Hi, my name is Amber. I’m 30 years old, with 3 wonderful kids, a loving husband, a full time job, with a house stocked full of food, and a lot of love in my life. I have every reason to be happy.
But I’m not.
I’ve struggled with depression my entire life, and just when I think it’s gone, it always comes back one way or another. This time it wormed into my life through the form of postpartum depression. For the first weeks after my son’s birth, I was very happy, but I felt the darkness looming inside of my heart. I combated the baby blues for weeks, trying to push it deeper and deeper, but the more I fought against it, the stronger it got.
Other situations happening in my life at the time were not helping in the slightest. Before I knew it, my happiness was few and far between while the emptiness that is depression once again ruled the majority of my waking hours. Even the nightmares I’d thought I’d defeated returned with a vengeance, and there have been quite a few sleepless nights. Nights of staring at the ceiling with that familiar empty feeling in my chest, where my thoughts swirled with those dampening thoughts, telling me how worthless and pathetic I was. How horrible of a mother I was, how my precious baby boy only tolerated my presence as he showered his father in smiles and coos. How my daughters would never love me even a fraction of what I love them and have the same complicated relationship with me that I have with my own mother.
I was drowning. And though I put on a good front and mostly keep it under control, I still am.
Most days, I can make it through with a smile and fall asleep at night throwing punches back at the darkness. “I am a good mother,” I scream at it, knowing that the smiles and love in my son’s eyes when he sees me means something. My daughters still lovingly dub me as “mommy” despite being 7 and 9 years old, and they yell in delight every day when they see me either after I get home or they come home from school. I fight back the demons with their support because deep down I know the demons are wrong.
But it’s not easy, and it doesn’t work every day. Today… is one of those days.
All it takes is one small detail to set everything into motion. Something so stupid and pathetic that most people just brush it off with an eye roll and keep moving. Something so worthless that you don’t even want to tell anyone about it because you’ll just sound whiny in their perspectives. But that one small detail that no one else thinks is worth the pain is worth fucking everything because that one small detail just derailed your entire fucking day.
I received a text today while I was at work, where I was in a decent enough mood. “They’re watching that Dark Crystal shit.” Meaning my mother was watching that new Netflix show with my girls. Something that I shouldn’t care about in the slightest, but damn it, it stopped my heart and darkened my mind in an instant. Despite my husband not being a fan, my daughters shared my love for The Dark Crystal, and I was so looking forward to watching that show with them. And my husband knew it, hence why he told me about it.
But that little statement started the pain, and before I knew it, I was living in the dark recesses of my mind. Most people would just say whatever, I’ll just have them watch it with me again. But I can’t think logically, especially when fighting this darkness as hard as I do. There are few things in life I look forward to, and I felt at this point that one of those things had just been snatched from me. In comes the flood of every other time I looked forward to watching something with them for the first time, and it was stolen from me by situations and other people. Because these things never stop at just the one.
It’s just not the same to have them rewatch something with me that I had been looking forward to watching with them for the first time. Just like I still haven’t watched The Lion King remake for the same reason, but I didn’t get that chance with them because they were out of state. It still doesn’t mean that made it hurt any less.
I’m a sentimental being, and my family is literally my entire life. I know for a fact I would have succeeded in a suicide attempt if I never had them. Before I had them, I had nothing to live for, and now I have them. I have people depending on me, and because of that, I have to stay around. And that’s part of the reason why it hurts so bad when something I wanted to do with my family doesn’t get to happen. The postpartum depression eating away at me only makes things that much worse.
Because of one small detail that I should have been able to turn away from and keep going, I spent the entire day wondering if I was worthy. I laid in bed all afternoon with my son, trying to keep him occupied to keep my own mind from tearing me down and failing miserably. Am I worthy of these children? Am I worthy to be their mother? Am I worthy of their father? Am I worthy of this life I have been blessed with?
The fact that I am second guessing it must mean I’m not.
Oh God, there are the suicidal thoughts again.
All that keeps me going when I get into these moods are the smiles my son blesses me with. He must sense these things because he always flashes the most beautiful smiles when I need it most. Then I spend the next ten minutes hugging him tightly as I sob into his clothes. And he hugs me back, the one person I allow myself to cry in front of because he won’t remember it, and the boy lays his arms on both sides of me and lays his head on my shoulder. He just lets it happen.
Then more thoughts start because of that. He’s only 2 months old, how can I possibly be this depressed when I should be happy? I should still be ecstatic, I have a baby that I love more than life itself, just like with my daughters. Our situation is better than it was with our daughters, and our family is finally complete after 11 years. So why do I feel this way?
More thoughts, more darkness, more self-hatred. The never-ending spiral. All because of one stupid small detail.
Tonight, I will fall asleep crying. Tonight I will fall asleep thinking to myself how worthless I am. I will fall asleep knowing my family would be better off with someone else to care for them.
Then tomorrow morning, I will wake back up, I will take in a deep breath, brush off my knees, and get back up. I will start punching back the depression and telling it to fuck off as I continue living because I know that I am worth it. I know my family loves me and I know I am a damn good mother.
But tonight, the darkness will reign.
And that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with me. I am simply sick, even if it’s not physical.
I will be okay.