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A Letter to My Children, From Their Depressed Mummy

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A few months ago I took the plunge into seeking medical help for my depression and anxiety. I had reached rock bottom and needed a helping hand or 10. After trying to get well on my own for more than 22 years I realized it was the end of the line and was make-or-break, so I did it. I started on medication, and six weeks in I felt the benefit, the amazing benefit. Don’t get me wrong. I still have bad days, but I also now have good days and don’t have to pretend I’m OK. I am fighting this monster for my kids, my husband, my family, and for myself. I am a depressed mother, but one who is on her way to recovery.

After writing a letter to my husband, I decided a letter to my children would be helpful for me and maybe for some of you out there, so here it is: an honest letter to my children about the days the black clouds try to drag me down. I won’t be showing them this. Maybe I will in 10 years when they are adults. We will see.

To my darling little ones, big ones really, but little to Momma nonetheless,

You’re too young to fully understand what depression is, and for that I am thankful. It’s a viscous monster, and I hope you never get to meet it, but if you do I know you’re fighters. You’ve both proved this time and time again. Each obstacle you face you overcome with the unconditional love we pour into you.

Some days Mummy cries — in private most of the time, but on the days when you do see me cry please know your little hands in mine and your tight squeezes make me feel like the luckiest mummy in the world. I feel honored to be your mum but also not good enough for you. My head is filled with what-ifs and scenarios, and I wonder if you deserve better, and often I believe you do. But I love you. So, very, very much.

Some days I lie awake and don’t have the oomph to get out of bed and face the day. The silent monster shackles my feet and renders me unable to function, but you give me a reason to break free. You both give me a newfound strength and determination. I am forever in your debt for this. You both amaze me.

Some days I don’t have the energy or drive to cook dinner, but the thought of your faces and sitting at the table altogether spur me on. They give me some strength, even if we just have sandwiches.

I love going the extra mile for you, having spontaneous tea parties and making things together. I love to surprise you. I love to see you get excited. I love you to have fun, and we do, lots of it. But some days I don’t have the energy to set up an activity, so I pull out something I know is easy for me, but you don’t bat an eyelid. You don’t know my heartbreak. You see a smiling mummy, but sometimes it’s a lie. A lie I feel guilty about it, but I’m determined this monster will not ruin your memories like it has mine. I will give you the life you deserve.

Some days we go to the park, or softplay, or on an adventure, and my heart races and my head is a whirl. My scary friend anxiety tags along, but we get on with it. Your little faces get me through, and I push through it for you. Some times I don’t know how I do it, but I do, and you are both the reason.

Some days I yell, sometimes for genuine reasons, and other times not so much. Yelling is my weakness, and it plagues me with guilt, but I apologize when I need to. I promise I am working on it. Irrational anger is a sibling of depression, but I’m trying. We forgive quickly in this house, and we work on changing our behavior, adults included. Thank you for always loving me and giving me second chances. Your hearts are full of gold.

Some days, weeks maybe, I don’t wash my hair, but you still tell me I’m beautiful. Your love does wonders for my weary soul.

You have both saved my life in more ways than one, and I would not be here today if it weren’t for you two. You were a real divine intervention. You may never fully understand this. And although some days I still wish for my eyes to close, please know I love you, and the last six years have been the best of my life. Please know I fight for my life, I fight this monster and will continue to fight. My “medicine for my head” makes sure of that. Thank you for simply being you two and helping me find the courage to start this journey into wellness. It’s been a roller coaster few months, but now we are hopefully on a plateau. Thank you for being my brave without even knowing it.

Here’s to the rest of our lives now. I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me yet, and it’s all for you, and for your daddy, and my family.

Depression is not going to steal from me, from us, any longer.

I love you, way more than to the moon and back.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. 

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

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Thinkstock photo by Updog Designs

Originally published: March 7, 2017
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