The baby who wasn’t 

I have three gorgeous children, aged 8, nearly 5, and 1.5. I love them more than I can fathom, and they drive me to the brink of full-on lunacy every day. I have three gorgeous children, and I have had seven pregnancies. 
My seventh occurred a few months ago. After my husband left for his most recent romp with the Navy, I realized I was pregnant. We have talked extensively about having a fourth child, and we both agreed that another baby just isn’t something we can do. With that in mind, I was at first afraid to call him and break the news. I chose to wait and process the situation for myself. 
For a few weeks I quietly prepared myself for the conversation I would have with my husband, my children, and then my family. I stayed up at night looking at options for a second vehicle, a bigger house. I started taking prenatal vitamins, and without realizing consciously, I was becoming exited. I talked with my sister about it, and my best friend, and decided that I was ready to tell my husband. 

At week 9, I miscarried. 
I have had SAB before, as well as late term, and what I have learned is this: it doesn’t matter if it’s week 2 or week 22, when you miscarry you lose a piece of your soul. The hopefulness that pregnancy can bring is ripped away from you, and all that was left was a crippling sadness, a feeling of worthlessness, and a rapid descent into an ugly depression that is all-consuming. The hint of joy inside of me is gone, and no matter what, it can never be replaced or recreated. When a living person leaves you, they take a piece of you with them. You grieve, you wonder if you could’ve done something to help. When someone dies inside of you, the guilt of having let this person-to-be expire, to deny them their right to life, it is a pain that stays fresh inside of you for as long as you live. Whether or not it was my fault is inconsequential, because no one will ever be able to convince me that it wasn’t. I’m a statistician and an historian – I am an entirely logical person. However, for me, miscarriage defies logic and understanding. Perhaps it’s not meant to be understood as a whole, because everyone’s experiences causes them to forge their own reality to cope with the unyielding pain that comes with unconscionable loss. 
My soul is ripped in seven pieces, but I am not immortal. In fact, with every tear my humanity is amplified in my own consciousness. Three pieces of my soul live on in the beautiful children I have helped create, and four live on in the annals of my heart and mind, never to be known by anyone but me. In my heart they have names, faces, and the sadness that I feel for them has shaped who I am, and who I have yet to become. 
On top of this furious flurry of emotions, I am still very much bipolar/BPD/major depressive. The demons hiding in my darkness have come out to play in full force, and at times I feel as though I need to scream to silence them. But silence doesn’t come no matter what I do. I hide, I cry, I hug my babies, I carry on as usual, I eat too much, I can’t sleep, I read the same page of the same book for days, I get dressed and force myself into normalcy. No matter what I can’t win. There’s no version of this story where I come out a better, more evolved human being. I leave this essay just as broken as when I started writing it, but feeling infinitely more exposed having vocalised what I have been trying so hard to hide. 

The Maker Makes

I have three daughters, aged 7, 4, and 10 months. As my beautiful ladies grow older and develop their own interests and personalities, I find that I’m discovering parts of myself in them. My biggest fear for them is that I will pass my poisons onto them, and not recognise that I’ve done it. 

When I was a child and even a teenager, not many people subscribed to the idea of childhood depression. Many people, my mother and father included, believed that the brain wasn’t capable of mental illness until after the age of 18, and also that “teenage angst” was a choice – not a symptom of mental stress. 

After discussing my youth in-depth with my psychiatrist and councillor, we mutually determined that I have been suffering from anxiety since childhood, major depressive disorder since my mid to late teens, and bipolar disorder stemming from around the same time. Looking back at those times in my life I can quite clearly see the signs and symptoms, which of course, seem obvious in retrospect. 

Now, as a mother in this new mental illness enlightened age, I worry for my girls- my eldest especially. Certified gifted, I was told that I may experience behavioural problems with her, and was giving a few books about “coping” with the gifted child. My amazing, hilarious, friendly, little L has trouble getting out of bed, especially if her dad is sailing. Prone to fits of rage, sometimes physically attacking me, sometimes not being able to eat. Happiness countered immediately with sadness, coupled with anger and obsession. 

