My dearest children,
I know you see me. I know that you see Mommy take her medication every morning. You don’t really know why but you know it keeps Mommy healthy.
I know you have seen me cry. Huge, wet tears that pour down my face. You don’t really know why.
I know you see Mommy get angry. Frustrated and irritated. Swiftly and oftentimes for no reason. You don’t really know why.
I know you see me smile but it doesn’t reach my eyes. You don’t really know why.
My sweet children, Mommy has depression. I have lived with this disease long before you were ever born. You didn’t do this. No one did. It is just a part of my chemical makeup. Just part of who I am. If I try to explain to you what is going on, I know you wouldn’t understand. You are so young. Even I have trouble understanding what is happening to Mommy.
I want you to know this . . .
There is a good chance you will have depression or anxiety. I wish I could change it so you won’t. But that isn’t how life is. If and when the darkness sneaks in, I will be here. Next to you. Walking alongside you, holding your hand.
When the heavy, black fog surrounds you, making the days seems unbearable, I will show you how to keep going. I am your light amid the dark. When the thoughts of not living pop up and you don’t understand why because you do not want to die, I will remind you this is the disease talking. Not you. When you feel worthless and hopeless, I will prove to you that your life is worthy. It is worthy of living.
When fear consumes your days, I will breathe with you. Slowly. Deeply. Fully. When the weight of the world falls on your shoulders, I will help lessen the load. When society tells you to get over it, just be happy, and snap out of it, I will be angry, too. When others say Jesus is the answer, I will tell you He is. And Jesus is providing for you in many ways. Medications and therapy are His way of giving you what you need to battle the darkness.
When you can’t take another step forward, I will carry you. I will lift you up and take the next step for you. I know it takes great strength to live when you are barely alive. When the demons surface, because they always do, I will fight shoulder to shoulder with you. They will not win. They cannot survive when you have an army battling around you.
How do I know this? Because Mommy has depression. I do these things every day. I know of the light. I feel it and acknowledge it. It shines bright. For you. For me. I wake every morning and tackle the darkness. For you. So you have your mommy next to you. To laugh with. To play with. To love with. To be with. I summon all the courage and strength I have. For you. I keep going. For you. For me.
Because one day you may have depression, I am paving a new way. I am speaking out. I am standing up. I am telling the world I am not less of a person because of my depression. I am breaking the stigma around mental illness. I am standing tall and proud. I am doing this for you. For when you are drowning in the darkness, shame is the last thing you will have to fight.
Right now, you don’t really know why. One day you will. On that day, you will understand. And you will know you will get though. You will live. You will conqueror and defeat mental illness. You will live with the darkness knowing the light is coming. How the light ALWAYS comes. You will know that depression does not make you weak. Depression does not make you broken. Depression does not define you. You are worthy. You are enough. You are strong. You are loved.
You will know this because you saw me.
You will live, survive, thrive, love, prevail, amaze, persevere, inspire, believe, hope, and most of all you will be OK.
Because mommy has depression and she is, too.