Depression is real and difficult to deal with. It can have some deadly consequences if effectively. It can be particularly hard if you’re battling with Depression and parenting at the same time. Depression and parenting do not go hand in hand and can create a mess of problems for the family.
If you are battling with Depression, be sure to give this a read. It focuses on my own battle with Depression while parenting, how I got help and fixed the problem. If you know anyone else battling with Depression, be sure to send them here.
My Personal Battle with Depression
So, I had my son at 18 years old. I was living with my parents and it was such a hard adjustment for me. The transition from being a child to being a mother caused a lifestyle shock.
I went to a psychiatrist because I was irritated, and refused to pick my son up. What if I just left him there? Trust me, I love my son, but I was so tired all the time
And despite thinking that was the start of depression, the relationship with his father didn’t help. It was emotionally abusive, caused some anxiety because I never knew what I was going to happen.
Family and Mental Health
After years of struggling and it got worse by going untreated, it started to affect my children, especially my son.
There were plenty of signs beforehand. However, the sign that really hit me was having to wake up and remind myself to be nice to my kids because they were just kids. Failing immediately and feeling guilty every time.
I’m not talking about be nice as in not discipline them. I mean show them basic human kindness and show them affection. I was straight-up rude somedays.
Parenting is hard no doubt especially by yourself. And it was my first time ever living by myself with two small children. I had to clean, cook, bathe them, emotionally support them, play with them, and keep a roof over their head. I was 22 and it just all came crashing down on me.
How My Depression Affected My Kids
My sons behavior in Pre-k and kindergarten was a direct correlation with how I was treating him at home. Every morning was a screaming match because I would wake up late, and then expect him to get ready instantly. This is impossible for almost everyone including myself. So, imagine being five waking up to a very angry and flustered mom at 5 years old.
Around November of 2019 my son caught the flu and I took him to his pediatrician. During the appointment, the Doctor saw how erratic my son was behaving and diagnosed him with anxiety.
I know that I was affecting my children, but I didn’t know what to do or how to help them. Picking them up from my mom’s house was nightmare since my kids refused to come home with me.
I felt better and more relaxed when I wasn’t around them. But I didn’t know what I would be capable of doing to myself if I was alone, which I realize now was unfair to them.
What Lead to my Diagnosis
In January, after starting my first real job, I noticed how panicked I got when anyone was upset with me. I would burst out crying.
Then I started talking to a boy at work and it didn’t last or end well. Again, this affected me horribly. I was heartbroken about this boy and affected my kids. It caused me to refuse to get out of bed and take care of what I needed to. I thought “how could I let something as stupid as this affect me so much?”
But it was because I kept reliving every mistake I ever made. Over and Over and Over again. Eventually, I checked myself into the hospital because I was overwhelmed by my feelings.
I’m a horrible mom. I’m a burden to my family. My kids hate me. No one likes me. I’m better off dead.
So while in the hospital I wanted to chicken out and just go home. There were some people with some bigger problems than me – like just schizophrenic and psychotic tendencies. No judgement, I just felt very out of place and that my problems were the lesser of it all.
Finally, after waiting all day, a Psychiatrist came to talk to me and diagnosed me with Anxiety and Depression.
I had already had an appointment with my own Psychiatrist and they were doing multiple screenings of me each time. A week later, she diagnosed me with Bipolar Type 2, Anxiety, PTSD, and prescribed me with medication.
The first week or so was rough. I wasn’t feeling depressed or anxious anymore, but I was just empty. The first two days I was exhausted and lightheaded. No one had told me what side affects to expect.
I did see dramatic changes quickly though. Within 2 weeks I was up and cleaning my apartment again and being happy with my kids. They weren’t afraid to show me affection and wanted to be with me. My son is a momma’s boy for sure!
Other People Noticing Changes
My stepfather visits monthly from out of town. So he saw me a week before I was hospitalized. When he saw me again, he could see a difference. He also noticed that my son’s behavior was a complete 180.
I don’t talk about this much, but my mom and I relationship flourished because she understood my illness. I was showing improvement. Before, we fought a lot because she offered solutions to the problems I had, and I would shut them down. In my head, I couldn’t see a solution to any of my problems and felt very stuck. I now listen to her and can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I still need to see a therapist, but I’m ready to build healthier relationships with my children and family.
My mental health steadily deteriorated.
I’m sure other women and men have gone through similar situations or fighting with depression. I understand not wanting medication. However, I urge you to seek help, medicated, therapy, or both for yourself and for the people around you.
There are some great resources out there for you.
If you need some more immediate help, go to the emergency room. I will never be more thankful that I checked myself in despite feeling out of place. It saved my life and my family from dealing with my pain for so long.
Stay blessed – Liz.