Feeling well enough at last to find my voice again
I have known for years there was a forum here and was too afraid to join because it would mean admitting I needed medication and just couldn't fix this by myself. So here I am at last! I hope this helps even one person if they are feeling like I did. Ok here goes.....
I'm a 32 year old mum of 2, 15 months apart. I'm happily married, love my job, love my family and friends. I have support. Nothing bad has happened to me. So I thought I had no right to feel depressed. I have always been an anxious and emotional person. Mood swings were normal for me. I made every excuse to myself and the doctors to explain away my poor scores on the postnatal depression checklists. I admitted I constantly thought about suicide but that had been normal for me for years so it didn't feel like a big deal, it didn't mean I'd do anything. I was angry all the time and my moods were unpredictable.
Hubby said constantly I don't care what the doctor said you perform for them and I know you. Something is wrong. After my second bub and the start of a new health condition (psoriatic arthritis) I saw a psychologist who said I was dealing with chronic pain and two small children and what I felt was normal.
I practiced mindfulness. Family and friends gave me rest. Eventually I got medication to help my joints. I talked. I ate well, I went back to work. Everything was supposed to be better....
But I felt worse. I'd see the doctor and they'd say I was ok but I'd stand at the sink washing dishes and plan the steps of how to kill myself. If I wasn't busy I would find the thoughts repeating. They'd all be better off without you. You're worthless. They'll only put up with so much of your issues and then they'll leave you. So I'd plan how to die. And I was TERRIFIED.
My husband told me to write down exactly what I felt on a bad day and he put it in an envelope and made me an appointment for the psychologist. We made a plan. I would go in and say I need you to read this. I don't feel like this now but this is how I've felt most days for years but I can't seem to communicate it to a doctor and get help and I'm so frightened.
And finally! A crisis plan put in place until I could see the psychiatrist! Apparently I have had major depression for over 12 years. Only after starting an antidepressant did I notice how anxious and self destructive I had constantly been. I don't have suicidal thoughts anymore. I am happy again. It's the start of my journey but there is hope at last.
I want to make a very strong suggestion to you. You are a worthwhile person and your needs are as important as those of anyone else. I think financially you will be better off with a psychiatrist as you will always have a Medicare rebate. If you see him reasonably frequently you will reach the Medicare safety net limit and will receive a bigger rebate, probably dropping your fee to a relatively small amount.
I do understand about children and money. I have four children and when they were small making ends meet was not always easy. You feel you are stable but don't let this fool you into stopping therapy or medication. You are on the recovery road and feeling about it. Stay until you have good coping mechanisms in place. Psychiatrists should tell you when they feel you can cope with life. Major depression does not vanish when you have been on ADs for a short time. It's very sad and to yo-yo your life with dark feelings etc, then feeling good for a short time is not the best way to go. Be guided by the psych and by your husband who obviously knows you well and therefore knows when you are going down.
Have a look at the BB safety proforma. It's an app you can put on your phone, so handy to take a peek at when necessary.
You didn't write in for answers but I have provided them anyway. Good to know you are feeling better.
Sorry I took forever to respond. Your advice is good and I'm grateful for it! I'm just waiting till my next appointment and am going to give the psychotherapy a go.
I've been unstable lately overreacting to everything little thing. I burst into tears at work and was a bit hysterical which is embarrassing thinking about now. So I'll give it a go I'd rather worry about money than feel like that.
Thanks for your advice it helps a lot!
Lovely to hear from you again. Never worry about taking time to reply. Take your time and write when you feel able.
I fell into a major depression many years ago. Was determined no one was going to know about it. Well I didn't know what was wrong, just knew I wasn't going to tell anyone. Fooled most of the people I worked with. One morning I walked into the office and saw I had left some personal writing on my desk. The shock of seeing there and wondering if anyone had read it (which was highly unlikely) tipped me out of my self control and I sat at my desk and sobbed. The room went very quiet until a colleague came and rescued me. Never felt so embarrassed in life.
I can smile about it now but it was dreadful at the time. It probably was a good thing as my colleague took me to a local doctor who referred me to a psychiatrist and I started my journey.
You asked a couple of questions about me above and I have never answered you. I came to BB on the recommendation of the psychologist I was seeing. This forum was a revelation to me. I vaguely knew about BB and did not know about this forum. I came, I saw, I stayed.
Do you have any hobbies or activities you enjoy? No matter what you need to do for the family, it is important you do things just for yourself. When my children were small I made all their clothes. It was practical but I did this because I like sewing. I am a total bookworm and my children have also followed my example. Not keen on the physical stuff but I do now attend an exercise class once a week. I sew embroidery and am a scrapbook person in fits and starts. This means I get the urge to do something specific, like make a scrapbook of both daughter's weddings, then put it all away until I feel another urge.
