Depression is a change in perspective.
Nothing can be different in reality from this week to the next but the perception of that reality is completely altered. To bring this point home – I can actually take a photograph of myself and keep that photo on my phone. Nothing in that photo has changed, nothing has been edited. But I can look at that photo on a Monday and completely loathe what I see. I can look at the same photo, the exact same photo on a Tuesday and be so astounded at how attractive and slim I look I will post it to Facebook.
Nothing has changed – except on Monday I was depressed and on Tuesday the cloud had lifted. My perspective of my reality had changed.
Part of getting older is slowly learning to accept yourself.
I have depression and anxiety.
I have always had these things. While I used to be afraid of these aspects of myself – I am no longer scared. I am also honestly no longer ashamed of it. I have always ‘suffered’ from this and I say suffered because it really isn’t nice.
I used to blame teaching – I used to spend days asking ‘why?’ Why do I feel this way? My upbringing? My choice of career? Hormones? Something not quite right in my brain? The weather? Then at some point I stopped asking why and just accepted it. I accept these two things as a part of my personality.
A personality by the way that includes being extremely funny, creative, generous, impulsive, and a desperate need to be accepted and/or perfect.
When I have been depressed in the past I have looked around me to see what was causing it.
It must be the man I’m with – I’ll get rid.
It must be my hair colour – I’ll change it. I’ll change it and I’ll be cured.
It must be the job I’m in, my weight, my friends, my lack of success.
And I’ve learned it really isn’t anything external and there’s really not much I can do to change other than wait it out.
It was a surprise that pregnancy didn’t cure my depression and anxiety – it only heightened it. And it was a surprise that having children wasn’t a magical cure either. I don’t know why it should be a surprise – after all, I can’t escape myself can I?
Whether I’m single and free in Rome elbow deep in gnocchi and red wine, or I’m in my house for the seventh consecutive day cleaning and looking after two children not having time to shower or eat a decent meal – I’m still me.
And I have depression and anxiety.
On a bad day things can seem hopeless but after living with these aspects of my personality for thirty three years I am lucky enough to understand that this feeling, though entirely real to me, isn’t permanent and will eventually lift.
On a good day I am overjoyed with the beauty and luck of my life.
So children, mummy might be depressed but there’s nothing to worry about, she knows all about it, she’s been living with it for a very long time and
it’s got absolutely nothing to do with you.
It also means she’s adequately adept at understanding and helping you with any feelings you may have in the future.
If you’re the mummy who just like me last week is sat today crying in your pyjamas, unable to get dressed, the house going to pot around you, just getting through the day feeling utterly hopeless and like you’re failing – it’s really ok. I know how that feels. I know how it feels to feel completely exhausted, done, to feel like you can’t be mummy – that you don’t want to be mummy anymore.
Try not to trust your perspective of the situation right now and know that you won’t always feel like this. Tell someone, you’re not alone.