Depression and anxiety are real.

They aren’t physical, but you can see them if you look close enough.

Depression is the dirty dishes left in the sink for far too long because lack of motivation to tackle them.

Depression is her silence. It’s how she doesn’t answer texts and calls from her friends and family because she feels like everyone hates her.

RELATED: My Anxiety Makes Me Feel Like I Fail Over and Over Again

Depression is her trying so hard.

It’s her lack of genuine smiles, laughs, and warmth even for the things that usually make her smile, like baby kisses and hugs.

Anxiety is the way she follows her kids around. And the way she breathes in heavily and grabs her stomach when they fall as if she’s catching her heart in her stomach.

Anxiety is in her exhaustion and the heaviness of her eyelids. It’s how her body needs to rest, but her mind keeps moving. The way she busies herself preparing everything for tomorrow and can’t seem to get over everything that happened today.

Anxiety is her wanting to contribute to the conversation but holding back. Because maybe her joke is stupid. Maybe she said that awkwardly. And maybe they will roll their eyes and talk about her as she walks away.

Anxiety and depression are a heart full of doubt.

But the one thing she never doubts is the love she has for her children. Her children pull her back into this world and help her fight.

Mothers are so busy taking care of others that the day-to-day becomes a perfectly choreographed dance. And she can go unnoticed.

RELATED: To the Woman Who Saved Me From Drowning

Because she has no choice but to drag herself out of bed.

Because she hugs her kids and sings no matter what the day brings.

Because she’s so incredibly strong.

So you’ll never know the battle she’s fighting unless you take a closer look.

I challenge you to look.

And to the mama struggling, you’re deeply loved, and your family notices you. Maybe not every detail of your day and the inner workings of your mind, but they’d be lost without you.

And I know that because their love for you is very visible.

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page

Dani Sherman-Lazar

Dani Sherman-Lazar is an eating disorder advocate, Vice President of a transportation company, and a mother to three daughters. Follow her on her blog Living a Full Life After ED and like it on Facebook. Her book Living Full: Winning My Battle with Eating Disorders is available on Amazon.