2018 was (mentally) a very difficult year for me. Pretty much as soon as my sweet boy turned a year old last January my mental health took a deeper nosedive than it ever had. Home all day with my one year old and I could barely get off the couch or function- just imagine how smoothly that went.
I should have seen it coming. I acclimated to motherhood so easily I even shocked myself. My baby was sweet and easy, and we bonded so effortlessly- I told myself early on I would never ask for help and that I was the boss; and then felt great pride when I didn’t need help (only child pride thing). I truly thought I found the one thing I was good at. My doctor kept me on Prozac throughout my pregnancy + after, and I think that helped me blissfully stay afloat until it just stopped working. Vin grew closer to being a toddler, my husband started a new job, I resumed full time classes in school, and my mother-in-law (who was 4 hours away) was terminally ill. By the end of 2017 she passed away. Seeing my husband lose his last living parent (and one that I loved and had very much in common with) was hard for me. Knowing my baby would grow up with only 1 grandma made me sad. I think I even grieved for my mother-in-law that she wouldn’t get to have a close relationship with her favorite child’s son (disclaimer: I’m sorry for the tea, but that is my opinion on the unspoken truth..No offense to any of my in-laws).
Nothing (medicinally) alleviated my depression, whereas in the past meds gave me a beautifully numb feeling, allowing me to keep everything in check and to lose the ability to even shed a tear at a sad movie. Depression may not be debilitating every day or even every week, but it is always looming over my head, ready to pop out when least expected (or needed). It changes who I am, because my brain has made me believe that you won’t like the real me. I am the worst. It makes it very difficult for me to be around people and I burn out quickly. The hardest part for me to accept is that my mental health puts a damper on so many areas of my life- my relationship with my son, husband, family, friends, work, school, etc. It is easy for me to push people away because I know they deserve more than me. I could wholeheartedly believe I’m a good mother and two hours later feel extreme sympathy for my son that he has an ugly, fat, lazy mom and hope he won’t be embarrassed of me as he grows up (all while in my head I’m still hoping I can change). I think of when I first met my husband and despite me personally going through a lot, I felt lighthearted, happy and capable. My husband is the only man who has ever told me I was smart. I don’t feel like the same girl. I feel like my brain has turned to sludge. Nothing works right, I don’t function properly. Physically I’m a mess. My poor husband met me when I was a fox and now I’m just a giant mess resembling Jabba the Hutt. Going from working 50 hours a week job + FT college classes into being pregnant + having a baby + being a stay at home mom + FT college classes does not equal a successful physique for me. Of course some would be up at 4am in the gym and some gain 10lbs while pregnant and some lose the baby fat in 45 seconds; I knew I would be none of those people just judging by my lack of drive and lofty levels of laziness. I will still have baby weight taking residence on my hips when my baby has his own baby. I’m Melissa McCarthy in every Melissa McCarthy movie where she plays the frumpy, chubby mom or female character that is too nice but internally feels like garbage.
You can be empathetic to those going through depression, but if you have never experienced it first hand it’s really hard to imagine all the ways it can affect you. Depression is not something that you can snap out of and it is damn near impossible to force yourself to have fun or just deal with it later. SURE, getting out of the house may end up alleviating some shitty feelings, but getting outside to the car is practically catastrophic, at least in my head. The idea of “having fun” is so ridiculous to me because I’ve stopped remembering a time when I was ever a fun person. People who have known me a long time will bring up memories of when I did this/that or how I always made them laugh- I’m not sure if that person exists anymore, nor do I even remember what she was like. I don’t remember walking in those shoes, and I tend to think the girl I used to be is still the same one I am now, but just found it a lot easier to fake. I think the older you get the deeper down the depression takes you, each time making it harder and harder to recover what was lost of your soul.
I don’t really like who I am as a person anymore, and I find very few redeeming qualities in myself. It is almost like my brain forces me to rebel against who or what I want to be. I can’t keep resolutions or goals, and I let myself off things very easily because I tell myself I would fail anyway, so by quitting I’m just saving time & effort.
Meds upon meds, counselors, psychiatrists…and I still feel as though I made no progress in 2018. Over the past week I’ve thought every day about how much harder I would try in 2019 and how I want it to be a better year. I would like to take a different approach because my first approach hasn’t worked. I’m trying to make sense of all these ideas/hopes/goals in my head while attempting to drown out the doubt and negativity. I would like to take a more holistic approach in changing and seeking alternate therapies, in addition to medicinal.
I do not share my thoughts and feelings for pity or judgement (though I understand I open myself up to both), but I share my stories in hopes that I can enlighten someone else who is struggling and let them know they are not alone, or to even give someone who knows me a better idea of what goes on in my head. It is mostly a type of therapy for me, working as an outlet to organize and acknowledge my thoughts and beliefs about myself.
One of my goals/resolutions for 2019 is to write more because I like it, while trying not to care who doesn’t like it, doesn’t give a shit, or thinks I’m dumb. I felt like today getting this all “out on paper” has been a cathartic experience and will hopefully allow me to leave some of these ideas in the trash.
*** if you suffer from depression and/or just need someone to talk to please don’t hesitate to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/depression-hotline/ for 24/7 contact information