- Publish Date
- Thursday, 5 July 2018, 8:00AM
Mother-of-four Brittany Ernsperger posted a seemingly simple photo: a pile of clean dishes in her kitchen.
But the photo came with a powerful message that resonated with thousands of people worldwide.
"This is what depression looks like," the mother wrote on Facebook.
"No. Not the clean dishes. But that there were that many dishes in the first place; that I've gone 2 weeks without doing them," she explained.
"3 days ago I sat on the kitchen floor and stared at them while I cried. I knew they needed to be done. I wanted to do them so bad. But depression pulled me under. It sucked me in. Like a black hole. Rapidly, sinking quick-sand," she continued.
"I walked by them morning and night and all day long. And just looked at them. Telling myself that I could do them. Telling myself that I would. And feeling defeated everyday that I didn't. Making the depression only that much worse because not accomplishing something that needs to be done is failure.
"Worthless. Failure. Piece of s**t. Incompetent. Stupid. Lazy. All things that roll through the mind of someone with depression. All. Day. Long.
"Throw anxiety on top of it, and you've got yourself a real treat. Being scared your husband will leave because he thinks you're lazy. Being scared to let people into your home because they'll think you're nasty. Feeling like you're failing your kids because for the 3rd night in a row you don't have any clean dishes to cook dinner on.. so pizza it is. Again.
"And the worst part of it all, it's not just with the dishes. The laundry, cleaning, dressing yourself, taking a shower, dressing your kids, brushing your and their teeth, normal everyday tasks. It all becomes a nightmare. A very daunting task. Somedays it doesn't get done at all.
She went on to add that "depression is something that 'strong' people don't talk about because they don't want people to think they're 'weak'."
"You're not weak. You've been strong for so long and through so many things, that your body needs a break. I don't even care if the only thing you did today was put deodorant on. I'm proud of you for it. Good job. I'm in your corner. I'm on your side."
The mum said she was not looking for sympathy, just wanted to raise awareness of a situation many struggle with.
Her Facebook post quickly went viral, attracting hundreds of comments and about 160,000 shares.
People on social media shared her post because it described how they felt too.
"So on point. I'm lucky my husband is so understanding. He works out in the heat all day, and comes home to sometimes having to cater to me. It's a shameful useless feeling," one Facebook user commented.
"I know these feelings first hand. Thank you for posting this," someone else said.
Ernsperger said she did not expect the outpouring of support she received from her viral Facebook post.
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• Samaritans 0800 726 666
• If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
This article was originally published on NZ Herald and is reproduced here with permission.