Walking in the Dark: Motherhood Depression
This post has been sitting as a draft for days because I was afraid to publish it. Motherhood depression is not fun to talk about, or read about.
I know depression and anxiety is so common. In mothers, especially. I found, as I combed the internet for solace (as is my way), there was next to nothing about it. Everything was about postpartum depression. My youngest is almost three. I think my ride on the PPD train is long over. That's the thing about PPD. Eventually, it ends. Your hormones balance, your baby starts sleeping better, smiling at you, and maybe you even get your figure back. Nobody blames you, and there is support all over the place. At some point, as bad as it is, it does get better. I've been there. This is not that.
This is, "I'm a terrible wife and mother." This is, "I've permanently screwed up four innocent beings." This is, "I have not had a worry-free day in 13 years." This is, "I'm so worn down and full of holes that I don't even know who I am anymore." It's deep, and pervasive, and I don't know how to escape it. It feels shameful, indulgent, and like I should not write about it. It feels like if I were just doing what I should be doing, that I would feel better. I've been through some really dark times in my life. Lately, I've been completely hopeless and disengaged. I find myself just wishing I could disappear. I've just checked out. And I've been hiding it. From everyone.
As all of my kids have gotten older, their needs get harder for me to meet. Despite my best efforts, they learn selfishness, dishonesty, anger, and shame. It's impossible not to see their growing more earthbound as a negative thing. As my fault. As me ruining them. Sometimes, they make me so angry I can't see. I have gone from always having to be in physical contact, craving the smell of their breath and the feeling of their fuzzy little heads, to not being able to stand the sounds of their constant arguing, and not being able to get them to do anything. There are days that go by where I just don't like being their mom, at all.
Some days I don't answer the phone because I am afraid someone will ask something of me, and I will say yes, and one more time, I will let them down. Some days I feel completely helpless as a parent, to the point where I just hide in the bathroom. I can't bring myself to schedule doctors appointments or fill out school papers, because I can't bear to document what I feel to be my failures.
No one in my personal life knows how profoundly broken I feel, because I can't bring myself to say it. I can't bring myself to express my fears and needs, because I can't handle being let down. I want to forget that I feel this way, and if it's a secret, sometimes I can. But holding it in is driving me deeper. I have struggled with depression my whole life, but I had felt better for such a long time. To have it hit me again, when I have so much on my plate...I'm just overwhelmed. I had a major crash this weekend, and I told my husband, I am just tired of walking in the dark. I am ashamed and scared, and I need a major life change. I am still terrified, even as I get ready to hit publish, that I will be judged.
The only thing pushing me forward is the idea that maybe one other mom is out there feeling this way, and maybe she won't feel as alone after reading this. I don't want this to be happening, and I feel like I should be able to control it. But I can't. I have to try releasing it instead.