If depression is creeping up and must be faced, learn something about the nature of the beast: You may escape without a mauling.

I don’t blog about depression often.  I prefer not to think of this as a blog about ‘moms who suffer from depression” – I prefer to regard it rather as a blog about a girl who struggles with motherhood.

The reality is that I do suffer/struggle with depression.

The reality is that most/a lot of days I struggle to get out of bed and through the day.

The reality is that most/all/some days I hate me, just because I am me.

The reality is that most/all days I do consider that maybe life would/might be easier/better/just not as hard if I was not in it.

The reality is that most/all/some days the pretence I put up to get through the day is exhausting, and takes more energy that I have available.

But I do get through the day.  And I do try to hide that it is a struggle.

I wake up. I put the alarm on my cell phone off.  Usually let out a great sigh.  Flick my feet onto the floor, and take a deep breath as my weight is conveyed to my feet.

I know that this is the start.  This is always the start of my day.

This is the start of my day where I will need to wait at least another 16 hours until I can go back to sleep.  Then I can close my eyes and sigh in relief that it is over – that I survived the day, that maybe tomorrow will be easier.

Maybe.

I often/usually have internal arguments with myself to convince myself that I actually do not suffer from depression.  I am fine.  I am really fine.

If I say it enough, then I might believe it.  However I do have several doctor’s certificates telling me differently.

The reality is that I do struggle with depression.

The reality is that it is this gnawing pain that exists.

The reality is that just waking up is a battle won.

The reality is that if someone tells me to “look on the bright side” I might actually stick the broken neck of my wine bottle (when I am finished with it, as it is pointless hitting it against the side of a table to get a ragged killing instrument if there is still wine in the bottle) and shove it into some jolly well-wishers jugular.

(Anger management classes start Friday)

No matter who I am today, no matter where I am, no matter what I am doing, it is this dark shadow that I am waiting to drift over the sun.

When the dark cloud does move over the sun, it is dark, it is cold, and I will quickly forget all the warmth I experienced before.

Every now and then there will be a little breeze, that will change the course of that cloud, and it’s direction of drifting over the sun.  I will get to sit in the sun and have the warmth of it on my face for a bit longer.

November and December have truly been a shocker for me.  I have been smacked to the floor more times than I can probably count.

Of course logic would tell you that I would be hit with a depressive episode.  But logic and depression do not necessarily walk hand in hand down the garden path.

It still hit me, and I still was not able to recognize it – could not see it coming, could not see it when it arrived, and could not recognize it’s destructive force.

All a bit shocking considering how bright I keep telling everyone I am.

I am very lucky that in general I have been able to manage my depression.

I have been able to hide it sufficiently from Joe-Public.

My methods are often to distance myself, to appear aloof, and to build what can only be described as a large moat, and castle walls around myself – to protect myself.  This “protection” has stood me in good stead.

But with all things good, there is sometimes the small print.

The protection means I have distanced myself from a great deal of other things – the result is I have been missing out.

I have convinced myself that this distancing is vital, and necessary.  And that the lack of feeling or connection of feeling is a fair price to pay for the “protection.”

New therapist (combined with some recent events) has shown me that maybe it is not a fair price to pay and it might be time to start breaking down my defenses.

It might be time.

I am not sure it is time, but, I do realize what I have been missing out on and what I have been standing away from.  Though it has served as a fantastic protection tool, maybe in the protection it has also held me back from experiences, both in joy and in happiness, and in itself done more damage.

So that is what I tackle this year.

I tackle the little steps in breaking those defenses down one brick at a time.

Am I scared?  Petrified.  Am I convince it will work?  No.  Am I keen to do it?  Er, no.  Will I attempt it?  Maybe – with reluctance.  Maybe just one brick at a time.

I think what I am trying to offer here, maybe to other moms who suffer from depression, is that if you have a support system that works, or even better a supportive partner who can assist you, and understands you, it goes a long way in you having more sane days than the days that are not sane.

