It's morning. The kids are awake. The house is alive again, but you are not. You didn't sleep. Your body aches. Your head hurts. Your mind races. Just another day.
The children filter in and out of the room, chattering and clamoring for their school supplies. "What's for breakfast?" "Have you seen my shoes?" "Are you coming to my game?" You shut the door. The noise is hurting your ears. Just another day.
Your body aches. Your head hurts. Your mind races. Just another day.
Silence fills the house. The children are off to school. You stare out the window. You feel the void. You hate yourself for being sad. More hurtful words echo in your head. Just another day.
One child has returned home. Now the rest. The house fills with energy and laughter. But you're an outsider. Why can't you feel that happy? What is wrong with your smile? Where do they find it? Who really cares? So you crawl back in the room—into the darkness. Just another day.
The children are now asleep. Night has come. Another day wasted. Your mind is swirling. You are caught in a vicious circle of despair, self-disgust, and apathy. Why can't I snap out of it? Why can't I participate? Why am I a bad parent? Why me? What can I do? Maybe tomorrow will be different. Maybe it won't be just another day.
Being a parent is already stressful enough without depression. But the two combined can be a cocktail for disaster. With depression, it's tough to get up each morning with a positive mindset. How do you get your kids out of bed and motivate them for the day if you can barely do the same for yourself?
The depressed brain doesn't fire up always enthusiastically at the break of day. Some of us need an added boost to get things going. But sometimes, a few small steps can make a big difference. Nourish your brain by taking a short walk in the morning (or consider walking in the evening if your mornings are too hectic). Taking walks increases your heart rate and brings oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to your brain (1).
You may also benefit from daily guided meditations geared towards depression and anxiety. Also, consider adding some good-quality supplements to your routine, such as Magnesium and Vitamin B12, which are great additions on your path to wellness.
The depressed brain doesn't fire up always enthusiastically at the break of day. Some of us need an added boost to get things going.
Children will always need our attention, but we can't give them our energy if we have nothing left to give. Even small changes in our daily routine can help set us on the path to being active and energetic parents. If you're a parent and you're feeling depressed, don't wait around for things to get better on their own. Take action and ask for help!