When you are a depressed mommy, there is an added stress in your life. For me, it has been more painful and difficult as I am not just managing myself but my husband and my daughter. I am finding that I need to draw on many emotional and tangible things to help me get through each day.
1. Get out of bed each day and say, “I hope to feel better today.” Even though I have been doing this for weeks now and I honestly do not feel much better, it is an important mantra to begin each day.
2. Make sure to see my daughter as soon as possible. Without pause, her exclaiming each morning, “Mommy!!!!!!!” with a huge smile will always put a smile on my face, even if I am exhausted from being up for hours due to anxiety.
3. Allow my husband to take on the morning activities of dressing and feeding our daughter. This has been our schedule anyway but I do not feel guilty that “mommy” is not the one doing this.
4. Give my daughter a hug and kiss goodbye for the day at preschool and make sure she sees me, really sees me. It is distracting when you are four years old and your little friends are waiting for you but I focus her face on mine so I can tell her I love her and to have a great day.
5. Keep busy at work. Make sure there are meetings to attend, desk work to be done and allow your co-workers to make you laugh. Even though I feel disconnected, I can still do my job and feel good about my work and accomplishments.
6. By 4:00 PM I am aching to see and hug my daughter. I get through the end of my workday and head over to her preschool to get her. The running hug is a daily experience. I love that we are equally happy to see each other at the end of the day and that I am able to continue to experience this feeling.
7. Forgive myself and don’t feel badly when I walk in the house and feel a huge wave of anxiety about the following: washing my daughter’s food containers from the day, washing mine, getting some sort of healthy dinner ready, making her food for the next day, making my food for the next day, unloading the dishwasher, folding the laundry…I just know I can’t do even pieces of all of this right now. My husband has been amazing at preparing our daughter’s food for the next day, folding laundry, unloading the dishwasher and eating whatever it is I can make for dinner.
8. Even though I feel absent and disconnected, spend time with my family. The three of us are a team and our time together in the evenings is special.
9. Take a deep breath after the bedtime routine.
10. Even though I am often quiet right now, I will relax with my husband, watch TV and at least feel loved and not so alone.
I continue to fight this depression and although its claws are in me and fighting back, I will continue to practice the above on a daily basis. This is the best I can do right now. It’s what I have to do for my loving husband and my sparkly daughter.