Being a mom is frikk’n difficult.  I don’t mean like choosing a decent white wine for under R25.00 difficult.  I mean the kind of difficult where you start to wonder about your sanity, your sense of worth, and how the hell you got yourself in this position.

The problem is that often in the middle of all this insanity, is a partner who you love (or think you love, or maybe just mildly like right now), and a child who you know you adore, but who you are struggling to like at this particular moment in time.

Motherhood is not for sissies.

Motherhood with depression is actually easier if you recognize and embrace your insanity.  Lay down all your façades and masks that you use to hide who you really are.  It is time to dust off the little drummer boy hiding in your closet, and start moving to the beat of your own little drum(er boy).

Trying to keep up with all the super mommies and yummy mummies, and mummies who truly love to do arts and crafts all day is enough to make even the mildly insane certifiable.

The problem with ejecting a child from your uterus (or raising a child that you did not personally eject), is that one morning you are going to look over at your husband/partner who you love dearly and go “you f*cker how did you get me into this situation?” and then start to build up a mild dislike/resentment even total disdain for them.

At some point you may even look over at your child who is screaming their head off for a totally unknown reason and think ”I want to run away from you and from this all – I want my life back!”

But such is our lives, and such is the life of a mother.

We are filled with this sadness of “our (past) life lost” and in the same breath filled with a  sense of awe that we have got to be part of creating a new life, and being privileged enough to be a part of shaping a new person, who we hope will be a better version of ourselves.

The ying and the yang of motherhood.

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20 Comments

  1. Ayanda

     /  January 19, 2011

    You have echoed almost exactly how I feel on most days! The second I am awake enough to be consious, my heart sinks to the pit of my tummy and I have to ha e “the talk” with myself in order to get out of bed and face the day. Strange thing is that i keep changing things(some at a huge cost) convinced that the new thing will make me happy but guess what???? It doesn’t! Still struggling the same mental and emotional battles every single day of my life! My hubbny is a happy-go-lucky kinda guy who believes we all have issues in life and i must basically “build and bridge, and get over it” (not in so many words :)) so i find it difficult to talk to him about how i feel. Also suffer from insomnia. Now that is HELL!!!! Sleep is the ONLY time of day when I am at complete peace and now, even THAT is being taken away from me!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  2. Thanks for this. You’ve made a lot of mothers feel blessedly normal. ( Including me )

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  January 20, 2011

      Thanks, this is what keeps me blogging! When my thoughts echo with others …. yay!

      Reply
  3. Today is the day I probably shouldn’t have read this post. Not at work anyway… it made me suck my breath in and think “it’s not just me!”.

    After 5 months and 2 weeks without sleep, you described exactly how I feel…
    “one morning you are going to look over at your husband/partner who you love dearly and go “you f*cker how did you get me into this situation?” and then start to build up a mild dislike/resentment even total disdain for them.”

    Would be nice if he had a clue but he doesn’t. And he doesn’t seem to understand that the sound of him snoring while I pace the room with a distressed child makes me want to poke him in the eye with a sharp object.

    Anyway – its good to know I am not alone!

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  January 17, 2011

      No it is definitely not just you …. sadly …… personally I aim for the space between the shoulder blades with a fork!! Good luck – it does get better (and it gets worse) but you find the resources to cope even on days when you think you can’t or won’t.

      Reply
  4. how is today?

    Reply
  5. Natasha

     /  January 13, 2011

    Hey thanks for sharing. It must be so hard. I don’t supper from depression long term, but I had moments during both pregnancies and after when I though I was both going mad and ready to kill someone. I remember 3 months after my second one tom and i had such a massive fight because the power had gotten cut off in a thunderstorm. During and after a fight I always felt like it was the end of the world, like nothing could ever make it better, like it was the end… just went circular…but thankfully every morning I woke up with a clearer head, a husband who said sorry for not understanding and finally offered to take the blame for everything that was wrong on any day for the next 5 years. 2 years after our second child I’m finally stabilizing… going less into freak out modes and relatively calmer. Some days I even like myself and think I may not be doing such a bad job as a mom afterall. Through all this I have to say the one good thing has been tom. I truly believe that one must marry a man who loves them to exclusion… cause pregnancy and motherhood … he’s got to live through that without asking if I’m on a period.

