Every single day I wake up to the reality of my depression.
It’s morning. The sun is peaking through the curtains and I bury myself under the blankets and groan.
My 2-year-old and 4-year-old climb into bed with me and we all snuggle for a few moments. My heart feels happy, even if it’s just for a few moments. I’m exhausted already and the day hasn’t even begun, I close my eyes and hope my girls will fall asleep with me.
No such luck, because pretty soon they’re jumping on my head. I drag my body out of bed and get ready to make a quick breakfast.
The girls chat with each other happily as I butter their toast and pour their milk. I think about my day and feel overwhelmed by all the tasks that I need to do. I promise myself I’ll work as hard as possible to get everything done. I kiss my husband goodbye and wish him a wonderful day.
It’s not long before the TV is on and the girls are watching their favourite show contentedly. I look outside, it’s raining and cold. I lie down under my favourite burgundy blanket and close my eyes for a few moments. The quiet never lasts long, so I enjoy it while I can.
All of a sudden, the girls are fighting and screaming and I wonder when this day will end. I play with them, we make crafts and I try my best to smile.
By lunch time I am completely exhausted. I make my kids lunch and nibble on their leftover crusts. I’m hungry but too tired to eat. I read them books and get my younger one ready for a nap.
I wonder what all the other mothers out there are doing and why I find it so difficult to get through a few hours with my girls. I feel guilty and ashamed because I know I am wishing the days away. I am so tired—I wish I could nap—but instead I put on a movie for my older daughter and we snuggle on the couch.
By the time my youngest daughter wakes up I feel ready to give up. Usually my girls are both crabby at this time of day and I’m lucky if I can stay patient enough to deal with their fights and squabbles calmly. I am so weary, my heart feels heavy.
By 3pm I call my husband in tears and beg him to come home. I am so done. I don’t want to do this anymore. I am depressed, alone and tired.
He encourages me to just take a rest and that he’ll be home in a couple of hours. It seems unbearable, another two hours. We make it through somehow and my husband arrives when my stomach is rumbling ravenously.
I’m too exhausted to make dinner, so we order pizza. I feel guilt and shame over my inability to cook a meal for my family and I promise I’ll make a meal plan next week.
Our family chatters happily at the dinner table, my favourite time of day. I marvel at my sweet daughters, who are both joy-filled and truly content in this life. I hope they’ll always be this way, and I hope I can always keep myself together enough to be a good mom to them. They are thrilled to be eating pizza for dinner and we share our favourite parts of our day. Mine is always snuggling and spending time together.
I spend my evening reading a book, playing with my girls and watching TV.
I go to bed and tell my husband that I had a difficult day and that my depression felt like a thick fog surrounding me. I tell him I was scared that I would never feel better. I cry warm tears while lying on his chest, as he strokes my hair and tells me things will get better.
It was a hard day and although not every day is like this, some of them are. I spend these days worrying that I am a terrible mother and wife. I long for the energy that so many others seem to have. I long for rest and for this difficult season of sorrow to be over.
I wonder if there are any other mothers like me out there. I say a silent prayer for us all, as I curl up in a ball and feel my husband breathing deeply beside me. I know he’s asleep and so I silently slide out of bed.
First I check on my girls and kiss them gently on their foreheads. I whisper prayers of gratitude for them.
I walk to the front door, and open it quietly. The air is foggy and thick from raining all day, but there’s a warm breeze rustling through the trees. I stand on our deck, and look up at the sky. There’s a few stars and the moon is shining brilliantly. I shiver a bit and wrap my sweater around me tightly like a warm embrace.
I’m crying again, but this time I release the tears because nobody is watching. As much as I wish for my heart to be less heavy, I am grateful for my life. I know my girls are well loved. I stare into the night sky and I whisper, “I am a good mom. I am a good wife.”
I tell myself over and over, these words that I know to be true. I release them into the darkness, and feel my heart is a little bit lighter.
“It’s going to be okay,” I say. A little bit more confidently.
“I am strong,” I say, smiling now.
“I love myself,” are my final words to the midnight stars.
I open the door, and come back inside. I’m ready for bed now, and I lay my head down, happier than I’ve felt in a while. I fall asleep, smiling, hopeful, and ready for tomorrow.
The Mental Health Helpline is available to anyone who needs help, call 1 866 531 2600 for free health services, or visit their website for a live chat available 24/7.