I’m really tired of all the blogs and articles telling mothers to just get help.
I think some people assume it’s easy to get help.
There are so many obstacles to getting help.
Sometimes, the help isn’t helpful.
Sometimes, therapy makes things worse.
I’m sorry that I do need more than Jesus. Many require therapy, meds, and many things more than Jesus. When Christians admonish those with mental illness or recovery from abuse or living with addiction that all we need is Jesus, it diminishes us still further, stigmatizes, silences. Why do we need more? Are we not good enough? Are we not Christian enough? Maybe these “Christians” aren’t really showing us Jesus. It’s just empty words like so much emptiness in my heart, mind, soul.
Depression isn’t always obvious.
I hide my inner self because no one really wants the running commentary about everything that is out of sync with our natures with this dying society.
I could fit in if I wanted to, if I tried harder. I could paste on a smile and giggle and be fake and nod along with other parents telling horrendous stories shaming their kids and making fun of their spouses.
My values aren’t their values. No one shares my values.
The trite checklists on how to help moms, depressed or not, is really out of touch with reality.
As a military wife and homeschool mom, I don’t have any help or family or friends or staff or child care. I don’t even have an emergency contact on forms!
Finding a therapist or psychologist is virtually impossible. I don’t have the luxury of shopping around and moving every few years makes for no continuity. Why should I even start to trust someone and open up to them if I have to move?
There is no extra money for hiring out home cleaning or yard maintenance.
Self care is way more than bubble baths. No one actually cares. And I struggle to care for myself.
I learned early in life not to have needs.
It was a cycle: Felt need, shame for need, inability to meet my own need, increased shame for need, paralyzing effects of shame blocking self care, increased need, more shame—on and on until I felt into my darkest, most fearful mental anguish.Janyne A. McConnaughey, Ph.D.
Those depression and suicide risk assessments at the doctor’s office are bullshit. “Don’t hesitate to reach out.” Reach out to whom, exactly? Reach out for what? If I were honest with health care professionals or acquaintances or family members about my inner thoughts and feelings, I would be locked away against my will and my children might be removed from our home.
Every single appointment, the doctor offers me drugs for anxiety and depression. It’s so easy. I could just medicate myself into annihilation.
So I suffer in silence.
Our culture tends to think of depression in the person who finds work too stressful as a sign of weakness. Self-help articles imply that they just need more mental toughness and they could lean in and solve it. Even some therapists tell them that their depression is a distorted perception of circumstances that aren’t so bad.Alison Escalante, M.D.
I had panic attacks the first couple years of marriage. We moved across the country, had two babies, and I quit teaching to begin homeschooling my eldest daughter. I just couldn’t cope with all the quick changes.
I struggled for years to do everything I thought I was supposed to do. I was constantly irritable. I just lived angry. I couldn’t delight in my kids and the cute things they said or did. Everything was a dreaded chore. I resented everyone.
I accomplish my duties every day.
Some days, it’s just “good enough.”
I never want to get out of bed. Usually my bladder says otherwise. I drag myself away from the oblivion of sleep to face the day.
I try to fill the kettle with water the night before so I just click the switch to boil the water for tea.
I give myself a pat on the back every day that I unload and load the dishwasher, wash, dry, and put away the laundry, prepare and clean up three meals for the kids. I read aloud for about an hour every morning.
It frustrates me all the mothers who are proud of their neurodivergence. I am not proud. I wish I were oblivious to all the horrors of this world. I wish I were a slaphappy InstaPinterest Stepford wife who doesn’t have a care in the world. I wish I could medicate it all away.
Ignorance really is bliss.
Sometimes the sheer weight of the world knocks me sideways and I inwardly rock with the collective pain. I’m dizzy with fear. I smile it away and pretend I’m fine.
It’s like I have a constant dull headache.
I don’t want to frighten my family with my inner thoughts. I pretend they’re not there, the intrusive thoughts.
