Part Seven : Depression and Working Through It
At the beginning of each part in this series you will see this little note. I want to remind you that I am not trying to come from a negative space, or a judgmental - holier than thou - kind of place. I’m coming from the place of a mother who knows she has a lot to learn, that she knows she has a long way to go… and that she loves being a mother. I hope that you don’t take anything I say as anything more than my own experience and a heartfelt message. I pass no judgment, and appreciate all mothers and the styles they embrace. I hope to learn something on this journey and hear your stories as well.
I don’t like the word “depression” that implies that I am not satisfied, or that I am unhappy. The truth is, I have never met a mother who did not struggle with a little “depression” but that would not tell you - and show you - that she loved her kids and that they were the light of her life.
Often, I have written in my journal… “My world is so small and I feel much too deeply”. And maybe that sums up how I always feel. It’s not that I don’t like my world small… or that I want to feel any less deeply. But because things are this way, it’s easy to be heartbroken.
It’s easy to loose yourself. The parts of you, that you used to be. The parts of you that are independent of mothering and being a wife. It’s easy to forget that you are still, you. Single, simple, feeling, you. I struggle to maintain some inkling of that part of me… the part that is “Just Johnna”.
When I met my husband, any other friendships I had went on hold. I think that’s somewhat normal… And then when we found out we were having Lydia, I became enraptured with what that meant. I was young, and got my feelings hurt easily. I was nervous, unsure. Then we had Rooster 2 years later and not even 2 years after that, we had Layla. I think I can count on one hand the times I ventured out to do something that didn’t involve at least one member of my family. They are my security blanket. The world is scary without them there to comfort me.
I’ve never been good at having friends. Not that I don’t love the people in my life, outside of family, that have been there for me. I just don’t know how to balance it. And I struggle with overwhelming guilt when I have a “good time” and my little family isn’t there. Also, I find myself to be a bit of an -- umm -- prude. I guess. I don’t drink and I don’t think drinking or bars or a club scene is “fun”. I don’t like to shop - unless it’s for some cute little vintage jars or a pretty sundress for the girls. I like to spend my “me” time being quiet and I am no longer good at opening up to people. At least not people who are standing in front of me.
Sometimes I feel like, without my family, I would be - literally - nothing. That everything I am is so bound to them, that one day, when they are all in school and John is at work, and I have nothing to do for any of them, I will loose myself even further.
But then, my world is small, and I do feel much too deeply.
In an effort to embrace the part of me that is just me and reclaim some of my oomph, I decided to start writing again. To write poetry and songs that both reflect being a mother, and also focus on the things I love. I decided to embrace my love for photography and expand out -- not just take photos of my babies, but of the beautiful world we live in. I decided that I would let go of not fitting in… and find a place where I did. And I am not ashamed to say that I found that online. I found a whole group of people who are in the same place I am… and that enjoy the same things I do, love their families and still make time to be themselves.
Sometimes, I still get down, I still get heart-broken… but taking the steps to find “Johnna” -- made me realize that I am going to be all right. And that I can always make it through the day.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and hear your advice and insight… Us mothers need to come together and embrace our similarities and our differences so that we can be united and more supportive. I’ll encourage you to share here, in the comments or blog about it and share the link. Thanks for taking the time to read. It means so much
Thank you for taking this journey with me, and listening to me ramble on about all this… it felt good, to put it all out there and to have the support of all of you.