Major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. It affects more than 16.1 million American adults. Depression doesn’t know bias, it doesn’t care if you have beautiful and happy children, or if you have already had a hard life. Not every mother experiences it but many do.
I am not exempt. If you are reading this, you probably aren’t either.
In our digital age, we have become more brazen which is great. People are less afraid to show who they really are or talk about when they are less than perfect. I’m honestly not sure if this is in line with that or if this is still too much for the internet. This will be about the ugly and the painful, that which makes you cringe or even judge.
I have dealt with depression since I was 13 and I have made no secret of it. I have dealt with debilitating anxiety since I was 22. I have been on and off medicine, in and out of therapy, and tried lots of natural remedies.
This last battle may have been the worst. It might have been the ugliest.
I’ve screamed with unrelenting rage. I have lashed out because someone existed. I have cut people off and out of my life, and when I say people, I mean my husband and my child. I have found zero interest in cuddling or playing. I had little interest in cooking dinner or sitting at a table to talk about our days. I have checked out more than I have checked in.
I have missed a lot.
Not just because it’s normal to lose your grip sometimes, or because I was stressed out with the balancing act of life, or because something bad happened to me.
2019 is a fog. It’s hazy. It’s hard to remember. Over six months of my only child’s life, I can hardly remember, because I was sick. Nothing terrible happened, no traumatic events, no one died and no relationships fractured. There were no accidents or debilitating heartaches. Work was really stressful, but other than that, life was normal.
There was just a chemical imbalance. The same one I have been battling my entire adult life. The same one that I think I can handle without medication, the same way that someone can battle Type 1 Diabetes without insulin.
I take my medicine because I do not want to be a zombie who is uninterested in my child.
I take my medicine because I do not want to be the mother that screams for no reason.
There were two really bad episodes where I just snapped, I couldn’t even control it or have foreseen it coming. It was an out of body experience of rage released…on a four-year-old. I couldn’t find the trigger. I felt so helpless. I would hold her and cry and tell her I loved her and that I was sorry. I told her, a four-year-old, that something was wrong and mommy would figure it out so she wouldn’t scream anymore.
Then it happened again.
I was bad. I was a bad mom. Don’t tell me I wasn’t, because I was. I was sick, but it doesn’t mean I wasn’t bad. I called my husband crying, exclaiming that I was a terrible person and mother. I was asking him, “What is wrong with me!? I don’t know what is wrong with me.” Then I hung up on him and pulled into the garage and left the car running, screaming and crying, my hand laying on the button to close the garage door with the car running for a solid hour before I forced myself out of the car.
I take my medicine because I want to be able to pick my daughter up from school, instead of leaving her stranded while I lay dead in a car of poisonous fumes.
I take my medicine because I do not want to rage, literal rage, because the cat is under my feet.
I take my medicine because never again in my life do I want to see the look of terror on my daughter’s face that is burned into my brain because I screamed at her, that little baby girl.
I’m telling you this so when you wake up and say, “Let’s go to the zoo!” you aren’t then sitting on the bed 20 minutes later, checked out, staring at the wall with tears streaming down your face telling your husband to go without you because she won’t have fun with you there.
I take my medicine so my husband isn’t afraid to leave me home alone.
I take my medicine because I do not want to feel the shame and the heartache when my mom comes to me saying, “She told me something is wrong with her mommy. That she doesn’t know what is wrong with her. Are you taking your medicine? You need to go to the doctor.”
I take my medicine because I do not want to be bogged down with so many racing thoughts that I think suicide is the only way out.
This is not a story for attention, neither pity nor applause. In all honestly, I kind of don’t care what you think of me, especially in regard to this. I am telling you that I take my medicine because if you’re reading this, you are probably struggling with taking your medicine too.
You are not weak. You are not broken. You are not less of a human, woman, or mother because you take medicine to stabilize the chemicals in your brain. My doctor told me I may take my medicine for the rest of my life and that is okay. I am not weak, broken, or less of a mom, wife, or friend.
You are brave. You are strong. You are taking care of yourself so that you can be the best person that you can be for your family. You are commendable because you take your medicine.
I take my medicine because I love her. I take my medicine because she loves me. I take my medicine because she deserved better and all I had to do to give it to her was fill a prescription and talk to a doctor. I take my medicine so that one day I will be here to tell her, it’s okay if you’re struggling, just like I’m telling you.
Be vulnerable. Be courageous. Take back what is yours, and take your medicine. It really is okay.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, there is help. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Tennessee also offers a number of resources for Mental Health & Substance Abuse Help. Lastly, if you want a real person, who has experienced what you are, please look me up on Facebook and send me a message, I will be there for you, too.