Every single day, multiple times a day, I tell my suicidal thoughts to shut the fuck up.
I am not dying today. I have things to do. Even though my life seems tedious and expendable, I am needed. Maybe I am not so easily replaceable.
I will not traumatize my kids with a dead mother. I will live to see them grow up.
I know all the “right” things to do and I try to do them, especially when I don’t feel like it.
I make my bed every morning – so I won’t climb back in it. I try to eat well. I limit myself to two cups of tea or coffee. I try to remember to brush my teeth. I limit visible clutter to help my inner anxiety. I exercise almost every day. I go for walks outdoors with my kids almost every afternoon. I get off social media when it seems too much. I surround myself with blues and greens. I take an Epsom salts bath every evening. I listen to music and read a lot.
I need to model good practices.
It’s devastating to me that my kids remind me to brush my teeth and take my vitamins. I know they’re just modeling back to me what I have taught them and they’re genuinely concerned, but I’m the mom, the adult, and the kids shouldn’t have to worry about me.
I don’t want to be a burden on my family. I’m sure parents with diabetes or some other physical medical diagnosis or chronic illness don’t feel the shame and guilt that parents with mental illness feel. We suffer in silence and put on a brave face in spite of everything.
I say “I’m sorry” all the time. I feel so ashamed when and if I forget something or get caught being careless.
I’m sorry the store was out of the good sausage and I had to buy this lesser one. I’m sorry I forgot the ice cream again. I’m sorry I am overwhelmed and have to interrupt your game to ask for your help. I’m sorry I got frustrated by the shoes left in my way. I’m sorry that I need your laundry basket back to fill it up with your clean laundry.
Lately, I’ve been so clumsy and disoriented that I’ve knocked glasses off the kitchen counter and slipped getting into the bathtub. The doctor said it’s probably anxiety since my physical health is fine. He offered me meds again. He offered me an appointment with the behavioral health specialist. The last time – four years ago – full of hope and younger then, I went to BHOP, she offered me a breathing app for a smartphone sponsored by the U.S. Air Force. She told me to fill out a graphic organizer detailing my support system. I don’t have a support system. She is no help. She doesn’t really care. I am just a number, a box to check. She even called the house to ask if I’m ok and I let the answering machine pick up multiple times before I picked up to say, that yes, I’m fine. I’m fine.
For the life of me, I can’t remember or find where I got this list, but I think it’s important to post it here as some common reasons for depression in moms.
- Standards of Perfection – Holding ourselves to impossible standards
- Lack of Adequate Coping Skills or Self Care – Setting boundaries, saying no to more, being confident with your choices – all self-care
- Unresolved Pain – Failure to address suffering of past trauma or abuse
- Attempting To Control The Future – An unhealthy concern of how today’s actions could result in a future negative outcome: ANXIETY
- Lack of Support – Knowing where to turn for help without feeling guilt
wow, I have all of those!
Wine mom culture isn’t gonna fix it.
I think there are many causes of depression. Of course it’s a mix of environmental causes and brain chemistry.
I’ve had functional depression since about the age of twelve. I think growing into abstract thinking and the hormone surge of adolescence triggers a lot of mental illness. I struggled with cognitive dissonance with my parents’ abuse and societal issues with my introversion and high sensitive emotions. So, it’s a lovely melting pot of negativity and lack of connection and having no one to help me.
It’s been difficult to come to terms with who I really am – as an adult, a wife and mother. I spent my whole life stifling it and hiding as never enough.
- Reasons To Stay Alive: A Novel by Matt Haig
- Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig
- The Midnight Library: A Novel by Matt Haig
- The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You’re Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed, or Desperate by Harriet Lerner
- Motherwhelmed: Challenging Norms, Untangling Truths, and Restoring Our Worth to the World by Beth Berry
- The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine N. Aron
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
- Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
- The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God’s Eyes by Robert McGee
- The Babadook
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