It’s the little dark cloud that finds you in your dressing gown, at 3pm. You’ve had yet another day of breakfast, lunch, children’s cartoons- and the most exciting event of your week has been going to the supermarket. It’s a hassle lugging the pram through the town and dealing with tantrums and nappies and money wasted on food that didn’t even get eaten. You didn’t have time to do your hair or make-up properly and you look a shadow of your former self.
When the kids are in bed you gather the energy to order yet another takeaway , cooking seems like too much effort at this point, and after you’ve stuffed yourself full of greasy pizza you slope off to bed to stare at your phone. The dishes go unwashed and there’s baby bottles everywhere. You will take the bin out in the morning. The morning becomes “later” and “later” never happens as the bin overflows and the kitchen starts to stink. You feel guilty and apathetic all at once.
When you wake up you have to do it all again, with little human contact. You have no partner to take over or let you have a night off with the girls. You begin to feel lonely, with social media as your only friend. You begin to begrudge your kids. “Why are they so messy?” “Why can’t they just shut up?” “Why can’t I get a second of peace?”
Some days you feel like you just can’t live this way anymore. You feel like screaming. You see families in the park and resent them. You hate changing nappies, getting up in the night, cleaning constantly. You hate the fact you can’t work, because it would make you poorer. You hate the fact that you can’t seem to find a date and that your friends are nowhere to be seen. You hate the fact that you have let yourself go because you can’t be bothered. Your self esteem is at an all time low. You feel ugly, old and tired all the time. You miss the joy in your children as you shove them in front of the TV yet again.
You feel like you are dragging weights on your ankles constantly and that the amount of sleep you get is never enough. You hate pottering about your house aimlessly at night with intervals of being on your phone- scrolling through snapshots of “better” lives.
You entertain toxic men who come in and out of your life, engage in pointless and draining textationships with losers, and sip wine with your takeaway in a moment of solace. It’s hard. It’s boring. It’s frustrating. It’s a black hole you can’t escape. Depression.
You are already on meds, they don’t seem to help. Every time you drag yourself to the park you end up staring into space. You count down the hours until bedtime because you haven’t got the energy to deal with the children. Your card declines again because your only income is benefits. Your heating goes again. You can’t do this anymore. You break.
With the breaking point comes the change. The shift in perception that allows you to heave yourself from the mud of depression and into the light of reality. You cry your eyes out and for the first time you feel relieved.
Hobbies start, playgroups, job applications, interviews, a spring clean, a day of swimming with the kids. You start to feel a little better. Life isn’t so bad after all.
You begin to wake up a little earlier to get organised and stop wearing the same dirty leggings to go to the shops. You start to wear mascara again and for the first time in a long time-feel pretty. You start to date again, you get a job, you ditch the phonebook of crap men.
You stop drinking so much and start to eat healthier, your body looks better. Your kids seem happier and so do you. You now cherish the time with them. You are no longer wearing a dressing gown at 3pm but instead are doing something with your children, going to work or uni.
You start to find the joy in life and things to be grateful for. You build yourself from a shell of a woman into someone whole. The dishes no longer languish in the sink (well sometimes) and you take the bin out. The house is no longer a mess. You’ve made it, you’ve climbed up the mountain. It took forever to reach the top but you are there. You look down at the past and you feel grateful and free. You aren’t the same woman anymore.
Whatever the situation and however you feel, there is a way out. So many single mums suffer from loneliness and depression. You will find an escape. You will be yourself again. It just takes time. Day by day. Step by step.