When you have postpartum depression, one of the saving graces is, at the time, your kid is too young to remember or realize that you’re sad..or angry…all the time. They pick up on it for sure or at least Will did. His mood reflected mine even then and he was a pretty cranky, shitty sleeping kid for the months that I suffered. (Or maybe that’s what I remember).
It’s been exactly seven years since I fell into that pit of hellishness. Since then I’ve been pretty open on my blog about my ongoing ups and downs with depression and anxiety. My closest friends know that I can slide in and out of these pits. I always know that I will drag myself out of it but falling into it still really sucks.
For the last couple of weeks I’ve been sliding. There’s no rhyme or reason really. Maybe it’s the time of year? I’m not sure. I visited a friend a few weekends ago and suffered an anxiety attack for the first time in ages and that seems to be the trigger for this bout. I lost someone very special to me in a car accident this summer. It happened at the end of her street and I think being there raised some overwhelming feelings that haven’t let up. Since then I’ve been weepy, angry and with little patience. But mostly weepy. And it comes from nowhere. The grocery store. The library. Driving.
I can’t hide it from my very smart kid. Should I try? Maybe. But that’s not me. It’s not us.
So tonight, we talked about it. But how do you explain depression to a kid? It really sounds ridiculous when you try.
We sat on the couch and held hands and I said, ‘have you noticed how mommy has been pretty sad lately?’ and he nodded. I continued and told him that it didn’t have anything to do with him and that he makes me incredibly happy. I explained that sometimes mommy is sad for no reason and that it just hits me and I feel much better when I cry a little bit.
He said that maybe I was sad because we had just had a dinner like my mom used to make. And I said no, that it was really the opposite. I told him that I had made that big roast beef to make our house smell like my house did every Sunday night and that it actually made me really happy.
His eyes started to well up with tears because mine were and I told him that it was really important for him to know that he doesn’t need to be sad and that I wouldn’t be sad forever, that it was just a phase – like the Pokemon loving phase he had. He seemed to get that.
I put him in the tub after and when I asked him how it was, he said ‘it feels so good in a nice hot tub, you should have one Mom.’ Truer words were never spoken so I did.
And I will make a doctor’s appointment in the morning to increase my meds. And I will exercise. And I will start meditating again. And I will stop using my phone at night. And I will come out of this pit that I always seem to stumble in this time of year.
And while I do all this, I’ll keep telling my kid how happy he makes me and I’ll keep reaching for the ladder out of the pit. It always ends up being there somehow.