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Are you a mom who is battling depression? Are you struggling just to get up in the morning, to go about your day, to care for kids or to care for yourself? I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, so in a way I can relate. I have it easier though since I know mine is coming, and I know that the long months with days on end of no sunshine during the Michigan winters is what triggers it. I also know that there is an end – at least until the fall rolls around again.
There were also a handful of moms who were on this panel who spoke of dealing with depression. Primarily it is in an on and off kind of way for them, but depression is real, it is debilitating, even crippling at times, and it is common among moms, especially moms who are exhausted and feeling overwhelmed.
Let me first off say that I am not in any way a medical professional and cannot give anyone medical diagnosis or treatment, but I am a mom who may be able to offer you some relief – just enough relief that you can determine exactly how much, if any, medical treatment you do need to seek.
First, realize that depression is a medical condition that cannot be swept under the rug, ignored, or denied away. It is nothing to be ashamed of, and it is something that is treatable in various ways in varying degrees depending on what is needed.
Sometimes we are not the best judge of our own behavior. It may be a good idea to ask loved ones you trust who know you well and are exposed to you enough to accurately judge your overall demeanor.
If you are looking to work through it a bit on your own, there are some things that may help give you some relief. I do many of these myself when the darkness seems to envelop me and cloud my days. They do help some at times, but again, please do use caution in thinking you can treat yourself in all cases. Involving someone else in assessing you down the road to see how your behavior or demeanor is changing is a very, very good idea here.
- Establish a waking and sleeping time and stick to it. For most people it is beneficial to follow an overall wake and sleep schedule, but it is especially important in dealing with feeling down or depressed.
- Get enough rest, but not too much. You need to be well rested, but this can not be used as an excuse to sleep your life away. Pulling the covers back over your face and going back to sleep when you should be up and moving more than a couple of times a year is not a good thing. Go to bed when it is time to go to bed, and get up when it is time to get up. Make it a habit. Develop a routine.
- Get regular exercise. Exercise releases endorphins that are natural mood lifters. Getting regular exercise is good for you physically and mentally. Even if all you are doing is going out for a walk, getting up and moving is such a great thing. If you are doing it on a beautiful day, it only gets better for your mental state.
- Going along with regular exercise is eating a good diet. Feeding our body junk food does not give us the fuel we need and it does nothing good for our minds either. In most cases, choosing to eat junk also doesn’t make us feel good in the choices we make. We are disappointed that we didn’t make a different, healthier choice.
- Read something that inspires you, something that makes you feel good, or something that teaches you something about depression itself. There are numerous resources out there to choose from. Sometimes it can also be helpful to read an inspiring story about someone who overcame a difficulty in their own life. Doing so can give us the courage we need to face our own struggles. We internalize an “if they can do it so can I” mentality.
- Talk to someone. Reach out to a friend, a family member, or someone who has walked this road of depression. Find someone to share your true feelings with – your struggles, your worries, your pain. Be honest with them. If there are ways that you think someone can help you, ask for help. Most family members and friends as well as those who have been where you are would be happy to do something to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask.
- Find some joy in your life. It can be hard at times, I know, but I did find this really effective to do this past winter. I wrote about it in 3 Things That Can Turn Your Life Around. Again in my case I can always see the light at the end of the tunnel since I know my depression will lift when the seasons change, but finding the joy in your life is such good therapy.
- Hug your kids. The simple act of hugging another person is incredibly therapeutic. I am not a huge hugger, but when I make a point of hugging my kids more it is so good for me, and for them, too.
- Seek professional help if needed. Doing so is nothing to be ashamed of just as you wouldn’t be ashamed of getting treatment for migraines, diabetes, or asthma. It is a condition that is treatable. Get the help you need.
Depression is nothing to mess with, and it can interfere with our ability to be the mom we want to be. But, it doesn’t have to be something you have to live with. There is help for whatever level of treatment you need. Try some of these ideas, really try them. It is such a relief to feel the cloud of depression subside.
This post is the 12th in a 15 day series 15 Days of Hope for the Weary Mom, that is taking us through the rest of the month of May. Come back to find more throughout this month, or subscribe to get the new posts delivered right to your inbox. By the way, if you did the math on the remainder of the month, you may have discovered that there is a bonus coming at the end since there are still four days left in the month.
You can find hope in the first post in the series, What in the World Have I Gotten Myself Into?! here
You can find An Action Plan for the Overwhelmed Mom here
You can find An Action Plan for the Mom Who is Stuck at Home here
You can find An Action Plan for Connecting With Other Moms here
You can find A Realistic Action Plan for Dealing With the Never-Ending Responsibilities of a Mom here
You can find A Realistic Action Plan for Getting It All Done as a Stay at Home Mom here.
You can find A Realistic Action Plan for Getting It All Done as a Working Mom here.
You can find A Realistic Action Plan for the Mom Who is Afraid She is Doing it All Wrong here.
You can find A Realistic Action Plan for the Mom Who Worries That It’s Too Late here
You can find A Realistic Action Plan for the Mom Who Has No Role Model in Being a Mom here.
You can find A Realistic Action Plan for the Mom Who Desperately Misses Her Freedom here.
Come back tomorrow to find A Realistic Action Plan for the Mom Who is On Her Own