I had something occur to me the other day. An article came up on my Facebook timeline; differences between being depressed and sad. It reminded me of everything I had gone through within the last 10 years or so.
I was married for 10 years. Marriage is supposed to be happy and loving; mine was not. My husband turned out to be paranoid, jealous, narcissistic and good at gaslighting. We always argued, little things turned into big things, and got twisted to look like it was my fault, whatever it was. Jealousy was a major issue. I had my own home daycare and was a web designer; if I had male parents/clients to the house, I was always being watched, then accusations or assumptions after they left. The way I was being treated, verbally and mentally, was exactly how my father treated my mother. My mother had told me once that I married my father. I tried ending the marriage 3 times but it never worked, always convinced to stay. If not enough money was coming in, I would pick up an application for a job outside the house and that never happened because I would be told everything will be okay. Years later he told me I’d be going out to work and cheating on him.
I believe I had a small psychotic episode 6 years into the marriage and my daughter was 4 years old. I had 5 kids in my daycare, we were in the basement where the daycare area was and I remember walking down the hallway to the kitchen. When you’re at one end of the hallway, you can see the laundry room at the other end. There was a 2 or 3-foot doll standing up against the wall, facing the hallway. Every time I’d pass, I swear the eyes on the doll were moving and watching every move I made. To make sure I wasn’t seeing things, I would pass the hall the other direction and sure enough the doll was looking right at me. I was so scared. I called my mother and told her what happened. She’d tell me to go back to the kids and not worry about it. One of the kids were going to the washroom to wash their hands and I went with them to help. The washroom is in the middle of the hall, close to the laundry room. I was still on the phone and this doll was still watching me. I started freaking out, crying and screaming, and my mother was getting very worried about me at this point. This is when she kept emphasizing to me I needed to get out of the marriage. The doll was put into the storage room and is still there to this day.
I was feeling trapped and didn’t know what to do. Eventually I didn’t care anymore. I had no feelings towards him, I stopped talking to him after a while, only when I had to. I also stopped caring about how I looked or what I wore. I could feel myself disappearing. After 10 years, I couldn’t take it anymore, I felt like just a body shell moving around the house, nothing else, I was just there. I had a breakdown and I knew this was it, I told my husband it was over for good.
Shortly after my ex and I separated, a friend of mine moved in to help me with the rent. Within that year, I was constantly crying for no reason, I really didn’t care if I left the house, I had my daycare and web design businesses and that kept me busy. A new neighbour moved in and we became friends. She was nice and good to have when I needed a friend; go for coffee, shopping etc. It was okay in the end until I noticed we were going for coffee every day, she was always expecting me to drop everything and spend time with her. Eventually it got too much; she always talked about her issues, her gossip, not once did she ask how I was, how things were going. Not much time was “allowed” for me to work, as she didn’t believe I was working. I could feel myself weighted down, not happy, tired and I felt a breakdown coming again. I was losing clients because she expected me to spend all my time with her. Again, I didn’t care. I eventually ended the friendship. I also had a daycare family who was with me for 6 years and her daughter was basically family; had her 7 days a week, 8 to 10 hours a day. This was getting a bit much; we had no life, our life revolved around her schedule, we couldn’t go anywhere and if we did, her daughter came with us, like Mother’s Day with my mother. We had an issue with her where we couldn’t see any resolution, I ended up telling the mother I couldn’t watch her daughter anymore.
4 years later, I had my eyes opened. I have eliminated all the negativity in my life. For years, I was extremely stressed emotionally, by many people, and was depressed. I watched TV commercials about depression, I’ve seen my boyfriend live with his depression without medication and never thought once that I was living with depression. How could I? I had daycare kids and my daughter to take care of, I had a web design business to run, I was talking to my family and clients and being a carer/support for my boyfriend. I was so busy with everything, I wasn’t aware of it, until now. I’m in a good place now; a great relationship, I’m happy, I feel free, happy with work and am a mental health advocate helping many others who are living through what I did.
I am so grateful to have the support system I do. I was in denial of my depression because it didn’t sound like the depression symptoms you hear and read about. Not everyone’s depression is the same; some symptoms are subtle and some are severe. My advice is to have a good support system; family, friends, your doctor etc. You may not feel like talking about what you’re going through, but trust me, it is the best thing you can do. My support system was telling me I need to eliminate the negative people, they were bringing me down. I struggled with it but I did before it got too late. It may not feel good at the time but it needs to be done and is for the best.