As an adolescent I had no time to be depressed. I used every opportunity I felt weepy to cry to God. No wasted tears. I didn’t rebel. I spent ample time reading and introspecting. My husband makes fun of me for being a perfect child. Laugh all you want. But my demon was fear. Most adults outside my family were not nice. My primary school teacher led with fear.
My grandma’s motto was “keep busy to keep the darkness at bay.”
I’m not entitled, selfish or lazy. But as I adopted a second time, whatever identity boundaries I had left, they were trampled and erased. I started experiencing feelings of anger because I felt I don’t belong to myself anymore. And others’ needs trumped my needs.
A sense of terror engulfed me as I felt needed excessively. I kept giving and it was never enough. It was futile to hope for a finish line. As a mom, I realized my duty will never end. Survival became my goal. But survival is not joyful.
Post adoption depression is closely related to postpartum depression. It’s not the same, as hormones are not directly affected and most adoptive moms don’t nurse their babies (some had this privilege of bonding with newborns). But babies as well as older adopted children are hungry for physical closeness, and the emotional rollercoaster of adopted children who suffer from real traumatic separation anxiety, a mom is the buffer that keeps absorbing those emotions.
I also overthink things. And while there is a balance in thinking parenting over, I know I’ve crossed the line of worrying too much about my giving too much yet too little to my kids.
I don’t want to belittle depression. Who is able to quantify depression. Or is there a depression competition between moms?
I had a privilege to talk to mom about depression and understand bits and pieces about it. I helps me extend grace to my own husband and friends who struggle with it. It’s easier to recognize the signs in others, but not so within ourselves. But it helps me to acknowledge my circumstances and feelings and label them more or less appropriately.
When keeping busy doesn’t keep the darknesses at bay. Because business led to extreme exhaustion.
When I want to run away. Hide my face. Hide my heart. When I burst into tears out of the blue. I’m responsible and committed, and this too shall pass. At a logical level I am aware of all my blessings and I’m grateful for my family and for being able to adopt our wonderful daughters. I just need some time away from all the needs and calling of my name.
I have all the reasons to be happy and yet I’m irritable or depressed. It’s not logical. But was depression ever logical?