May 30, 2008

On Being Depressed or Why I Feel Like a Bad Mom

My brain is all over the place. I have a million things bumping around in there, including the complete mood swing that I've had today going from barely holding back tears to chuckling at Justin's text messages from the movie theater.

I can say with a fair amount of certainty that the last six months have been the hardest time in my entire life. Financially, as a parent, as a wife, balancing motherhood and trying to be myself and working and trying to stay sane. I've struggled with depression in my life. Depression, anxiety, mild mental illnesses, they run in my genes. When I finally worked up the courage at 21 years old to seek help, it was hard and scary. Once I was on the medication that helped my chemicals balance, I looked back at the years before and wondered what it would have been like if I'd realized what was going on sooner instead of just writing journal entries about being "sad for no reason" as I did so often.

I've been on medication for anxiety and depression ever since, and I have no problem with that. In fact, I feel that it's something I will need lifelong help for and am fully convinced that I will probably be on some sort of medication for the rest of my life. That's fine. It's worth it for me to be able to relax, to be able to feel like a normal person with normal highs and lows instead of a lot of lows that have no cause. I don't feel bad, guilty, or un-natural about making myself mentally healthy. I talk about it when I can, because there are a lot of other people out there who think maybe they should talk to someone, but they don't always have the courage. Those people need to know they're not alone. I still find it encouraging to read other people's stories, and I hope that I can provide that for someone, someday.

In the last week, I've been struggling more than I have for years with depression. I know that some of what I've been feeling in the last few days is hormone related, but it's also just related to all of the stressors in my life right now. When I came home from work today, I felt like it was all I could do not to break down and cry. That if I let my guard down and topped consciously holding myself together, that I would just burst into tears and that I might not be able to stop. I went into my bedroom and lay on the bed, struggling. I felt like a terrible mother, because in those moments, I didn't even want to be around my son. We've reached a new level of frustration with Sam being two and not able to talk and tell us what he wants/needs. He whines constantly. He hasn't been sleeping well, he's been crying at bedtime and waking up in the night some nights. It's becoming harder for me to be with him 24/7 without a break. The added stress of waiting for his full development evaluation to see how delayed he is and in what areas is just making me a little crazy. I feel like I must be somewhat to blame... if only I had read to him more, not let him watch as much tv, fed him different foods, blah blah blah a million other things.

Our financial situation is coming to a head, and as I mentioned the other day, we are currently looking into bankruptcy. It is terrifying. I am scared and in disbelief that we are even considering that at such a young age. That we somehow allowed ourselves to fall into this complicated, awful pit and can't dig ourselves out. It makes me feel a tiny bit better that a lot of the literature refers to bankruptcy as a new beginning, a way to have a fresh start. That's what I feel like I need right now. Simplicity. Living in Bellingham again, I have felt life becoming more simple somehow, and I want it to continue. I don't want to shop, I don't want to use credit cards to buy things I don't have. I don't want to focus on money, technology, having all the new things as was so prevalent in the area we used to live in.

Hours after I felt like I might not be able to pull myself out, I do feel better. I've read my favorite blogs and eaten dinner, and feel fine. Justin's gone to see the new Indiana Jones movie since I already saw it last night with Violet, and we were texting back and forth and he made me laugh. It's different this time around because I'm more open, have more support, and most importantly, am aware of how I'm feeling and what kind of things are causing me to feel this way. I'm just trying to take it one day at a time, and if I feel like I need it, I'll find someone to go talk to, adjust my medication, ask for more help, do what I need to do. I definitely need to start going to church regularly again (it sort of fell off a bit when we moved), because I know my faith was a stregth that was helping me in all this, and I feel like I'm missing it now. And when I hear my little boy laugh, when he nestles up next to me on the couch in the morning, when he gives me an imprompty kiss, or plays with my hair, I'll remember how great life really is and why it's all worth it, even the hard times.


Stephanie said...

Deep breaths. I heard this great quote recently-- it will all work out in the end, if it's not working out, it's not the end.

I too struggle with depression/anxiety and take medication for it. It's a tough road. You can do it. It will all be okay.

RubiaLala said...

I'm really sorry to hear that finances aren't great for you. We are also dealing with poor finances and it just seems like the end of the world sometimes.

I take medication for depression/anxiety/OCD, and negative life situations certainly don't help.

I hope you start to feel better. :)