‘I had everything: 2 healthy boys, a brand new baby girl, a husband, a room full of baby gifts. I was unbelievably grateful. I was unbelievably satisfied. But I wasn’t happy.’

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“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.

I pushed my friends away. I snapped at my husband. I couldn’t quite seem to connect with my kids. Things that had come so easily before started looking like rugged and rough snowy-topped mountains.

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 always disappointing someone, and I was fighting with everything I had to stay afloat. I hadn’t truly laughed in… well, a while. I’d faked it plenty of times, but that sincere, hardy, from-my-belly, tears in my eyes laugh — I’d forgotten what that felt like.

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 knew this wasn’t normal. I knew this wasn’t typical. I knew this wasn’t who I truly was, or who I 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 get it back.

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.

And suddenly, letting go and letting my feelings and my confessions come flooding out of my mouth to my husband was like coming out of the water.

Letting him in on my pain was like throwing away some 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 trying to control and allowing him to 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.

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 unashamedly 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 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. 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 standing up and deciding to take 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.

And guess what? In those moments when you feel weak, there is a massive tribe of women waiting and wanting and willing to lift you up.”

Woman who tells mother's that they are stronger that they think pose in selfie
Amy Weatherly

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

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