Having MDD while being an MOM
As long as I can remember people wanted to label me with depression. Anyone from teachers to family friends because I was not like my siblings. I am quite shy and introverted compared to my very extroverted siblings and preferred to keep to myself. Now you may wonder why does this mean you’re depressed? It doesn’t but it is a sign.
I can remember at the age of five I would cry because I was in school and I didn’t want to be. However, I didn’t want to go home because my home was brand new to me. I have spent the first four years of my life with a foster family until my father earned his custody back for me. So going home wasn’t an option because it didn’t feel like a home. A new school and my new (biological) family was chalked up to my apprehension of kindergarten. Yet my teacher expressed concerns about how I reacted to things and how I didn’t interact with anyone except my notebook but nonetheless it was shoved to the back of everyone’s mind. Flash forward to the summer after kindergarten where I developed an eating disorder. I was only five years old but I refused to eat and when I did my body rejected it. I had lost so much weight I didn’t look like me anymore. To this day I cannot smell or look at Kellogg’s Apple Jacks without gagging. This was another sign that was shoved into a box that my father refused to acknowledge.
As I got older, physicians and teachers expressed to my father I may suffer from depression. However, in a Latinx household, depression is not a thing, I had nothing to be depressed about. I had a roof over my head, food in the house and a family. However that is not how it works, depression can be formed for many reasons. Mine was from trauma since birth, abusive household, self-deprecation, wrapped inside of me. I suffered so long until this year, until 27 years later when my sanity hand enough.
Balancing work, graduate school, relationships, and motherhood was my breaking point. I crashed into my deepest depression of refusal to eat, work or get out of my burrito. That was me wrapped into a big comforter and scrolling aimless on my phone. Doing my burrito breakdowns was my escape but when you become a mom? It had its limitations.
My daughter didn’t allow me to be in a burrito which was good but oh so hard. Trying my hardest to be the best parent despite the lack of role models was sparse. I didn’t have a good relationship with either of my parents and here I was with a three-year-old staring at her mother with confusion. She didn’t understand why mommy wanted to sleep rather than play with barbies. She didn’t understand that sometimes mommy just didn’t want to cook but forced through just so she could eat something. I ought through the bouts to suffer more and more. Being a parent is hard, being a parent with a mental illness … was almost impossible. For the first time in my life, I was honest with my doctor and I was diagnosed with Major Depression Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Which led to the trial and error of antidepressants and anxiety medications. Each month my milligrams doubled and I cried with each increase. I was on fucking antidepressants and I was still broken. It didn’t fix me, and it was something I confessed to my therapist. That I felt like a failure, that I was failing my daughter even though I tried every day but the sadness stood deep in my essence. I was told that getting through this was not going to be a quick process that I was going to have this for the rest of my life.
Yet she gave me some valuable insight. She explained that I had been surviving for my daughter and myself for three years. Now I had a toolkit to help me with medication and verbal therapy, that yes MDD was for life, I would get better but it would still be there. Just like being a Mom, the two although contrasting, was the same and the same way I was kicking ass trying to be the best mom, I had to be the best me.
So for all my mommas out there suffering just know … we are still kickass Queens that will prosper through this.
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