It’s taken me a lot of soul-searching to figure out exactly how I became depressed. I was in the middle of living my very best life (literally) – I had a fiance who loved me, a sweet Husky puppy who brought me so much joy, a healthy son, a steady job… what more did I want? What more could I really have than this? And then I felt guilty because I should not have been feeling bad. The guilt made me feel even worse.
Depression is often triggered by something traumatic: a death in the family, a huge life change, etc. I never realized that trauma comes in other forms too – forms you’d never expect to steal your joy.
I literally could NOT figure out why I was so down, but when I visited the doctor in March, I told her something was wrong. My anxiety was finally well-controlled with the medication she had placed me on, but I felt down all the time. It was beginning to affect my day-to-day activities and I wanted to head-off these feelings before they got worse.
I have identified 4 main factors that contributed to my depression: past pains that I never let surface until I finally was in a ‘safe’ place in my life, suppressed feelings about my job and what I was doing for work, lack of confidence after the car wreck that gave me an ugly chin scar, and, perhaps the biggest, rejection from my son.
Earlier this year, we began to have issues with my son not wanting to be at our house on our designated nights. I figured it was just a phase and it would get better. Well, it didn’t. In fact, it got worse. We went from my son just stating he wished his dad would’ve been the one to pick him up to him crying because his dad didn’t pick him up. Which then turned into my son asking if he could go to his dad’s every night because he missed his dad so much.
My husband and I were at a loss. We had been living all together in our house for almost a year and we couldn’t figure out where this was coming from. My son began to ruin outings we would have as a family for us because he would constantly be asking when his dad would be picking him up and cry for him. I’ve never experienced anything more hurtful than feeling rejected by my son.
These issues we were having were then exacerbated by the fact that earlier this year I received a letter in the mail from my son’s father saying he was taking me to court over to revise our parenting agreement. While I agreed this needed to be revised, the timing could not have been worse and I was not in a good emotional or financial place to deal with a drawn-out court battle.
I had to make the impossible decision to not to go through with hiring a lawyer. Talk about mom guilt. This was the worst guilt I’d ever felt, but I just could not validate putting us all through that. My son’s dad is not a bad person, and if my son wanted to be there primarily, then it didn’t really matter how I felt. Doing what was right for him and what he wanted was my priority. His feelings were my priority. In May, I signed our new agreement that stated that my son was to be with his father through the week, and with me only on the weekends. It was the hardest paper I’ve ever had to sign and I felt a lot of shame and guilt after I did it.
I realize that some people will not understand the choice I made and that is okay. It has taken me 6 months just to be able to talk about it with you today. I know I’m not alone in this because I recently met another mother who was going through the same thing. It was such a blessing to talk with her and realize that I was not alone. She gave me the strength to type this today.
I am sharing my story for all the mothers out there like me. It is ridiculous that we feel like we can’t tell people what’s really going on in our lives these days because we are worried about what they will think.
All that being said, our family life has never been better and we are actually able to enjoy the time we have with my son now versus him asking over and over again when he’ll be leaving. I will take quality over quantity with him any day.