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I’m Drowning, But Please Don’t Try to Help

I’m Drowning, But Please Don’t Try to Help
Depression is a sneaky little bitch. The weight is unbearable, and all I can do is blame myself for all the shit I can’t possibly do with an elephant on my chest. I feel like the only one in the world who can manage to stay actively depressed surrounded by help. It’s like drowning an arm’s length from a life boat and not feeling worthy of the reach.
 
I’m blasting myself with insults and negativity at a disgusting rate. I feel useless. I can’t do anything and even when I try, it feels wrong. I’m pretty sure my husband hates me and I’m looking for evidence that he regrets our marriage and having children with me. 
 

When I’m on a roll with work, my family suffers. When I’m “Super Wife and Mother,” everyone in the house is happy except me, and my whole life falls apart. There’s so much pressure to do all the things — perfectly, because everyone’s watching. It’s stifling.

We’re supposed to do better than our parents did for us. For those of us who had less than stellar childhoods, this is imperative. If I had known for sure that history might ever repeat itself, I don’t know if I would have had children. Doesn’t that sounds terrible? Probably not as terrible as it feels to admit.

I grew up in a very confusing, unsafe, and inconsistent environment. I never knew what to expect or when shit would hit the fan and I trained myself to act accordingly. I tried not to be too much or too loud, not to take up too much space, or be too quiet or not enough. I spent extra time making sure everything looked okay from the outside as to not draw in too much attention. I failed to find balance, and had no one to show me what it really meant to be loved and supported no matter what.

Sometimes I feel ill-equipped for the motherhood position I hold. There was no interview process, orientation or grace period. No one said, “Let’s try it out and see if it fits.” Motherhood is not a stylish shoe or flattering pair of jeans. There’s no return policy or opportunity to exchange for store credit. Motherhood is permanent — and so is whatever damage may be passed along through generations. Most days I feel like I’m parenting by braille.

Today I’m really struggling.

If I’m honest, I’ve been struggling for a long time — too long. I can fake it like nobody’s business, because I have a lifetime of practice, but it hurts no less. I suck at asking for help, and I’m even worse at accepting it. I suppose it makes it easier to kick the shit out of and blame myself when things get all messed up.  

When things do get crazy in my head, I fall back into feeling like I need to perform. I try not to be too much or too loud, not to take up too much space, or be too quiet or not enough. I spend extra time making sure everything looks okay from the outside as to not draw in too much attention. So much so that when I let it slip that I might need some serious help, I’m met with shock and argument. 
 
I don’t know how to be broken on the outside. All I know how to do is hold the shards of glass close to my heart while an elephant sits on my chest. 

I know how to help and support other people, so ferociously, I hardly have time or energy to focus on the need for my own attention. I know how to hide within the walls of other people’s pain and convince myself it’s a way out of mine. I know how to beat myself up for needing the support I encourage others to ask for. I know how to be surrounded by hope and love and adoration and refuse to let myself personalize any of it.

I know how to need saving. What I don’t know how to do is feel worthy of the reach.

 

Caring Means Sharing

12 thoughts on “I’m Drowning, But Please Don’t Try to Help

  1. I get it. I totally get it. And I hate this SAHM job lately. I hate motherhood lately and wish there were a do-over button so I don't fuck up the two little people I gave birth to.

    1. Ohmygosh, Julia. I feel your pain. I wish I could take
      It away!! I wish I could do something to force you to recall all the amazing things about yourself that get lost when you’re feeling so low. Your depressed mind is lying to you. You are NOT fucking up your children. Your anger at yourself is evident. I wish I could assure you … everything is going to be OKAY. Keep moving forward. Talk. Swear. Scream – get it out and then move beyond it! Find time for self-care. Get out of the house and do something for YOU! This post was exactly what I was saying to myself just a few weeks ago. I totally get it. Do you still feel like this? How can I help? ??❤️

  2. I wish I could help. I wish I could meet you for dinner. I wish I could remind you of how awesome you really are and how much the blogging community loves and needs you. You're writing is always spot on. None of us are reading, writing, or sharing as much as we want. Oh and being a SAHM while awesome for some reasons…sucks big time for others. Trust me I know. Your teenage daughter is supposed to hate you…really she is. If she liked you, well then you wouldn't be doing it right. Hang in there and just know we are all here…whenever you need us.

