One mum describes what Depression is to her…
Depression is many different things to different people, but this is what it is to me.
Depression is the ashamed family (that I don’t have) – they say things like “you could have done so much with your life”, “so-and-so has got a really well-paid and high-powered job (unlike you)” or “even millionaires get depressed”.
Depression is the critical husband (that I don’t have) – with just a look he makes me feel watched and like I’m doing something wrong, like he would be better staying at home with our baby.
Depression is the discontented baby (that I don’t have) – his little face asks “why did I end up with a Mummy like you? One who cries more than me!”
Depression is the judgmental midwife (that I didn’t have) – she asks “do you feel guilty about stopping breastfeeding (you should)?”
These people take away all of my enjoyment, my confidence and my self-respect. In return, they give me anxiety, paranoia and an overwhelming feeling of failure. In order to beat these faces of depression, I try to turn to reality and think positively (easier said than done sometimes). I like to call this hope.
Hope is the supportive family (that I have) – they say things like “I can take the baby for a walk tomorrow to give you a break if you want”, “we made that dessert because we know you like it” or “I’m proud to have you as my Granddaughter”.
Hope is the sympathetic husband (that I have) – he tells me he loves me every day and often says that I’m the best Mummy in the world.
Hope is the contented baby (that I have)- he smiles when I say hello after he wakes up, my cuddles comfort him in the unfamiliar and he laughs when I laugh.
Hope is the encouraging midwife (that I had) – she looked me in the eye and said “you strike me as the kind of person who wouldn’t give up easily”. And I know that I won’t, because of that little person in his cot upstairs.
My advice to sufferers of depression was given to me by my husband – notice (and enjoy) the small but wonderful things in life again. Put your feet up (even just for a couple of minutes) while the baby sleeps, savour a cup of tea or an ice cold drink, really feel the warmth of a shower on your face. Find the positives in everything and ignore the negatives as best you can. Then one day, you’ll realise that you have felt ok, and it wasn’t even an effort. Then hopefully it will happen again the next day.