Friday, August 5, 2016

Uncomfortably Numb

~A. L. Tennyson
I wish they warned me about this in Psychology class. I think there should be at least a whole semester devoted to how depression makes you unfit and unable to handle being a mother. Because that’s how I feel.
I remember watching a video a few years ago about a high school track athlete with Multiple Sclerosis. She was explaining that after intense exertion, the MS causes her to lose all the feeling in her extremities, even while her body keeps going through the motions. Besides feeling completely in awe of her perseverance in spite of her diagnosis, I thought that was such a similar description to what I feel like, parenting with depression. When it takes all the energy and motivation you have to simply get up and get out of bed in the morning, I feel like I spend the rest of my day numb - going through the motions. There is just nothing left for when the day doesn’t go as planned, or the kids are being especially cruel. And they’re kids. For the most part, they shouldn’t be to blame for expressing themselves when they’re frustrated and confused and unsure of how to show it meaningfully. But at the same time, it hurts. It hurts so much when they yell at you and tell you that they think you don’t care about them. Because - unbeknownst to them - the fear that you’re not able to care enough plays on repeat in your own head all day. When all of the daylight hours feel like you’re running a track race completely numb, using every amount of effort you have just to make sure your kids are content, and fed, and washed, and dressed. When you’re foregoing eating, and drinks, and the rest you so desperately crave, just to make sure that you are there, and present, and engaging with them so you don’t lie in bed later agonizing over all the wasted minutes and hours that slipped away when you were so lost and struggling with your own body and mind - just to have them turn around and scream at you that all your best effort isn’t worth it...
Not worth it, and not worthy. Their words repeat what your depression is telling you, every day. When the message echoes around you in stereo, its so hard to tune out the noise. But your one job as a parent is that you must not give up. Sometimes I wonder if the pain is my blessing in life, just so I know that the numbness isn’t all there is.