‘One day, I finally broke. I locked myself in the bathroom and cried alone until my eyes would barely open.’

“I had everything: two healthy boys, a brand new baby girl, a husband, a room full of baby gifts from my friends, a heart overflowing with love. I was unbelievably grateful — truly, truly grateful. I was unbelievably satisfied. But I wasn’t happy.

For a long time, I thought I was just in a bad mood. For a long time, I brushed it off as being tired. For a long time, I cried alone every day and stayed up worrying every night without letting anyone know, or thinking much about it.

‘Maybe this is just what it’s like to have three kids,’ I thought. ‘Maybe this is my new normal.’

I pushed my friends away. I snapped at my husband. I couldn’t quite seem to connect with my kids. I was angry at nothing at all. Just plain angry, mostly at myself.

‘How could I not be happy? I have everything. What is wrong with me?’

Things that had come so easily before started looking like rugged and rough snowy-topped mountains that I just couldn’t maneuver like I had before.

I tried. I tried so hard. Each morning I woke up promising to try harder than the day before.

But it was all too much. It was all too overwhelming. It was all more than I could handle.

I felt like I was constantly disappointing someone,and I was just fighting with everything I had to stay afloat. I hadn’t truly laughed in…well, a while.

One day, I finally broke. One day, I finally stopped fighting. One day, I locked myself in the bathroom and cried alone until my eyes would barely open. I called my husband at work and muttered ‘I need your help today. I’m having a really hard time and I just don’t think I can do it.’

And in that moment I knew this wasn’t normal. I knew this wasn’t typical. I knew this wasn’t a phase. I knew this wasn’t who I truly was, or who I truly wanted to be.

I knew this was something else taking over my mind and my body and my heart, and I knew I had to take it back. I knew that this thing that I’d been trying to hard to control was starting to control me.

I knew I had to open up and get honest with somebody, anybody who would listen.

I felt like I was drowning. I felt like I was juggling too many balls. I felt like I was holding onto too much weight, just holding my breath waiting for permission to exhale. And I didn’t even know what I was waiting for. I didn’t know what I was holding onto. But I knew it was something.

My husband came home, knocked on the door and picked me up. Suddenly, letting go and letting my feelings and my confessions come flooding out of my mouth to him was like coming out of the water.

Letting him in on my pain was like throwing away a little of that weight. Telling him my secret was like taking a breath of fresh air. Collapsing into his arms was like releasing a little bit of the worry I’d been clinging to, and allowing him release it out into the air.

He couldn’t save me. He couldn’t walk the road for me, but I knew he loved me and I knew he would walk it beside me. And having a friend in my depression made all the difference. And yes, that’s exactly what this was: depression, with a strong side of anxiety.

Having a friend gave me strength.

Having a friend gave me courage.

Having a friend gave me back my motherhood.

Having a friend gave me the insight to seek the help of a doctor.

Having a friend gave me a map leading back to myself. A friend and some anxiety medication. The same medication I still take every morning almost a year later.

If you are out there and you’re struggling. If you’ve been struggling. If you’re dealing with something that goes far beyond the “baby blues” or being grumpy or being unsettled. If you’re dealing with something you can’t shake.

If you’re dealing with a fog that just won’t lift, or a heaviness that won’t clear away, even in the sunshine — this is me telling you it’s okay. This is me telling you it’s safe to tell a friend or a spouse or a mother or a sister or a co-worker. Therapists are wonderful listeners. This is me telling you it’s smart to seek help from a professional.

This is me telling you that you aren’t crazy. You aren’t failing. You aren’t destined to live like this forever. And you definitely aren’t alone.

This is me telling you my deep and dirty and ugly truth, so you’ll know you have a friend. And you’ll know you don’t have to let depression and anxiety steal your motherhood and your marriage and your friendships and the deepest parts of you either. You can take it back. All of it.

But it has to start with opening up.

It has to start with being vulnerable.

It has to start with raising your hand.

It has to start with the first step to reclaiming what is rightfully yours. And the first step is always the hardest to take. But you can do it. You’re stronger than you think. You’re more capable than you realize.

You may not be there yet, but you can get there. And if you’ll allow yourself to take the first step — you will.”

 

Amy Weatherly

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Amy Weatherly. The article originally appeared here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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