I love my birthday. Like, I love it so much. Call me selfish, but I really like celebrating myself.
I always have some sort of get-together or party, and yes, I plan these parties myself. Nothing too crazy, maybe an oyster roast, or a night out for dinner and drinks, but I am always the one making the Facebook invite and texting all the people that I want to come.
But also, my birthday is in February, which is a perfect time to celebrate! Everyone has gotten over all the Christmas craziness and finally cured their holiday hangovers. So every year, I look forward to the date of my birth and getting together for a shindig of some sort!
This year, however, has been a little different.
It’s been a bit harder to look forward to my birthday and to find the joy in celebrating myself. And it’s also a lot harder for me to find motivation these days to do anything, much less plan a birthday party for myself.
You see, I’m one of those “lucky” people who suffer from the debilitating mental illness called depression. And like a lot of mamas these days, I have been on a downward spiral for months, finding myself deeper and deeper in that dark depressive hole that you only know about if you’ve been there suffering too.
I’ve been circling the drain for months, almost drowning, and barely keeping my head above water. Covid has taken its heavy toll on my mental and emotional health like no other thing has ever impacted me. I’ve had more appointments with my psychiatrist in the past year than any year before. Together we have changed medications multiple times in hopes that we are going to find the magical sweet spot with antidepressants to alleviate my constant anguish.
NOTHING has worked.
And so not only has my motivation been lacking, but I am in a terrible place right now and definitely do not feel worth celebrating. I cry all the time. Over absolutely nothing. And lately, I’ve even found myself unable to cry at times when I feel I need to- I feel I am becoming numb to my own feelings of sadness. I sleep all the time, mostly to escape my feelings. I get very easily frustrated with everything in my life…my husband, my kids, Covid restrictions, virtual school, just to name a few.
And then, I yell. I yell at everyone and everything. I curse aloud to vent my anger and unfortunately, my kids have heard their mama utter some really nasty words. And worst of all, I know I make my kids feel awful when I yell at them.
I can see it in their tiny faces- their hearts are deeply hurt by my anger and loud outbursts. I have not been a good mama to them lately. I have not been a good wife to my husband, who wants so badly to fix it for me, but feels helpless because he just can’t. I have lost friends because of my constant sadness and lack of motivation to do anything with them. In fact, I don’t know if anyone would even come to my birthday party, because I’ve seemingly destroyed most of my relationships.
Doing everything I can
The feeling of hopelessness and life never getting better is at the forefront of my mind. Always. I am constantly thinking how am I going to dig myself out of this dark hole and just get BETTER. I am doing everything I can to help myself and maybe not find a cure, but at least get my depression under control and better managed. Though it has not helped me in the past (I’ve been dealing with depression for 16 years), I am seeing a counselor again and hoping to find some peace with myself by doing so.
My psychiatrist has once again changed my medication. I am constantly researching online trying to find ways to feel better. I am reading more self-help books and just trying to work on myself. And my psychiatrist has also referred me for a new medication therapy called Spravato that I am desperately praying to God about, asking him to please, please, PLEASE let it make a difference in my life, like it has for so many others suffering from depression.
And so, I’m not having a birthday party this year. I just can’t bring myself to plan it, only to then not enjoy it at all, because I don’t really enjoy anything these days. I’m hoping to give myself a little bit more time with my counselor, my new medications, this new Spravato therapy, and maybe start seeing a little light in my dark hole that will bring me back to the land of the living.
Part of what keeps me going right now is the fact that I know I am not alone. So many mamas are struggling right now, and I write this today for those mamas to read, and to know that they aren’t alone either. This world is so dang hard right now. But we have each other. We should find comfort in each other and in the fact that there is no such thing as “depressed alone.” Just keep on going, Mama. Keep on keeping on.
We can get through this.
We WILL get through this.
*If you are struggling or not feeling like your typical self, please reach out to your doctor. Take care of yourself by sharing your feelings with those around you or by getting professional help.