A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. I had always had issues with depression, even attempting suicide a couple of times.
I struggled with post natal depression after the birth of both of my daughters and trying to be a good mum while hating myself on the inside has been a struggle.
I no longer have those issues, but it has taken a lot of time, therapy and support. I am now a happy, positive, single mum and while I still struggle with parenting at times, I learned things along the way to help with the depression and no longer struggle with that.
- Time out for yourself: This is a must. It might not always be easy to do, but you need time for yourself, it might be to give yourself a manicure, have a relaxing bath or go to coffee with friends. As much as you love your family, you can get lost in being a mum and feel like you lose yourself, which makes the depression worse.
- Get organised: When you are depressed it is hard to stick to a schedule or keep on top of things, but if you get organised it makes your life easier and run smoother. Create a menu plan, do the groceries based on your menu plan so you know what you are having for dinner and don’t need to think about it, everything is there and ready. Plus this way your partner can help out because he knows what’s on the menu too.
- De-clutter: If you don’t use it, need it or love it, get rid of it. Clutter weighs you down, makes more mess and makes you feel worse. Clear it out, starting with just a drawer here and there. Don’t try to tackle everything at once. Doing this will enable you to see what the family really needs too.
- Shower, hair, make-up: Shower, daily! As basic as it sounds, when we are depressed we tend to neglect ourselves. At the very least have a shower, brush your hair and if you wear make up put some on. Doing this small routine every morning ensures you never feel gross if someone pops by.
- Attitude of gratitude: This goes for the whole family. To start with, each day I kept a gratitude journal and wrote a minimum of one thing I was grateful for that day. Growing up, my parents made us say what we were each grateful for every night after dinner. While I hated doing it as a teen, it did teach us to be more grateful and some very interesting discussions happened within the family because of things some of us were grateful for. Being grateful for each other and things we do for each other helps foster close family relationships.
- Journal and diary: Keep a journal to write down your feelings, things that happened during the day, how you coped and things like that. Keep a diary to record all appointments, events and things you need to do. It goes hand in hand with tip2 – get organised.
- Support network: This is crucial not only for your own sanity, having people to talk to about anything and everything, but also people you can rely on if something happens or you need to go somewhere without the kids or your sick and the family needs to be fed. A support network of family and friends can be life saving. If you don’t have any around start going to mothers groups and things to meet new people.
- Counselling: You might not feel like you need it, but if you have depression, counselling is fantastic. It is time out for you and you can express how you feel in a safe environment.
Many people suffer depression and it can be debilitating. There are things you can do to help manage the family and depression, never be too afraid to ask for help.
Written by Kylie Ofiu – author of 365 Ways To Make Money, speaker, writer, blogger and home finance mentor.