Survival Mode

I have not written a blog post in a couple weeks now. I’ve not forgotten about it, I’ve just been getting by here lately. To state it simply, I  struggle with depression and anxiety. If you yourself have gone through it, then you know that some days the simplest things seem like insurmountable tasks and when you have two young children depending on you for everything, it can make it that much harder.

Basically what happened is I didn’t realize I had no more refills on my antidepressant until I called in to refill it before heading out on a long weekend trip. I figured I would be okay until I saw my doctor 5 days later. I was wrong. It’s funny how you forget how bad it can be until you’re back in the jaws of depression. It’s frightening to feel your mind quite literally battling itself with my rational, normal self trying to push through all the self hate and negativity and the lies that the depression is feeding me. It shouldn’t be a battle to tell yourself you are important. It shouldn’t be a battle to tell yourself that you have worth. That you are loved. That you are meant to be here. It shouldn’t be a battle, but it is. This is my reality. This is the reality of so many people out there silently struggling with depression. It is a deadly and insidious disease that poisons your own mind against you and it can be terrifying.

Fortunately, I was able to recognize what was happening to me when I first began having the symptoms and I was able to get on a regimen that helps me feel like a functional, normal mother again. It’s such a relief to feel normal and to have the energy and drive to accomplish whatever I feel like setting out to do. I had forgotten all of that until I was off my medicine for a few days. It’s like taking your health for granted until you have the flu, and then you wonder why you never appreciated being healthy in the first place.

I’m not here to lament my sickness. I’m here to share my struggles and to try and comfort those who struggle with it as well. It’s really hard and it is in fact a real disease. I used to be one of those who thought it was about your state of mind, and that if you were positive enough you could “happy thoughts” your way back to normal. Boy was I wrong. That’s not to say that positive thinking isn’t a big part of your mental wellness, but it is only a part of the equation. Clinging to God is another big part of the equation for me. It is a great comfort for me that He is here with me even when it feels completely bleak and that even if I have no one around me I will never be completely alone.

I think the hardest part for me is feeling the deep responsibility that caring for young children is, and fighting down that panic at thinking I can’t possibly do it. Well, when depression has you in its grips, you can’t do everything. Accepting that is pivotal to getting back on the right track. The tiniest baby steps are all you need to do at first. I have been actively working on limiting the amount of TV time for my kiddos, but when this struck I knew I wouldn’t be able to come up with fun activities for them to do all day. So I knew that in this time of depression, I had to let that go and tell them that mommy didn’t feel well enough to do something fun with them at that time. It sucks. It really does. But acceptance is key. If I beat myself up over the fact that I honestly can’t do everything I want to do at the moment, I will be even more miserable than before.

Doing anything at all can be a major accomplishment too. My husband is well aware of my depression, and he has struggled with it himself. Thankfully he was home from work the day that was hardest for me. I wouldn’t get off of the couch and when he realized what was going on he began encouraging me to just get up. He had to push me a lot, because just getting off of the couch and standing up seemed impossible and something I very strongly did not want to do. But that rational part of my brain was trying to break through and tell me that he was right, so I clung to that and his encouragements and got up and got dressed and got a few small chores done around the house. His gentle words and encouragements were like manna from heaven, the delicious morsels I needed to power through.

I feel like I need to emphasize here that I am not a lazy person. I hardly sit down during the day. I always have something to do, something to fix, something to clean as anyone who knows me well can attest to. Depression doesn’t make you lazy, it just saps your will and desire to do anything at all. That was a hard concept for me to grasp until I had gone through depression myself. I can’t even imagine going to a regular job with depression. I feel for you so much. I don’t want to see anyone or be around anyone at all when I am depressed. I’ve had to realize though that this is when I need people the most. But it has to be people I’m very close to and that I trust implicitly. If no one is home, I just call my husband at work, or my parents or Tyler’s parents just to have their encouragement and positive affirmations and for them to push me to do what I need to do that day.

I’m very frank with my children on this matter as well. Izzy is 4 and Lailah is 2, so they don’t completely understand what’s happening all the time, but kids always perceive more than we think they do. When I’m crying for no reason at all, I have to explain to them that mommy is very sad right now, but I will get better and that I love them very much. I don’t want to hide this from them. I want them to be aware of depression and anxiety instead of making up excuses for why I’m not acting like my normal self. I don’t want them to grow up like I did with so many false assumptions about mental illness.

If you struggle with depression or anxiety then I want you to know that you are not alone. You do not need to suffer in silence. I and so many others out there suffer with you. I got this tattoo as a symbol that this is not how it ends. That even if it seems impossible I will keep on going.

A semicolon is used when an author could’ve ended a sentence but chose not to.
You are the author and the sentence is your life.
This quote comes from the site Project Semicolon and it is a great site to check out if you want to learn more about their mission on helping spread awareness for mental illness.

If you have any questions, thoughts or if you would like to share ways that you positively cope with depression/anxiety please comment! I love to learn new ways on dealing with it on those days where it is just really hard. I hope y’all are having a blessed week!

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