Are you homeschooling with depression? You are not alone! I deal with depression year-round, and I have for years. Your depression may look different than mine, but we are both homeschool moms doing the best we can for our kids, our families, and ourselves.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure statement for more information. *Disclaimer – I am not an expert, doctor, or medical professional. I do not claim to cure or treat any disease. I am only sharing my personal experience with depression. If you are suffering from depression please talk to your doctor.*
Homeschooling with Depression
I wake up to the roosters crowing on the farm. Another day of grey and rain and dread. I just want to roll over and stay burrowed in my bed covers forever.
But I must adult.
I’ll get the kids their breakfast and get them set up with a couple of homeschooly things to keep them occupied for a little while.
I head to my room for a bit of exercise. Exercise is supposed to help the blues after all. But after 30 minutes of what should be an energetic workout, I settle on my mat for a cry.
This is more than a simple case of the blues.
It’s Depression. That overwhelming sadness and despair that permeates every part of my being. It makes me feel like an absolute failure. I’m supposed to have it all together right?
If only that were so.
I am a homeschool mom that struggles with clinical depression.
What Depression Can Look Like
It’s been an especially tough winter for me, folks. Every single day has been a struggle.
You see, depression hit me like a ton of bricks this year. I stopped doing all the things I love gardening, photography, knitting, even writing. It all just felt too hard. My limbs too heavy as if they had weights attached to them. I’m just so tired.
Depression causes me to struggle with my self-esteem and self-worth. Then there is the anxiety, despair, fear, and worry that creeps into my mind. What do I have to be depressed about? How can I not be happy? I must be such a disappointment to my family and friends.
It whispers, “Why try? You’re not good enough anyway.”
Feelings of worthlessness and self-blame congregate at the edges of the mind.
My life for all intents and purposes is a good one, a beautiful one. Yet, internally I’m suffering.
I tell ya, the mental conversation going on in your head when you are in the midst of depression is hairy scary, folks. It also becomes a vicious cycle that tries to pull you deeper and deeper into that grey, dark fog.
Depression is a bully.
Homeschool Mom and Depression
For this homeschool mom, depression is kinda like the heavy lead covering the dentist lays over you before taking X-rays. Except it’s not just over your chest. It’s also across your shoulders and over your back. Depression sneaks up and attack’s you while simultaneously lying to you.
Depression is in your head and yet it’s not. It’s very real. Just as real as any other medical condition.
Everything takes on a dull feeling. Except for the anxiety and worry. Those feelings take center stage.
Normal feelings and thoughts feel muffled and you can’t seem to think clearly. It’s as if you’re listening to a conversation while underwater.
Depression is Complicated and Isolating
But depression is an invisible illness to the outside world and that makes it tricky and complicated.
Everyone experiences depression in a way that is unique to them and their circumstances.
Depression doesn’t care who you are, where you come from, your age, race, or your education. For me, there are days I struggle to get out of bed. I force myself to shower and brush my teeth. Some days I cry on the bathroom floor while the shower runs so that no one will hear me.
You begin to wonder if you’ll ever be happy again.
You want to be seen, but you want to disappear into the shadows at the same time. You crave connection and affection. Yet may draw away from it when it’s offered.
You smile on the outside and go about your day as if you are perfectly fine.
You want to hide your experience, isolate yourself, and retreat from everything.
Depression can affect every aspect of your life.
Talk About Depression with Your Support System
My doctors and therapists are helping me navigate this tricky time in my life. Homeschool mom self-care is more important than ever as is talking about my depression with my support system and asking for help when I need it.
I do have a great support system.
I’m beginning to see glimpses of light beyond the fog.
Remember to do what you need to do to get the help you need and feel well. These may include:
- eating healthy meals
- getting plenty of sunshine
- gratitude journal
I’m more intentional about taking our puppy for walks. Sometimes my husband will watch the kids while I go and grab a quiet cup of Chai tea. I’m allowing myself more space, folks.
Then there are the funny cat videos my hubby sends me daily. I find myself laughing again.
Whatever works, right?
But there isn’t one single thing that guarantees my depression will lift or that it will lift when I think it should.
Today would be great, thanks!
Homeschooling with Depression is Possible
So, here’s the thing, homeschooling can be challenging for anyone. It becomes infinitely harder when you can’t find your joy. But it is still possible to homeschool with depression without shame or isolation.
I’ve talked with the kids about why mama is sad and that they did nothing to cause it. Did you know that depression tends to run in families? I know my grandmother, mother, and sisters have all dealt with it. But it was never talked about.
That was hard growing up.
I’m hoping that by learning to overcome my depression, I am modeling for my children how they can practice self-care for themselves or their future loved ones.
Even during the darkest times of my depression my husband and I still felt our kiddos were better off at home. They were still learning, active, engaged, and happy.
Homeschooling with Depression Means Taking It Easy on Yourself
You may need to lower your homeschool standards for a time and do the bare minimum until your depression lifts. This is also true during any major life changes such as new baby, death, move, or illnesses such as depression.
Here are some of the resources I use when homeschooling with depression that help me until I feel like me again.
- Read alouds help build and keep those beautiful connections with our kiddos.
- But, there may be days where you can’t muddle through a read aloud. That’s when Audiobooks come to the rescue! Around the World Stories are another form of audio that combines geography with stories.
- Documentaries are loaded with educational benefits! Curiosity Stream is our favorite go-to for documentaries.
- Games are an easy way to sneak in stealth learning for all sorts of subjects.
- Subscription boxes can take some of the pressure off when you’re struggling. We adore Kiwi Crate for my 6-year-old and Tinker Crate for my 11-year-old.
- Outsource some of the homeschool work! We are big fans of Reading Eggs for younger kids; Smartick is a wonderful math program for ages 12 and younger; Duolingo is a FREE foreign language program that my son and I enjoy; Outschool offers affordable online classes for all ages. My son recently took one on Dragons from East and West!
Remember to try and take advantage of your good days when you have them.
Go on field trips, go to the park, and meet up with friends! We still make our weekly library trips. Then there is our weekly reading to the local shelter animals and our homeschool group. I may not interact much with people while we’re out, but my kids are enjoying themselves and that’s what matters.
I’m working hard to overcome my depression, folks.
It is extremely HARD. But each day is a new opportunity for me.
It is my hope that other homeschooling mamas going through depression will know that they are not alone. I understand the place you are in. I’ve been there. I know how it feels and all that comes with it.
We are not failures for battling depression.
And there is no shame in getting the help you need. It may be the bravest thing you’ll ever do for yourself and your kids.
Have you gone through a period of homeschooling with depression? What helped you?
You may also enjoy: