A Confession from Ups & Downs Mum

Until this last week, I have not written a blog for over 2 years. That was not because of the Covid pandemic or the fact that Joshua was at home with me, keeping me busy. It was because I suffer with depression and for the last 2 years, I have been feeling low. This depression is debilitating and it steals from me; it takes away the things that I usually like to do and that make me happy. When I am low I cannot write for several reasons : I do not feel able to even open up my laptop, so it lies unused, gathering dust. But even if I did manage to open my laptop, I do not feel as though I have anything of interest or value to say and the words somehow seem harder to find. That same feeling prevents me from contacting many friends, whereas I usually enjoy writing letters. In fact, depression steals every ounce of my creativity and spare energy, so I stop baking too.

I have suffered this way for many years and for me, I wait it out and eventually, I come back to life. In the meantime, I focus on the only things that I can do : I devote all of my energy to taking care of Joshua and doing the best that I can for him and I never think too far ahead, just concentrate on each day in hand. But living this way is exhausting and so I need more sleep, but it is disturbed , poor quality sleep. I wake with a heaviness and an anxiety about the day ahead; about what I will need to do and what demands will be made of me. I dread opening the mail as it inevitably means more jobs added to my growing ‘to do ‘list that overwhelms me. In reality, lockdown helped me in some ways, as I was not under any pressure to see people or do things, when I did not have the inclination to do either. Our home is my safe place and I struggle to leave it when I am feeling low.

Joshua does not allow me to hide away in bed all day as he needs me to function and to take responsibility for his decisions, so in that way he is a tonic. But even simple everyday choices such as what he should eat or wear, are difficult to make as I am indecisive when I am down. I am not even sure if Joshua recognises when the sparkle in my eyes is extinguished, as he tends to be self-absorbed. I used to worry that it impacted on his mood too, but now I doubt that he realises there is a cyclical change in me.

But then suddenly small signs of recovery appear : I begin to wake earlier in the morning and want to get up to crack on with the day. I can tackle tidying, so that piles of paperwork that have accrued, can at last be filed away without making me feel too anxious. The postbox holds no demons and I can resolve issues that have been outstanding for a long time .I talk more quickly as my brain is full of ideas and future plans. I want to create again, both in the form of baking and in writing. I want to reach out to all of the people that I have neglected for the previous months and I feel the need to apologise for my selfish behaviour. I find that depression is a selfish, all -consuming state to be in as it leaves no energy for checking in with other people, so that adds to the guilt and confirms the perception that I am a bad friend. But I am lucky that my close friends know me well now and understand that this cycle happens, that I will disappear for a while and then come back into their lives. They patiently wait for that recovery and share my delight when I return back to good mental health. Many readers of this blog have been generous in their feedback too, making me feel valued and that my blogs have been missed, and I am very grateful for that. Now you will understand that the ‘ups and downs’ do not just relate to life with Joshua, but to my own battles too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s