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What I Won’t Tell You About My Anxiety and Depression

What I Won’t Tell You About My Anxiety and Depression

I like to think of myself as a strong person. I help others to a fault and give until the well is dry. Once that point is reached, I find it difficult to do much of anything. Depression and Anxiety hijack my personality and I crawl into myself…and my bed.

If you ask me how I am, you will get my standard “I am well. How are you?” You’re probably only asking to be polite and don’t actually care, but I’m also terrified to tell the truth. 

The truth is, I’m suffocating under the pressure to be okay. The truth is, I’m not okay.

When we talk, I will chat you up about the weather and the latest stories in the news. What I won’t tell you is that the weather hasn’t affected me much lately, because I haven’t been out of the house much. I won’t tell you that some days watching the news is as close to interaction with the outside world as I get; outside of getting the kids to school. I will, no doubt, keep this to myself out of fear that you may judge or – even worse – try to help me.

I will tell you I’ll call you, and then I’ll text instead. If you call me, you’ll be sent directly to voicemail. I won’t tell you how badly I wish I wanted to speak to or see you. I won’t tell you that if it were not for my relationship with God and my husband I would be sitting in a rubber room.

I feel embarrassed and pathetic to be struggling like this with all of the tools I have at my feet. Don’t worry, I won’t tell you that. I’m much too vulnerable and broken to risk it. 

If we do talk, I will joke about the “joys of motherhood,” how often my poor kids are driving me crazy or how busy and tired I am. What I won’t tell you is that my anxiety is keeping me up most nights with terrible insomnia and I’m having trouble sleeping soundly anyway. I won’t share this, because I want you to think I have my shit together. I need you to see me together, because it keeps me from falling apart completely.

We’ll make plans to hang out and I’ll feign surprise when something suddenly comes up and I can’t make it. I’ll tell you one of the kids is sick or I have a migraine. What I won’t tell you is that my depression has turned me into someone I wouldn’t want to be friends with if I were you. Bringing this version of myself along to our date is out of the question. This girl takes so long to get ready to leave the house that sometimes it’s decided it might be easier to just stay home — so I do. There’s not enough make-up to mask this mess.

Most days I feel trapped. I won’t tell you how often I choke down tears or let them out sitting in the shower. I won’t tell you how overwhelmed I feel by the most mundane and simple life tasks like laundry or dishes. You’ll never hear about what a failure and fraud I feel like; how terrible a wife and mother. I’ll skip the part about how much the stifling guilt and shame enhances those feelings and feeds isolation.

I know if I tell you how I’m feeling you will understand. I know if I called you right now and let it out that you would listen and tell me I’m doing the best I can. You might even thank me for trusting you with my mess, and I might feel better for a moment. I just can’t bring myself to do that right now. 

Everything is process and I know this is no different. I know this too shall pass, and that someday I will look back and feel grateful to be on the other side of it.

But until then… don’t ask. It’s not like I’ll tell you anyway.

 

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15 thoughts on “What I Won’t Tell You About My Anxiety and Depression

  1. Thank you for writing this, you helped me feel understood and like maybe I'm not as alone as I thought.

  2. I just went through this myself. I'm 7 months postpartum and I can honestly say I've only felt like I've had it even semi-together in the last 4 weeks. It does get better but when one thing (colic) ends, another begins (teething). What's changed is – a) I'm taking my meds. b) I got therapy and was just last night deemed "mentally healthy" so we did not schedule a next appointment and c) I'm finally getting the alone time I need to regroup after spending all day with this needy little being who relies solely on me for 11 hours out of the day and sleeps for 11 overnight. Meaning – hubby, who is wonderful, has about 2 hours during which he parents our child so I can get some alone time. Getting this time… 7:30pm-10 or so, is the only thing that has helped return my sanity to me, other than meds, therapy, and time. I'm glad to find this post, even though it's an older one – it really explains how I felt the first 6 months or so. I hope you are doing much better.

  3. Just came across your blog today and read this. i don't know you at all, but you have somehow managed to put into words things that I have been struggling to explain. Thank you for your honesty and bravery. Thank you for helping me feel like I'm not the only one who feels this way. thank you.

