The Mighty Logo

My Children Keep Me Fighting in the Midst of Depression

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Everyone had finally gone off to bed for the evening, and I was alone for the first time all day. Immediately, my eyes welled up with tears, and I began to cry. I’d been holding it in all day and waiting to be alone to let it out. Even though I want to be open to my children about my depression, I want them to be old enough to understand. For now, they don’t need to see Mommy cry.

Feeling unbelievably sad and alone, I pull a blanket over me and curl into a ball on the couch. I sob uncontrollably, my body shaking, my heart racing. I cover my mouth with the blanket to muffle my howls. I don’t want to wake anyone. “Hopeless” and “useless” are two words that keep echoing in my head. I feel like a failure as a mother and a wife and wonder if my husband and children would be happier without me. Thoughts of ending my life creep into my head, and I allow myself to entertain them for a moment.

Feeling overwhelmed with guilt and self-hate for thinking of abandoning my children, I know I need help.

I can’t hide any longer. I have to do it for my children.

My eyes are puffy and my face is blotchy from crying. I have a huge pit in the bottom of my stomach that won’t go away. I shut everything down for the night and force myself to walk up the stairs towards the master bedroom. My body is so heavy. I’m dreading what I have to do. I don’t want to be an inconvenience. I begin rethinking my decision. I quietly climb into bed and put my arms around my husband. Thankfully, he feels me and snuggles me closer. At least I won’t have to wake him.

“Do you, by chance, think you could call in sick tomorrow?” I ask, instantly hating myself. I feel so weak and pathetic having to bring it up. Both children are home with me tomorrow. “You know I would babe, but we need the money,” he replies. “I know,” I say as I turn away from him. Tears fall onto my pillow. I can’t stop them, but I’m trying to be as quiet as I can. He leans over and whispers that he’s there for me and loves me and we can get through this. He falls asleep as I lay still, starring into darkness. After what seems like hours, I finally drift off to sleep, fearful for tomorrow.

I wake up to the sounds of my children calling for me. I reach over, expecting to feel my husband in bed beside me, but his side is empty. He went to work. Deep down I know he needed to, but I’m hurt. I feel even more alone than ever. Panic starts to set in. If I can’t cope, I’ll have to seek immediate treatment. If I end my life, who will be there for my children?

My children are now crying in their rooms, demanding I get up. I force myself out of bed and take a deep breath. I don’t know if I can do this.

As soon as I open each of their bedroom doors, their eyes light up as they look at me, and they smile. I’m greeted with such unconditional love. Even though I’m falling apart inside, I can’t help but smile back. I feel guilty for wanting to end my life. They are so innocent and pure. I love them more than anything, more than I thought was even possible. I remind myself that my children need me. They depend on me even though they don’t know what that means. I need to be here for them. Even if I ask for help and am turned down, they still require love and care. As a mother, I have to put my own issues aside so I can care for them. I need to be strong, and they need to feel loved.

My children make me want to get better. They keep me fighting. They show me how important I am to them each and every day. I welcome my tears because they signal something is wrong and I need help. I have fought for years to stay alive to have a family. Now that I have one, I need to protect it and work towards recovery. It won’t be easy but I have to succeed.

My depression cannot dictate my life. I don’t want my children to grow up feeling unexplainable sadness. But if they do, I will not hesitate to share my experiences in hopes to prove I understand. They need to know they don’t have to fight alone and struggle in silence. Even when you ask for help and no one answers, children make you want to live for at least one more day.

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.

Image via Thinkstock. 

Originally published: August 26, 2016
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home