Sometimes life sucks. Postpartum, seasonal, manic, chronic, bipolar, or premenstrual depression sucks. Throw in some anxiety and its like a party, in hell. But that’s ok, I get it, and so do many others.
Post partum and chronic depression are my personal brand of hell. Most of the time it isn’t too bad, I can handle it. Slap an almost happy face on and do my best. The past few months have been different. The anxiety of the deadly pandemic we can’t seem to get rid of here in the USA, postpartum, being trapped with 9 people in my not so big home, exhaustion, and feeling like I am stuck in a time loop everyday has taken its toll on me. It turns out, depression sucks.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my family. I would literally die for these kids. I love that I am able to homeschool them. My husband is able to work from home and I am so very thankful. Having him home with us everyday is amazing. Hell, I haven’t done laundry in over a year since he is home. I am so glad we have this house to keep us safe, warm in the winter, and cool us down in the summer. We have a playground for the kids and a nice fenced in yard. Things could be way worse.
The only thing is, just because it can be worse, doesn’t make it any better. But you start thinking like that and then you feel worse. If things aren’t that bad then why do I feel like this? I guess I’m just a crappy human. I guess I just can’t do this human thing. Those are the lies depression and anxiety tell you.
Going necessities only
I have 7 kids that I homeschool. My husband is lucky enough to work from home. I am so very blessed that he is home with us. However, that means there are 9 people in my home that never leave. Spring soccer ended, my damn dogs dug up every bit of my garden and destroyed all my plants in the greenhouse. The puppy chewed through all the windows on the greenhouse, Sheba, our St. Bernard/ Australian Shepard mix has dug up all the flowers around the garage. There are holes all around my fence where the puppy (Temmy) has dug his way out, over and over again. I am done.
I went on my own lock down, I did only what I had to do. We had enough clean dishes for dinner, and we were able to eat. Brent does all the laundry so that wasn’t an issue. I keep the living room clean where the babies will be. The rest is a mess. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I stopped sleeping, I hardly ate, I took care of the kids and watched youTube. And that’s ok. It sucks now because I am playing catch up, but I could no longer do it all. Hell, I don’t think I ever actually did it all, I just did some everyday and it looked like I did it all.
Let me tell you, when you have 7 kids it doesn’t take anytime at all for things to go to crap. Large family life is amazing, until mom is checked out and the mess piles up.
Getting help for depression sucks
After not sleeping for weeks on end, and realizing that I am falling apart, I knew I needed to call the doctor. Admitting that I need help is not easy for me. Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% an advocate for getting help when you need it. I will preach over and over again that people need therapy and that there is nothing wrong with going on meds. But I didn’t want to go.
The thing is I was already on meds. I was on meds and doing great. There were no issues for months. Then it hit me. There were no signs that it was coming, well not to me at least, it just hit and hit hard. Now I was not suicidal, I wasn’t hurting myself or thinking about it. Depression isn’t always wanting to die, sometimes it is just a foggy daze of unproductiveness and not being able to force yourself to get up. People seem to confuse that. They also act like talking about your mental health issues is a bad thing. It is only a bad thing if you don’t talk about it and don’t get help.
So I went to the doctor and they upped my meds. We talked about what all was going on and decided that was best. I am on two different medications so we upped one of them. It seems to be helping. I talked to the kids and told them what was going on. I refuse to hide this from my kids, they need to know it is ok to need help and that I am a safe person to talk to.
Time to catch up
During this time of inactivity I let things go. It is to be expected and it’s ok. I am not happy about it, but it is what it is. Some things can’t be helped. When you are juggling a lot of balls sometimes you have to let a few drop to keep the others going. Keeping the kids going was the most important, so now I have to try to get the other balls back in the air. It is not easy, 9 people is a lot and that means a lot of mess.
As if suffering through debilitating depression wasn’t enough, now that you feel better you have take care of all the things that had to be neglected during your low. This is a part of life with depression and well sometimes life sucks. As I started to feel better I started to look up resources on how to get out of this mess. I found a lot of motivation on TikTok, of all places. There is one woman that goes by “domesticblisters” that has been a huge help. She talks a lot about struggle care and doing care tasks. She actually has a “series” on cleaning your depression house. It is amazing and I highly recommend checking her out.
Making changes for future me
Watching “domesticblisters” on tiktok has helped me so much that I looked more into her. Her name is K. C. Davis and she wrote a book. I, of course, bought it and read it. It was good, it has some really great, helpful tips in there. It is called How to Keep House While Drowning: 31 days of compassionate help. I really recommend getting it and reading it. If you have kindle unlimited you can read it for free.
I also found a book called Unf*ck Your Habitat: You’re Better Than Your Mess. I think this one is my favorite, though there are curse words in it so if you are sensitive to that this may not be the book for you. It really digs deep into how depression and cleaning work, or in this case do not work, together. It has helped me understand what is going on and why I always think I am such a crappy house keeper. I mean, I am, but a lot of it has to do with my depression and anxiety.
I am now trying to implement processes that are easy to carry on if and when I get bad again. Things that will be easy for my husband or even the big kids to pick up and help out with. I think one of my biggest helps will be a cleaning schedule. If I can have a good system on when and how I clean certain things and areas then it should be fairly easy for the other family members to pick it up. As much as I hate to have the kids pick up my slack, they do have chores to do and adding one or two more on it will not kill them. This time going through this has really helped Cameron realize what all I do everyday. Once you stop doing it they really notice. As much as depression sucks, it has helped Cam appreciate me more.
Help for future you
Going through depression sucks. And going through a particularly rough depressive episode sucks even worse.
- Don’t wait to get to the doctor. I waited and it only made it worse. Once you realize things are getting rough do your self a kindness and call the doctor.
- Know that it’s ok to drop a ball or two. So you don’t clean out your fridge or weed the garden. You get behind on laundry and can only keep the family in enough clean clothes for today, it’s ok. You can’t always keep up.
- Ask your kids or spouse for help. If your kids are older than 5ish they can help out. Hell, my 2 year old triplets pick up their toys and the trash from the living room. It doesn’t have to all fall on you.
- Don’t try to hide it from your family. They need to know what’s going on and your kids need to know that this is ok to talk about.
- When you are doing well try to implement cleaning schedules that make things easier. There are so many on Pintrest and you can always make your own that works best for your family.
- Do research. I found that the book Unf*ck Your Habitat: You’re Better Than Your Mess really helped. There are many many more books and websites out there to help. https://www.strugglecare.com/ is a great help as well.
- Cut yourself some slack. Depression is very normal and there is nothing wrong with it. Some people need medication for the blood pressure, I need it for serotonin. No different.
- Know that you are worth it and that even in your worse mess you are loved. You are worthy, I promise, no matter what your depression tells you.