    Reply
  6. You took the words right out of my mouth. Thank you for saying this soooo eloquently. I have accepted that my depro is part and parcel of who I am and I deal with it in the best possible way. You are right. Tomorrow might be better.
    Thank you for writing this.

    Reply
  7. Marie

     /  January 12, 2011

    RM, you seriously are the best. It feels like you wrote this post for me..especially the last part. I’m having a tough time at the moment in every aspect of my life and I told manlief tonight that I really honestly think my LO doesn’t love me anymore and that the feeling is likewise.

    Your post reminded me that I really do love her from the bottom of my heart, but that at that moment I just didn’t like her very much. It’s SO tiring to come home after a hectic day at work (and the fact that I might be without a job within the next few months..again) and then all she can do is CRY and throw tantrums. It’s making me feel really guilty cause am I making her so unhappy??

    It really does feel like nobody understands and I would love to be on my own without any thoughts or feelings just for one day!

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  January 12, 2011

      The urge to run away is over powering …. but the minute we leave the house, then there is the associated guilt of “I should be with my child” ….. I am glad the post resonated with you, and I am sad the post resonated with you.

      Reply
  8. It must be “insane” (sorry!) to suffer from depression and being a mother! It is difficult enough just being a mother! I am glad that you are acknowledging it and working on it! Unfortunately the people around you can’t do that much but encourage you as you progress! Know that there are many many people that love you, and that even here in cyber world we are sending all our warmest and sincere love as well!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  9. Karen

     /  January 12, 2011

    My heart goes out to you. You describe so well what you’re going through. And you’re so honest. I really think my mom was depressed when we grew up – she had to handle so many things (death of my brother, had to look after her mother and brother, had a traumatic childhood and unhappy marriage as well as financial worries), but we turned out fine and so did she. At one point things slowly started getting better and better. We didn’t always have the best relationship when I was at home (I hated being there) but she is really my mentor today. We hurt each other deeply, but things did get better. Hang in there – just by being so honest you’re doing a great job. thinking of you every day!

    Reply
  10. Tania

     /  January 12, 2011

    Hi. Very moving blog post. Thanks. The days when I feel as you seem to feel plenty of I look to see what I can be thankful for, all the blessings in my life that others do not have, a faithful partner, friends who can be relied upon, well behaved children, moderately good health, a comfortable home, a good car, the list is endless. So many things we have we take forgranted, especially when we are feeling low or sad or downright suicidal. Things could be and can be so much worse…

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  January 12, 2011

      It is often difficult to see the green pastures and the moo cows when you feel trapped in the dark hole, and can’t see over the edge. But it is good when you do peak yourself over the edge, and go “yes, that is why I did it.”

      Reply
  11. This post needs to be included in every single piece of literature there is about being a parent!

    Today is a bad day for me – a bad bad day! I am blaming my pregnancy for the non-stop flow of tears but reality is today I suck at pretty much everything! I doubt tomorrow will be better!

    And I cant even drink!

    THANK YOU for writing this!

    Reply
    • Tania

       /  January 12, 2011

      Laura, Your Baby chose YOU to be it’s MOM… those are good tears to let flow… Think about how special you are to be able to bring a new life into this world and it will be your responsibility to guide and nurture your Baby, ONLY yours. Enjoy and Good Luck!

      Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  January 12, 2011

      Tomorrow probably won’t be better …. but it might be better ….. it just MIGHT …. and often that is a reason to continue breathing ….. xxxx

      Reply
  1. Depression, motherhood and brutal honesty! | Female2Female

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