There are days I feel like a failure. Days where I am completely overwhelmed by life, and the thought of even getting out of bed makes me cry, literally cry, in exhaustion. Being a wife to someone who has Bipolar 2 is exhausting, mentally and physically. Just being a wife and a mother is exhausting, but add in my own depression and everything else, and life is really hard.
I have had people say “Just be thankful it’s not <insert some sort of terrible illness such as cancer or some other physical illness>.” Okay, yes, I’m grateful my husband isn’t dying. But you know what, depression and Bipolar 2, they aren’t light and easy burdens to carry. And, as Robin WIlliams absolutely devastating suicide proves, they can kill.
Being a mother who is depressed is difficult. I worry about what it’s doing to my daughter. I try to play with her and read her stories and be there for her every second. But there are a lot of days where I know I am failing her, failing to reach beyond the smiling mask I have put on my face for her and really be there for her, mentally as well as physically. There are days where the only words I feel like I say to her are negative. (Don’t do that, don’t touch that, stay away from the stove, get out of the kitchen, don’t climb on the couch, get out of the garbage, don’t touch, don’t touch, don’t touch.) There are days where my temper is too short, where I have no patience with her beautiful toddler antics, days where I am so afraid that I will say something cutting and mean that I just don’t speak.
I love this little girl so much that it hurts, a good hurt. But then, I am carrying all of these other hurts, the depression and my husband being sick, and all of the worry that comes along with those things, and the insane and all encompassing loneliness that comes with being depressed, no matter how many friends you have…and I fail her. I can’t make her laugh when I’m crying. I can’t dance with her when it hurts to move.
People who have never been depressed don’t seem to understand that it isn’t “all in our head” and we can’t “just get over it.” It’s physical as well as mental. I’m sore. I hurt. I’m tired. My body drags. I’m exhausted but can’t sleep, I sleep but not well, I wake up feeling as if I haven’t slept in weeks.
People judge you. It’s not all verbal. You see it in the slight change in expression when you try to talk about it, a physical pulling away when they realize it, the twitch of an eyebrow, the crossing of arms. Depression is shameful. Being bipolar is frightening. They don’t know how to react, but sometimes their forced non-reaction is worse than an honest “I don’t know what to say” or “I don’t understand.”
Depression is not shameful. It isn’t something to hide. It’s not something to speak of quietly in corners and stop talking about when someone else enters the room. Depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD…they need to be talked about. Loudly. Insistently. The stigma of mental disease needs to be removed so that more people seek the help that they need.
You don’t judge people with cancer, do you? You don’t shame people who have a blood disorder? You don’t make fun of people who are sick?
DEPRESSION IS REAL. IT IS A DISEASE. IT KILLS PEOPLE.
I’m not sure where this blog is going. I really just wanted to write about how being a depressed mother, married to a bipolar husband, is difficult and overwhelming. And I feel as if I’m dropping the ball. I don’t feel as if I am being a good mother to my daughter, and I seriously worry that my depression and my husband’s bipolar disorder are hindering her development.
I want to be a good mom. I want to be there for her in every way she needs me to be. That’s why I’m still here, still fighting. I’ll never give up.
How many of my readers have ever experienced depression? Been suicidal? Sought help? If any of you are depressed and haven’t sought help, please, please, please…get help. There are so many resources and places you can find help. If you think someone you know is depressed and/or suicidal, don’t wait for someone else to help them…save their life.
Google also has pages and pages and pages of information and links to help, and there is always the national hotline, 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).