How Depression Brought Me Back to Life
I vividly remember the moment I realized I had been living in a fog for far too long. It was the middle of the night, I was feeding the baby and her brother was also up, demanding attention and love—and I felt something inside me break. I couldn’t handle it anymore. I was tired. I was so, so tired. Tired of the crying, tired of the complaining, tired of not having any help, tired of all of the demands on me. I just didn’t want to do it anymore.
I finished feeding the baby, all the while rubbing my toddler’s back. I put them both back to bed and crawled into my own bed. I looked at my sleeping husband and felt nothing. I didn’t feel rage, frustration, anger, or resentment. There he lay peacefully sleeping and completely unaware of what I was going through. That’s how disconnected we’d become. That’s how far apart we’d fallen. Although, to be truthful, we never “fell” together that well. Yes, we were married with two kids, but the person he was married to wasn’t the real me. It was the version I had molded to fit the expectations he had. It was the version I had created that didn’t rock the boat. The wife he wanted, not the real me. I was fine to keep up with the charade for years—I mean, after all, we had good jobs, a nice home, two beautiful healthy kids…why on earth would I jeopardize all of that?
The next morning, I went through all the motions as I usually did, half aware. The phone rang; it was my best childhood friend checking on me. She and I have always had a strong connection, and we just know when the other is hurting. We had the idle chit-chat. I answered all the questions, even made a few jokes. She didn’t buy it. We hung up, promising to get together soon, knowing full well that I was lying about everything. A few moments later, my mom called to check on me—no doubt my friend had called her. She convinced me to bring the kids and stay with them for a couple of weeks to rest up.
After a few weeks at my parents’, I was able to think more clearly. I was getting more sleep, was eating better, and had started exercising. But I was still so broken inside. The doctor prescribed anti-depressants after meeting with me for close to an hour and told me that everything would be OK. He was wrong, but also right.
Going back home to my husband was difficult. I was back to no support system, little sleep, and emptiness. I felt nothing. As broken as I was, I knew that I couldn’t continue pretending to be someone I wasn’t. I stopped playing the perfect wife, perfect mother, perfect daughter, perfect friend, perfect co-worker, perfect human. I started to embrace my flaws and didn’t run away from conflict; instead, I faced it head on in a kind and respectful manner. I stopped being everything to everyone and instead started to turn inward and focus on taking care of me. Because what they say is true—you can’t pour out of an empty cup. I started paying attention to my needs, speaking up when I didn’t agree with something and standing my ground.
In taking better care of myself and being true to myself, I became a better mother. I became an honest mother who admitted to not having a perfect life. I admitted that I was suffering from postpartum depression without hesitation, without feeling embarrassed. I refused to be shamed for the hormonal imbalance that had rocked me to my core. Instead, I embraced it. I decided to see it as a blessed assignment. Of course, it was difficult and painful for everyone involved, but it was needed. Life only deals us what we can handle, and this is what was required for me to find myself.
My marriage didn’t survive the transformation I went through in finding my true, authentic self. But looking back, I don’t think our marriage was ever meant to survive a lifetime. I truly believe that we were meant to come together to bring two incredible humans into this world. These two souls chose us as parents to walk through this earthly plane. And although we are no longer married, we will always be bound together by our children. I choose to see the beauty in that.