Let’s see how this goes.
This is all new to me. I’ve never thought that blogging would be something I would do. After all, who could possibly be interested in anything I had to say?
I’ve found, though, that I could really use an outlet, and I think the community might be helpful for some. You see, I am the mother of a depressed teenager. I see forums and chats, blogs and whole online worlds devoted to people living with depression. Maybe I haven’t looked hard enough, but I haven’t found quite what I’m looking for in a place where loved ones can hang out.
So, this is it.
This is my experience.
We have a lot of days where I go to bed fearful and a little (a lot) crumpled around the edges. We also have many days where we can pretend, briefly, that it’s not so bad. I look for those days, those moments, wherever I can. I realize every moment that so far, we’ve been very lucky. While she has contemplated suicide, she’s never attempted it. She gets out of bed every day, goes to school, functions well.
She hides, though. A lot. If it weren’t for the phone checks, I’d have very little clue about her struggles, because she refuses to talk about it most of the time, shuts me out whenever a sensitive topic is raised. Refuses counselling, says she’s working on it. Herself. With self-help books.
I don’t wish this on anyone, not even the girls who bullied my daughter.
One of the hardest parts of this is that we just don’t know from one day to the next, even one hour to the next, what is going on with her. She lies easily. She’s had a lot of practise. She was bullied for a long time and I had no clue (despite my micromanaging, but more on that later). She contemplated suicide long before she ever told me she was depressed. I had NO idea. For a long time she insisted she was getting better, but then I found the pictures, the ones where she said she hated herself and wanted to die. The day I found the sharp objects with the crumpled up bloody tissue was a hard one, too.
As much as I have a hard time trusting her, because of the things she hides, and because she tells me that she’s “fine,” I get why she hides. It’s agony to lay bare your pain, to admit when your brain hates you so much that you feel worthless and ashamed. It’s easier to stuff it inside. I think, too (though I don’t know for sure) that “dealing with it” in the way I think might help (counselling, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, that type of therapy), is too much for her. She’s terrified that she’d have to relive the bullying, the exclusion, the way she felt when her best friend turned on her so viciously. She blames herself.
Still, I wish she would get help. I wish we could help. I sometimes say that depression has a hearing problem. It can’t hear when people love you. It can’t hear the way people say you have the voice of an angel when you sing. It can’t hear the little sister who adores you, and the friends who look up to you. That doesn’t stop us from trying to get the message through in any way we can. We’ll keep trying. We won’t give up. I need to hope that we’re stronger than this, even though some days I truly wish I could go back to when she was first born and totally do it over, knowing better. Loving better, loving more.
For now, I’m doing what I need to do for me. I go for counselling, I’m working on trying to be more mindful so that I don’t catastrophize. I read a lot, and learn as much as I can. I try to let her know that we love her so very much, and that we will always help however we can no matter what. That nothing she could ever think or do would scare us into not loving her. That we’re proud of her. That it’s not her fault.
Friends and family don’t know, for the most part. If it were up to me, I’d shout it from the rooftops, because for me, it’s easier to manage when I feel like I can speak honestly. It’s not up to me, though. She can barely talk to us (my husband and me, and her friends) about it, though, let alone the world. So while the counselling and journalling helps, I feel as though I need more.
I have a double life, and it takes its toll sometimes.
So, welcome to my little corner of the net.
I can’t ever promise that I will always get what it’s like for someone else, though I will try. I can’t speak with the voice of authority, knowing what it’s like to BE depressed. I can only speak from my experience, my perspective as the worried mother of a depressed teen. That’s all. I get very scared, I get frustrated, I get angry, I get impatient, though I do my very best to not show that to her. I will show it here, sometimes, and if that bugs you, well, then this isn’t the place for you. I love my family with my entire being, too, and I will show that, as well. I search for the things that are positive. I celebrate hard and loud when something goes well, and if my “well” isn’t the same as yours, I hope we learn from each other.
Oh yeah! Merry Christmas!! Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, but today I aim to focus on the festive. Enjoy some Christmas lights, celebrate the snow if you can, and find a way to love and be loved.