Have you any idea how parenting through depression feels? I do. When all you want to do to is give up? The feelings of worthless and sadness are constant and you have no interest in doing anything or going anywhere. Wanting to bury your head under your duvet and stay there is the only thing on your mind.
I think every mother reading this right now will agree that parenting has to be one of the hardest things you have ever done, it is a learning process with many twists and turns along the way. No manual can teach you how to parent as each child and each mother is unique with different needs.
Parenting Through Depression Is Tough
Parenting while depressed is tough, this debilitating illness sucks every ounce of energy from you. It makes you feel useless and worthless and prevents you from carrying out the very basic day to day tasks.
The tears come too easily and as your self-esteem takes a nose dive you feel as if you’re stuck in a deep, dark hole and there is no way of ever getting back out.
Sleep no longer comes easily, you’re exhausted yet the moment you fall into bed your mind goes into overdrive. Suicide becomes a welcomed option yet you know that’s not something you can do, giving up is not an option when someone calls you mum.
You no longer want to go out with friends or take part in any activities that you used to enjoy, you become trapped inside your mind.
So how on earth are you meant to care for kids on top of all this?
Well, the problem is the kids are not going to disappear, as much as you may wish they could when your dark moods are ever present. You can not stand the drama, the screaming, the demands and the constant noise.
Depressed mothers are in need of desperate support but are the very ones who will not seek help through fear of losing their children or of being judged. I speak with hundreds of depressed mothers each day and they all ask the same question, “will my kids be taken into care if I tell the doctor I can not cope?”.
I know this fear all too well….
Almost 5 years ago I found myself standing on a bridge, I was also holding onto the hand of my 2-year-old daughter. And so I visited the GP again, I was given more antidepressants and made to feel this was all very normal. I had postnatal depression he told me, medication would help me. I didn’t have much hope, I had been on antidepressants for most of my life.
I didn’t tell him about what had happened on the bridge, or about the voices I heard, mostly telling me to hurt my children. I didn’t tell him about the people and animals I saw or about the need to harm myself; he didn’t give me the chance too. He just placed more antidepressants in my hand.
Part of me feared what they would do to me if I was honest, would they take my children away or would they section me? To be honest looking back, that would have been the safest option for me and those around me. But despite the fear, I was at rock bottom and I was ready, to be honest, but nobody wanted to listen to me or give me a chance to speak.
You must ask for help
Depression and bad parenting do not go together but if you do not seek professional help then I promise you that things will only get worse, depression does not go away or get better without treatment. And parenting through depression needs addressing. and quickly and health professionals are there to help you not judge you.
You feel as if your not good enough because you have a mental illness, you feel lonely because your illness makes you push everyone away.
It’s important to seek help from your GP if you think you may be depressed.
Many people wait a long time before seeking help for depression, but it’s best not to delay. The sooner you see a doctor, the sooner you can be on the way to recovery.
You do not have to parent through depression alone, please speak out today.
Have you any experience of parenting through depression?
What advice would you give to other mums going through this right now who are afraid and lonely?