It’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly what it feels like to live with major depression. Exhausting is definitely one word to describe it. I am constantly tired, both physically and mentally. I can barely get out of bed every morning, despite my husband urging me to get up and take care of our boys. “Mama, wake up it’s 7:30am,” he’ll say. Then before I know it, it’s, “Mama, it’s 7:45am, time to get up.” It’s as if his voice is an alarm ring tone that I’m constantly hitting snooze on.
In addition to being exhausted all the time, I’m also easily defeated. Things that are probably little annoyances for most people, like arguing with my son about putting his pants on, can set me back for the day. “Why can’t he just listen to me?” I think. Which in my internal dialog, quickly turns into “He never listens to me,” then jumps to “It’s because I’m a bad mom.”
I also live with a tremendous amount of guilt over things I wish I hadn’t done, and things I feel I should have done. It’s as if nothing I do is ever good enough. I should spend more time with my children. I shouldn’t spend so much time on my phone. I should enjoy my boys more. There’s a never ending list of things I should and shouldn’t do going on in my head. Today, for example, my boys have had an excessive amount of screen time, probably about 3 hours worth, which I shouldn’t have let happen. And I haven’t even read them any books, which I should have done by now. And it makes me feel like I’m totally failing at this whole mom thing.
But most of all, I just don’t know why I’m so hard on myself. I certainly don’t want to feel so down. I’ve spent countless hours in therapy, popped thousands of pills, prayed, read Scripture and done everything else under the sun I could think of to shake this feeling. But it just doesn’t go away.
My therapist tells me I need to give myself a break. She says I would never treat a friend the way I treat myself. If a friend called up, for example, and said her kids were driving her crazy and she sat them in front of the TV all day long, I’d probably say “You just gotta do what you gotta do.” But when I do it, I beat myself up over it.
People also tell me that I care too much. I worry about the details. I try to be everything to everyone, but in reality, I feel like I can’t seem to do anything right at all.
It’s clear that I’m my own worst critic. But no matter how terrible I feel, I’m still hopeful. I don’t know how, but I know that I will get through this. I know this because no matter how hard life is, I still have good days. I have happy days. I have moments in which I forget that I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. And those are the moments that I live for.