You are not good enough. You failed. You are the worst mother ever. What a horrible wife. Why do you even try. No one even cares. No one understands. It’s never going to get better. The darkness will always consume me. I can’t do this. You need to do more. It’s your fault. Your not trying hard enough. You deserve this pain. You never do anything right. You are only a burden. You have nothing to offer anyone.
Lies. Lies. Lies. They are always circling around my head. It’s messy trying to sort out the lies. My mind is battling itself. A lot of the time I don’t know what I actually feel and think. The truth and lies are intertwined. Untangling is a rigorous task.
Late last year I made a promise to myself to be completely honest. That is what drove me to start writing this blog and sharing it. I want to first be honest with myself. And then be able to share this honesty with my loved ones and others.
Truth: being honest is scary
Truth: being honest has positive and negative consequences
Truth: being honest is beyond hard
Truth: being honest becomes a habit and grows into your character
Truth: being honest heals
My truth: My name is Lela Belus. I am a wife. I am a mother of two. I struggle with mental illness. I suffer from clinical depression.
I’m so mad. Angry. Ticked off. No. It’s more. Bigger. Deeper. Rage. My body and mind are filled with rage.
I feel the control slipping out of my hands. I can’t hold on any longer. My body is tense. Stiff. My hands. They are no longer mine. A piercing scream escapes me. My insides are going to explode and it’s all going to come out.
It starts small. There is trash on the floor. The trash can is full. One kid is clinging to my leg. The toys are scattered. My stomach is growling. Pants! Where are my pants! There are no clean clothes! I can’t even find a dirty pair. Now I hear more crying and whining. And then it happens…I can’t take it anymore. Everything around me heats up my blood. Fire. My body and mind are on fire. I just want to make it stop. I want to feel peace. I don’t t want to yell. I don’t t want to cause harm. So I search for a release. Anything to make it better. To take it away.
In the past I have found harmful ways to get that release. Now I’m focusing on healthier options. 5 deep breaths in a dark quiet room. The sound of rushing water. Cold water over my face. A quick step outside. A silent prayer. It doesn’t always pull me out of the rage but it does quiet it for a short time. I’m working to live my life with less and less rage. I’m trying to not suppress it but to face it. Rage is just one of the many parts to the ugly beast of depression. Running from it and burying it down deep only add fuel to the fire- causing the eruption to be even bigger when it starts to leak out. Anger is not a bad emotion. Feeling it does make me a bad person. Learning to face anger in healthy ways is empowering. It allows me to have some control. Dealing with my anger in healthy ways can bring more peace and calm into my life. So here’s to rage and facing it head on.
She was only a few weeks old. It was a snowy winter. My body was past exhaustion. Sleep was always on my mind. I knew having a second child would be hard. I had experienced the “baby blues” in the few weeks after birth before. But what happened one winter day was so terribly horrifying that I knew it was not categorized as baby blues.
It took all my energy to bundle up the kids that day and get out the door. I thought some fresh air might ease my feelings. Maybe a walk would be enough to give me a little lift is what I thought. We walked down the block- my son trodding along in his boots. I had my daughter wrapped in a blanket pulled close to my chest.
We walked a block from our house to the river. The sound of the water has always been so soothing. I stood on the bridge and gazed at the water below. Then it happened. The most terrifying thought came into my mind. “Drop her”. My mind then played out the entire scene in my mind. I can still see the images that flashed across my mind. After this brief moment I took my kids back to the house shaking in remorse. I was horrified that my mind had those thoughts. I felt betrayed by myself and so guilty. How could I ever think that? What kind of mother was I? Didn’t I love my baby so much? How could something so dark be inside me?
It was a few days after this happened that I got up the courage to ask my husband to call the doctor for me. It was about 6 weeks after giving birth. I went into the doctor and it was confirmed that I had postpartum depression. I was prescribed medication and sent on my way.
I kept my bridge experience to myself- I tried to burry it deep inside myself. A few times it almost surfaced but I couldn’t let it out.
After my 5 day stay at the access center I went home to stay with my parents for a few weeks. While there I reached out to a friend that was a therapist. I truly believe that he was inspired to say specific words to me. As we talked he asked me what kind of things surfaced for me during my dark times. I believe he was prompted to ask if I had ever had thought of harming my children. The way he phased it allowed me the courage to let it out. What came next was so healing.
He let me know that people have these thoughts. And just because they enter my mind does not mean it is something I desire. It is not who I am. It does not make me a bad person or a bad mother. Those words brought me so much peace. Being a good mother for my children is one of the things I care most about. Failing at that would crush me.
That day, that small moment in time does not define me. It is not who I am. It is not what I desire. And now I can let it go. Say goodbye. Accept that the images came and went. I can free myself from them.