Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ugly Gross Truths About Depression

There are a lot of ugly things no one tells you about depression.

I'm not talking about the emotional pains, but the physical gross things that go on -- or, rather, the physical gross things that occur because of what things don't go on.

When you're depressed, you don't don't practice a lot of self care in any sense of the term. You know you don't. You know it's a symptom. But for many mothers, you hide this even from yourself with the Super Mom mentality of putting your kids first.

No longer doing your hair? You tell yourself you just don't have the time for that stuff; frou-frou isn't a real priority. And maybe that's the truth... But it's a slippery slope that ends up with you not washing your hair either.

No longer taking a shower? You tell yourself -- and "brag" to others -- that you're just too-too busy! Some days you rationalize it as saving water, saving money, saving the environment. Some days you even flatter yourself that your skin is too delicate, too dry, so you skip days to protect it -- at least until you can afford that pricey lotion to combat the dryness from so many showers.  ...Only anytime you get a few extra bucks you don't buy yourself that lotion; you take the kids out to eat instead.  And you've got body lotions laying around, somewhere... You just don't care to put that much effort into finding them or applying them. You just don't care to put that much effort into yourself.

Oh, you take showers when you have to; to show up at work, appointments for the kids, etc. But if you work at or from home, or have a few days or weeks when the most you need to do is dash to the store, you let it -- yourself -- go.

I know all this because I do it.

I'm not proud of it. It makes me cringe to recognize and admit it. Even if I'm not alone.

Once I had a girlfriend; neither of us were acknowledging that we were depressed. We used to make ourselves feel better by competing over who had gone the longest without a shower, who had gone the longest in the same outfit, etc. Sad cries for help, really.

But if I'm going to get better, I have to admit my problems.

Even if those problems are the result of past traumas. Even if the problems are forgivable under the circumstances.

Because if I don't admit them, I can't address them; and if I can't address them, I'll be victim to them. And I can't afford to continue to be a victim.

I'm a mom. I have people to take care of. And that starts with me.

Like they tell you on planes, you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then assist the children.

Life is like a giant plane that way. We have to take care of ourselves first so that we will be around to care for our children and others.