Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Ghost Mother

Sometimes I feel like a ghost. 

I have been struggling with my depression again and as always it threatens to asphyxiate me and drown out all the good that lives in me. 

But no one ever tells you that when you are a mother and you have depression, you do not get to suffer alone.  The thing you love, the thing that keeps you from being lost completely in the abyss suffers too.

Having a mother with depression is like being forced to be psychic.  You never know what is going to make her angry.  You never know who is going to greet you when you come home.  You never know if there is going to be someone to take care of you or if you are going to have to figure it out yourself again.  This was MY experience.  My mother was depressed.

And against everything I swore I would never be as a parent, this is slowly becoming my daughter's experience as well.

I feel like I am depriving her.  Her mother doesn't want to play.  She doesn't want to go anywhere.  She can't muster the energy many days to leave the house.  And when she does, the rest of the day is shot, because she only has so much patience and will to burn.  She loses her cool when the kid is just being a kid. 

And the more I feel guilty about being sick, the more I want to withdraw - to not subject her to me.  And this makes me more guilty and feeds into this twisted circle that is quickly becoming something of a spiral or a whirlpool dragging me down to God knows where.

The meds have not been helping so I keep going back begging for some kind of help.  "We'll find something that works for you," the doctor said to me today.  But it's hard to watch what I am doing to my kid while the battle wears on. 

And then there's the fear.  The fear and worry that I am scarring her for life.  That I am unable to teach her some essential survival skills that will keep her from succumbing to the same pitfalls and setbacks the threw me into the pit and left me there for dead.  I don't want her to have to ever feel this way.  But if history is any indication, my fears will be realized no matter how hard I work to prevent them.

It is hard to hold out hope for a turnaround.  It is hard when most of the medications and therapies have just led to brief remissions and when substantial lifestyle changes have been sidetracked by this unbearable lethargy.  But I have no choice.  I have my little girl to look after.  She keeps me from being able to give up.  I HAVE to get out of bed.  I HAVE to face the day.  I HAVE to make dinner even when it hurts and is overwhelming just to stand at the stove and stir a pot.  Even when I suck to be around.  She still needs me.

I just hope she will forgive me for all the lost time.


  1. It's like you're inside my head. I share the same fears. They consume me and I don't know how to stop it or control it. I'm on a constant roller coaster. Thanks for your honesting and having the courage to write about it.

  2. Ugh. Unfortunately (:-/...?) I can relate... Okay, not with the gotta be on meds depression thing, but even I have the days where I didn't float outta bed kissing mykids goodmorning on their smiley little faces, while I then skipped to the kitchen to make mivkey mouse shaped wholegrain pancakes topped with fresh picked strawberries from my little garden. (Who has a garden these days, anyhow??) Sometimes I had a bad night sleeping, or after the kids (finally!) went to sleep my husband and I were peeved at one another and didn't see eye to eye and it didn't get fixed and im left to stew about it all day... >:( or whatever! My son almost alllwaays wakes up in a stink of a mood and my daughter will question me about eeeeevvvrrrryyything. "whyyy? What are we doing? He wouldn't listen to me so I hit him! How coooome?! You don't love me. Its cuz i'm stupid!" ...sigh... 8-l I used to pummel myself over tons of little stuff I did that ' wasnt the right way'. Or whatever. Then I started to focus on MY good qualities and what ME, MRS B. was good at. I'm an excellent tickler! I gave my kids their sense of humor. I commend them ob their good behavior, the same horse picture shes ben starting for 2 years. And so on. I know if anything our anyone messes with my kids theyre dead, and im not really sure if i'm exaggerating... And I know if my kids bring up moments in their childhood they wished was different I will hug them and say I did the best I could, cuz I did, and I love them immensely.

    Your daughter will one day know that you tried, too. Youve been seeking the neccessary help to make you feel better, more like yourself. And that takes A LOT of energy and mental power also. Cuz youre not happy and you aren't settling. THAT is an accomplishment, and I know we are the hardest on ourselves. And we often don't give ourselves any slack. Which is good, to a point. Life is rough, and motherhood sucks most of the time! But hang in there. Youre not condemned, and you qill EVENTUALLY get the right stuff. :) I'm just sorry it's taking so long.

  3. Are you in my head? Seriously. I, fortunatly am currently on an upswing with my depression. BUT, the words you used perfectly describe what it feels like. The guilt, oh the guilt! I say all of the time that my anthem has been, "I just don't want to screw my kids up too much."

    BartmessBunch hit the nail on the head with, "And I know if my kids bring up moments in their childhood they wished was different I will hug them and say I did the best I could, cuz I did, and I love them immensely. " We are all just trying to do the best we can.

