You are my sunshine. My only sunshine. You make me happy when the skies are gray. You’ll never know dear how much I love you, So please don’t take my sunshine away
This little nursery song gets me through my bad days.
Motherhood and depression is something we – as a society – don’t talk about. It’s taboo. We assume that [mom + depression] + children = wanting to hurt your child. But that couldn’t be further from the truth for me.
Depression comes in all different forms. I don’t know how it might look for you or your loved ones but I do know how it looks and acts in my life. My depression creeps in like a fog, rolling over the hills in the morning. The kind of thick fog that you know can be burned off if the clouds would just part and let the sunshine in – but while it’s there, you can’t even see to the end of your driveway. The kind of fog that makes you drive really slow because you aren’t really sure where the centerline is to guide you in the right direction. It’s the fog that is so thick – it seems as though there is nothing else in the world but you.
*Side Note : I started writing this a few weeks ago on a really bad day. And in the time between, I have seen a new article about motherhood depression popup on Facebook literally everyday. So this post is not going to be how I originally intended it to be because… well, because I like to be different. *
My depression makes me want to stay in my bed all day and sleep it off like a bad hangover. But, you know, kids don’t let you do that. Kids need fed and changed and loved and snuggled . When I first became a mother and was trying to deal with my depression, I STRUGGLED. My normal coping mechanisms didn’t work. I couldn’t lock myself away from the world and wait until I felt better. Isolation was no longer an option. Neither was the anger that I clung to like a worn out security blanket.
It has taken me a few years, but I’ve learned that my best medicine (besides my actual antidepressants * which THANK YOU GOD FOR CREATING THE SMART HUMANS WHO MADE THESE*) is LOVE. That’s right, human contact – the one thing I want the least of when I’m down – is exactly what makes me feel human again.
Holding the tiny humans and giving them all the love they want makes me feel alive again. It’s like pure sunshine burning up the fog. Smelling their little heads, kissing their pudgy cheeks and letting them put wet
nasty drooly kisses all over my face makes me remember why I live every day.
We sing songs, read books, and practically sit on top of each other all day, melting in to one big ball of love. And friend, let me tell you -it fills up my love tank, clear to the brim until it is over flowing. It is wonderful and exhausting. It takes every last ounce of my energy on these tough days to push through and start the process of letting the sunshine in. But it is so worth it.
The first snuggles are the hardest. My body literally coils away from my kids. But I tell my 3 yr old, “Mommy needs los of extra snuggles today, can you help me with that?” And of course she is more than happy to oblige. It only takes about 1 episode of Daniel Tiger for my brain to warm up to the idea of human contact and begin to let the sunshine of the snuggles creep into the foggy places of my mind. Then from there, its just gentle reminders to myself to give myself grace and let the love soak in.
I know that this wont work for everyone. I know that some of you have depression so bad that it is literally crippling and that a little bit of medicine and love isn’t going to be enough. I am not oblivious to the fact that sometimes depression does mean hurting yourself or others. But for me, in my life, this is how I overcome. I count myself extremely fortunate to not be on the darker end of this spectrum anymore. I know that we aren’t all so lucky, and friend, I want you to known that I am praying for you every single day.
If you are suffering from depression – I want to encourage you to call your doctor. Get some help. Maybe you need meds. Maybe you need therapy ( honestly, we all need therapy). Maybe you just need to let your littles love on you. Or maybe need the heck away from your littles for a few days #mommaneedsabreak But take the step to get help. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Father God, I come before you on my knees. Begging you to help me overcome this overwhelming sense of dread I feel in my gut. The depression that tries to creep into my life over and over again. Father, I lay it at your feet. I cannot overcome this on my own. I need you. I need you to take it for me. Bring someone into my life that can help me take the next step to recovery. Show me the path you have laid before me. Open my eyes to the joy you have given me and continue to give me every day that my eyes and heart have been hardened to. Father. I need you. I need help. – Amen.
Until next time,