It’s hard to deal with. 

I have my own emotional shitstorm to battle with every day, sometimes trying to deal with her is too much for me. I check out, lock myself in my head, and hope that the kids will engage autopilot before I crash the plane. But they deserve better. L needs my compassion, my understanding, my experience, but most days I’m just too tired to give it to her. We do battle on a daily basis. It’s hard on all of us. No matter what, I always try to validate her feelings. She is entitled to feel. Whether I agree with her or not, she gets to tell/yell her thoughts to me. I don’t know if it helps or hurts, but at this point I feel like she’s constantly on the cusp of exploding, but it seems like the yelling and stomping keeps her from diving over the edge  

I’ve read the books, the blogs, the listicles, the forums, and the truth is: I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing when it comes to my girls’ mental health. I have no clue. I barely have a grip on my own mental health, how am I supposed to be responsible for that of these precious beings? I’m terrified daily that I’m causing permanent emotional damage, or passing on my mental instabilities (or both). On the other hand, I don’t want to see symptoms in them that aren’t there. We all know what tricks the mind can play to spike our anxiety and send us spiralling. For now I’ll keep reading, keep fighting, keep cuddling, keep trying, keep failing. I owe them my best, even if some days my best is merely existing through the day. 

I need so desperately to protect them, but I can’t save them from themselves. Or, maybe I can. I wish someone had tried to save me.  

From The Archives: ELEUTHEROMANIA

*This post originally appeared on my Blogspot in July*

ELEUTHEROMANIA is an intense desire for freedom, or a break from your usual routine.