I have retired from work and now have several volunteer jobs. Just think, I stopped paid work and now work in unpaid jobs. What's wrong with this picture? What do you enjoy doing?
I would like to think you will drop in here and tall us how you are going.
Thanks for sharing your story with me and for carrying on replying to me. It's good to know something good can come out of an embarrassing public breakdown!
I wrote a letter to my manager asking for a meeting to try address some of the problems stressing me out at work and he replied immediately and took it seriously which was nice. In the meantime though the gossip is everywhere and when I came to work someone jokingly asked me if I was planning on a 'hysterical crying fit' today. I seem to alternate between feeling content and positive for the future and furiously angry and argumentative. Have you experienced this?
I keep trying to do things I enjoy when I can but I'm really struggling with my kids at the moment. I love my garden so we'll go outside and I'll unwind and so some physical work and feel more relaxed...then I look up and the kids have created a giant mess and I'm immediately back to a screeching banshee and gritting my teeth and irrationally angry again.
I'm getting time to myself but I'm just in a phase where I want to be alone again and anything makes me angry. Then I feel guilty for being so aggressive. Arrgh. I feel so much better in myself on the meds but I'm worried it's making me a selfish person who is just generally unpleasant to be around!
Thanks for letting me vent!
Talk about timing. I have just returned from a silent retreat. I was the only making a retreat, although there were others on a workshop. It was so lovely I wanted to stay a few more days, but cost... Three meals a day, no washing up, no housework, just me reading meditating, praying and eating. I feel so much more at ease and able to manage what seems like a mountain of problems. Most of them are not particularly big, it's just the timing.
It's sad when people gossip about you in such an unkind way. Mostly they think they are making a joke and have no idea how much it can hurt. And of course so many people have no idea how depression affects us. If your manager is such a caring person how about you suggest to him that he organise to have a speaker from BB to talk to the employees. Not just your group of colleagues but those from every department. You can tell I was a public servant once. You could tell him it would be good for the business and general morale to have management acknowledge mental illness in the workplace. Then when someone else becomes depressed and anxious, hopefully that work group can ask the right questions and support that person.
To have the recognition out there that anyone with depression is not living a good life and that it could be made easier by the caring attitude of staff would be wonderful.
Your mixture of feelings is quite normal. Did I hear a 'thank goodness'? It is a bit scary to realise you are happily going on your way when suddenly you turn into a monster, or so it seems. And there's no reason. I'm not sure but are you saying that meds are making you a selfish person? I really cannot see that. Your AD are helping you I feel from what you have said. This is a good thing. Gradually as they kick in more you will find your moods do not change so swiftly and you are more able to control your emotions. It will take time, don't I know this.
I would be inclined to say you were selfish if you refused to get help and refused to help yourself. You are doing the right thing, but at the risk of driving you crazy with my repeated words, it does take time. I know you want to get well and how frustrating it feels when you appear to be stuck in the same place. Your have taken quite a few steps forward so far, taking medication, seeing a psychiatrist, noticing the effect of your mood swings and trying to keep yourself busy to drive away the bad thoughts. That is no mean feat and you did it.
Wow the retreat sounds amazing! I'm glad to hear that you feel recharged.
Thanks for your advice and the reminder that feeling better is a work in progress! I don't mind if you repeat it because I forget that all the time. When I read my previous post I can see I'd forgotten again.
At the moment there is a lot going on (my work, changes with hubbys work, issues with money, medical appointments) and then we all got gastro and I'm shattered and overwhelmed. So I feel selfish cos part of me just wants to up and run or just stay in bed all day. I suppose thats normal when you feel sick but have to care for others first though. That's the joy of gastro you can't ask for help because you'll make them sick too. Ah well it will pass.
Thank you for listening!
I hope you and your family have all recovered from your gastro bug. Usually it's all over in a couple of days leaving you feeling like a wet rag. Go easy and be gentle on yourself. Sometimes I think the universe conspires to make sure everything goes wrong at the same time. I'm sure there is a cause and effect but not necessarily our fault.
I had a bit of a chuckle when I reread your post of 28/03 where you wrote I'm getting time to myself but I'm just in a phase where I want to be alone again and anything makes me angry. Oh how I know that feeling. I didn't want to come home after my retreat and I've had to slow down when talking to people to make sure I don't bite their heads off. Time and patience, but I'm not good at the patient part.
