Anxiety and depression, “Oh what a tangled web you weave!” That has been my story for at least half my life.
I’ve had a few traumatic things happen throughout my life. So this has made a noticeable mark on my life.
It has made me who I am today.
There were some things that changed the course of my life. Still to this day, I will never understand.
This will be the very first time I’ve openly talked about how I have dealt with mental health, let alone my very own struggles.
My goal with telling my story is to help other moms that may be feeling what I’ve felt for years.
I want to be open and transparent so that this might help someone else.
It has taken me a long time to get to this point of wanting to share. I felt ashamed and didn’t want anyone to know!
But I got the courage and I know I need to share my story.
I want to help others and be able to give advice on what helped me.
Give you some insight into how you can prevent the same pitfalls I found myself in.
The isolation, hopelessness, and feelings of being defeated.
I think many moms are going through this silently, I did, and I didn’t share this with anyone.
I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while but wasn’t sure how to present it.
Depression is real and is still such a huge mental health issue. There needs to be more resources and outreach for people needing help.
For me, I just tried to deal with it and felt guilty for having anxiety and depression.
I was a stay at home mom, raising 4 children, 2 of them having special needs.
I was homeschooling and pretty much trying to do it all and never taking care of myself.
Everyone and everything were put first. I believed that this was what I was supposed to do.
There was never any value put on what I did. It was what was expected of me.
Like it was just a huge gift that I got to stay home with my children and I didn’t have to work!
Believe me, I feel blessed to be able to stay home with my children, but I do work. Oh and also I don’t get paid for it!
So many people’s thoughts are so twisted in this way.
I believe this is where my slippery slop became a problem and I started to fall into depression.
Coping With Depression As A Mom
Can you cope with having depression? My answer is not at all.
You may think you can cope, but eventually, the wheels will start falling off.
The problem with coping is that the longer it goes on you may find yourself self-medicating and that’s never a good place to be in.
I know there are different ways to self-medicate but I’m going to talk about alcohol.
There is nothing wrong with alcohol itself but when you start using it as a crutch then you have a problem.
One drink can lead to 2 drinks and that’s the illusion that makes you think you feel better.
You suddenly don’t feel that heavy feeling, some of your anxiety goes away.
Before long you are drinking several times a week because you realize it helps you cope.
I don’t believe this makes you an alcoholic. It definitely could turn into your dependency on alcohol.
That is where this could turn the tables to alcoholism.
I mean if you look all the stuff marketed to mom’s and all the alcohol-related items making it funny and a joke.
Calling it mommy juice. All those t-shirts that are funny, I admit, but it’s not funny anymore when it becomes your crutch to mask a problem.
So I have a confession and that was me for a couple of years.
Honestly, I didn’t want anyone to know. So this is why I need to tell my story so this could also help someone else.
I still functioned with all the things I needed to do as a mom. It started with drinking at night when I knew my responsibilities were very little.
The 2 younger kids were going to bed and I didn’t need to go anywhere.
It started with a couple of glasses of wine per week but it turned into drinking 4 to 5 days a week.
You know I tried to tell myself it was ok and I was fine, but I wasn’t, because in the morning the same feelings were waiting for me front and center.
I do want to add that I did kick my habit to the curb. I may only have a drink only a few times a year.
Although I didn’t get any help, I’m thankful that I have seen for myself that it was self-destructive behavior.
Thankfully I was able to stop on my own.
But if you think you may have a problem you need to tell someone you trust and get help! Alcoholism is real and destroys lives!
Letting Depression Destroy Your Self Identity
Once upon a time, I was a very social person. I loved being around people and just socializing.
I honestly don’t recall where I lost that connection with my life but I can maybe pinpoint the time though.
It didn’t happen overnight. I think I just let my circumstances take over my life, I lost who I was.
I no longer mattered because I was a wife and mom, I was no longer Robbin.
There were other factors that contributed to this, so it just wasn’t one thing.
I really could go into a long spill here but it would turn out to be the novel size.
I want to highlight what brought me to this place and then get into how you can keep yourself from falling into these same traps.
