It so happened that I bought some St John's Wort tablets. They were on special and let's face it, specials are my heroin.
But we don't approach depression the natural way in this little household and so it was that my little bottle of "Mood" sat unused and feeling less and less like a bargain every day.
These were top shelf vitamins. It was burning my arse just thinking of them going out of date. Surely I knew someone sad?
Visiting a mumma friend recently, she told me she needed to offload about the shitful week she'd been having. It was Friday – the week had been loooong.
Yes! I thought, She's perfect!
"Hey," I said, "I have the perfect vitamins for you! I think they're meant especially for sad housewives."
"Yes! I will take them!" she said, "But is that really how you think of me? As the sad housewife?"
"No!" I protested. And then, "But also, maybe, yes. Aren't we all sad housewives though?"
We talked at length about being at home with kids and how some weeks, we just don't have what it takes to survive the day to day shit. At least not with anything resembling patience and grace. Every day brings challenges but it's alarming during how many of them we feel like we've dropped the ball. Or, like, kicked the ball into the traffic and prayed for the children to follow it.
I think this is a universal affliction for anyone who cares for small children on a day to day basis.
So when does it cross over from being a normal motherhood malaise to something more? Something that we could do something about? When do the rigours of motherhood turn into unnecessary suffering?
My friend and I talked about her shitful week and we could both see that there were some post-natal markers there but she was very quick to refer to the miserable weather, her period, all of those external factors that, when coupled with raising little ones, can make anyone feel like they're operating from a place of insanity.
But I wonder if we do ourselves a disservice by being so quick to dismiss our low moods. Of course, I don't advocate for people to medicate at the first sign of moodiness but I think we could put our own wellbeing closer to the front of the queue.
I denied my depression for a long time. For me, this was the wrong thing to do and amounted to me suffering for a lot longer than was necessary. I am very grateful I was diagnosed long before becoming a mum because I can't imagine the hell of new motherhood coupled with new mental illness. Scary stuff.
For me, the answer was anti-depressants.
For others, regular exercise, drinking less alcohol or getting out of the house more can be exactly what they need to shift the clouds. If that's what it takes, how brilliant!
But for many, no amount of fresh air and sunlight will work.
No-one wants to admit to being that person. People want to believe they're not that bad. I can't blame them. No-one wants to be clinically depressed.
But how many mothers are suffering needlessly because of this?
Another friend recently confessed to me that she thought she might be depressed. She had not wanted to believe it. This was so out of character for her. She finally decided she didn't want to be feeling the way she did any longer. She saw her GP and together, they talked through her options. I think just taking that initial step opened up a pathway to getting better. I spoke with her the other day and her voice just filled me with such joy. Where a month or so earlier, I had heard that vacant, flat voice of depression, now I was hearing her authentic, joyful voice again. It was fucking magic.
For this friend, some simple lifestyle changes have helped her enormously. And I'm so glad it could be relatively straightforward for her.
When I spoke to her in the midst of her depression, I encouraged her to seek natural methods first as was her desire. But I also urged her to admit if that wasn't working and go back to her GP for another course of action. As disappointed as we might be to realise it's not going to be as simple as more exercise, it's so important to keep exploring our options – even the ones we really, really didn't want to consider.
Life is too short to lose another moment to depression.
And to my friend, the sad housewife? I'm giving her my "Mood" and my shoulder. Any time.