The love and care you feel for your children can be stretched a bit far at times. It seems that they do the wrong thing just when you are feeling most vulnerable. Not true of course. You simply notice it more when you are having a down day. How old are your children may I ask?
Please don't think of yourself as selfish because you feel like running away or staying in bed. It probably means you need some rest. Perhaps if your children are old enough you can explain a little about being tired and get them to do little jobs for you. I find my grandchildren feel very important if I ask them to do something. One granddaughter was helping me to write Christmas cards but her brother wanted her to play with him. "No I can't," she said. "I'm helping grandma." So we found a job he could do to help write the cards. And those are the times when they decide to talk to you about what's happening in their lives. If they are old enough to make a cuppa that always goes down well.
I gave up expecting my home to look wonderful all the time. I settle for reasonably tidy and not terrible dirty. I can live with toys and breadcrumbs on the floor.
Take care of yourself.
Your post gave me such a laugh (thanks for that) I imagined my kids making me a cup of tea like you mentioned and then thought knowing my kids it would be water in a mug scooped out of the dog's bucket haha! My kids are 2 and 3 and a half years old so we're not quite there yet.
Thanks for your reply and checking to see how I'm going. Hubby is the last to succumb to the dreaded bug but the rest of us are on the mend so it's almost over (thank goodness!).
You're right I was tired and overwhelmed (today has been a good day and I have a lot more patience). I'm also starting to see why people come to BB and never leave. It's really helpful to have a blue day and to have support from other people who have been in a similar situation.
How are you handling coming back from your retreat? I feel awful that I go on about myself and you mentioned you had some problems recently and I forgot to ask how you were going?
Glad I was able to make you laugh. Yes, the idea of toddlers making a cup of tea is either scary or amusing, or perhaps both. You said in your first post how old your children were but I didn't stop to check.
My retreat was lovely. Lots of quiet, lovely setting, nice food and no housework. What is there to be unhappy about there. There is no need to worry about my problems. I have a habit of telling people when I get upset about things so be assured I will talk about me at times.
Glad you had a good day. I think parents deserve a medal for bringing up children without throttling them. When my children got too noisy or seemed not to listen to me I would walk away. My daughter told me a short while ago that when I walked away they would all realise they had pushed a bit too far. I'm so glad they noticed. Do you have any special way of coping? It's a good idea to think about your responses beforehand. Then you can put it into action and hopefully save yourself getting cranky and then guilty. Children are past masters of making feel guilty.
My mom came to Australia a few times when my children were young. My youngest child, a boy, really had her tied round his finger. She would ask him to go to the shops and get her a block of chocolate. You know the family size. Mom was a bit of a chocoholic. She would give him enough money to buy a block for himself so of course he never refused. When I discovered this I asked mom why she gave him a block of chocolate as well. My son would go and get stuff for her without bribes. "Ah well," she would say, "He's got such a lovely smile." And he knew it.
Hope your are all well now and at least at the convalescent stage.
Hello again Mary
I wish walking away would help (my kids just keep following me whinging and clinging to me). I totally agree with the throttling comment too I watch other mums and think wow I'm either totally crap at being a parent or other mums are better at performing in public haha.
Haven't been feeling so good of late I'm looking forward to seeing my family at Easter just to hand off the kids for a while and sleep.
I mentioned I'd decided to try psychotherapy... I'd been thinking there were things I really needed to talk about which I can't talk to my family or friends about. But I feel wrong telling the psychiatrist and not my husband so I told him the gist of what I needed to talk about and why I didn't feel comfortable talking to him about it (I feel weird telling my husband about a boyfriend in my teens- he knows the basic story but it's the details that haunt me). He was great and supportive and understanding...but bringing it up was a problem for me. I keep dwelling and my self esteem has just plummetted again.
I keep worrying would it be better to just keep it shut away? When I read some of the stories on here my experience is nothing in comparison. But it won't leave me.
When we bought our 5 acres I loved the block at first sight. It is our home and I can't wait to move there. Then one day I saw the local paper and saw the names of the ex boyfriend's parents and I was frightened and so angry. I felt like I could never escape from him. And that he was invading the place I want to raise my kids and be with my husband. And that there will be someone in the local community who remembers me at my most pathetic. I don't want my husband to see me that way it's not who I am.
I suppose it's good I've recognised what I need to ask the psychiatrist to help me deal with but I'm frightened about bringing it up all the time and how it makes me feel.
Thanks for listening to me Mary. I'm sorry to pile my issues onto you. I needed to just get that out of my system today so I can sleep.
I hope you have lovely plans for Easter. I'm loving Dools thread about three things to be grateful for.... Have you had a chance to read it? Take care of yourself 😊