Depression

Depression

This is probably one of the most difficult posts I am ever going to write. 

I have depression. And I have done for a very, very long time. 

My daughter is now eight. Her entire life, she has been used to seeing me go through periods of over-the-top-happiness (often short lived), followed by periods of sullenness, tears and rage. She has made me laugh when I’m happy, hugged me when I’m sad and avoided me when I’m angry. And, particularly in the last year, she has become my strongest supporter. 

This time last year, after one of the longest “happy periods” I can remember, my daughter became a big sister. When I was pregnant and for a short while after my son was born, I thought I had finally gotten rid of depression. So did my daughter. We were relaxed and enjoying what seemed like “normal” family life. 

Then it hit us from nowhere. I say “us” because it’s not just about me or what I was feeling, it’s the effect that it had and continues to have on my daughter that worries me the most. She became someone that not only cared for her mother during dark periods, but her baby brother too. 

My daughter keeps her brother occupied while I sit in the bathroom with the door locked for long periods of time. “Mummy’s on the toilet – she must be doing a really big poo!” I hear her say to him and giggle. We both know that I’m not. 

She plays ‘peek-a-boo’ with him while I try to change his nappy, to stop him from rolling around and to stop me from getting frustrated. 

She shuts the door when I’m in another room crying, or sometimes screaming. She comes to hug me when she hears that I’ve calmed down, telling me “I’ve put him to sleep. He loves having his head stroked!”  

She is everything. But she shouldn’t need to be. She shouldn’t have this weight on her shoulders at eight years old. She shouldn’t have to go to school wondering how her mum will be when she gets home. She shouldn’t have her childhood clouded with memories of stress and responsibility. She shouldn’t need to worry that her baby brother will have the same experiences as her. 

Something has to change. I haven’t figured out how to change it yet, but whatever it is, it starts now. 

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I Feel Guilty

I Feel Guilty

As a young parent, I’m always questioning myself as to whether I’m doing the “right thing” or not. I’m sure that’s the same for parents of all ages, but I can only speak for us youngsters out there, and we also have the eyes of the world on us – can you say “pressure”?!

As I’ve said before, my daughter is now three (“and a-half”, as she keeps reminding me). So that means that it has taken me three (and a-half) years to realise that everything I do is done to prove a point. I took a year out of studies after I had her to prove a point (“OMG are you leaving her in nursery already? She’s only a few months old!”). I spent a year reminding everyone that I was going to university in September, to prove a point (“So now you just stay at home all day?” “Well yeah… But I’m starting uni in September!”). I then stressed over uni to prove a point (“Ahh, you only got a 2:2 on that assignment? I suppose you would have done better if you didn’t have a kid.” “…Wanker.”) And now, I’m working full time to prove a point.

Quite frankly, I’m sick of it. And I know there’s no one else to blame but myself. I really should not give a damn what others think or how they look at me. But the truth is, I do. And now I’ve got myself in a situation where I really don’t know what’s best for my daughter or what I even want anymore. And I’m starting to feel like I’ve made the wrong choices.

Since starting work, I’ve been leaving home at 7.30am – sometimes before my daughter’s even awake, and getting home at about 6.30. This means that my Mr takes her to and from nursery before going about his daily business. It also means that I only get about one-two hours with her between sleeps, Monday-Friday. It’s shit. Really shit. I feel like one of those parents you always hear about – the ones that are never actually there for their kids because they’re too busy working. Again, it’s shit. (Let me stress that, before you all judge me).

But, by the same token, when I wasn’t working, I felt like a lazy-layabout teen mum that you always hear about too. Even though I was just on summer break from uni, that’s still how I felt. And I also like the fact that I’m working. I can save money for my family’s future and also treat us all now and again.

It’s been getting to me a bit. A lot. I really don’t know what the right thing to do is anymore. I’m worried that my bond with my daughter will be ruined. I’m also worried that I won’t be a bad mum if I don’t do anything with my days. But what I worry about more is that I may be putting all this stress on myself and my family for the sake of appearances.