And if you are already there, I want to help you realize there is a way out and things do get better.
First, I have to ask you if your marriage is stong? Sometimes this is an area where we can lose our identity if there has been some sort of alienation.
What I mean by this is that it could be affection, intimacy, stonewalling, not being able to see one another point of view, or even feeling you are not being heard.
There could be a host of stuff, but if things are not strong in that area, you lose the help you need emotionally and physically.
I know for my marriage there were a lot of holes. Unfortunately, those holes were being filled with things that were destructive.
It wasn’t one person’s fault, it was both of ours.
Circumstances that were out of our control, led to some bad habits and hurtful situations.
For us, it was having 2 special needs children and making sure they had everything they needed. We will do anything for them.
It took all my attention away from my husband and even our 2 older kids.
I was so focused on them I didn’t see what was happening with my marriage.
Honestly, I didn’t want to see, I knew what was going on with my husband, but it was too painful to go there.
This was an issue we pretty much battled with since we were married.
I’m sure you probably already think you know what it is but I’m going to tell you it was Pornography.
Yes, I said it and this is the first time I have confessed that my husband had an issue with this.
I won’t go into how this can destroy a marriage because it can. But it destroyed me as a woman also!
What self-esteem I had was gone!
My thoughts were if he no longer sees me as an attractive person then why should I be busting my ass on another thing to add to my to-do list.
I was emotionally and physically tired and making time for myself to look attractive for him was not on my radar anymore.
For me, I just shut down. The reason why it was so painful is that no matter how many conversations we had about it, it never got resolved.
He just became, even more, sneakier about it.
The only reason I tell you about this is that it can have a huge factor in anxiety and depression.
Women are hard on themselves and compare themselves to others way too much.
This is especially true with mothers because their bodies have gone through so many changes.
It can be really hard to have self-love for yourself when all these changes have happened.
Right now as I’m writing this, this area of our marriage is on the mend and a work in progress.
I’m no longer in denial and I’m not going to ignore it.
I value myself too much now, so I will no longer put up with it. I have too much respect for myself.
Isolation And Feeling Nobody Understands
So back to addressing the social aspect of my life I was wanting to tell you about.
The cautionary tale here is to not alienate yourself when you are going through anxiety and depression.
This is the time you need to be seeking help from family, friends or even counseling.
I don’t know about you but I tend to shut down here and turn away from help.
The reason is, on one hand, I feel guilty for even having anxiety or feelings of depression.
Looking at our 2 youngest children and all the struggles they face every day what excuse do I have for feeling this way.
On the other hand, I felt my family or friends wouldn’t understand, they are not going through what I was currently feeling.
But when you are a mom you need friends, you need to have that special time with your friends to laugh, cry and be able to vent and not be judged.
This is especially important when you are a parent to special needs children.
Yes, you can do all these things with your spouse but if he is like most men then it will turn into him just trying to solve your problems.
There are also so many groups for moms of all kinds that get together several times a year.
You may find that so many moms are also going through some of the things that you may be going through.
The need is great for you to focus on self-care for yourself.
It doesn’t have to be complicated because for me just getting out and just a brief short walk for 30 min clears my head and makes me feel better.
What’s even better is to try to walk with a friend and while you are walking have those light conversations with each other.
Believe me, it helps tremendously!
My Final Thoughts On Anxiety And Depression
Anxiety and depression is hard on everyone, not just the person that has it.
This is very true when your a mom and your responsibilities are to take care of everyone.
You can’t be your best when you are the last on your to-do list.
Whatever way you decide to seek treatment make sure you make this a priority!
Your health needs to be first on your list.
Believe me, I needed to be reminded of this on a weekly basis.
It’s truly hard to break those habits and routines you get in.
You don’t even realize that you are creating these unhealthy habits.
Your family needs you to be healthy and happy!
If you are struggling you need to get help. There is nothing wrong with admitting that you suffer from anxiety and depression.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. I’m truly an open book and would love to help you!
Best wishes to you all!
Domestic Engineer Mom