When I was in college I was sidelined by depression. I don’t know what adjective to use in front of “depression”–was it mild, moderate, serious? because I don’t know what it’s like to be in other people’s skins. I didn’t even think of it as depression. I just knew I was very very unhappy, and felt like I would probably be unhappy forever, and the only thing that really mattered was relationships with other people which was too bad because I was a total loser at friendships and romance (this thought despite having a wonderful boyfriend and lots of friends:confused: ), and that if I wasn’t such a lazy person I would figure out how to solve world hunger, pollution, poverty, child abuse and all other ills of humanity, but I was lazy AND incompetent and therefore everything wrong with the world was my fault. I did think about suicide, but it was never a serious possibility.
I dropped out of college midsemester and lived with my parents and was at a total loss. I went back to college in the fall because I couldn’t think of what else to do. I was however determined to at least graduate from college.
I tried seeing one of the college counselors but after each session I felt worse than before and totally unable to function, so I stopped. This was just a teeny bit before Prozac sprang onto the scene.
By dint of numerous self-help books and introspection I really turned it around and learned to largely be the mistress of my mood. My first child died at the age of four months (four years ago) and although I certainly went through normal grieving, I did not become incapacitated or lose the ability to have fun, and have had two more children.
I had taken my survival of my child’s death to be the ultimate proof that I had beaten depression.
Now, I’m wondering, could I still be depressed, just mildly so? Or is this just life as a stay-at-home parent? My house is always messy. I always feel overwhelmed. I consider showering and having my kids’ high chair trays clean before I go to bed major accomplishments and have largely given up any goals (to learn Spanish, to volunteer, for example.) I rarely make a real dinner for my family-we live on take-out and sandwiches, despite what feels like the constant attempt to cook. I depend heavily on food treats (chocolate, chips) to “get me through the day,” the way, I think, a smoker depends on cigarettes.
I feel happy most of the time, but could the other feelings of overwhelm and incompetence be helped by therapy or medication? Or are my expectations (of being able to cook, have a tidy home, and some hobbies) unreasonable?