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Living with Depression and Anxiety
Since being diagnosed with depression and anxiety as a child, I have endured many years of heartache.
I can remember so many occasions where I have cried myself to sleep and assumed that I was the only person that felt this way. That I was completely alone in this world.
There are still many days where I believe I am unwanted or unloved, and it has taken me a long time to see that my depression and anxiety is the culprit.
Many people who do NOT have depression or anxiety believe that you can just change your mood and choose if you are anxious and depressed or completely over the moon happy.
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For me, this has never been true. I have my good days and my bad days, and then my REALLY bad days. There is often no rhyme or reason.
How to Parent While Depressed and/or Anxious
Parenting is hard enough without adding all of the extra baggage that comes along when you struggle emotionally. I wish everyone could see inside my head at how I am thinking constantly. Then maybe you could see why I act the way I do.
- I am afraid to let other people babysit my children because I fear they will not watch them like a hawk as I do. Also, I worry that their house is not clean and they may have something that my 1-year-old could swallow or choke on. I fear that my 5-year-old will run off from them and get lost.
- I am afraid to try new things or even to go to parties I am invited to because I am afraid of not fitting in or being good enough.
- Being too happy is also scary because in the back of my mind I am always worried something bad will happen.
There are so many facts people don’t know about suffering from depression and anxiety while trying to parent.
Anxiety Causes Irrational Thoughts and Worries
Having irrational thoughts and worries is very common for people with anxiety. It can be very mild, severe, or even in between.
This is a big problem for me personally. Unfortunately, I have irrational thoughts and worries on a daily basis.
Sometimes it is something simple such as getting worried about touching the doorknob because it has germs and it can make me sick. Other times it has escalated to rewashing dishes that have fallen into an empty sink due to the fear that the sink is not clean.
There is no 5-second rule in my mind. If a fork falls into the sink my mind automatically classifies it as dirty. Just like if I touch the dirty laundry I have to run and wash my hands because they are filthy.
My extreme anxious thoughts have gotten so bad that I have worried about eating food that other people have prepared because I don’t know if the washed their hands or cooked meats to the proper temperature. It was even worse during my last pregnancy. I worried that I would eat food that was not properly prepared and would have a miscarriage.
Although I do know that these thoughts are irrational even at the time I am thinking them, I feel like I have no control over them at that moment. It’s as if it is a life or death situation.
Depression & Anxiety Messes with Emotions
Having anxiety messes with your self-esteem BIG TIME. Oftentimes you feel inadequate and like a failure or a burden.
Even though I know I am a good mother and that my family loves me, I have a horribly low self-esteem and am constantly trying to better myself. I often have no confidence and believe that I am unworthy of love.
This is one part of my anxiety that I believe is developed when you are growing up. I can remember my mother putting herself down and making suicidal threats in front of us all of the time.
I truly believe it has affected the way I view myself.
That is one reason I try not to let my children see me upset or crying. Although it is sometimes unavoidable.
My daily struggle is to put on a happy face for my kids and try to remind myself that I am a good wife and mother. I am definitely not perfect by any means but I do need to and wish I could love myself more. I want my children to love themselves as much as I love them so I have to try to love myself first.
Depression & Anxiety is NOT just Emotional
Anxiety and depression also affects people physically.
For example, I frequently have migraines and tension headaches caused by my depression and anxiety.
Depression and Anxiety can cause other symptoms such as:
- Muscle Aches and Pain
- Racing Thoughts
- Nervous Energy (such as how I am bouncing my knee as I type this)
When to Talk to Your Doctor?
I am not a physician or any kind of health care professional. If you or someone you know is having any of the feelings or symptoms above I would urge you to speak with your doctor. They can evaluate your concerns to give you the best possible advice.
If you or someone you know is having any of the feelings or symptoms above I would urge you to speak with your doctor. They can evaluate your concerns to give you the best possible advice.
Do Your Best
After seeing my doctor, I was prescribed an antidepressant to help me establish a balance. And with the medication, I am able to enjoy life without constant negative feelings.
I enjoy my children and don’t feel like a bad mother anymore. Now when my children want to play with me I am able to run around with them and create memories. I love my kids and I want them to have a mother who can be happy and healthy all of the time.
Although I know my depression and anxiety will never be cured I will keep doing my best to make myself and my family happy.
If you or someone you know is having trouble please share this post. You are not alone.