Depression. It seems like it is everywhere and yet no one is willing to talk about it. It isn’t just feeling sad. It’s feeling utterly hopeless. It’s having a fantastic day and not being able to enjoy a single moment. It’s neglecting basic self-care (like showering or brushing your teeth). It’s pushing yourself to even get out of bed. It’s overwhelming to deal with as a person. Add in little lives who need tending to and you’ve pretty much got a recipe for disaster.
That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s impossible to navigate depression as a mother, it just means that it’s really, really hard. Since the ailment we’re dealing with is one of the mind, often times we’re dismissed or given pandering advice like “get a massage!” or “You need a night out!” This goes so much deeper than a cocktail. Here are my steps for when the battle feels like it’s too much. These are the steps I walk through when the going gets so tough I feel like I can’t even get out of bed.
These are going to sound like the pandering advice you hear from someone who has no idea what you’re going through. As someone who is where you are, though, hang with me. Depression is a beast and you’re going to have to do some serious fighting.
Yes. Get. Up. If you have dealt with depression you know exactly how hard this one is. Move your legs. Stand up out of bed. Walk to the kitchen, the bathroom, the closet, ANYWHERE. The most important step of fighting this monster is to GET UP. Staying down means depression has won and you are stronger than that.
REAL self care.
Take a shower. Brush your teeth. Put on some mascara. Drink some water. Feed yourself. Go for a walk. These are all things that someone without depression would say, “Well, duh. That’s a silly thing to suggest,” but you and I know better. Taking a shower can seem like the biggest burden when the world is weighing on your shoulders. You’ve got to take that step. You’ve got to move.
Change your clothes. I don’t care if you change your yoga pants into some fresh yoga pants or you put on a different t-shirt. If you want to push one step further, put on an outfit that makes you feel good. And, yes, I’m aware that there are very few things that make you feel good. Even if you’re just around the house, put on your jeans or something. Dress like you have somewhere to be. Brush your hair. You don’t even have to do anything but put it back into a ponytail but do it.
Did your mom friend invite you to the park? Go. Are your friends planning a girls’ night? RSVP yes. Maybe Kansas City Moms Blog has an event tomorrow. Buy a ticket! (I promise you won’t be disappointed!) Push yourself to show up. Push yourself to be around people. Even if you go and feel like you can’t talk, shake off the darkness and be in the presence of others. Most times just being around others’ energy helps me feel more human. Depression wants to isolate you. Don’t let it.
We all deal with our share of battles. We’re mothers and that is only one hat we wear. When you’re dealing with depression all the other battles seem much bigger than they are. As selfish or undeserving as you may feel, the first step to dealing with depression is dealing with and taking care of yourself.
These are just basic kick-starter steps I take on the hard days. If your depression or anxiety have gotten so bad they are affecting your life every day in a big way, please seek help. You deserve to feel normal, you deserve better than depression.