One in five Australian women will experience difficulties with their mental health at some stage in their life, with depression and anxiety the most common culprits.
And as mummy blogger Brittany Ernsperger (aka The Relatable Mom) knows all too well, navigating this while also trying to be the parent possible is way easier said than done. Taking to Facebook, she perfectly summed up the day-to-day struggle.
“This is what depression looks like,” she captioned a snap of her cluttered kitchen bench.
"No. Not the clean dishes. But that there were that many dishes in the first place. I’ve gone 2 weeks without doing them."
"3 days ago I sat on the kitchen floor and stared at them while I cried," she wrote. "I knew they needed to be done. I wanted to do them so bad. But depression pulled me under. It sucked me in. Like a black hole. Rapidly, sinking quick-sand."
Multiple times a day Brittany would go to tackle the dirty pile of dishes but find herself unable to take action.
"I walked by them morning and night and all day long. And just looked at them. Telling myself that I could do them. Telling myself that I would. And feeling defeated everyday that I didn’t," she said. And as a result, her mindset continued to deteriorate.
“Worthless. Failure. Piece of shit. Incompetent. Stupid. Lazy. All things that roll through the mind of someone with depression. All. Day. Long."
With anxiety contributing to her negative self-talk, Brittany began to question what her family and friends thought of her: "Being scared your husband will leave because he thinks you’re lazy. Being scared to let people into your home because they’ll think you’re nasty. Feeling like you’re failing your kids because for the 3rd night in a row you don’t have any clean dishes to cook dinner on.. so pizza it is. Again."
Soon enough, "normal" everyday tasks - such as doing the laundry, cleaning, dressing herself, taking a shower, dressing her kids and brushing their teeth - became "daunting" for Brittany.
"It all becomes a nightmare," she admitted. "Somedays it doesn’t get done at all."
Brittany shared her post as a message of encouragement to others who might be struggling.
"Depression is something that “strong” people don’t talk about because they don’t want people to think they’re “weak," she said.
"You’re not weak. You’ve been strong for so long and through so many things, that your body needs a break. I don’t even care if the only thing you did today, was put deodorant on. I’m proud of you for it. Good job. I’m in your corner. I’m on your side. I’m not looking for sympathy, not in the slightest. But I am letting everyone know that I’m here for you. I get it. If you need someone to talk to, I’m always here to help."
Her post has since gone viral, with many parents resonating with her words.
"Thank you for saying this and sharing it," one user commented. "Hard to put into words what is wrong or what you're going through but you hit the nail on the head."