Like snow enveloping the yard during a blizzard, so too can depression fill your mind and soul before you realize how treacherous it can be. Actually my depression was more of a slow, steady flurry instead of a wild blizzard. Little wisps of sadness snuck in and took up residence to where it became a familiar friend instead of the foe that it really is. It can be so sneaky that it can mask as tiredness, busyness, weight gain or others. For me, I thought I was just a busy, tired mother of a lot of children, which was true, but it was more than that.
Stay-at-home moms, and homeschooling moms in particular can be prone to depression because of the sheer amount of energy and work it takes to accomplish this task. If it isn’t recognized and managed, it can do a lot of harm. Depression is a liar and can make mothers believe things that simply aren’t true about themselves. For me, depression told me that I was doing a horrible job as a mother and led me down the searching for the best way trail and straight to the comparison trap.
So, how can mothers tell if they are depressed or just worn out? The first thing I always recommend is to get a check up with your doctor as it is not always easy to identify depression on your own. But here are a few things you can ask yourself that I found were true for me.
1. Lack of motivation. This was a big one for me. I took this symptom as being tired. I just didn’t want to get out of bed each morning and face another day. But I did. It was sheer grace that kept me going, but I thought I was just tired.
2. Difficulty making decisions and concentrating. Oh, this was another biggy for me. Again, I blamed it on being tired. I had the worst time helping my children with higher math problems, not because I couldn’t do them but because I had a hard time focusing on the problem at hand. Decision making became unbearable to me because I was constantly worried whether I was doing a good job. I was locked in the fear that I would make the wrong choice so I waffled. A lot.
3. Low self-esteem. Like I said earlier, depression lies to us. It will magnify your short comings, making you believe there are problems when there are none. Moms are usually their own worst critic, but moms suffering with depression can be brutal on themselves.
4. Feeling hopeless and helpless. This one goes with the previous one. Usually we are critical of ourselves which leaves us feeling hopeless.
5. Changes in eating or sleeping habits. This was hard for me to distinguish because I was always waking with a nursing infant, and I ate on the run.
If any of these ring a bell or you just suspect you might be depressed, get help. Depression is manageable and doesn’t have to knock you off your feet until you can no longer function. Do it for your family and yourself. You deserve it.