I’ve debated writing this for some time now thinking it would just be a negative post and no one wants negativity so who’s going to want to read this right? Well, I decided to write it anyway whether anyone reads it or not. My entire mantra is “keeping it real” and honestly, this is as real as I can get.
Having anxiety is like having a person constantly yelling in your ear all the possible horrible outcomes of any given situation and not being able to shut them up. Depression can feel like having a literal ton of weight on your shoulders and you can’t physically move or even think. Can you imagine living like that? Well, I do and it’s horrible. It’s a daily struggle and finding the right medication can be challenging and frustrating. I have good and bad days but the bad days sometimes are so bad it affects everyone else in my life. This is where being a mom with mental health issues is like playing tug of war with yourself but you never win.
I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression after Jacob was born in 2012. His birth was so traumatic it caused me to fall into a deep depression and develop some anxiety as well. I remember holding him and feeling so happy but also completely disconnected at the same time. I actually don’t remember his first year of life very well, it’s almost like I blacked out for that time. The psychiatrist told me that’s very common for mothers with PPD & Anxiety, to sort of block out certain memories. In fact, the doctor told me I had PPD after my first son, David, was born in 2010 but it was not diagnosed. Since then, I’ve had a real hard time dealing with it all.
The truth is, having anxiety and depression makes me a bad mom sometimes and that is my reality. It terrifies me to think my boys will grow up thinking mommy was crazy and not understanding that mommy just needed some extra help and couldn’t control her emotions.
On a good day I will wake up content and ready to take on the day with the kids. I usually plan out activities and make a schedule for us to follow (given they are home from school). Any little thing can happen and it’s like Jekyll and Hyde. If a toy is out of place, the kids are not listening and I am overwhelmed then I lose control and start screaming like a maniac and scare my kids.
This is not what I want to be! This is not the kind of mom I want to be. I don’t want to care if there is a bread crumb on the damn floor, I want to be able to enjoy playing with my kids without freaking out about mundane things but I can’t. You see, with my anxiety I feel the need to control and clean everything all the time. When things are not clean, organized or the way I think they “should be” I immediately go into a frenzy and that’s when my kids are in the line of fire. It breaks my heart.
I have a vision in my mind of how everything is “supposed to be” and when real life doesn’t align with my vision that’s when I go into panic mode. Being a mom, nothing ever goes as planned so it’s extremely difficult to parent my kids and not lash out when things don’t go my way. I know this sounds like I’m being a spoiled brat but it’s not, I promise. I am fighting my thoughts every second to just act “normal” and be okay.
On a bad day, I sometimes don’t even get out of bed or have the will to shower and that’s not even as bad as I’ve gotten. I feel like a horrible mother when I have days like this because my kids are stuck indoors, in the dark watching television while I sleep or just lay there. I wish I could just get up and have a normal day but believe me when I say, the down days with depression are real and I can’t just stop it. There are days when I just cry, the whole day, for no apparent reason and my boys have seen it. I know seeing me cry isn’t going to scar them for life but I don’t want their only memories of me to be crying or screaming and losing my shit.
I never thought I’d be in a battle with my own mind every day of my life. I also never thought I’d be a mom suffering from anxiety and depression in plain view of my kids. My boys see me at my best and my worst and I hope this will show them that mommy isn’t perfect but I try my hardest to be there for them even in my bad moments.
I’m hoping my boys learn that mental illness is real, it’s not made up for attention, it’s not something to “get over” or that will just pass. I may be a “bad mom” at times but I know deep down I love my kids more than anything and nothing can change that.
I don’t share my struggles to make anyone feel bad for me or play the victim in any way. I have a good life overall, surrounded by loving family and great friends. I just happen to have mental health issues that hold me back from fully living the best life possible and being a better mom to my kids. I know I’m not really a bad mom I just have bad moments.
I share my issues openly because I want other moms going through this to know they are not alone, they are not crazy and I understand exactly what they’re feeling. If you feel like a bad mom because you have the same struggles as I do, it’s not all in your head, your feelings are real and valid and I am here for you.