Realizing you are one of ‘those people’ who has depression is a lonely place.
It’s an overwhelming awful made even more appalling because I have children. If it were just me affected, it wouldn’t really matter. But I have children and for them to have a reactive shell of a mother is not fair.
They deserve more.
I remember the first time depression entered into my life at aged 10. Of course at the time I had no idea what it was or how long it would stay. It just crept up on me and sunk its claws in and then never seemed to fully let go.
There were times I thought I was free, but it was always nearby, ready to slowly creep its way back. My attempts at ‘normalcy’ are feeble. I have a dread in my stomach that the kids will click onto who I am at any given moment, now they are getting older. Realize their mother is worn out by simply walking through each day, attempting to make the right faces, the right noises so that they feel supported and loved and in the hope they don’t end up like me.
For the most part the pretending is now a way of life. I have almost lost hope of finding a magic pill, an excellent counsellor or perhaps even an unspoken prayer that can help me turn this thing around. The fog feels like it has been there too long, set in like a disease with no known cure. I often wondered why God let me have a family – is this His way of ensuring I stay on the planet for as long as He needs? Perhaps He knows I would just fade away if they weren’t here. Without their accountability it would be easy to slip away unnoticed.
The things that should bring abounding joy – the tinkling laughs from the yard as children, my children, spray each other with the hose. The sights of them tucked into their beds and dreaming – bring much of the same blank as the rest of life. I love them deeply, fiercely – but I am scared if I admit to myself, to my family, to my friends how low I really feel, we will all be sucked into that void and it would damage us all.
It seems easier to shoulder that void for myself and protect them. Protect them from knowing their Mother feels alone, protect them from knowing their friend is giving them a mere superficial friendship – one in which she doesn’t show the deep shame and sadness she feels. Protect them all from knowing that her joy seems to have been engulfed by a nothingness.
And so it continues, each day the mask is adjusted to blend in perfectly. Clothes are picked so as not to stand out, I fit in faultlessly. I am the Mother who helps out in her children’s classrooms, the friend who always shows up at the door with meals in times of need, the daughter who always remembers mom’s birthday, the friend you lean on when you are down. The one who has it all together.