It’s World Mental Health Day and I wanted to write something about parenting with depression and anxiety.
When I am feeling ill, it’s not easy, it can make me shouty, stressed, worried and overly anxious. My perspective can be off and I second guess my instincts. I can stay awake with worry and anxiety, I am tired and I struggle to make plans because juggling is hard and I may not feel sociable. I feel more overwhelmed and less able to cope.
When I am well, parenting can still be a challenge but I trust myself more, I am calmer and I am able to cope with the chaos and the noise. I worry less, I feel like I make better decisions, I have more energy, everything feels much easier and it just works.
I think I am a good mum, I have been present and I have been able to make time for my kids. I am also lucky that I can function when I am depressed – I can still respond to my kids, I love them, I protect them, I can look after them and I am there for them. Most of my depression and anxiety is internal so I hope my children have only ever felt loved. At times, looking after them and spending time with them has been my sole focus and part of my therapy.
I once had a period of depression when, apart from work and school runs, I was in bed, my safe place, my sanctuary. Evenings were spent cuddled with my children watching movies and Scooby Doo. Those cuddles meant I could parent well, I could connect with my girls and that to me was everything.
When I look back, I feel guilty – maybe I wasn’t as present I as I could have been, I know I shouted too much at times, have my children been affected in some way? But I know I can’t change any of it and I have only ever loved my girls and I have only ever done my best.