Mary was experiencing low self-esteem and worthlessness.
She’d say her eyes were “broken faucets.” She’d cry often, and would easily get irritated and explode at her children and husband. She had gained weight in the past year. She snacked all day and would finish a bag of chips in minutes without even noticing. She had difficulty concentrating, felt muscle tension, and above all, she was feeling like the “worst mother in the world.” One day she reported she just wanted to “escape her world.”
She was not suicidal but just wanted a break. She didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel any time soon. Sometimes she would say things like “I feel my heart being crushed. I am a bad person. I am exhausted and ready to quit. Things haven’t gone my way.”
Why was Mary so depressed?
She had a supportive husband and three children. Her husband had a good job and she had not worked outside of the home since she got married. Everyone in her family was in good health – except her. Her adolescent son was making choices she didn’t like. His latest choices were against the family’s religious values and beliefs. It pained her to see her “baby” go against what she taught him for seventeen years! She felt like a failure.
Mary was attributing her son’s misbehavior to herself. Intellectually, she agreed her son had a choice. After all, she had taught him about freedom and power to choose. But her guilt kept nagging within her: “It didn’t do me any good to stay home. Maybe if I had worked outside of the home he would not be so spoiled. I should have been stricter. I should have spent more time with him. I should have home-schooled him.”
There were a lot of regrets, tears, and grief. Her handsome, well-groomed, intelligent, and healthy-looking son was becoming a memory. Things were turning out differently than expected. Her pain was intolerable and she tried to hide it. Arguments, yelling, and silence were only increasing the emotional gap between mother and son.