The best advice I got when I felt depressed
As a new mum, you are overwhelmed by the amount and variety of emotions.
But also by the amount and variety of advice that flows to you from every direction, aren’t you?
I lost count of the amount of advice I was given when I felt down… But I will never forget one in particular that made a huge difference in the way I felt and perhaps even saved me.
The boys were a few months old and I was having a depressive episode (of course, I didn’t know what it was at the time). I remember that daunting feeling of despair and the neverending tears that I could not stop from falling.
I felt trapped in my own life and didn’t see any point in anything.
Yaw took me and the boys out for a walk and I was describing to him how I felt. I cried and cried… and then cried again over the fact that I was crying and feeling down instead of enjoying being a mum.
Yaw was listening carefully and then said: “Of course, you’re feeling like this….” So he basically let me feel what I felt…
Trust me, the inner relief that followed was like a balm for the soul.
Instead of trying to cheer me up or “fix me”, he pointed out what I had to deal with on a daily basis. He made me understand that in my circumstances, it was basically impossible to feel happy. 12 hours a day on my own with two babies… No lift in the house which made it very difficult for me to leave home… Constant screaming, constant changing, and feeding… No time to go to the shop, or take a shower in peace…
When I thought of it that way, I suddenly sensed a genuine, compassionate understanding towards myself. Of course, I didn’t feel ok! How could I…?
I understood that in order to move toward happy motherhood, what I really needed to do was to stop being hard on myself and allow myself to feel what I needed to feel in the first place.
Every evening, I started to write down all my achievements from that day (and frankly, I was shocked by how many I found when I gave it a real thought!). I stopped focusing on how I ‘should’ feel, and instead appreciated everything I felt and did for my family on a daily basis. And I haven’t stopped since…
Honestly, it’s the best self-care routine I have ever tried. I found that we are too hard on ourselves. We don’t let ourselves feel what is natural… We try to avoid the inevitable. Sadness, crying, hopelessness, anger,… it’s all part of life, just like joy and happiness.
You wouldn’t beat yourself up for feeling happy, would you? So why would you for feeling anything else..?
So, if you are currently having a hard time adjusting to certain changes (which we all do at some point in life), I strongly suggest you try this method of accepting and appreciation.
From there, it is much easier to move toward joy.