Confessions of a mom with Anxiety and Depression
These are the confessions of a mom with anxiety and depression. Mental Health issues have such a horrid stigma. It’s still taboo to talk about, still whispered about in hushed tones because those who are afflicted are embarrassed or ashamed to have “something wrong with them”. It’s a chemical imbalance in the brain, nothing more.
You wouldn’t ignore physical ailments such as high blood pressure, or your foot turning black from poor circulation, so why ignore mental illness? There are therapies and medications that you can try to help yourself get back to “normal”, so why wouldn’t you utilize those resources? Why suffer in silence?
Below you’ll find my story, but before you get to that I want you to know that you are loved, you are heard, and you’ve always got someone to talk to about your issues. Just send me a message or email me, and I’ll talk to you one on one if you want or need it. I’m here for you, and I understand.
It’s really no secret that I’ve had depression and anxiety for quite a long time. I’ve been on and off antidepressants for the last few years, and when I’m on them I feel less crazy, less scatter-brained, less… angry.
My depression takes the form of lethargy, anger, panic attacks, full on mental and emotional exhaustion. It’s maddening, terrifying, and just downright difficult.
There are some days when I feel “normal”. Other days are tougher to push through, even with medication. These are the days when I leave the house looking like a total slob. My hair is shoved into a messy bun, I’m wearing sweatpants, a stained t-shirt hiding under my oversized jacket. I’m wearing trainers with no socks because just the thought of putting on socks was overwhelming, and sunglasses on a cloudy day because I can’t deal with looking at anyone directly in the eyes.
Those are the days that Punky is plugged into way too much screen time because I don’t have the patience to deal with “Let’s play Monopoly again!” or “Let’s paint today, mom!” The thought of having to clean up one more mess pushes me past the brink and makes me want to tear my hair out.
Things I need to remember:
- I love my family and they love me. I love being a mom and a wife. But on days where depression kicks my ass I have to make sure I ask The Husband to take over and make sure he and Punky are both fed, clean, and taken care of because I just can’t. I hate being dependent on anyone, so this is a very tough thing for me to do, even asking my spouse for help.
- Self-care is more important than getting the dishes done right that second, or doing another load of laundry. Take a shower, wash your face, get out of those ratty pajamas and make yourself presentable. You’ll feel at least a little better if you’re not wallowing.
- Depression is a liar. With depression I always feel like I’m not good enough. I feel like everything I dream of is wrong, that I’ll never accomplish my goals. But, if I DO try to achieve my goals and actually put the effort in, I can be as successful as I want to be.
- Feeling “broken” is ok. Feeling helpless is ok. You’re allowed to feel these things. Not everyone has days like this, but there are more people than you know fighting an invisible battle. They may want to talk about it, they may not, but be there for them (if they want someone to talk to) just as they are there for you.
- You are good enough.
Anxiety is a bitch. There, I’ve said it. As I said above, there are some days when I can push through it, and other days when I feel crippled by this invisible disorder.
As a mom I have a lot of people I need to speak to nearly every day. The bank teller, the grocery store cashier, my consulting business clients, family, friends. When I have to call in a prescription to my GP, my heart beats 10 times faster than normal, my palms get sweaty, and I start to panic even though I’m only speaking to the receptionist at the doctor’s office. I hope that nobody can hear the fear in my voice just by speaking to me over the phone.
When I see people in person I feel like it’s magnified. If I seem to be ignoring you, it’s not because I’m being purposefully rude, it’s because I’m trying to compose myself.
Some days I sit at home and stare at the wall because I’m overwhelmed. I can’t tell you how frustrating this is. Other times I stutter when trying to talk, or nervously grasp my index and middle fingers of my left hand because it sooths me a bit. I’ll spin my rings if I’m trying to be subtle about my anxiousness. The tone of my voice changes if I’m uncomfortable speaking to someone about a topic. I give short answers to questions because I’m not sure if I can get the right words out. My mind goes completely blank when I’m trying to speak. I tend to shrink inside myself, trying to make myself smaller or invisible. Being a plus sized girl, it’s ridiculous to think that I can suddenly become invisible, but I try my hardest anyway.
Things I need to remember:
- No one is judging you. Even if they are, their opinion doesn’t matter.
- Fake it until you make it. If you can fake confidence, you can get through anything.
- Your anxiety doesn’t define you.
- If all you can do at this very moment is breathe, then just breathe. Take each day one minute at a time if you have to.
- Not everything is your fault. Don’t apologize for others mistakes.
This is something I say to The Husband when I’m having a particularly rough day.
Please reach out if you’re in need of someone to talk to. There is no judgement here. I will listen without giving advice, I will give you a shoulder to cry on. I got you.