I've heard mothers say that when they're depressed, their children (and sometimes also partners) are their salvation. Because children are so precious. Their children and partners can still make these depressed mothers smile, even if it's only for a moment.
This is not my experience.
Over the weekend, I felt myself sliding into depression, and as far as I could tell, Rob and Westley were the reason. As life shifted from feeling basically okay to oppressive and awful, looking at my partner and child, or just hearing their voices, made things worse. This was their fault, and if they weren't here, I would be fine. By yesterday afternoon, I was especially angry with Westley for getting in the way of my suicide fantasy.
"I would jump off the Aurora Bridge, but I'd have to find someone to come watch the kid while I did it," I told Rob last night. "Now that you're home—" I couldn't stop myself from laughing then.
He narrowed his eyes. "I guess that's funny..."
I think it's kind of wonderfully twisted, what my mind comes up with when depressed. I'm fascinated and entertained by the mental gymnastics, by what seems logical, what makes sense.
On Monday, I was so physically and emotionally tired that I was sure I couldn't drive. I was truly afraid to get in the car and try to go anywhere with Westley, because I was certain my eyes would junk out on me and I would crash horribly. I tried to compensate for being a useless mother by working hard at my housewife "job." Somehow, this seemed like the right thing to do. I cleaned out cupboards, moved furniture, reorganized part of the garage, weeded. I did much more bending and stretching than a pregnant person with chronic pain should be doing. By the end of the day, my back hurt so badly that even the smallest movement was difficult.
When Rob woke me up the next morning, yesterday morning, and I staggered out of bed exhausted and in pain, I hit a wall. I actually pulled back my arm and slammed my hand into the side of the kitchen. I hated the house and everyone in it, and this wall-hitting was the only reasonable course of action.
What's most fascinating, however, is that I feel ever-so-slightly better today, and nothing has changed. When Westley came to say goodnight to me last night and I hugged and kissed him, I hated him slightly less, but it's hard to hate him when he's pajama-clad and off to bed and very chipper about the whole process. I barely slept last night, curled on the daybed with all the wrong pillows. I woke up to the sound of the kitty meowing, and then Rob and Westley talking about the baby. (Westley wants to make sure she has a name "before she gets here.") I still didn't want to engage with any of them, but the loathing was not nearly at yesterday's levels.
My partner and child, on whom I tend to blame my depression, have absolutely nothing to do with it. I have absolutely nothing to do with it. It's truly all in my head. My mental state can spiral downward and then lift itself back up without any help from me. It's like digestion. I do nothing conscious about it, but the process keeps going. I can shift from feeling mildly suicidal and hating everyone to feeling somewhat better about the world and my situation in it, all without so much as a good night's sleep.