Another year has almost come full circle. Last year at this time I was struggling and falling deeper and deeper into a dark place that I almost didn’t get out alive. It was summer, kids out of school, trigger 1. In the summer, there’s all this pressure on moms to do activities, take the kids to the beach, the library, outside, day trips. This may sound easy to some, it for me, a mommy who could barley get out of bed in the morning, it seemed impossible. I lived with mommy guilt all summer. I wasn’t doing enough for my kids, they weren’t having a fun summer, I was a bad mom, I was missing out on precious time with my babies.
I remember telling my husband I was going to leave. It sounds silly now, but at the time it made perfect sense. I wanted to move down to Florida, near the beach, get a job waitressing or bartending, hang out all day, play all night. I wanted to disappear so badly. I didn’t want to take care of myself, let alone my kids. I had a few days my husband came home from work and I hadn’t fed the kids all day. Yes, they snacked on junk all day, but not an actual meal. They hadn’t been bathed, I hadn’t taken a shower sometimes for days at a time. Everything was exhausting. I believe last summer was the point my anxiety had turned into true depression. In late July, I wanted to kill myself. I would be in the kitchen making dinner, and looking at the knife made me want to slit my wrists. I wanted to drive into a telephone pole, or off a bridge. The only thing that kept me alive were my girls. I didn’t want them growing up without mommy. It would kill them more than it killed me. I told myself I must love them, because I was worried about hurting them. But otherwise, I couldn’t stand them. They were constantly all over me, wanting to go here and there, do this and that, I just couldn’t keep up.
There were times I would just come home and go sit in the shower with all my clothes on. I didn’t have the energy to take my clothes off. I would just sit and cry until the water was too cold to stand. My husband always came and got me out, changed me, and put me to bed. He was my rock. He held me when I cried, he has seen me at my worst. Times I felt crazy, times I cried, times I lost my shit, he always made me stop and think or I would have gone over the edge.
The first few weeks of August were hell. I finally called my psychiatrist and told her I was done. I didn’t know if I should go to the ER or what, but I was done. She suggested an outpatient hospitalization program, where others with depression and anxiety go every day for a whole day and participate. At first, I was very nervous. But I quickly began to actually enjoy it. Listening to the others stories, participating in groups, quiet alone time. I learned a lot and I came out better than I had been. I had support from others for the first time in a long time. People who understood how I felt. How difficult things had become.
I had a moment during this time I was cooking and burnt my arm badly in the oven. It got infected and had to be wrapped and taken care of. I remember in my program people asking me if I was a cutter. The scar is still here to this day and it reminds me of that dark time. A part of my past is always with me.
Things had finally started to feel better, the fog began to lift. Since then, I still fight these monsters in my head daily. I get up everyday and take care of my kids, some days are harder than others, and I find myself looking forward to the end of the day when bedtime and quiet comes and I can have some peace.
I truly believe we Mamas who fight this PPD are the strongest people in the world. We have been through so much, not just in general, but in our minds too. We have been to hell and back and all alone. So many of us suffer in silence. We need to speak up, to help future mamas learn and be prepared. We are not alone