Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Depressed Mommy's Checklist



When you are a depressed mommy, there is an added stress in your life. For me, it has been more painful and difficult as I am not just managing myself but my husband and my daughter. I am finding that I need to draw on many emotional and tangible things to help me get through each day.
1.       Get out of bed each day and say, “I hope to feel better today.” Even though I have been doing this for weeks now and I honestly do not feel much better, it is an important mantra to begin each day.
2.       Make sure to see my daughter as soon as possible. Without pause, her exclaiming each morning, “Mommy!!!!!!!” with a huge smile will always put a smile on my face, even if I am exhausted from being up for hours due to anxiety.
3.       Allow my husband to take on the morning activities of dressing and feeding our daughter. This has been our schedule anyway but I do not feel guilty that “mommy” is not the one doing this.
4.       Give my daughter a hug and kiss goodbye for the day at preschool and make sure she sees me, really sees me. It is distracting when you are four years old and your little friends are waiting for you but I focus her face on mine so I can tell her I love her and to have a great day.
5.       Keep busy at work. Make sure there are meetings to attend, desk work to be done and allow your co-workers to make you laugh. Even though I feel disconnected, I can still do my job and feel good about my work and accomplishments.
6.       By 4:00 PM I am aching to see and hug my daughter. I get through the end of my workday and head over to her preschool to get her. The running hug is a daily experience. I love that we are equally happy to see each other at the end of the day and that I am able to continue to experience this feeling.
7.       Forgive myself and don’t feel badly when I walk in the house and feel a huge wave of anxiety about the following: washing my daughter’s food containers from the day, washing mine, getting some sort of healthy dinner ready, making her food for the next day, making my food for the next day, unloading the dishwasher, folding the laundry…I just know I can’t do even pieces of all of this right now. My husband has been amazing at preparing our daughter’s food for the next day, folding laundry, unloading the dishwasher and eating whatever it is I can make for dinner.
8.       Even though I feel absent and disconnected, spend time with my family. The three of us are a team and our time together in the evenings is special.
9.       Take a deep breath after the bedtime routine.
10.   Even though I am often quiet right now, I will relax with my husband, watch TV and at least feel loved and not so alone.
I continue to fight this depression and although its claws are in me and fighting back, I will continue to practice the above on a daily basis. This is the best I can do right now. It’s what I have to do for my loving husband and my sparkly daughter.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Strength Needed

I take it day by day right now, like so many people. I get myself to work, do what I am supposed to do and get through the day. I pick up my daughter from preschool at the end of each day and simply can't kiss her enough. I am usually aching for her by the end of the day. That is my favorite moment of each day right now...receiving the running hug from her.
Today I have a challenge. I have been laying low in the evenings and on weekends as I simply do not want to be around other people and feel the pressure of making conversation and being "happy." Tonight though is Shabbat (Jewish Sabbath) and my husband, daughter and I always are together for Shabbat dinner. There is a monthly program at our synagogue called PJ Shabbat (which occurs tonight) and we always go, together as a family. This morning my husband asked if I was going and I told him I would be. I cannot imagine being apart from them on Shabbat. I am now left with anxiety and I hope I can put on a brave face for my daughter's sake. It is just over an hour of singing, stories and eating and while I know logically I can make it, I am still worried about presenting myself in a way that will not appear "depressed." I know I don't need to be happy but I know I can't appear dazed (as I am) or disconnected.
So, I know I can do it and I will probably feel better for it. Shabbat is about family and I need to be with my family, my comfort now more than ever.
I would also never want to miss my daughter singing the songs and prayers...that is priceless. I have to push myself for her and my husband, for our family.
Shabbat Shalom.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Are you Uncomfortable?

You've read my previous entry...you know what I am going through. Does this make you uncomfortable? If so, why? Is it because our society still teaches us that any psychiatric illness is not okay? Is it because we were raised to be afraid of someone who needs pills to regulate themselves?

Whatever it is...get over it.

It is 2014 and I don't want my daughter to grow up thinking less of someone just because he/she needs medication and a therapist to have a good life. Don't we all deserve a good life?

Everyone deserves to be happy, or as happy as possible. Not perfect...there is no perfect. But happy enough and good enough.

Don't ignore your friend, acquaintance, family member who is having a hard time. I am still the same person, whether I am depressed or not. I am still in here. It's important to remember that. If you shy away, ask yourself why. What makes you so uncomfortable around me right now? Is it because my affect is a bit flat and I am not so smiley? Is it because you feel you know too much?

If someone shares with you, that is a gift and a privilege. Respect that.

I am lucky to have amazing friends who have been wonderful...they don't treat me differently and they are just there for me.

So check yourself...are you uncomfortable?


Monday, February 3, 2014

Don't Take it Personally

If I don't smile for an extended period of time, don't take it personally.
If I seem "off" in some way, don't take it personally.
If I don't appear to be listening to you, don't take it personally.
If I don't laugh at your joke, don't take it personally.
If my hand is unsteady, don't take it personally.
If I appear tearful, don't take it personally.
If I yawn, don't take it personally.
If I don't want to be around people, don't take it personally.
If my leg shakes when I sit next to you, don't take it personally.
If I forget something, don't take it personally.
If I need to leave work a few minutes early to pick up my daughter as I ache to hug her, don't take it personally.
If I don't go to your house to hang out because I cannot imagine being extroverted, don't take it personally.

This is Depression. This is my Depression. This is me right now.

Don't be put off and don't run away. Give me time and just be there.

And please, don't take it personally.