When I usually write about mental illness, I do so mostly to help others understand. But today I wanted to write something quick for those, like me, who are struggling through depression, anxiety or any other mental health issues.
Motherhood can be challenging at the best of times. Homeschooling can be difficult to. Add depression to anything and you have a recipe for struggle.
As a mama with depression you can feel so damn ostracized and stigmatized. So I’m here to say I get it.
If you’re barely getting through the day despite lifestyle changes and treatment (whether it’s medication, therapy, or both),
If you don’t reach out to friends and family because it’s easier than having to tell them again and again that you’re still not OK,
If you feel hopeless, useless, pathetic or all of the above,
If life has you feeling overwhelmed more often than not,
If you feel like you are fighting through a thick blanket of fog just to feel semi-normal..
I’ve been there. I’m there now. I hate that you understand. I’m so sorry that this shitty life-robbing thing is happening to you. I don’t have the answers. I wish I did.
The things that help me the MOST as a home educating mama are that when I’m doing well (those time periods in between the depressive episodes), I make sure I’m:
- Setting up my home, play spaces and creative space for the kids that are conducive of independent play, accessibility and reasonably easy to maintain mess,
- Observing my kids to help identify their interests – that way more of the things that I can do are meaningful,
- Only bringing in play materials, creative resources, etc that are quality and making sure everything has it’s place,
- Being real and open with my husband and kids so that they understand how they can help me when I’m struggling most,
- Being kind to myself. Realising that I cannot do it all and that it’s OK to not cope, and that I can only do my best.
I’m sure that, like me, you have well meaning friends trying to help you with suggestions. It’s normal, people want to help. It’s OK to find it difficult to deal with well-meaning advice.
I’ve heard it all. I’ve lost friends over it. That’s something I never expected when I first was diagnosed with major depressive disorder. But I’m not one to sit by and not stick up for myself. I try not to be rude but I want people to know – for others, like you (just as much as for myself) – that their well-meaning advice feels (quite frankly) bullshit. (This isn’t something I’d recommend – it’s probably smarter to just nod and move on).
No amount of positivity, fresh air and sunshine, or keeping my chin up will change the all-consuming fog of depression, or the on-the-edge anxiety or the terrifying suicidal ideation. All of this is far beyond the control of the sufferer.. or any external influences.
Like you, I’m sure, if pure will power and passion was enough to change it, I’d be unstoppable.
You’re doing your best. You’re fighting through something that so many others simply can’t understand. But I do, and I don’t want you to feel alone. Always feel free to reach out and chat with me.