Moi sans toi.. Ça n’existe pas!
My life as a Navy wife
Every military spouse has their own unique story. We all have a lot of the same challenges to overcome, and we all find different ways to overcome them. Here is a brief version of my challenges as a military wife, and why somedays I consider growing a moustache and assuming a new identity.
My military spouse career started almost 10 years ago. I already had a good idea of what the life was like, thanks to various family members serving in various branches and countries. We had our first daughter, and for the first 18 months, I was pretty sure that I had everything figured out. I was at the top of my game, going to school, looking after my kid, being supportive of my husband.
Now, three postings and (almost) three kids later, I am waving a white flag from my fox hole.
My oldest daughter, now six, is gifted – with an exceptionally high IQ, and the ability to rationalise thoughts that should be too complex for her age. After she was tested I read several books on how to help her, but there is no book on how to deal with the gifted child of a military member. During his first major deployment on this coast I learned that children like her can develop depression at an early age. It took several months to accurately diagnose what was wrong with her, and the stress of her not eating, barely moving, trying to quit her life, was very hard to handle. (Understatement)
I went to every professional I could to discuss why she ceased to function as a human child. I blamed myself entirely for not being able to kiss her emotional boo-boo’s. Why wasn’t I good enough to make her feel better? Finding out about the cyclical depression she suffers from was a huge step for all of us, though the knowledge didn’t make our day to day any easier.
Our second child was introduced in 2011, while my husband was on a course for his trade. Giving birth without him was surprisingly easy for me, because I knew I had no choice. What was hard was driving myself home from the hospital, and going back to business as usual with kid 1. I celebrated my birthday (2 days after she was born) by taking myself to Costco and buying a slab cake. I ate most of it. My husband’s first view of our daughter was via a text message that my mother sent him. I count myself lucky that I am always the one with the kids, because I have no idea what it feels like to miss out on these milestones. I’m sure it is a guilt that he will harbour for his whole life.
My primary job is to assuage him of that guilt. Be a constant reminder that he is our hero, and is always doing what is best for our family. 97% of the time I believe this to be true. The other 3% I wish he were at home more often so I could shower by myself.
We are now expecting our 3rd child, and a few weeks ago he was called away on less than 48 hours notice. While I am good at last minute planning, my children are not. This sail has been confusing and frustrating for both of them. I try daily to keep them engaged with activities. Take them to see friends, plan movie nights, to to events, but as a pregnant lady and cardiac patient, I need breaks. Between depression, PTSD, and a heart that will never function like it used to, (thanks to it stopping and then having a mild infarction when I came back to life), I am not the 10/10 mother that I wish I could be. (5/10 on a good day).
It’s a vicious cycle. I have fun, I slow down, I feel guilty, I exert myself, I have fun, I slow down, I feel guilty. I feel weak, and some days want nothing more than to lay down and hide while my kids destroy the house.
Unfortunately (or fortunately) for me, it’s not an option. With a spouse who isn’t home, I don’t get to take the day off. As much as I feel sorry for myself, I can’t make my kids suffer. Although on days like today, a pillow over my face doesn’t seem like a bad idea….
As I mentioned earlier, I live with a gifted child – now two gifted children (Kid 2 was also tested). These two beauties that I love and cherish and blah blah blah can be ASSHOLES, and I say that in the most loving way possible.
Both girls deal with their dad being gone through anger. Kid 1 will tell me she hates me, tell me how much better life is when he’s home, how she wishes that I was gone instead of him. She knows that these things hurt me, and I’ve recognised that at the tender age of 6, she is a major manipulator. When I don’t bend to her I feel guilty. I know that she loves me, I should be more kind when she has these outbursts. When I do give in, I know that I’m enabling her to continue to treat me this way.Vicious cycle.
Kid 2 has found her voice and her fists. She kicks and punches and screams at the top of her lungs, and it’s getting harder and harder to dodge her blows. (Maintaining agility with beluga belly is not my strong suit).
Today after a particularly rousing screaming session that lasted from the park to our house, she grabbed a wrench out of the tool bag and threw it at me when I told her she was on time out. The first thing I thought was, ‘time to put the fucking tool bag away.’ 
On top of dealing with my charming kidlets who are currently in the process of planning my murder, I have a house to maintain. This is where I fall short. I have several friends who are also military spouses, and their houses seem infinitely more cared for than mine. It drives me batty, but most days I don’t have the energy for entertaining the kids and doing housework. It’s one or the other. Today I was up at 0700 doing the dishes and trying to clean up, while kid 2 sat on the floor cutting paper and scattering it.
On days like today, I put my kids to bed early, and daydream of the day when I finally have the balls to pack up my shit and run away. Make no mistake – I love my family – but when I am feeling stressed I yearn for a life with no responsibility. Laying on a beach in Europe, gently and consistently buzzed, sounds so appealing, and the psychosis inside of me has me convinced that I would feel very little guilt.
Are there flaws in my plan? Absolutely. We don’t make enough money for me to run away. I could get a flight, but I wouldn’t take the food out of my children’s mouths to fund my own sick fancy.
Also, the thought of knowing that I could never return prevents me from doing anything irrational. I would eventually get bored and want to come home, but I know in my heart that I would not be welcomed back – which is totally reasonable and understandable. I know the feeling of being abandoned by a parent, and just as I would never forgive my father if the opportunity presented itself, I would not expect my girls or my husband to ever forgive me.
So I plan little vacations in my head, picture going to fabulous places, imagine not speaking to anyone for days at a time, I read books in the middle of the night, and I remember that the little shits who want to murder me are also the best things that have ever happened to me, and they are the glue that bonds me to my amazing husband while he is away.
He is under an immeasurable amount of stress while he is away, worried that he’s left me at home with a broken lawn mower, broken washing machine, and children who pine for him. He deserves to know that I am working my hardest to keep things stable while he’s away. That is my biggest job as a wife. Keeping a home that is deserving of his daily sacrifice. He has given up being with us so that I can be at home, getting hit with wrenches. When he is home is a super dad, and I fade nicely into the background – free to do what I want. So should I complain while he’s away that it’s hard to parent? Whether I should or shouldn’t, it’s hard not to. Staying positive when I talk to him can be very hard. Choosing what to omit or gloss over so that he isn’t worried can be difficult, and sometimes I break down and tell him that I’m useless without his help and guidance.
Afterward I apologise, pull myself together, and remind myself that we live a very good life, and counting my blessings is just as easy as whining about my shortcomings.
The point of my story is this: my life as a Navy wife is a roller coaster of holding myself together and completely falling apart. Vicious cycle. Would I trade it for anything? Never. I’m proud of how far we’ve come, and I know that my kids won’t always be monsters. It’s all about perspective. Other women’s houses may seem cleaner, their children better adjusted, but I don’t ride their roller coaster, and I cannot stand in judgement or jealousy of any family that works as hard as we do.
If my children are still throwing punches when they turn 12, I will definitely consider the running away plan, but I’ll take my husband with me. He deserves the break, too.

