Depression Preparation Plans

Being a Mom is tough, wonderful, but tough. Being a mom who sometimes becomes overwhelmed with depression and anxiety is exceptionally tough. Most moms that I know personally struggle with thoughts of “how bad am I screwing up my kids?” These are common questions that the most loving and caring mothers think, usually on daily basis. The funny thing is that we know we are amazing moms. Throw depression into the mix and pack your bags because we are going on a guilt trip.

Back in October I was thrown into a pretty intense state of depression. It was a combination of a smoking cessation medication, time of year, and an extended family issue.

A few weeks prior to this I has been feeling great when my youngest daughter brought home a permission slip for a field trip. Not only did I sign it but I also volunteered to chaperone. When I had to go back on my promise and tell her that I couldn’t do it, the look in her eyes broke my heart. To a point she understood, I’m open with them about my illness, but it still hurt her.

Knowing I hurt her just compounded the feelings of guilt in me, which added to the feelings of worthlessness and the fact that I was a terrible mother. How much better off would they be with a Mom who could be there for them all the time, instead of a mom who can’t always be counted on because of an invisible illness? Depression just loves to rub it in, “Look at you fail.”

I’ve beat depression before, and something that little fucker can’t touch–my plans that I put into place when I’m at my best, for when I’m at my worst. My girls are a huge part of those plans. Last year I showed them how to get themselves ready after school without my help while I supervised. Together the three of us chose a “safe spot” just off the school property. This spot has a bench by a little marshy pond and it’s quiet. It’s about 3 feet away from the school’s soccer field. I can see the school from the bench. It’s my spot for when I’m down and can’t deal with the masses of screeching kids and parents when it’s time to get the kids from school.

We had to use the safe spot in October and the girls were superstars. When I dropped them off they were aware that they were to get themselves organized after school and I would be waiting for them at our spot. I got there early after spending all day in bed. I heard them before I saw them, running towards the fence. They were laughing! I was filled with such pride at that moment.

The spot was used for three days before the girls’ dad had to take time off work to stay home. It got pretty close to me going inpatient. But, I fought my way out. I know it’s hard on my children when they see me at my worst, I wish it didn’t have to be that way, but they’re happy kids. They’re also kids that know how to execute a plan when need be. We have other plans that we may one day have to put into place. We practice these kinds of plans like other families practice fire drills. We do those too though. You can never be too prepared.

 

11 comments

  1. This post really moved me, Nicole. Especially this part:

    “Together the three of us chose a “safe spot” outside of school property. This spot has a bench by a little marshy pond and it’s quiet. It’s about 3 feet away from the school’s soccer field. I can see the school from the bench. It’s my spot for when I’m down and can’t deal with the masses of screeching kids and parents when it’s time to get the kids from school. We had to use the safe spot in October, and the girls were superstars. When I dropped them off they were aware that they were to get themselves organized after school and I would be waiting for them at our spot. I got there early after spending all day in bed. I heard them before I saw them, running towards the fence.”

    I do a similar thing in terms of choosing a “safe spot” for my two girls to meet me after school, even though I’m not in depression right now.

    Despite being depression-free, which (believe me, and I know you will!) I’m grateful for, I have other mental demons I despise. suffer with PTSD from 7 hospitalizations for bipolar (most recently 3 separate ones in the summer of 2013!) and social anxiety, topped off by something hideous called derealization/depersonalization disorder, which I suspect was caused by the med Geodon.

    I use the carpool lane at the elementary school where I don’t have to schmooze with parents at the main entrance. I don’t go and wait for my girls at their class entrances like other “together” parents do, such as a former friend (you’ll read more about her below). Before bipolar struck me @ 37, I was known for being a wonderful people person & I was even hired for jobs based on that quality, ironically enough. I take three bipolar meds known for sedation, but I think one or two of them might contribute to my social anxiety.

    Recently I ended a relatively brief (one year-long) mommy friendship, in part, on the fact that she didn’t have a clue about what I’ve been through that would explain my not wanting to do the carpool lane thing. The final nail in the coffin of our friendship was when she made a sarcastic remark about my not appearing in the school hallways. I could have educated her on why that hurt me, but I wimped out…I just couldn’t do it.

    So in about 90 minutes I’ll be sitting in my old Suburu in the carpool lane (I get there early and I’m usually the second or third car) and I watch the other parents who linger at the entrance with some envy. I’ve been able to be among them before, but I’m not there yet. Maybe when it’s a warmer, more hopeful-feeling time like the Spring?

    Thanks again for a special & wise post – you’re right – we can never be too prepared.
    Dyane

    p.s. you’re girls are absolutely beautiful!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank Goodness for The Carpool Lane. I use it every morning! We’ll get there! ❤ xo As for you "friend", don't consider it a wimp-out, consider it a conversation not worthy of your time at that moment. Thank you for taking the time to read the post. Wishing you all the best.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The courage and tenacity it takes to live with this and put it out there for everybody to see is bloody impressive. The amount of people that are going to be helped with this is infinite. Imagine the difference this is going to make in another 4 years? Bravo!!!!!! Carol

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I admire the many ways you have plans you put in place to help yourself, your family, and your beautiful daughters through so many unpredictables living with mental illness. Your resilience, openness and willingness to share the ups and downs is helping so many. Thank you, Nicole.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nicole, you continue to amaze me in how you manage and carry on with this illness. This piece is really important, because I’ve known many who made no contingency plans, but just hoped that whatever their sort of episode might be wouldn’t come again. Thank you. reblogging

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Bob. I used to be exactly like that until I realized during moments when I was well just how bad everyone suffered when I was unwell. Part of becoming proactive was taking charge when I could for the times when I
      couldn’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s blog posts like this that give me hope that one day I’ll be able to have kids of my own. I love how honest you are in this post. It goes to show so many mothers out there who battle depression and anxiety that they too can be kind, caring parents. Your love for your kids is so evident in this post Nicole. I hope one day I can be as strong and resilient a mom as you are. People like you give me hope it’s possible.

    Liked by 1 person

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