Saturday, August 6, 2011

Being a Mother with Depression

For the past few months, I have been seeking the help of a counselor and have recently been diagnosed with depression. I started my counseling sessions shortly after the loss of our baby and have been going twice a month since then. When I first started going, I thought that this would be a short term thing, that I would get some help going through the greiving process and then be done and ready to move on. My counselor did help me greive, but she has done so much more beyond that. She has finally given a name to what I've been feeling for years, she has diagnosed me with depression.

I find this diagnosis to be good and bad. It's good to finally have a reason for feeling the way that I've felt and hope that now I may be able to feel better. On the other hand, now I feel that I have some sort of label across my forehead and that in a way I am broken. I suppose that goes back to me judging myself harder than I judge others because I would never think twice about it if someone confided in me that they were being treated with depression or any other mood disorder for that matter. I would never feel that they were broken or less than, but that's the way that I feel about myself.

How does this affect me as a mother? I can see both the positive and negative effects on my ability to be a mother to my children. I feel that in some ways, I can be a much better mother to my kids. Being able to know when you need help shows strength and when they are older, I feel that I will be able to share this experience with my kids to show them that admitting you have a problem doesn't make you weak and hopefully if they do find themselves with some of the same symptoms I exhibit, they won't wait 10 years to seek help. Also, I hope that if counseling helps me find different ways of thinking and dealing with my emotions, I will be able to find the best way to ensure that my kids never have to deal with some of the things that I deal with and if they do, I will be able to understand it because the worst part for me has been the feeling of being alone and not having anyone else understand what I am going through.

On the other hand, I feel like in some ways this makes me a bad mother. I want so badly to be that happy-go-lucky mom that is always coming up with new, fun and exciting things to do with their kids, but even when I can come up with these fun ideas, I can never find the energy to do them. I want to be the mom that runs and plays outside with her kids, not the one hiding in her bedroom because she can't seem to stop crying. I don't want to be so irritable that just a simple question can set me off to the point where I'm yelling at my kids. I have a constant feeling of guilt because I want to do better for my kids, which only send me into more of a downward spiral. I want so badly to be the mom that I know I can be, but I feel like I'm carrying a backpack full of bricks trying to walk uphill.

During our last two sessions, my counselor and I have discussed going the medication route. I had thought about it in the past, but didn't know enough about it and didn't like the thought of needing to be medicated. After talking to her the first time about it and letting her explain it further, I gave it a lot more thought during the two week period between sessions and decided that I did want to at least try it. I brought this up during our last session and she asked me a lot of questions to try to get a feel for my symptoms to pass on to the doctor who would be officially diagnosing me and helping me choose a medication. I am now waiting to hear from the doctor about my first appointment and I do still have a lot of reservations, but at this point, I'm willing to try anything that might help. In the past I've self medicated with lots of different things and this time I want to go a healthier route. I'm tired of feeling this way and I'll do anything to be a better mom for my kids.

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