Daddy, Mommy won’t get out of bed

photoI am one of those annoying, cup is half full people. I just feel more comfortable looking at things from a positivist standpoint. I have had friends in the past that have had clinical depression and of course, I try to be a very empathetic individual so I would listen to them and try to support them.  However, deep down inside, I really didn’t understand a thing about what they were feeling. In the back of my mind I was actually thinking:

  • Why does she feel that way? I mean look at how beautiful she is…
  • How can she say that? Does she not see what a great family she has…
  • Wow, what does she have to complain about? Her life is so easy…

Then, one day, last November, my daughter felt compelled to call my husband at work, “Daddy, Mommy won’t get out of bed.”

Something about her tone must have frightened him because, he left work – something that is very difficult for him to do – to come home and coax me out of bed.

There is a background to this – a crazy few years that included the loss of my mother to cancer and my father’s descent into what we now know is Lewy Body Dementia. I was the primary care provider for my father and this took hours out of my already packed day as I homeschooled my children and worked part time.

But, I am not here to explore the reasons for why I could not get out of bed that morning. Reason had nothing to do with it. I am here to talk about the feelings behind that. Because, I clearly remember that morning too. I clearly remember thinking that I could not do one more day. I was done. It was all pointless.

This isn’t sadness. This isn’t grief. I have had my measure of those emotions these past few years. This is more like being haunted, being haunted by emptiness. I could never quite understand why “the nothing” on NeverEnding Story was such a scary concept – now I get it.

I remember talking about it with my friend Laura a few months later. “Why didn’t you call me?” she asked. It’s a perfectly reasonable question but, any question of reason cannot be answered here. Honestly, I had nothing, I felt nothing, and I was nothing. Calling a friend didn’t even figure into this equation.

What freaks me out the most though – I was surrounded that morning by three beings that I would lay my life down for if necessary – my children. Yet, at that moment, I could not even see their huge presence in my life. When I saw the comments Henry Rollins made about Robin Williams – I was instantly transported back to that morning. Was I selfish? Was my inability to get out of bed that morning rooted in a selfish “poor me” mentality? Maybe. I don’t know. I don’t even remember thinking “poor me.”

So, there is an end to this story. My husband and I started touring assisted living facilities that day. We inadvertently found ourselves surrounded by social workers who recognized quickly what was going on – with me. The level of care I was providing for my father was causing me to experience what is typical of a condition known as caregiver fatigue or caregiver syndrome. We chose not to place my father in assisted living at that time but, we saw that it was folly to think we could provide his care all on our own. We have a wonderful home health care provider working with my dad now. She does the brunt of the “caregiving” responsibilities. Consequently, since she has started, I have not had those feelings again.

However, just writing about this one day for our blog’s suicide/depression theme has been difficult. It is clear that there is shame associated with what happened to me that morning. Shame in particular when I think about my children witnessing this. Shame when I hear comments like those mentioned by Henry Rollins (who has now apologized). Because sometimes it feels like being weak, being broken is still wrong. So, we keep it inside and don’t ask for help.

10 thoughts on “Daddy, Mommy won’t get out of bed

  1. This is beautiful, and I know the feelings. Calling a friend or feeling sorry for yourself aren’t things that are really on your radar because there is just a lot of emptiness. Even if we aren’t at the point of taking our lives, falling out of our lives is a pretty sudden awakening in and of itself. I’m glad you were able to get the support you needed for your dad and for yourself ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant insight– “Calling a friend or calling for help) didn’t even figure into this equation.” I am glad help found you. Kudos to you for speaking so openly. I recall a story that a doctor and friend who lived in Wilmington NC told me about a woman who sat in his office and cried because she felt guilty. She said “People lost their homes, or their loved ones! I lost shingles. What do I have to be depressed about?” There doesn’t have to be a reason. Depression isn’t like that. There’s no reason to feel guilt or shame.

    xo Linda

    Liked by 1 person

  3. TY for this post and I have in home care givers and my oldest son has moved back home to help with hubby who has dementia.
    At first when I was overwhelmed like you mentioned I felt shame and guilt that I could not do it all myself and now I am so relieved for the help.
    TY for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I too, consider myself to be a glass half full, kind of person. Although I have certainly have had very difficult & stressful times in my life, I do not know what it feels like to be in such a state of depression. A state where reaching out to someone feels impossible, the mere thought of getting out of bed, overwhelming. I admire your courage & your strength in sharing your story & I thank you for your honesty in talking about a subject that can be so difficult to discuss.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Erin, my mother suffered for years with a similar condition to that of your father. Even with the help of my THREE sisters, the stress in care giving is overwhelming. I cannot imagine how difficult it was for you to be handling all by yourself. So glad you found the additional help you needed for your dad and could return to that glass half full view of life🌞

    Liked by 1 person

  6. depression nor the overwhelm point cannot be logic-ed away
    it is the brain not functioning properly
    i think too, that the weight have having to logic it, persuade it, convince it, rationalize it
    add to feelings of isolation and of being not enough

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Erin. It’s funny you mention the kids. At one point in my illness I was at the bottom. I had that bottle of pills in my hand. I wanted the mental anguish to end. The ONLY thing that stopped me was my kids. People like Mr. Rollins can never understand how badly depression HURTS. How easy it looks to go to sleep and never wake up. Luckily for some of us the pull of this life is slightly stronger.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Learning that Saying “No!” Actually is Making a Better “Yes!” | Cozy Cabin Press

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