This is not written by me. This is a submission, and I am hosting it.
It was on a Thursday afternoon when I sent my husband a message saying “I can’t keep doing this. I need help.”
It had been 11 years since I first began my struggle with clinical depression. Right after the birth of my first child. You always hear about mothers with Post Partum Depression leaving their baby crying and abandoned in their crib, but that wasn’t me. I made sure my baby was clean, fed, and dry. Except I felt nothing while doing it. No joy, no sadness, just a void that no amount of positive encouragement could fill.
Nine years and two kids later, I feel like I’ve been stuck in the same mood ever since. It’s like a constant dead weight that sucks the life out of you. Some days I can get dressed, make breakfast, rush the kids to school, muddle through work, and then get a few house chores done before dinner. Other days I feel tired, completely apathetic and hopeless, like a shell of a person who is just going through the motions to fulfill the duties of a good mother. I feel empty and detached from reality, and I ask myself, “Is this it? Is this how the rest of my life is going to be?”
I tried to help myself with little self-care breaks, but I rarely got any “me” time between work, running the household, attending school activities, social obligations, and handling my kids’ never-ending demands. I never found that mythical “balance”. If I took time out for myself then something would be left undone – and I couldn’t let that happen.
One day, I was folding the laundry when I completely dissociated for the very first time. It was like I was across the room watching myself as if I was an outsider in my own life. That was when a voice in my head said “STOP. This is not right, it’s time to get help.”
I started with therapy for myself, along with antidepressants. I just wanted to feel more like myself again. But therapy is expensive and the appointments were never at a good time. I found myself canceling to get groceries for dinner or pick my son up from swim class. I also tried reaching out to my close friends and family, but I’d almost always find myself defending my sanity and my ability as a mother to them.
It wasn’t until I saw an ad on Facebook that I tried something online for my depression. I had read countless articles and self-help tips before, but never an app. I’m not one to click on ads – I don’t know anyone who is – but at this point, I wouldn’t have cared if my laptop melted right in front of me. So I went down the rabbit hole and found that the app was called Precipeace. It claimed it could help me handle my depression. Really? An online app? I didn’t think so.
For some reason, I kept reading. I quickly realized there are actual counselors you can talk to while going through the program. That sounded more personal than a bot telling me to “think positive”, so I decided to take the bait and signed up for the free trial. Not much to lose when it’s free, right?
I was taken to the “Discovery Phase” where I was asked a series of questions ranging from “How are you feeling today?” to “Why is that thought true?” I felt silly filling them out but no-one was watching. As I typed out the thoughts troubling me and what reasons I had for thinking that way, my own reality dawned on me. I can definitely see why journaling is something therapists recommend. It gives you perspective.
I was then connected to my “wellness coach” – an actual person. I was nervous but quite relieved that they couldn’t see my face or had any idea who I was. It was like going to confession, but with a therapist and without leaving home.
I started the conversation with low expectations. This person probably had no experience with mental health issues aside from what they had read in a textbook. But it turned out she had struggled with depression herself, and she told me things that made me sit back and rethink my whole perspective. I was hooked. I felt like I was finally onto something genuinely helpful.
The trial only lasted a week, but deciding whether to continue or not was a no-brainer. I have my very own coach who I can reach out to at any time. I almost feel guilty writing to her late at night or early in the morning, but she’s always there to help. I also have a personal dashboard with my progress neatly laid out. I can see my goals, my self-care To-Do list, the causes of my worst days, and the ingredients for future better days. My coach can see these too and follows up with me at my convenience. I must admit, it’s really nice not having to call and make an appointment to get the support I need when I need it.
Using Precipeace has taught me so much about coping with depression the right way. I have learned techniques that I can do whenever I feel especially low and pessimistic. The coaching has helped me understand that a clean house isn’t more important than my mental health. It’s okay to leave the dishes in the sink while I go out for the afternoon. There may be clothes on the floor but I’m no longer a shell of a human being, and that’s what really matters. My kids need a fully functioning mom more than they need their socks in the sock drawer.
I’m not going to say Precipeace is a miracle cure and my depression is gone forever, but it’s definitely helping me get pieces of myself back. For an app that costs about the same as one of my face creams, I’d say it’s a pretty good deal.