Have you ever had one of those days where you call your kid out from school simply because he has no clean pants? If the answer is yes, then you may be a little bit like me. I’m talking about being overwhelmed. It’s something that happens to a lot of us at some point. However, people with severe depression, anxiety, or other mental disorders often get overwhelmed more than the average bear. Everyday is a daunting disaster just waiting to happen. We forget things, like doing our dishes, washing our laundry, brushing our teeth, and grocery shopping. This leaves us with mountains and mountains of tasks to do that should have been done yesterday, the day before, the week before or even longer. And it’s hella overwhelming.
Unfortunately, this is not a post full of tips of how to get over this. This is just a post about my personal experience and hopefully it will bring to light some things you might not have known. For the purpose of this post I’m just going to focus on depression. When you are depressed, your mind is in a fog all the time. You lack energy, and motivation to do anything. Time slips by effortlessly, and you miss most of it because you just can’t focus. It’s a prison of the mind, really. Sometimes you forget to take your meds, and sometimes you remember. Did you take a shower today? Who knows? It’s hard to think back and remember what happened during the day. It’s hit and miss, like a game of Battleship.
Today, I kept my son home from school because he does not have any clean pants. So he is now sitting with me at the laundromat in dirty pants waiting for our laundry to be done. I’m still trying to come up with an excuse. I can’t just tell the school, “Oh, I accidentally neglected the laundry for the last few days and now Lucien doesn’t have any pants to wear to school, so I’m keeping him home”. But what else can I say? Sometimes I think I need an IEP just as bad as my son does. They should understand that I’m severely depressed and forgive me for my shortcomings. But that’s not realistic. I’m an adult after all, and adults are on top of these things. Right? Well the answer is no, not all adults.
You see, I was raised in a cult. Nobody ever showed me how to be an adult, nobody ever taught me how to keep track of things like daily tasks, chores, etc. Nobody ever paid attention to my medical needs or taught me how to do so either. I’ve been socially stunted and traumatized by this whole thing, I never even realized it until recently. So I’m still processing some things right now. I have been depressed as long as I can remember, even as a little girl. I never learned how to function as an adult, and I don’t see anybody coming to teach me now. I have the attention span of a chicken nugget and I live in the clouds. I’m taking eight different psych meds at the moment, but none of them seem to be doing any good. Not only is this frustrating, but I feel like it’s a waste of my time and perhaps I’ve been misdiagnosed and treated the wrong way for most of my life.
As a parent, I am okay. I mess up a lot, but I also do some things that are really good I think. The truth is, it is extremely difficult for me to live and function without another adult there to help me along. I’m not talking about a romantic relationship; not at all, rather I’m talking about somebody to kind of help me remember to do those things that I forget to do on a regular basis, like cook and clean and engage with my son in a fun, happy manner. I may be spilling too many beans here, but this is the truth and I’m all about it.
I’ve had my sisters living with me off and on for some years, and when I am with them, that’s when I do a good job. They keep me on track and help me to boost my own confidence by achieving small but important goals. They help teach me by example, I am much more successful in my own life and as a parent when I have the influence of my sisters there with me. There’s nothing like a beloved sibling. This is an important point. People with depression or other mental disorders need a security net. They need a support system full of people who know and understand them. It’s great to have friends, but sometimes friends just aren’t cutting it.
I will take my son to school tomorrow. But for right now, I’m just going to get through the ordeal of the laundromat and then go feed him breakfast, which I forgot to do before we came. At least I showered today, and that’s an accomplishment. I hope you all have a great day today, and that you all have pants to wear. Until next time,