Sunday, May 20, 2012

Depression + Parenting

I have been thinking about writing this blog for a long time, and the conclusion that I came to is this:

It's not something I can write publicly about, not in vivid detail. Not really delve into it. Because if you're a parent and you've experienced the crushing grips of depression and anxiety while trying to parent, especially without a partner, you know that if you speak honestly about what really goes on in your head, in your life, in your home, and in your family....

people will tear apart what little you've managed to scotch-tape together during your few decent moments, the quiet times when you feel what you've come to known as "good" which is most people's definition of "depressed". They might take away the very thing that is keeping you from falling apart permanently. From going away, permanently.

Good is: functioning, not crying uncontrollably, not breaking anything, not hurting yourself, able to feed your child something besides chicken nuggets, and possibly have the will to brush your teeth.
Good is hiding your feelings deep enough that you can go out in public without someone wondering if you wandered out of the psych ward, or possibly just an open grave.
Good is being able to smile and nod at your kid that you love with all your heart, but it's a fake fucking smile and you hate yourself for it. And you have to force yourself to listen through the screaming going on in your head about how much things hurt, and say encouraging words to that child. And you're faking it. But that's doing GOOD.
It's better than it could be.

I know that there are times when I'm hanging on by an invisible thread until the next break I might get (the kids sleeping, Eli's weekend at his dad's, whatever), and sometimes the thread breaks.
Married parents usually have the fortune of knowing that they can probably hang on to the edge of that cliff until their partner comes home, even if the partner isn't an awesome parent and might even be a lazy bastard, having backup is essential if you're parent with depression.
It's essential for all parties for so many reasons.

Parenting with depression and anxiety is fucking impossible. There is no other way to put it.
And yet we still do it.
Some people crack and do really stupid, crazy shit.
Those who love their kids as much as I do, have a plan for when they crack. We have a little voice in our heads that tells us who to call, what not to do, what to destroy instead of hurting yourself, remember that if you can hang on for 5 or 10 minutes you can call in the troops. If you're lucky like me and even have troops (friends or family that know your situation and will help).
But we crack
and break
and there are days when I don't know if I'll ever get back to good enough, ever again. To where I don't need to call in the troops every day.

And that's why sometimes I wonder if it'd be better if I was just gone, because there would be no more emergencies or wondering how I will face the next thing, or having to text someone to ask them to call and make sure you're still alive in the morning.. There would be no more stressing your family out with 4 am phone calls or begging in tears for a break at an inconvenient time.
Everyone would adjust, the empty space would eventually become mostly barely-there.....

See how much this ugly bastard LIES?

You know what's keeping me alive right now? I know that my daughter's father would fight for custody and.. he might win, even though he's done absolutely NOTHING for her in her 7+ years. He's only seen her 3 times. He might win.
so I can't leave.

I just stay and hang on by a thread, but sometimes, it breaks.
When I see other people who have a partner who loves them. When couples joyously announce engagements. And weddings. And pregnancies.
Stuff you do together.
When I see other people who have a built in troop who lives in their house and holds their hand.

I've been waiting too long....
but I still have to keep hanging on.
It's impossible but we do it, don't we? Because we love our kids. Impossibly.

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