Self-Loathing & Self-Forgiveness As A Mentally Ill Parent
I'm a bad mom today. Terrible, actually. I'm snapping at my children, pushing them away. I don't want to see them or hear them. I wish they would just go away.
I am ashamed of my attitudes and my behaviour, but I don't know how to change it. I can't see a positive way out of this. My self-loathing sinks me deeper into the depression that is consuming me and cutting me off from everyone else.
I am a failure. I am the worst mom ever. This self-talk fuels the cycle of helplessness and hopelessness. My instructions to my children sound hollow, like I don't even believe what I'm saying. “Play nicely!” “Stop saying that to your sister!” “Leave each other alone!” I sound like a terrible parent-- like I'm one of those parents that I used to roll my eyes at. I cringe and recoil when my children approach me. This is hell.
It is especially horrible since I have traveled this road before. I've been here; I've gotten out of it. Now I'm back here again, and I need to get out of here again. That thought makes me want to dunk my head into the deep frigid snow. I want to crawl out of my skin. I want to be anywhere but here. I want to rip my hair out.
I have increased my meds, and am doing everything that I can do to try to get out of this. Yet I am here. I am stuck. Has this all been for nothing? I have fought and climbed and scratched and worked so hard, and I feel like I have just fallen back into the sludge.
I am eating my feelings-- my fat belly is growing and jiggling. I am a slug. I want to be somewhere else. I want to be someone else.
How do I make sense of this? How do I weave a meaningful narrative out of these awful rags and desperate scraps of a life? More importantly, how do I move forward as a parent? Have a screwed up my kids beyond repair?
I can see it all happening, and I can see what needs to be done. I must take small steps to get healthier, and forgive myself for my shortcomings as a parent. I must move forward slowly and surely, and accept that I will backslide. My life isn't going to be one success on top of another. Obviously.
But what do I do with these rags and scraps of a life? My mind is a basket of unmatched socks, unraveling and tangling into each other. I am terrified that it will all fall apart.
I don't have any answers right now. All I have is me, right here, in this moment. This is the last place in the universe that I want to be, but I am here. I will stay here. I will keep going.
Featured image by Ashley Campbell via Flickr, available under a Creative Commons 2.0 license.
AJ is a working professional mom and mother in Calgary, Canada. She drinks a lot of water and eats a lot of grapes, and enjoys watching "Dragon's Den."