Since I didn’t post yesterday, I’m giving you two posts today!
I was reading Alice at Wonderland’s post about Post Partum Depression and clicked over to Tracy Thompson’s blog post about anxiety. Tracy is the author of The Ghost in the House: Motherhood, Raising Children, and Struggling with Depression. In reading her “Balm” post, I was struck with how vividly she described something I have indeed experienced due to my depression/anxiety:
“…I was tidying up obsessively–making the bed, folding blankets, plumping pillows–because that is one of the things I do when I have this affliction; I feel the need to try to control every element of my environment, which of course I cannot do, but the more I fail the more I feel compelled to try, and no, don’t ask me to color with you, or listen to this knock-knock joke, don’t you see the linens must be folded??“
I have lived with depression for as long as I can remember, but was officially diagnosed 11 years go. Since then I have come a long way and have mostly (except for a brief stint after a miscarriage) gotten by without medication for the past 7 years. Loads of therapy has helped immensely, including joint therapy with my husband where he learned more about my disease and how to help me get out of a slump. Sometimes I slip, and sometimes Joe doesn’t realize I have done so, but for the most part I have been in decent working order.
Having a child changed the dynamic a bit. Obviously, it is difficult to manage mental health when a person is so focused on someone who can do little or nothing for themselves. I have struggled over the past 9 months to stay ahead of my depression, and I do sometimes find myself thinking, “What is wrong with me? Why am I sitting here googling pancake recipes when I could be playing or reading with my kid?” Considering my past experiences, I find this to be the least of my worries about depression; I am just glad that I can usually recognize the problem when it occurs and force myself to go sit on the floor and build a tower of blocks for Jack to knock over. Sometimes the fog lifts, and sometimes I have to fake it. No matter what, I always try my best to stay healthy for my family.
Dear readers, do you deal with mental health issues? It’s often such an isolating thing but I personally feel that it’s important to talk about it.