Have you ever or do you regularly feel frustrated with your children or spouse? Are you angry often? Do you yell or cry a lot? Or have you ever considered hurting yourself, or your children, or had thoughts they they would be better off without you? These are the ugly sides of motherhood that many of us experience, but do not want to admit.
Maybe we’re afraid of being looked down on. Maybe we think that would be giving in to the lie that we’re not good enough. Maybe we fear government intervention, that our kids would be taken away from us. Maybe we think we’re the only one who feels this way, or has these thoughts and that no one else would understand.
These are all lies, my friend. Many other moms experience these things. You are not alone, and you can get help and get victory.
I was seriously depressed after our third child was born, though I didn’t realize it for what it was until much later. I was exhausted. My husband was working a lot of ministry hours. There were ministry pressures that I was finding hard to deal with. I had no friends checking up on me. I spent every day at home with three children under three. My family was far away and had no idea that though I loved my children dearly, there were days I could not handle it. There were days when I cried or yelled and I feared hurting my children. I would call my husband and say “The kids are fine. They’re in their room, and I’m in mine, and I’m not coming out until you get here.” And then there was tremendous guilt for feeling that way and not being able to change it.
After several agonizing months of wondering “What is wrong with me?” and some physical examinations, we realized that my thyroid numbers were off the charts! The thyroid is a gland that controls many hormonal and bodily functions. (Find more on that here.) When I began taking a correct dosage of thyroid medication and those hormones came back into “normal” range, we also saw many of my crazy feelings level out.
I am very thankful that I’ve been given the chance recently to review Tabitha Philen’s book Even-Tempered Mother: Tips from a Mom Overcoming Rage and Depression, in which she shares her story and that of several other moms who are learning to deal with rage and depression. Here is a quote from Tabitha:
“My book, Even-Tempered Mother, is an honest account of my struggles as a mom striving to grow beyond rage and depression. The book includes personal stories as well as tips, resources, and testimonies from other mothers.”
Sometimes the feelings and thoughts that lead us to the point of rage and depression are trained behaviors. Sometimes they have physical causes, hormonal imbalances, lack of sleep, wrong eating habits, lack of exercise, etc. Sometimes there is a spiritual problem, pride, perfectionism, trying to do it all in my own strength.
But whatever the cause, Tabitha encourages mothers to admit there is a problem, and to seek help from others in finding the cause and seeking the solution.
The proper meds and realizing the triggers for my thoughts and feelings made it easier to understand and communicate what I was going through. We had an opportunity soon after my diagnosis to host a teenage girl in need of a home for a few months. Having her there gave me someone to talk to and invest in, as well as accountability throughout my day.
Though I was brought out of that time of darkness, I still take a daily thyroid supplement, (chemical and natural) and am still susceptible to depression. I struggled with it again during my last pregnancy. I can tell a physical difference in how I react to noise and stress when I forget to take the medicine; and when I am sleep deprived I have noted that it increases the chances of anger or depression.
We have learned the warning signs for me, and through communication with my husband, together, we seek to prevent it. He often recognizes the signs before I do, and will allow me take some time alone in our room to sleep, pray or just enjoy some quiet, or we’ll get a babysitter and go out for a couple of hours, just the two of us.
No one is a perfect mom. If we were, there would have been no need for Jesus to die for us and redeem our brokenness, and heal our wounds. Tabitha’s book is full of encouraging words for depressed or angry moms struggling to be the mom they want to be and she gives practical advice and Scriptures for dealing with the issues of rage and depression. It was a very uplifting read.
Even-Tempered Mother: Tips from a Mom Overcoming Rage and Depression
can be purchased on Amazon, and I’d encourage you to get it. It may be just what you need to read.
You are not alone. And if you feel you are, be assured that there are others who do understand and who are praying for you today. There is victory, and you can have it. Feel free to contact me if you need help, hope or encouragement.