My 5-year-old daughter is sensitive and she can be anxious – sheâ€™s her motherâ€™s daughter, for sure. When she does get anxious I try to calm her down with deep breathing and I started repeating one mantra over and over – you can do hard things. Does it help her? Maybe but it definitely helps me.
Itâ€™s so simple but it hits me deep in my core. My depression (and anxiety) just crushes me, the weight of it feels so heavy that I canâ€™t move. But the thing is, I can do hard things.
In the past five years Iâ€™ve given birth to two kids who are 23 months apart. Iâ€™ve battled postpartum depression. I went to a mental hospital for six weeks. I started ECT therapy and have had more than 20 treatments – thatâ€™s 20 times under anesthesia and 20+ seizures. I have been suicidal many times but Iâ€™ve clawed my way back to me. Iâ€™m proudly scrappy.
I will have depression forever, and Iâ€™m sure there will be dark days ahead but I can do hard things. Thatâ€™s the mindset and philosophy I want to pass down to Isla (and Eli).
I try my best to hide my depressed self from the kids but I know it seeps through at times. I just hope they remember how strong I am and how much I love them. I hope they never really know how sad I can be. I want them to know I have a big heart and big emotions, and thatâ€™s ok. That they are cut from the same cloth, that they can tap into their grit and resolve.
Itâ€™s easy to give in to depression, to the despair and apathy that accompanies it. Whatâ€™s not easy is to do it in front of your kids. Theyâ€™re always there, watching and imitating. While itâ€™s scary to think I could have another depressive episode, I know I can get through it. I can fight. I can overcome.
I can do hard things. And so can you.