Big surprise, I’ve offended you AGAIN.

I am pregnant. Some days I am a glowing beacon of motherly radiance, floating in golden crepe paper on a cloud made of love for all living things. Most days I’m a cranky bitch who wants nothing more than to be done being pregnant. I have two other daughters, and they do their best to make sure that my rest times are never restful, and that I never forget that I still have to make them sandwiches and dry their pickles even when I feel like a swollen hippopotamus. That’s ok, I need to stay humble. What really gets my goat about being pregnant is having to kowtow to everyone’s opinions of what I should be doing and how I should be doing it. This is MY pregnancy – my last pregnancy, in fact, and all I want to do is enjoy it. I don’t care if you think I should see my doctor more often, I don’t care what your opinions on taking anti-psychotic medications are during pregnancy, and I really don’t give a fuck if you think I shouldn’t be eating peanut butter or caesar salad. Guess what? I eat a peanut butter and jam sandwich EVERY DAY. Always have, always will. My other kids have no nut allergies, and if this one does I promise I will apologise to her profusely for the rest of her nut-free life. For now, WEEE! I love salad, I eat protein bars, I exercise almost daily, I eat as much junk food as I can get my swollen little fingers on, I use cleaning products several times a day specifically because I LIKE THE SMELL.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy discussing pregnancy with other women, ones who have and haven’t been pregnant. I enjoy sharing experiences, learning from other women, and finding out the differences between my generation and the generation before me. When sharing experiences turns into lecturing me on how you would do it/did it, I get a little frosty. My personal experience isn’t actually any of your fucking business. I will be polite as possible, but keep your advice to yourself – for both of our sake. There are a few people who I ASK advice from, my mother-in-law, my mother, my sister, because I genuinely respect and trust their opinions. If you don’t fall into that category, or if I don’t explicitly ask you – back off. Everyone has their own beliefs and methods, and that’s wonderful; but they are just that – your own. Not everything works for everyone else, and that’s not wrong. I don’t offer up parenting advice to friends of mine unless they ask, because it makes me feel incredibly vain. What gives me the right to think that my parenting or pregnancy skills are any better than anyone elses? That’s right; nothing gives me that right. I refuse to submit to my own ignorance and tell someone how it should be done, and I implore everyone else to do the same. Not only do I feel like shit physically, but I then have to deal with feeling terrible emotionally because someone saw me sniff my husband’s beer to see what it smelled like. Take your ass-masking judgement pants off and just be kind. No one cares what you think. Least of all, me.

I typed this sitting next to a container of Comet Cleanser. It smells like angels.

My kids know I’m messed up, they love me anyway

My kids are so amazing, you have no idea. 

The One Who Saved Me

My first daughter was born when I was nineteen. I was destitute, had no education, and was constantly trying to kill myself. I hated who I was, I had no self-worth, and I couldn’t feel the love that my family and friends were trying to give to me. I didn’t deserve it, they were wasting their time. I lived in a dirty neighbourhood with a landlord who had tried to kill me on at least two separate occasions, I hadn’t finished high school, and the clearest option for me was death.  When my little babe was born my boyfriend moved us to Halifax so he could pursue his career in the Navy, and I credit them both for saving my life. They both gave me a reason to live, things to hope for, and most importantly, they showed me how to accept as well as give unconditional love. My life is worth so much, and teenage pregnancy showed me that.

