'Put On A Happy Face': How I Manage Depression As A Wife And Mom


depressed woman in bed
Depression makes me want to stay in bed and cry—but being a wife and mother helps me to get up.

I was terrified because it had been over ten years since I tried to kill myself by downing a bottle of pills. I was terrified that after three years of some of the roughest stuff I’d ever imagined going through, I felt completely empty and completely drained of resources. I was terrified because I genuinely felt no capacity for hope and I could see no way to make things livable. 

I was terrified because for the first time in my life I was in the middle of a serious bout of depression and I wasn’t alone; I had a family to think about. I had a husband and a stepson that needed me to function and not tear myself to pieces. I was scared in a way I had never been when I was young and single. I was responsible for other people. I had to force myself to get up and move. I was not allowed to give up.


I did get up and move and I did my absolute best to not let my stepson know just how dark a place I was in. I think I succeeded. He never said anything to let on that he noticed my puffy face or reddened eyes. I put on my happy face and kept going whenever he was near. We opened presents and watched movies and did all of the Christmasy things families do and I kept the awful feelings quiet. How To Talk With Someone You Love When They Are Depressed

In a way it was a blessing to have something force me to maintain a feeling of normalcy. While I can be open and honest about my mental state with my husband, I have to guard my 8-year-old stepson from just how bad it gets. He still believes in Santa Claus; this isn’t the sort of thing he should be burdened with. So when he’s near, I’m normal. I’m happy, I’m productive, I’m up and moving around and cooking dinner. His presence forces me to pretend to be okay and sometimes with pretending I actually begin to feel okay, sort of.

I don’t always feel the depression these days and most of the time I’m a pretty happy person. Not every day is a struggle but those days that are can almost be too much to bear. It helps to have walking, talking, breathing reminders in front of me, pushing me to remember why giving up isn’t an option anymore.

Are you depressed and looking to get help? Read more about depression and check out YourTango Experts to find a counseling professional who can help you via phone or in person.