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This week has been kind of rough, emotionally. I wonder, had I waited, would I be much further in my career than I am now? It seems as if that feeling of failure just keeps lingering.
In 2011 I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Many things were happening around me. Deaths, the stress of my last semester of college, and trying to decide what to do with my life after graduation – it was just too much. One day after having a real crap week, my computer charger decided to break, and I just sat in the middle of my dorm room and cried. That was the moment I knew I needed help. Since having my daughter I have not been on medication, and I have been using with various alternative coping mechanisms and counseling.
Over the past week I noticed I had less energy, I was sleeping more, and just felt off, overall. One day I felt on the verge of crying all day. Then I noticed it was affecting how I interact with my children. I made time to go to my counselor’s walk-in sessions this week because I'm not scheduled to see her until the end of the month, and I refuse to let my mental health start to deteriorate and have it interfere with my relationship with my kids.
Going into a depression is not just about me anymore, it will affect them. My tolerance is lower, I yell more, I haven't cooked, and I’ve probably gotten on their nerves reacting to every small thing so strongly. They have no concept that mommy is having a bad week. All they know is that suddenly mommy is unhappy all the time.
Taking care of my mental health isn't just what's best for me, it's what's best for them. Ignoring any feelings of instability and just keeping going doesn't benefit anyone. In order for me to be the best mother for them, I need to be in the best state of mind. I recognize when I am running into a crisis, and I ask for, and accept, help.
After talking to my counselor, I felt a some of my cloud lift. Unfortunately, my allergies are kicking back in so my energy level is still terrible, but at least I feel less stressed and I already notice so are my kids.
In the long run, taking care of myself is teaching them to not only take care of their physical health, but also their mental health. It's just as important.
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Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.