What do you get when you combine an adult with ongoing mental health issues including long-term depression and anxiety with a child who has a long list of medical issues?
You get madness, that’s what you get.
Not the rushing out of the door 2 minutes before the school bus kind of madness, not even the middle of the school holidays kids bored and mum exhausted kind of madness.. it’s a whole new kind of madness, a constant, all-consuming madness.
An endless battle, a vicious circle.
The problem with depression is, every day brings a new challenge. The problem with having a child with multiple health issues is, everyday brings a new challenge.
I can wake up one morning, despite being fine for days on end beforehand, barely able to muster the motivation to get out of bed, I can burst into tears at the drop of a hat, I’ll forget to eat, I won’t want to see or speak to anyone.
The thing is, I have to, I have to get myself out of bed every morning, head downstairs and line up Theo’s medications, set out breakfast and prepare him mentally for what that day will bring, apply his creams and give him his inhalers all whilst trying to get his big sister ready for school and myself into the head space required to get through the day.
So many people say to me ‘you deserve a medal’ and ‘I don’t know how you do it’. The truth is, I don’t know how I do it either. I really don’t.
Some days are fine, absolutely fine, Theo’s fine, I’m fine, we’re all fine. I laugh, I smile, I embrace all the joy that motherhood brings. Other days I just want to scream, cry, run wherever my feet take me.
With those days comes the guilt, I have a lovely home, a wonderful husband and two beautiful children.. what reasons do I have to be depressed? I shouldn’t be feeling this way, it’s not fair on the children to have a Mummy who sometimes spends her days gritting her teeth watching the clock waiting for 10pm to come so she can climb back into bed.
My kids shouldn’t have to see Mummy cry, or lose her cool over a bit of over cooked pasta. But they do, and what I’ve realised lately is that it is okay. It’s okay to be sad, its okay to cry, its okay to not be okay about the hand you’ve been dealt.
Theo’s medical issues have been tough, really, really, tough. My depression and anxiety were a part of me long before the children came along, but having Theo somewhat magnified those issues. Unlike with Mia, my eldest, Theo came with a whole new load of anxieties.
In the early days when he couldn’t sleep for longer than 15 minutes at a time because of tummy ache or his eczema, the exhaustion made the world seem much darker than I already saw it. These days, it’s a little easier, but as Theo gets older he is developing more and more allergies and other medical issues. Each one catapulting me back into a place mentally where I hate being, I don’t have control of where or when I will go back to that place, except for when Theo gets a new diagnosis or has another reaction.
With or without medical issues, motherhood is tough, and I know full well I am not the only mother out there facing daily battles with their mind’s as well as their children’s health. But here we are at the end of another day, our children are happy, they have full tummies and smiley faces.
We did it, tomorrow is a new day, and whatever it brings for you, don’t for a single second doubt yourself as a mother. No matter what the day brings, the fact that you do whatever you can to get through makes you brave, makes you strong, and makes you wonderful.