Dear Emerson; On Depression and Future Siblings

Posted on Thursday, February 06, 2014 by Alex R. Cronk-Young

Dear Emerson,

Its been awhile since I last wrote. There's kind of a reason for that. I left off the last letter -- which was about my finding the strength to give your mom a push into making a step she was scared to make -- by saying I was going to work on some of my issues as well. And I did, it just took a lot longer than I expected...or hoped. I'll get to that, though.

We've been in our new house for awhile now, and everyone seems to be settled. I moved in three weeks before you and your mother, and whether or not that was the push she needed will eternally be up for debate. Living away from you guys, even though it was down the street and really just constituted where I was sleeping, was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Still, now that we're all adjusted to our new home our life has taken a gigantic leap forward.

The real point of this letter is to write you about your new baby brother or sister.

We found out one morning when you were putting forth quite an effort to not go to school. I'm on third shift at the factory now, and am the one to get you up and ready for school each day. Though, this time, I was not feeling well, and neither were you. You'd said you weren't feeling well every day for the last 3 days, though. Without a fever, I wasn't taking that as an acceptable excuse to stay home. So I dragged you around kicking and screaming, getting you ready myself.

Somewhere in the fight I had to duck out to the front porch to vomit off of it several times. The neighbors probably thought I was a drunk or something. I came back in when I felt it had calmed, ready to resume the struggle, but it had not calmed. As I hunched over the bathroom sink running some water to wash things down, your mother came in with a pregnancy test.

Besides the stresses of that particular morning, there were so much more thoughts flooding through my head. It's not that I hadn't wanted another child. We've been trying for over four years now. I'd almost resigned myself to believing we wouldn't ever be able to again, and that you were the lucky one and only. So this should be an immense source of joy, but the first thing it triggered was instead panic.

I kind of looked at you as my little savior for quite awhile. See, I've been dealing with depression for as long as I can remember. It's always sort of there, but low enough to just ignore. Sometimes something will send me into a pit, but I always climbed out. For the longest time I was reticent to even say the word because it seemed like an excuse. I could get over this myself.

Your mother gave me a reason to live when I was a teenager, and when we married and I was scared beyond belief trying to figure out what I was supposed to do with my life, you came along. I didn't matter any more, you two were my purpose. You saved my life and gave me a reason to exist.

You can only do so much to combat a mental deficiency, though. Within the last year or so I've been declining significantly. The pits are now way deeper. Last summer I tried to get over that invisible wall standing in between me and help by getting on a website for an organization that worked with people at my job. It let me take an online quiz which informed me of the unsurprising fact that I was right; I was severely depressed.

Not everyone that is depressed is suicidal, though. Apparently the divide seems to be not whether you've thought about killing yourself, but if you've thought about how you would kill yourself. I hadn't so I felt safe. I still needed some help, but there was no where on the site to click "YES I WANT HELP", just a phone number to call. I know it sounds ridiculous, but calling that number was just too big of a hurdle still.

So I pushed on alone, but like I said, those pits were getting huge now. In the midst of one of the worst I told your mother she needed to make the call for me. I needed help and I couldn't do it. She said she would, but a month plus went on without any appointments made. Until we found out we were having your brother/sister.

Look, it's not that I don't love you more than words could ever describe, but parenting is really hard. Coupled with the depression it was near impossible at that point. I was constantly assaulted with feelings of fear that I was screwing it all up. The frustration lead to anger and I'd just retreat and give up even trying. A day or two after we found out about your future sibling I was at the worst I've ever been before, and hopefully ever will be. You didn't feel good again, and of course didn't want to go to school. I was overwhelmed and suddenly said all the horrible thoughts I'd been having in my head out loud. For what it's worth you ended up going to school that day and getting sick before you even walked in the door, so you were right all along.

While you guys were gone, all I could think about was killing myself. Not just how easy a solution it was for all the things I'd been feeling, but specifically how I would do it. I'd crossed that point. I knew suicide was the most incredibly selfish option there was, but there I was, thinking about how I would do it. Whether or not I ever actually was going to do it, I knew I desperately needed to get help now. I laid in bed all that day, waking up periodically and blubbering like an idiot, and then falling back asleep. Your mom made the phone call I'd secretly been praying someone would make for as far back as I can remember.

Sure, I've only had one session with a therapist, but things seem like they're coming to an end anyway. Like I'm on a slow rise now, instead of the slow fall I've been on since I was a kid myself. I have another appointment next week, as well as a doctor's appointment to look into anti-depressants. With any luck it'll be an easy transition, but anything has got to be better than where I've been.

I don't really believe in God. I mean, he might exist, but I don't actively practice a religion or pray or anything. Still, it's bizarre to me that when I needed it the most, something has always come along to help me. Your mother, then you, and now your future brother or sister. When before I was upset about the apparent inability for us to get pregnant again, now it seems like perfect timing. You've all saved my life. I knew I needed to stay strong to provide for you, and when my strength finally starting failing me a second motivation came along to remind me that I couldn't give up. That's the worst proof of God ever, but it's the best proof in the world that each of you are my miracles. My saviors.

If you ever feel awful in any sort of way while you're growing up, please don't be afraid to tell me. It's not an excuse. I can help you get help. Or we just hug a lot. Whichever you want, I'll always be here for you.

No Response to "Dear Emerson; On Depression and Future Siblings"

Leave A Reply