  4. O….M….G…. So this just came across my newsfeed, some how the Facebook idiots got it right for once, as this is exactly what I needed to read this morning. It's 6:30 and my child hates sleep (not that I would have slept much anyway) so if this makes any sense at all, I'm calling Tuesday morning a win already 🙂
    First let me start by saying I heart you… Secondly, you also terrify me because you are able to put into words what I can not (writing is not my strong suit, I think I peaked somewhere around 8th grade and managed to fake my way through 8 more years of English classes and writing assignments, sorry tanget!). But mostly I heart you… Because even though you write what I don't want to admit, knowing that it's "not just me" is kind of awesome. So in closing, you are awesome sauce, and your blog is amaze-balls.

  5. Thank you for this, I do have depression and anxiety and it keeps me home most days as well. If it werent for my kids or the fact that I have to go to school for classes bc I cant focus online then Id be home ALLthe time.

  6. What I WILL tell you is that by being honest and vulnerable, you've given SO MANY other mothers permission to admit that they don't have their shit together. PPD is not something to be ashamed of. It does NOT make you a failure. It does NOT make you weak or inept.

    Would you be ashamed if you had diabetes?

    Would you be afraid to ask for a bandage if you were bleeding?

    This stigma of shame – it has to go. And by posting this incredibly brave post, you've shown so many women that they can too.

    You should be proud.

    You should also know you are not alone.

    xoxo

  7. Thanks for sharing your struggles with us. As I can see now, there is such a cultural pressure (I feel) to present this perfect persona of a happy, on-the-ball mom. I was so unprepared for how unhappy I became once I delivered the first of my two daughters. And the shock of the responsibility, and the overwhelmingness of it all. And although I have a very supportive husband, my real frustrations where, and continue to be, with myself. PPD, PTSD, depression.. These things of the mind are so guilt-provoking. I am in therapy, which is helping maintain a somewhat even keel. I am on Zoloft now, and it appears to be helping. I am trying sobriety also, which should help the meds do what the need to do. And, I am now in AA. Do I still feel afraid that my friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc. will reject me and label me a failure if they knew the extent of my depression? Absolutely. But not seeking the help of others, even anonymously, is so FUCKING detrimental. I think it would honestly make me suicidal. By seeking help, I am gaining confidence in myself, and my ability to manage my disease. Most importantly, it is making me stronger to deal with the mundane and chaotic life of motherhood. I know it won't always be this difficult. I will get bills paid, and the girls potty trained, and my family fed.. But for people that suffer depression, alcoholism, PTSD, whatever – it can only be done one day at a time.

  8. Only just found this now (still exploring over here, to my shame)
    And all I can reply with is the tippiest-tippy-tip of an iceberg of what I really mean
    Because I'm rendered a bit type-tied
    Because this is so amazingly brutifully honest
    So here goes nothing:

    "I *heart* you"

  9. Thank you for your courageous post. I wish we, as moms, didn't always feel like everything has to be perfect, or that we have to be happy 100% of the time with our kids/lives. I am glad I am not alone. Now hoping I can find some courage, too!

  10. Thank you for this very brave post! You have no idea what this means to me! Just to know that I'm not alone. I had PPD and now I think I have depression with rage and it's destroying my marriage. This gives me courage to get the help I need. Thank you! We are not alone. We can get through this. My sister sent me a card that said "Sometimes the most beautiful flowers grow out of the biggest pile of s*&t!"

  11. I am there too. Except for one thing. I HAVE to be the strong one because my husband is so broken right now from his own anxiety and depression. He can’t get out of bed most days.
    So even though I’m screaming/crying/curling in on myself on the inside…. I can’t show it, because it makes him feel worse. If I show any emotion other than happiness he has panic attacks and voices suicidal thoughts.
    Because he feels like a burden to me and our son. And that we would be happier without him. I have had those thoughts. So I know he can’t help it.
    At the same time I am so so tired. So tired.

  12. story.of.my.life.

    I thought having children would bring me closer to God. I feel like He has abandoned me.

    I daydream about running away. I sometimes visualize blowing my head off.

    Guilt is my best friend.

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