I was very lucky that I had the support that I did, even if I didn’t realise it at the time. My family loved me and did the best they could to help in any way that they could, everyone was determined that I would be a good mother. Their encouragement showed me that being alive was a worthy cause. I didn’t need to be an astronaut with a degree in brain surgery; just being me was good enough – being a good mom was good enough. If I could go to bed every night knowing that I did my best for my little family, then my life was worth living. I look at her face and see my own hopes and dreams reflected back at me. For as long as I live I will never be able to thank her enough or repay her for what she has given to me, but I will try every day to prove to her that I was worth saving.

When my daughter was eighteen months old we relocated to Vancouver Island, and the weather started to get to me. Seasonal affective disorder is not uncommon here, but when you’re unknowingly fighting other demons, it quickly takes its toll.


 

The One I Prayed For

After arriving on the island I went back to school, first to finish high school, and then to post-secondary. The rain and the depression that I was already dealing with made leaving the house very hard. People on the west coast are not as friendly as the people in the east, and I wasn’t prepared for people to not want to be friends with me. I was a young military wife, and struggled to find things in common with other people my age. Before my daughter’s fourth birthday, I gave birth to my second daughter. The one thing I was sure about in my life was the love that I felt for my daughter, and I was determined to fill my life with that same feeling. I couldn’t find friends; I was too far away from family, so another baby was what I needed. My oldest was gaining independence rapidly, and I was missing that feeling of being needed completely.

When I became pregnant for the second time I focussed completely on being the best prenatal mother. I took care of myself, read books, kept a journal, and was excited to be pregnant. There was no stigma attached to being pregnant with her, I just got to enjoy myself. I was happily married, we already had one child, my husband was an amazing caregiver, and no one had to worry about us anymore. It was a special feeling; the knowledge that people weren’t expecting me to self-destruct anymore. A lot of things happened for me during that pregnancy. We found out that our oldest daughter was gifted; I finished school, went through my first deployment as a military wife, and started learning about mental illness. I had suspected that there were imbalances within me, but I was still so afraid of the consequences of admitting it out loud. I thought if I learned enough about it, I would realise that I wasn’t suffering from the things that I thought I was. When my second daughter was born I was able to shift my focus from myself back to my kids, and that continued to work for quite a while. It’s easy to hide from yourself when you don’t slow down enough to see what’s going on.

 


 

The Sickness

          When my middle daughter was two I became very sick while my husband was on a long deployment. I tried my best to take care of myself, but a few weeks after he got home I was devastatingly ill. Being sick changed me in ways I still can’t understand. In some ways I am more relaxed than I used to be, I a more willing to let things go, less likely to become blinded with rage at the slightest inconvenience. In other ways I take things a lot more personally, I am also finally open and accepting about my mental health. When my body shut down, it took along with my power supply, all of the walls and barriers I had used to protect myself and my loved ones. My mental health problems were always just below the surface, but I had constructed elaborate masks to hide behind, and being sick stripped me of all of them. I was left confused and scared. My doctor told me that I would need to see a psychiatrist to determine the extent of the damage that my illness had caused. I didn’t tell my family. I met with the psychiatrist and he told me that he suspected that this wasn’t my first foray into mental illness, and that not only would I need to be medicated, but I would need counselling. I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress and insomnia thanks to my near-death experience, as well as a deep-rooted major depressive disorder, and more than likely Bipolar disorder. It would take a few months to determine if I was bipolar, but I was definitely depressed, there was no getting around that.

          When I told my husband I shook and cried, and was positive that he would leave me. I was defective, officially. Even if we had both suspected that something wasn’t right with me before, no one with a professional opinion had confirmed or denied it. I was safe in not knowing. He has been nothing but supportive of me since my diagnosis, and has committed himself to learning alongside me. I know that it is no picnic to live with me, and I can’t imagine how hard it is for him to never know what he’s coming home to. He is always kind to me, regardless of how I treat him, and someday I hope he realises that he deserves better.


