Depression is sneaky. It knows nothing of age, of gender, of social status. It doesn’t care if you’re a stay at home mother, a successful CEO, a grandmother.
This is my confession. My story. I’m a stay at home mom who struggles with anxiety and depression.
It’s hard to describe it. My moods are often like the ocean. Everything is bright, cheerful, serene. I’m happy, on top of everything, optimistic. But sometimes, the winds shift. Things get messy. My mind clutters, thoughts are less gleeful, my chest feels heavy as if it’s been hit by a tumultuous wave.
It’s a repetitive cycle — once you’re in the trenches, swirling through the different emotions, it can be hard to escape. One moment of anxiety can turn into days, weeks and months of struggling.
Mine usually starts over guilt. Guilt that the house isn’t clean, but yet I’m home all day. Guilt that I’m neglecting my older child to care for the infant. When I get easily frustrated with my toddler mainly because the baby is demanding and I haven’t slept properly in months, I feel absolutely terrible. My anxiety escalates. Guilt that I’m staying home with my children as so many mothers desire to, yet aren’t able to, but I’m struggling. Guilt that I can’t just sit here in my home with my windows open, happy. That the beautiful 72 degree breeze flowing through the house, lull of music playing in the background, happy children meandering, dogs playing outside, just isn’t enough. The guilt, whether it be over working long hours or not working outside the home, it’s just debilitating sometimes.
Some people may not understand, and that’s okay. It’s hard to understand something you can’t see. It’s especially hard with social media, where people strive to share their best moments.
Are you traveling the same road as me? I wish I had an answer. A cure. It takes a lot of strength, hard work and determination to power through these internal struggles while raising a family. To smile when your chest is tight, to sit down with your kids and play a game when your mind is racing. That takes incredible resilience. And I want to acknowledge that for you, for me, and for others struggling.
When things are good, they’re good. But when things are difficult, know you aren’t alone. Sharing this with you all is my reminder — Take a deep breath with me, will you? Sit alone in your bathtub. Go for a walk. Do something with friends.
Don’t be ashamed of your feelings; it’s okay to feel the guilt. But whatever you do, do not settle. Let’s work together, to better ourselves for ourselves.
I’m going to keep working towards this — will you join me? I’m seeing a therapist intermittently, I’m working towards finding medicine that works for me. I’m starting to exercise, practicing the art of mindfulness. I’m taking more time to enjoy my spouse alone, and get back to being a couple. What things are you doing for yourself?
My chest feels lighter just expressing myself so openly. I sincerely hope you have a good support system to hold your hand during the rough times, laugh with you during the crazy, and hug you through it all.
Acknowledge the difficult times.
Be unapologetically you.