that isn’t the case at all. She marches to the beat of her own drum, and is one of the brightest lights you will ever have the pleasure of meeting, and then there’s me: the gloomy rain cloud that’s always around when you want to have a picnic. Which, by the way, I always find an excuse as to why we can’t have a picnic. It’s really not a costly request, yet I am so worn down that it’s overwhelming to think about finding the perfect place, preparing the perfect lunch, and watching both of these girls, when I, myself, am suffering in more than one way. Maybe, that’s the real reason I never want to do things for myself. Because I don’t do everything that we can do for that very reason: myself. Tea parties become excruciating, painting seems unachievable, and my god, I do not have the patience to teach her how to crochet. I don’t see why I should when I have to repeat myself to everyone in this house constantly. They never listen to me. It feels like I’m not even here most of the time. You’re alone. They don’t need you.

I try to make up for it in other ways, but it never feels like enough. I lie in bed at night and marinate in my thoughts. The ones that say, they won’t be little forever. You’re going to miss this. They’ll resent you for all you didn’t do one day. You should have just played dolls. Why did you take so long in the bathroom just to get away? You’ll be alone because they’ll be better off without you. I can’t help it. The more I try to silence the thoughts, the more I feel frustrated with myself. The more I angry cry.

The fact of the matter is, depression may be my nagging monster, and it brings out what I fear to be every time, and that’s just my life. If I try to channel that built-up energy into something else, I can manage through the tough times. It’s hard, but it’s worth it when I get to actually be mentally present for the good times. It’s not foolproof, but it works well enough. It’s OK to take time for yourself. It’s OK to not play dress up or to order out rather than cooking that recipe you’ve had saved for four months. It’s not a crime to not be OK, because as mothers, even when we’re not OK, we do the best we can to make sure our whole world keeps going. The only validation I need is princess hugs and baby kisses. Despite what my depression tells me, I know on some subconscious level I am enough, and I am exactly who my girls need me to be.

Getty Images photo illustration via Victor_Tongdee