    Hang on...it'll get better. Just keep swimming.

  4. Part of the reason I blog is because it is such a magnificent relief to know that people read this and then we all get to know we're not the only ones.

  5. I'm on that downhill rollercoaster with you right now. I laid on the floor for 20 minutes while my boy climbed on my head trying to figure out how I could get away leaving an never coming back...like if I won a million dollars and hired the perfect Mom for my kids then I could drive to the edge of the world, crawl into a hole, and go to sleep. The end. My kids deserve an awesome mom. I am not her. Today, I am rotating between screaming, counting the seconds until bedtime, and staring off into space wondering if this is really how life is supposed to be. I mean really. This is IT? Fucking kill me now. Want to come over and have some whiskeyImeancoffee with me? *sigh*
    Good luck, sweetie.

  6. ps. i am not anonymous, but you know how this stupid blogspot bullcrap has been screwing up comments lately. ;)

  7. Oh, haha, one other thing. I'm not sure this means anything, but you said you hope she forgives you for all the lost time, and I was laughing to myself because, well, there is a childhood that belongs to me, but I dont know where to find her! I came from a broken home, mom was nutso, dad was detatched from myself and my three other siblings. Both worked full time, all the time, plus we were always moving anyway u get the picture. And my mind, somewhere aling the way looked at 90% of thosr memories/times and pushed the DELETE button. But the POINR is, lol, that I still turned out to be a successful, responsible, compassionate citizen (here my bell ringing?lol). I can hardly remember sqaut about those days, and im someday happy about iy. And guess what the craziest party is?? I have a great relationship with my divorced/remarried parents. And I think we all understand those days were messed up, but evrything passed, and whatever. Jeeze, I hope u get what i'm trying to say which is,i guess, this, too, shall pass. And its only a matter of tome before u get your footing again.

  8. Sorry for the typos...im on my phone

  9. I am just crying. I can't say anything more. I walk in your world. I feel your pain, Selena.

    And I did the Blog on Fire Award thing tonight.

    Thanks so much for putting yourself out to the world so openly and honestly.

  10. Thanks for putting into words what so many of us feel. :)

  11. I could have written this myself. I want my kids childhood to be different than mine, but I can not stay out of bed. I am trying cognitive therapy and its helping. It has a very high success rate. I checked out books from my library out of desperation.

  12. I'm so proud of you for blogging about this. So many moms feel ashamed and feel the need to always be "on". The fact that you care enough to get out of bed every morning, that you care enough to worry about her, that you care enough to SHARE means something. I'm going to msg you on the fb. I HEART YOU!!!

  13. I think it's great that you are talking about depression. I can definitely relate as can many other readers. I wish I had magic words that would part the clouds for you, but in my bouts with depression I've learned to let it ebb and flow its course. That said, writing and connecting with others always helps move things along. I hope this one moves on its way quickly. Try to be kind to yourself in the meantime. Thanks for sharing!

  14. This is one of my greatest fears about motherhood. You are not alone.

  15. Don't feel bad. There are a lot of us out here who feel the same way. I have struggled with depression since I hit puberty. I am medicated but still have ups and downs. Some days I just want to sleep and others I am ok. I don't like to leave the house much either. I have 2 children 6 & 9. The youngest is a very energetic kid. I have days where I just want to crawl in a hole. I also have fleeting thoughts of packing a bag and driving away forever. But I know in my heart I could not do that. It does get easier when they are in school full time. So there is a light at the end of the tunnel, in a way. Looking back, I probably never should have had children. I worry that they will suffer from depression and bi polar disorder like me. But there is no way back, just forward. We can only do the best we can and get through it. My only other advice, enjoy the one you have and don't have anymore. I wish I had only had the 1. Don't believe people when they say "oh, having 2 is no more work than 1" It's a lie. Good luck and keep fighting the good fight! You are strong and your little girl loves you. To her you are the perfect mother, hers. And in the end that is all that matters.

  16. SELENA
    i'm so sorry this is still with you!i wish Uncle Tom wasen't so sick ,so i could help you,if u need to talk i'm here for you,when Aunt Kitty passed i was out of it for 4 yrs even now there are days i just lay on the couch and have no enery or want to do anything,it will be 5 yrs next month and i still get depressed over it!i went and saw someone for it,and it did help me,,of course i take the meds too.if i didn't have them i would not be able to cope,so please hang in there,Lila will be fine,cause u r a good mom.and you are not your mother,u r in my prayers,love you Aunt Mary.


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