 

The One Who Brought New Hope

          In approximately two weeks I will give birth to my third daughter. Sometimes I feel irresponsible for being pregnant while I’m mentally ill, but then I remember that I have always been ill, and my other kids have turned out just fine. This third baby was to prove to myself that I could do it. I am a good mom, and no matter what the status of my mental health is, I will always be a good mom. Being pregnant as an openly mentally-ill person has been a very interesting journey, and I have learned so much about myself and about the people who I’ve surrounded myself with. My support circle is small but tight-knit, and I am confident that the people who love me will help me if needed. My daughters are very excited to be big sisters, and the thought of creating a new life after almost losing mine has been invigorating. I went into this pregnancy with the knowledge that not every day would be perfect, and that I will struggle to maintain my own health while looking after my family, but it is this kind of loving struggle that sustains me, and reminds me that my life has purpose.

 


 

Parenting with Mental Illness

          My kids are both aware that mommy has mental illness. I don’t sugar-coat it, and I don’t beat around the bush. I am emotionally defective, and I include them in my feelings so that they know that none of it is caused by them. When I am having a down day, I try to explain it. I ask for extra hugs, I ask for extra quiet time. I am open with them in the hopes that they will know as they get older that they can trust me with their feelings and emotions. If I don’t hide, why should they? We talk about everything all of the time, and I feel like being sick gives me a unique perspective on their lives and feelings. My oldest daughter deals with childhood depression thanks to being gifted, and who better to understand her confusion than me? We read books and articles together, she draws me pictures and tells me when she’s having a low day. My little one is always good for snuggles and hugs, and she loves singing us songs to make us feel better. As they get older and have to deal with the trials and tests of being young women, I will be beside them to remind them that not everyone is here to judge them, and that they are always allowed to trust their feelings. So often when I was younger I was made to think that what I was feeling was wrong or exaggerated – and now as an adult I am determined to never let my daughters’ feel that way. Every concern that they have is something that I will take seriously, because sometimes that’s all people need. To have their thoughts validated can be the difference between them trusting me with their feelings and not.

Not every day is sunshine and roses for us. I spend a lot of time reflecting on things that I could’ve done better, situations that I wished I could change. What I’ve learned the most over the past six years is to not allow myself to be hung up on the things that have already happened. The most important thing that I do every day is forgive myself – accept the things that I can’t change, and promise to try for better the next day. I wake up in the morning committed to doing the best job that I can for my family. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t – but it doesn’t matter, I forgive myself and try again. Children are the best tool for learning forgiveness, because they love you so unconditionally. Instead of dwelling on the notion that they deserve better than me, someone who isn’t broken, I forgive myself and move on, because they forgive me, too. 

 From me I hope that that they will learn compassion for everyone, to be tolerant and non-judgmental of others. They needn’t be friends with everyone, but everyone has their own battle that they are fighting, and my daughter’s will not contribute to anyone else’s pain. My goal in life is to eradicate the stigma surrounding mental illness, and giving the world these three beautiful girls to help with the fight is the best gift I could give. A new generation of informed and gentle people who see every human as valuable, regardless of what’s going on on the inside. If they are taught to know that there aren’t varying degrees of illness, that cancer isn’t worse than depression, because it’s something you can physically see, then maybe we will start to experience a real change in the way society views mental illness.

 

 

 

Problem Queen

Today my kids didn’t eat lunch until 3 pm. They had some snacks, and quietly watched TV for most of the day. They played with toys, polished off a jar of pickles, painted each others nails, and behaved very nicely, because they know that today ‘mommy isn’t feeling well’. 

Some days the best I can offer is being alive. 

