It’s A Phase, I Tell Myself

When I had a baby and a two-year-old, and they were both crying, and I hadn’t slept enough, and their father wasn’t home, I used to tell myself, “It’s a phase; they’ll get older and it won’t be as intense.”

When one of them kept biting other kids at daycare, and I recited every day, “Friends are not for biting. Friends are for playing and hugging,” I told myself, “It’s a phase, he’ll learn.”

When one of them regressed in his toilet training when anxious and I was always washing out dirty underpants, the story to myself again was, “It’s a phase; he can’t do this forever.”

Similarly when everyone had the flu and I was gagging as I rinsed vomit off sheets in the bathtub, when a teacher said that the drawings of airplanes with bombs meant I had a violent child, when one developed a phobia of elevators, car alarms and bees… the phrase got me through all the hardest parts of parenting small children. Not to say I ignored these challenges, but only that I kept in mind that they wouldn’t last forever.

This needs to be my mindset about the depressive episode I’m experiencing. It’s dark. It’s so, so lonely. It’s confusing. I get nothing done. I feel guilty about that. I’m boring. Everything hurts. I’m empty. I’m numb. I have body sensations that don’t fit what I am doing. I think obsessively about harming myself, killing myself, even as I’m determined not to do it.

And it’s a phase. It can’t last forever, even when it feels like it. Something will change. It’s hard to wait until it goes away, but it will go away. I can breathe, and let myself feel the loneliness, the emptiness, the hopelessness. It doesn’t feel good, but it’s the truth of where I am right now.


  1. yes, all these phases throughout our lives. i have so many unhelpful feelings related to that. my depression takes form in negativity, isolation and self anger (really i am angry at everyone and everything but not actually because i know it’s just me). what if life is just a series of phases. what if each phase is just so exhausting and we are just so tired?


  2. Hey Q, been keeping up with your posts but not commenting much. Know that I’ve been thinking of you a lot, and sending as much strength and warmth as I can. Yes, this is just a phase, but it’s a long one, and it sucks, and I just want to validate that. Even if it just is a phase, feeling stuck in it is terrifying and helpless-feeling, and it’s okay to feel that way.
    I’m glad that you’ve been able to be safe. I see you taking one step at a time, just doing the next right thing, and that’s incredibly strong. Please know that.
    Hugs xoxoxo


    • Lily, I know you are up against a lot right now. Thanks for taking the time to comment–I treasure each comment, truly. And thank you for recognizing that even if I know it’s a phase, it can feel eternal and overwhelming while I’m in the middle of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this. I have a “this will pass” similar phrase. I am so sorry you are so down now. I’m going through what a call a serious slump. It just sucks. It so sucks. I hope it passes for you soon!!!!


  4. Yes, this is not permanent and it won’t last forever. I am so glad you are reminding yourself of that. It really will change, it has to. And your acceptance is really going to serve you. I’m feeling a lot of tenderness for your pain. I care, Q.


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