You know you're depressed when the first thought upon waking is: "How long until I get to go back to bed?"
At one point I wrote some lines of poetry trying to describe what the depression felt like. I forced myself to be as accurate and honest as possible. When I re-read it a day later, I was so terrified by what I'd written that I immediately shredded it.
I didn't want my children or husband to see what I had seen: a vast, bottomless chasm of darkness.
I think that's when hope started fading. While I ignored it, this PPD depression had secretly grown into a monster. There was no way I could fight this thing down by myself.
I had caught a glimpse of the terrible monster and before I started fighting, I felt defeated.
What really amazes me in retrospect is how I managed to still perform the daily tasks necessary to survival. I cooked, I cleaned, I did laundry.
But I don't think I could have kept up for much longer. I was already collapsing onto the couch by 10 a.m.. It was my mother who first noticed that something had gone terribly wrong.
"Honey," she said, "you've seemed so tired. Are you really that sleepy by 10 am?"
I had grown so accustomed to the heavy weight of tiredness that I simply shrugged. Isn't everyone exhausted by 10am?
Feeling sick and tired had become the norm.
The depression was so frightening that I could scarcely bear to look it in the face. Instead, I just kept slogging through, shut off from my life, from laughter, from feeling anything except a pervasive numbness.
One day something made me laugh and that was when I realized: "Hey, I haven't laughed in, like, months!"
When you're that depressed, you don't even have the energy to ask for help.
And I couldn't go to church, either. Church was for "encouraged" people who wore nice outfits and had their children sing in the choir. I was a broken, beat-up mess.
But all was not lost.
My mother saw me. And when she asked what was wrong, I finally had the courage to be honest.
"I need help."
My mother rescued me.
"Honey," she said, "I'm going to help you get better. My goal is to have you feeling better by mid-Fall."
She supported me placing the twins in full-time preschool. She babysat my kids on weekends so I could rest. She encouraged me to start sewing again.
I honestly don't know what might have happened to me if my mother had not seen me in my distress. I probably would have ended up in the hospital. It makes my heart break for everyone who suffers silently and alone. Sometimes all we need is for someone to see us.
We need someone to tell us: "You're not alone. I'm here to help."
I've been in Mommy Rehab since mid-July.
Now, I can feel the sunshine again. And I want you to know:
You are not alone. Depression is not your fault.
Everyone needs help sometimes.
Just say it.
"I need help."