My daughter had her second birthday just two months after I got out of the hospital for the first time. I had planned a party for her and had invited lots of family and friends to help us celebrate. I had worked hard preparing, sending out handmade invitations, cooking, and cleaning the house. On the evening of the party, just as the guests were beginning to arrive, I suddenly felt overwhelmed by the prospect of playing host and ended up sobbing in my room. I called my doctor and told him that I had all these guests arriving and was holed up in my room, a total basket case. He said to me, “What do you want to get out of this night?” I told him I wanted people to have a nice time, and I just wanted to get through it. He asked whether I had help, which I did, and whether my guests were aware of my illness, which they were. Then he suggested that I just keep my thoughts on enjoying the company and forget about trying to make everything perfect. I was able to go downstairs and join the party and everything worked out. It doesn’t seem like a huge revelation, but I have often since then asked myself that question, “What do I want to get out of this day?” It really helps to keep me focused on the task in front of me and reminds me that it’s okay to ask for help and that things don’t have to be perfect.
Taken from Parenting Well When You’re Depressed
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