To My Daughter, Growing Up In The Shadow Of My Depression

By Kimberly Zapata

Dear Daughter,

I really don’t know where — or how — to begin. I suppose the best place to start this letter is with these three words: I’m so sorry.

Make no mistake: I’m not sorry for my depression. Like any other illness or disease, it’s beyond my control. But I am sorry for how it hurts you.

I am sorry for how it has affected us.

You see, on “bad days,” depression makes me mopey and foggy headed. On those days, my body feels heavy and my mind is either completely overwhelmed or entirely empty. Thinking hurts, moving hurts, and just “being” hurts.

That’s when I turn inward. I pull back and I push away. I curl up on the couch as you are left to play all alone. Of course, you ask for me. Your eyes will lock with mine and you will ask me to be your prince, or your princess. You will want me to play “monster” or “bad guy” with you. Sometimes, you just want me to be your mommy.

“Not now, honey. Not today. Mommy doesn’t feel good,” I say. “Do you understand? Is that okay?”

You then nod and mumble “okay,” but the pain is written across your face. Your sadness is magnified by your silence, and it reverberates long after your little voice fades. I’ve upset you. You are hurt. Once again, I’ve let you down.

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