“So… Depression, huh? You’ve been feeling a little depressed?”
“Well… I wouldn’t have come out and said it like that. I’ve been feeling a little ‘off’ since my youngest daughter was born.”
I remember when C was born–in the middle of a shit-storm. We were facing our first set of big separations from Husband including our first deployment, Mom was sick–though we didn’t know how very sick she really was. I didn’t know where to be. I just didn’t. Things were just plain hard.
And yet I was so happy being a Mom. The rightness of it was cosmic. It was like I had stepped into who I was always meant to become. I was this beautiful little being’s Mom. I was a mother. In the midst of the Hell that happened around me those first few months of her life, that truth was constant. That was joy pure and simple. It was a respite from the grief. It was something to hold onto in the tempest. It was a piece of me that, though I was only just coming to know it, I recognized.
“So… Explain this to me in a way that I can understand. Clinical Depression? That doesn’t sound like me. Explain this in a way that will help me to understand why you think that sounds like me.”
“Well, simply put, depression is lacking joy in areas of your life that used to bring joy to you. You used to find joy in knitting, you don’t now. You used to like to take walks in the rain, you don’t now.”
With A, I am so incredibly in love. I am. I adore this little being. I do. But the rightness… That feeling of rightness has vanished. I don’t know who I am with my girls. I don’t like who I am with my girls. There is joy in discovering who they are, in being with them, but there is little joy in being a mother.
“Your Mom died two years ago? This could be bereavement… This could be grief.”
“Yeah, Yeah… Grief I know. I know I’m grieving. I always will be. I get that.”
“Yeah and you’re trying to push it down. I’m watching you. You are doing everything you can to smother it and push it down.”
Standing outside myself for that moment I could see it. I could see my arms flailing and my shoulders hunching and all of my body trying so hard to control the emotion. I was shoving it down. Physically. Damn it. I thought I was in control and here was my body visibly betraying me to my doctor.
“You’ve been through some hard times in the last few years. You have. Your mom died. Your husband has been away a lot. That’s hard.”
“It’s not supposed to be hard! It’s not! It’s not supposed to be hard. I’m supposed to be able to do it.”
Yeah, there I go again…..
“You’re too good at this for your own good. Do you know that? You do function. You function just fine. You got a 4.0 even though you tried to sleep through a semester of college. You’re good at functioning through it. Left alone, you’d get through this too. You’d get better. I just don’t know how long it would take.”
With C, I felt so cheated. I felt cheated because her whole world was swallowed up by Mom’s illness, by her death, by my grief. I felt like I didn’t look at her and soak her in as much as I should have, as much as I was entitled to, because I was so encompassed in the pain of losing Mom.
Now, I’m still not seeing them. They deserve to be seen. They do. I want to see them and revel in them. I want to feel joy as a Mom.
And so… Welcome, Val, to the world of Zoloft.
Welcome to the task of wrapping your head around the word, ‘depression.’
Welcome to the realization that even though you’re broken, that there is hope in that. Broken things can be mended. If this is it, if this is as good as it gets–If this is wholeness and what being a Mom looks like–then that would be pretty disappointing.
But hopefully… It’s not. Hopefully there will be mending. Hopefully I’m moving toward being more whole.
I hope so.