Getting help for my depression helps me to be a better parent

As a single mom and caregiver to a child with Pompe, self-care is crucial

Keara Engle avatar

by Keara Engle |

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Oftentimes, parents of children with rare diseases don’t have time to focus on themselves. We have so much on our plates because of everything that our children go through. This causes us to push our problems aside, especially when it comes to mental health.

I recently found myself in a rut. I’ve battled with depression before, but this time it seemed to be consuming me. Most of it stemmed from all of the events that have occurred in the past year. It was just one thing after another.

I gave birth to my youngest son, Kyree, last December. That brought on postpartum depression, which was a battle in itself. Then, my oldest son, Cayden, started preschool. Over the summer, my grandfather passed away. This was the first experience I had with someone close to me dying. And right after that, Cayden started kindergarten.

Cayden has infantile-onset Pompe disease, which means he has frequent doctor appointments and various therapy appointments, including infusions. On top of all of that, Kyree just had surgery. All of these events offered me no time to think about myself.

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Seeking help was a good choice

It was a lot for me to handle as a single parent. It’s sad to say, but most days I dreaded waking up to do everything on my own, all over again. But I knew I couldn’t live like that forever. Something needed to change, and fast. I could feel myself spiraling downward into a deep depression.

Thankfully, I was able to recognize that I needed help. I didn’t hesitate to reach out to my primary care physician to ask for it. One thing that has helped me in the past is depression medication. Because I knew it had helped me before, I had no problem asking my doctor to put me back on it. She agreed with my decision and immediately prescribed the medication at my appointment.

Another thing she suggested was therapy. After hearing about all of the things I have on my plate, she said it would be a great place to start. Not too many 21-year-olds are juggling two children, let alone one with a rare disease that requires extra care.

I wasn’t fond of the idea of therapy at first, because I already have enough things to do for the boys. However, I knew I needed to make time for myself if I truly wanted the help I so badly needed. I decided to give it a go, and I’m glad I did.

I’ve had a few therapy sessions already, and I’ve found them to be very helpful. At first, I was nervous to open up to my therapist and be honest about all of my thoughts and feelings. But my therapist welcomed me with open arms, and he’s provided me a safe space to vent. He gives me recommendations on how to cope with everything, and it’s been nice to have someone to talk to without judgment.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I need help with my mental health. I knew that the longer I put it off, the harder it would get. My kids deserve a happy, healthy mom. And I’ll do whatever it takes to give them that!

Note: Pompe Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pompe Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Pompe disease.


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