I was going to start this column by saying “I’m going to be real with you” but let’s face it, when am I not real with you? Moming is hard, life is hard, and depression is hard.
You may have noticed you haven’t heard from me in a few weeks. I’d like to say I’ve been busy living life, but that would be a lie. I’ve been barely hanging on. Depression has smacked me in the face once again. I should be used to this, but alas, I am not. How does one get used to feeling sad all the time?
When depression creeps out and settles into my life everything important to me seems to disappear. I only have so much energy and I have a hard time figuring out where to put it. I want to lay in bed all day and sleep the day away hoping by morning depression has decided to take a vacation without me.
I don’t want to get dressed, hell, I don’t even want to watch TV, which if you know me, you know how much I love watching TV. Nevermind the things I really find joy in. It’s hard to talk to people, socializing is daunting, all I really want to do is sleep, eat, and sit on the couch in silence. But is that realistic when you have children and a family and responsibilities?
Living with depression is hard because it is mostly silent. Sure, I cry because I’m sad or for no reason at all, but most of the time I am just silent. I have lived with this for so long that I have learned to cover it up, not well I’m sure, but cover it up enough to attempt to function throughout the day. Many people don’t realize the internal struggle I am going through unless I tell them. So that means the support isn’t always there because people aren’t mind readers, they don’t know what’s going on in our heads unless we tell them.
I often wonder if my children notice that something is off when a depression spell hits me. I haven’t done a good job explaining to them that what is happening to me is uncontrollable. I wonder if they just think I am tired all the time, and too lazy to get up to clean the house. Or are they old enough now to realize that everything with their mom is not OK?
I feel guilty when my husband comes home from working all day to a dirty house with no dinner made. But what can I do? There are times where I physically can’t get off the couch to do anything. I am overwhelmed. I am tired. I am sad. I am disgusted with myself. But again, what can I do? I feel like there is always more that I should be doing but how do you get to that point when you can’t even get dressed in the morning?
I know that this too shall pass and all will be well in my world pretty soon, but always in the back of my mind I am wondering when will the depression come back? Will I wake up tomorrow and not be able to get out of bed? Will I go days without showering again? Will I live in my quiet bubble and shut people and activities out again? Sadly, the answer is yes. Even with medication depression is still there.
Mental Health is a real thing. More people are speaking out about it now and it’s time we accept that it affects everyone, even people who seem happy all the time. Anyone you encounter can be depressed, they might just be wearing a mask to cover it up. Be mindful that they might be going through a situation that you don’t know about. Love them. Care for them. And if they ask for help, help them.
Just be kind.
Steph Hightree is a hot mess mom who is fueled by stress and too much caffeine. She is a Three Rivers native who talks about the good, the bad, and well, everything else about parenthood.
Any views or opinions expressed in “#MomLife” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Watershed Voice staff or its board of directors.