This week has been a rough one, and it’s only Tuesday. I will be 36 weeks tomorrow, and I am as uncomfortable as ever, and I feel like I’m being ripped in half constantly. I have managed absolutely nothing this week. I feel like I’m failing as a mother, a wife, and a person in general. I don’t feel like I can function properly. I haven’t been good about taking my medication, so that might be a part of it. I was doing so well without it, and then I hit a wall.
Depression is so damaging, but I feel like it gets pushed to the back of everyone’s minds as an illness. Many people say that it’s just in your head, if you would just think happier thoughts you would feel better. But when you can barely manage a smile, happy thoughts seem a million light years away.
My struggle with depression started with postpartum depression after Ryker was born. Right before I had to go back to working once a month I had a night of panic. I was expected to leave my brand new baby with my husband for two whole days, only seeing him at night, while I was still struggling with breastfeeding, and going into a hostile work environment where I felt that everything I did was wrong. I was a total mess, and quite literally was thinking of ways that I could injure myself just enough to avoid going back. I hit my head on the tile wall in the shower hard enough to leave an invisible bruise on my forehead (you know, the ones you can feel but not see?). Ryker wasn’t sleeping well at the time, I was frustrated and felt like I couldn’t do the whole mommy thing right, and I felt so alone.
Not long afterward, we had some issues with my sister, and at that point I decided to go on medication to see if I could get a handle on things. I had also quit breastfeeding because of the high amounts of stress it put on me emotionally, which was almost a Catch-22 because I felt like I had failed my baby, thereby putting more stress on myself. I managed to work with a counselor for a few months, which helped me take myself off of medication for the time, and I felt really good.
Then we moved so James could be closer to school, since he was starting his Master’s degree. I did really well for quite some time after the move. I was able to function, I made friends, and I felt like I was doing things right. It was amazing. I hadn’t felt that way since we had first gotten married.
When we lost my niece in November, things changed. I was fairly newly pregnant, and I started to feel like I shouldn’t be allowed the excitement of a new baby since my sister-in-law lost hers. It wasn’t fair. I knew that those feelings were wrong, though, and decided to talk with my doctor about it, and she started me on medication to help, which I am so grateful for. It has done so much good for me, as long as I take it. I’m really bad at consistency.
Now, here I am at 36 weeks, and I’m back in a rut. I’m terrified. I don’t know how I’m going to manage two by myself. I can barely handle the one I have right now, but I feel like asking for help just makes me weaker, even though I really should ask. I know I have amazing friends here who are more than willing, but I feel like I’m taking advantage of them. I always worry that they’re going to get sick of me and my whining, because I feel like that’s all I can do.
But really, I’m sick. Depression is a part of my life, and I fear it will be for the rest of my life. Medication will always be a part of my life. It’s not my fault. It’s a part of who I am, and accepting that is the first step to healing. I hope that I can spend the next month enjoying the little boy I have while we wait for his little brother to make his appearance. This may be the longest, most difficult month of my life, but I am making it a goal to find the joy in each day, even if it ends up being my late-night ice cream snack.