Sadly for my daughters, they know these days too well. It usually starts with me not sleeping the night before (in spite of being heavily medicated), and by the time they wake up I magically lose the ability to stay awake. I fall asleep on the couch, and every once and a while I will wake up to hear my oldest daughter telling the little one to ‘leave mommy alone, she needs her rest’. Hearing those words come out of her mouth causes me extreme anxiety and sadness, which leads to more sleep. It’s a cycle. My daughter’s are experiencing something that I don’t believe any child should, and even though I know that they aren’t the only one’s who have a mentally ill parent, I still feel like my failure is bigger than anyone else. 

My oldest daughter has a lot of pressure put on her to help me, and on my good days I make it my mission to make it up to her. She didn’t ask to be born to an unstable mother, and she certainly didn’t ask to be a babysitter while her unstable mother is passed out. Soon school will start for her (if the strike action ever ends) and she will be free to act like a little girl should. Play with her friends, not worry about getting her chores done, be free from the restraints that I put on her at home. My little one is also starting school, and I’m hoping that some time away from me will do her some good, although I have an irrational fear of her leaving. This past week’s anxiety has been caused by the knowledge that two of my children are going to school, and I am terrified of being alone. Granted, I will only be alone for about a month (baby H is due in 5 weeks), but having my daughters out of eyesight is something that I have a lot of trouble dealing with. I don’t want them to resent me, but I don’t want them to realise that they are better off without me, either. Instead of making the most of the time that I have with them, I shut down. My bones feel like paper, I can’t keep my eyes open until they go to bed. I don’t feel that the medication I’m taking is working anymore, which also adds to the anxiety. I’ve asked my doctor if we could make changes, but he doesn’t want to do anything new until the baby is born. Until then, everyone has to suffer from the consequences of having a crazy mother. 

The one bonus out of all of this is that my children’s father is very attentive to them. When he comes home from work instead of complaining that I haven’t done anything, he just does. He gets supper ready if I can’t, he bathes our kids and tucks them in with a story every night. He pays them the attention that I currently cannot. They adore him, and the days when he can’t come home from work are devastating for them. He is a caregiver to all of us, and I worry that sooner than later he will see that I am no longer an asset to this family, and that if he’s going to consistently pick up the slack for me, what’s the point of having me? 

My meds don’t work. I hate leaving the house. The light coming in through my curtains is too much, and I get headaches from how bright it is. My daughter always tries to keep them shut for me, Tonight, to make up for not being attentive today, I am going to order take away and rent a movie on the TV that we can snuggle up to. She wants to make us all cocoa, so of course I said yes. I’m hoping that these small times amount to memories of me trying, even if it didn’t seem like much at the time. I hope that as they get older they understand that I have never been intentionally lazy, and that my lack of involvement has never had anything to do with them. They are the only reason that I am still alive, and every day that I can’t prove that to them is devastating. Today is one of those days.

I have hope for tomorrow. Whenever I slip beneath the waves of depression I force myself to think for tomorrow. So maybe to today is a write-off, but I will work that much harder to make tomorrow a day to remember. It doesn’t always work – there are a lot of days that I don’t win the battle; but as long as I continue to wake up I believe that I am winning the war. My biggest hope for my children is that they learn tolerance and patience for people who are ill. No matter the illness, everyone needs care and understanding. By growing up with a mother who is open about mental illness, maybe they will feel more inclined to be kind to everyone, to be caring women who work hard to look after everyone and offer non-judgmental friendship to all. They are beautiful little girls, and I know that even though some days I am just alive, I am helping them to become wonderful women. 

Soon I will have my third (and final) daughter, and even though I have discussed how certain medications interact with pregnancy with my doctor, I am still terrified that my emotional state has damaged her before she’s had the chance to be damaged by me outside of the uterus. Only time will tell what is in store for any of my girls, but I know that the little one will be well taken care of by the big ones. They love her so much already. When I think about these things I get so angry at myself, why aren’t they enough to get off of my ass and do something? They are, of course they are. Some days I am not as strong as my demons are. It’s a cycle. 

It’s not too late to make up for today – writing this was a start. I have to sit upright to be at the computer. I am going to make a blanket and pillow nest with my girls and finally give in to watching Frozen. It is the actual, very least that I can do.