Motherhood is a sacred gift, but for a Mom with depression, anxiety and ADHD, being Mom comes with emotional stress and/or fatigue at a level even family and friends may never truly understand.
This Mom keeps the worst hidden as she tries to stay afloat and show up for her child in the best way she can. She doesn’t hide her emotions and challenges intentionally, she’s just used to being alone with them since childhood, because no one has truly understood her. In her darkest moments, she feels unsupported, alone and sometimes helpless.
She’s barely able to look after herself with her empty tank. Simple things like getting out of bed and dressed for the day are difficult. Watching others move through life with ease, as she moves with great difficulty at snail pace, despite all her efforts to get better and be better, crumbles her sense of self. But yet, everyday she drags her fatigued body and depressed mind to be Mom, the homemaker and emotional glue that holds and keeps the family unit running and together. Her greatest desire is the health and happiness of her family.
As her child gets older, she begins to feel a distance and separation even from her. She senses anger and disapproval under her tween’s breath. The child who once loved her unconditionally, despite her shortcomings, is now also slipping away.
Her tween has similar distraction, avoidance, lack of motivation and procrastination behaviors like her. Despite the discipline and structure she provided with so much care, precisely so wouldn’t have health issues and only be a homemaker and mother like her. This deeply unsettles her. She doesn’t want her daughter to suffer as she does. Her fear manifests as anger, frustration or disapproval of her daughter’s behaviors as she judges, criticizes and shames her. The way she was shamed as a child. The way she continues to internally shame herself.
She doesn’t realize that both her and her daughter’s behaviors are natural responses (coping or survival behaviors) in people with depression, anxiety or ADHD. Behaviors that develop so we can survive difficult emotional pain. Behaviors that actually help us feel safe.
She doesn’t see or understand her tween’s trauma and emotional struggle under the survival behaviors, the way no one has seen or understood hers. And she doesn’t yet know that no amount of doing, fixing, achieving or “being better” is going to help her or her daughter feel unwearing inner worthiness, content, joy and peace.
Inner judgment, criticism and shame are often buried deep under emotional pain. We internalize this pain as children growing up in a society that incessantly focuses on, values and rewards outer behavior. When we can’t mentally or physically keep up with high societal expectations, we use coping mechanisms to survive. Sometimes, these coping mechanisms are depression, anxiety, ADHD and/or behaviors associated with them.
This page, Emotional Resilience with Soul is dedicated to all those who have been judged, criticized or shamed for unconscious survival behaviors common in depression, anxiety and ADHD. It is a call to understand that behaviors aren’t good or bad, or right and wrong. They aren’t who we are. They are a cry for understanding, compassion, love, and support.