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

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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.

Last Christmas was horrible for me. My husband and I had been trying, unsuccessfully, for over a year to get pregnant. I got my period just before Christmas Day and it crushed me. Combined with the usual holiday sadness, it was just too much. I broke down in a way I hadn’t in years. I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t cook dinner, and I couldn’t stop crying. I wanted to escape from everything. I asked my husband to lock up our revolvers and keep the key with him. For the first time in years, the darkness and scary thoughts were more than just fleeting, they were sticking around. And they terrified me. 

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

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