The following is what I read in the Listen To Your Mother: KC show last weekend.
It’s become an out of body experience, like my brain and body are at odds with each other….my brain is telling me it’s no big deal, I can pick up the toy, while my body is throwing it across the room. I know it’s my broken brain that’s making the decisions for my body, but there’s a part of it that’s also saying “Greta. What. Are. You. Doing.”
My days usually start out well… I wake up and am able to get the kids ready for school, even keeping my cool while the minutes drag on and my daughter’s breakfast is still sitting on her plate. While they’re in school, I’m good. I can get stuff done, even if all I really want to do is take a nap.
But man. The evenings. The evenings are HARD. The evenings are when every little thing has built on the other, like a towering, pile of stuffed animals after the kids have “cleaned” their rooms. One night not long ago, I was at the place in my head where that tiny little stuffed bunny was the LAST THING the tower could handle and everything was about to come crashing down. The dishes were piling up, one of the kids was staring into space instead of writing in her journal, the leftovers from supper were still on the counter and I lost it. I threw the dirty pan across the room,went to bed at 6:30 and didn’t talk to my family until the next morning.
And weekends! If it’s Saturday afternoon and I say “I’m going upstairs”, that’s code for “I need time away from you people. I need a couple of hours. If I don’t get them, I’m not certain all six of us will see Monday.”
My depression started after I had my second baby almost nine years ago, and has been on and off since then.
Things blew up around the holidays. I had stopped taking my antidepressants a few months earlier when they literally made my skin erupt into gigantic cystic acne. GAH. What 35 year old woman who’s been teetering on the edge of insecurity since she was a teen, has time for that nonsense? There are just some side effects that you can’t accept, you know? And my moods were pretty stable (of course, because I was on antidepressants). But the stress of the upcoming holiday season started to wear on me, and saying I started not being able to be the mom I wanted, NEEDED to be is a huge understatement. By the time December came around, I had zero patience for my kids or my husband, and was regularly blowing up in what can only be called adult temper tantrums. I could feel the anger (that was completely uncalled for most of the time, by the way) taking over my head space more days than not.
I knew something had to give. My life was not going to get any less stressful, my to-do list was most definitely not getting any shorter. Things were only going to get worse if I didn’t get the help I needed. I found a counselor and started regular therapy sessions, and that counselor persuaded me to talk to someone about getting back on antidepressants. A different one, of course, and that made me nervous. But several weeks later, I’m HANDLING THINGS. I’m functioning. I still have bad days when my patience well is nearing empty and my fuse is very short, but for the most part, I can take this mothering business in stride.
It’s not easy to talk about, but I know now that, as a mother and wife and caretaker of a family of six, I need help. I’ve always known that I needed support from my close friends and family, but I’ve come to realize that I also need the kind of help that comes in a bottle. And you know what? That’s okay. I’m not super mom, and I don’t know anybody who is, all things told. It’s hard for us moms to ask for help or even admit that we need it, but the best thing we can do for ourselves and our families is recognize that we can’t do it alone and we don’t have to.