  3. I found that when I first started medication for my post partum depression, the first pills were not a good fit. I switched to a different one and pretty much immediately felt a difference. I would start with your PCP and then maybe hit up some therapy. That's where I'm headed next. Good thoughts, friend.

  4. I know you've gotten a lot of positive comments. That's awesome. I have 15 and 17-year-old daughters who hurt me almost every day. Yeah, and someone else had to take a picture of her at her prom because she wouldn't allow me near her at the restaurant beforehand – even though all the other parents were there. I really don't know why she's so embarrassed of me. Anyway, I deal with depression too – have my whole life. I had to try lots of meds. After a while some quit working. Some made me feel dead. I'm on Wellbutrin and Prozac now and feeling so much better. Give the medicine time. If it doesn't work, try again. I know how it feels when you feel like no one in your family loves you. I often think that my mom is the only person who really loves me. It's hard when you have little ones, but don't lose your identity. Husbands have work as their identity, but SAHM's have nothing. Don't know if your spiritual, but being a Christian is all I have. I'd love to give you a hug! Hang in there. One day you'll have all the time in the world. BTW – when you do have lots of time, you'll feel OLD too! Ha! I'm 49 1/2! I write funny stuff – 5minutesforthefrazzledmom.blogspot.com

  5. Aw, honey…

    1- You don't suck. You're wonderful. I've never met you, and I know you to be a loving, compassionate, energetic parenting rock star.
    2- You are NOT the only one. I never found an anti-depressant that worked for me. What I did find, though, was a therapist who was willing to talk about things that didn't make me feel worse afterwords. There are a million kinds of therapy. and even more doctors practicing. If you therapy isn't working for you, find a new therapist. It's a tool, just as much as the pills.
    3- PTSD is not a joke. It's very real, and it's as much a disease as any other. Your feelings are YOUR FEELINGS, and you are entitled to them. Including the desire for them to stop.
    4- Your daughter obviously loves you. If she didn't, she wouldn't say so, because wounding you wouldn't matter so much to her. Because as you've so accurately described in the past, teenagers are THE WORST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD.

    And last, I might not be in a position to give you a hug, but please know that if I was, I'd be there. A hug, a box of chocolates, and maybe a night of karaoke. If you've got somebody who can give you those things, just ask.

    <3 Stay strong.

  6. I think you're doing a great job at all your stuff. Your blog is awesome, sober mommies is a great thing, and your daughter obviously feels secure enough in your love to say horrible things to you. She knows you're not going to stop loving her. That right there says a lot about doing a better job than the previous generation. And no, you're not the only person whose antidepressantd aren't working. There are other things to try, though.

  7. I have spent a good portion of the day reading through your older posts. I too have suffered from depression since I was about 13 and it effects my parenting every single day. I worry constantly about how I am messing my kid up and often feel like I am totally failing at the mothering thing. Blogging has really helped me see that I am not alone and that has made a huge difference in the way I see this sneaky bitch of an illness. Keep posting. I will keep reading.

  8. I can totally relate. I have the Chinese symbol for balance tattooed on my wrist to remind me I can't do everything. I feel like I am doing 50% at both home and work. Even when I have the summer off I can't seem to get my shit together sometimes. Then people compliment me and I'm like hey thanks but really I'm thinking why don't I show you how much I suck – because I'm just really good at sweeping everything under the bed. (Literally as well – tons of shit under my bed!) Apparently because I have degrees in psychology and special education and being the teacher and professional that I am means that I should have my act together. ugh. High expectations. I am SO patient with my students and co-workers and then totally lose my mind with my family sometimes over the dumbest littlest things. Then I feel like an ass. I thank you for all of your honest posts. I read some other blogs and they are just so damn happy! and then I feel like more of a failure. I know it is is hard to write these posts sometimes because you are actually living all of this – but know that you are also helping so many of us who struggle with various issues along side mothering which quite frankly is hard enough as it is. This life isn't easy and we are all going to screw up so it's nice to read the perspective of a mom who is honest, real, and can effectively use some humor to describe this crazy world.

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