If you've been following along, we've:
- Prayed about and written out our mission, and the mission of our family members as we were able.
- Made chore lists for the home.
- Made lists for family members outlining commitments, responsibilities, etc.
- Started whittling down these lists to what is important, because we can't do everything.
- We've also talked about many other considerations and tips for good scheduling.
Whether or not you have a formal, written schedule, EVERY MOM has a flow to her daily life, whether it is efficient and graceful or not. Some moms thrive on "living in the moment" and don't need to think too far ahead. Others, like me, feel out of control unless they know ahead of time what they need to do to fulfill their many obligations. And some moms.... feel overwhelmed.
"Overwhelmed" and "motherhood" are two words that go together far too often, and every mom feels the pressure of this all-consuming, high-expectation career. However, if you are finding that even the simple daily chores like getting dressed, brushing your hair, and making meals are a struggle, you might be dealing with more than regular stress. You might be dealing with depression.
Confession time ladies. I have depression. I have had post-partum depression more than once, and major depression at other times in my life. It sucks. IT DOES NOT MEAN that I don't laugh. It does not mean that my chores don't get done. They do. It also doesn't mean that I always feel down. And because of these things, depression can be hard to identify or even notice. WHAT IT DOES MEAN is that things are a lot harder to do than they normally would be. And perhaps the pressure of sticking to a rigid schedule, seeking greater control and more perfection is not a good goal for me right now.
I wanted to share this because depression, no matter HOW it happens, can become a physical problem and is treatable, and I see SO MANY MOTHERS who are depressed and suffering without even realizing it. Can I just list for you some of the things I've experienced?
- a great desire to organize my home and get everything "under control"
- at times, shopping when there is no need, to feel better
- at times, eating too much, when i'm not hungry
- at times, not eating enough, trying to lose weight
- feeling GUILT, GUILT, GUILT, and did I mention GUILT?
- not being able to cry or feel great emotion for months
- crying about everything
- trying to live up to self-imposed extremely HIGH expectations (this can be hard to identify)
- having random thoughts of wanting to hurt myself
- having random thoughts of wanting to escape
- drinking alcohol
- not being able to just sit down and enjoy
- thinking about suicide
- been feeling frustrated and impatient with the children (even though I tried not to show it)
- behaving strangely (ok - this could happen at any time... I'm a bit of a nut!)
And sooooo much more. I think it all started the day I had my son, and felt the overwhelming (there's that word again) desire to do EVERYTHING for him... I love him so much. The really extreme stuff I've listed, yes I really have struggled with all of them, BUT they didn't come right away. It came after 7 years of neglecting myself trying to be the perfect wife/mother/daughter/sister/Christian I thought I should be, and denying how I was feeling, thinking a good mother didn't feel anything but joy.
This is hard for me to talk about becuase depression carries with it so much shame, at least it does for me in my head. I just wanted to share in case this helps any of you. I see the signs in sooo many moms I meet, especially new ones. I think that's why I started this blog, to be a support to other mommies. I have needed so much support, and I want to encourage you, make you laugh, give you ideas and tips and just be there.
Some of you may think I'm crazy, and that's ok, in some ways I am. I want to tell you that I'm all better now but that would be a lie. I'm not guaranteed health, proosperity, happiness... anything... except the continuing presence of the LORD who will never leave me, nor forsake me. Feel free to email me if you want to talk, or comment showing your support to other moms who may be having a hard time.
Oh, and if ANY of the above symptoms are familiar to you, I urge you to pray, and be in honest communication with someone you trust. THERE IS NO SHAME IN DEPRESSION, or in being human and having needs. If nothing else, please find a friend for a shoulder to cry on. We need each other. Motherhood is not for wimps!! Haha... makes me wonder why God blessed me with 4?!? :-)
Good night friends. Love and prayers...