For years, I cried and dreaded the next day when I went to sleep. I saw a few drs who said that I am probably depressd to which I replied, "Well, I am chronically ill and nobody has anything to offer me to get better. That's depressing! Wouldn't you be depressed?"
Anyway, I have been on a journey to becoming healthy since 1998 and this is my first year that I can actually say that I am healthy!!!
BUT while I was working toward fixing my body, I had a lot of really wacky things go on- OCD to an extreme, social anxiety to an extreme, utter dread of living another minute and having to consciously choose to not throw myself off the balcony, etc... I was a huge mess. My body completely ruled my emotional state and my ability to function in any way. In the end, it was only recently (last year) that I found anyone whose knowledge was of use to me- after decades of trying to find someone or just the right information to do it myself.
I have an overactive limbic system and this brings a lot of challenges in my life. Properly functioning adrenal and thyroid are essential to feeling and being well. Mine were tanked and on the verge of shutting down completely. I second the pp's recommendation to read up at Stop the Thyroid Madness.
Part of my journey included super simplification of my life. There was just no way I was in any condition to woh; I couldn't even go grocery shopping on my own. I felt much like you described in your first post as well about having a family. I do still become frustrated when I've not had a break and I am relied upon by everyone for everything to such an extent that if I don't do it/think of it then it simply will not be, and then we all suffer and I bear the burden of that because I'm a sahm. But the difference now is that I recover with a break and don't become overwhelmed at all when I have regular breaks (which have not been happening for the past ten weeks! AAAAHHH I need a break!). I can recharge and come back feeling like me and loving both me and my family too. That was impossible for me before. Once dp realised that I wasn't making things up and that he had to take our dc for an hour or two so I could rest, it made no appreciable difference; I just had nothing and left and an hour or two here and there was just waaaay too little, waaay too late. And I was sick.
Anyway, at one point, I removed all the furniture in my house except beds and the kitchen table & chairs. I removed any doubles of all of our things and anything I didn't want to put any energy into maintaining. I decluttered, but that was incidental; I made the choice that since I was not willing or able to take care of all the stuff, it would go, and it did. Dp at that time did nothing in the home; he was gone 6 or 7 days each week. Ayway, I made my home empty of stuff. I changed my diet to suit my body's needs, worked out the 'ant's (automatic negative thoughts) and replaced them with positive ones, even though my brain fought me in this; I was persistent.
I completely cut out everyone in my life who treated me in ways I didn't want. Some people I told this to; others I didn't and just disappeared from their lives. I had no tolerance for conflict; my body couldn't cope with it at all, s I avoided it and felt fine about it because I was doing things for me, and not to please or placate others, for the first time.
I decided that if I was going to make it to my childrens' adulthood, I had to begin to make choices that included MY well-being and I am still very much on that jurney because I do NOT do that well, but I'm learning; I post about that every now and then.
I used to give my meals to whomever asked for whatever was on my plate! While breastfeeding giant babies!!! And I'd give away my water and realise at the end of the day that I had only had a glass or two all day, which explained why I had headaches and muscle cramps added to my usual constant pain. Obviously everyone else could obtain ther own plate of food (or just eat what was already served to them instead of mine) and their own water! I didn't require my dc to give me physical space ever, so they were always on me somehow and I co-slept so I never had physical space- I also showered with dc because dp wasn't home enough for me to be clean and tehm to be looked after while I washed. I did this for years! I just didn't respect myself then; I didn't know what that meant even.
Now I do, though I am in the process of learning how that works practically.
When I was a wreck for those years, others including dp would ask me why it was so hard for me to be happy when mothers have always done what I was doing and they were happy. I asked for some evidence of that because mothers have only recently in human history done what we do commonly now- raise our dc in isolation without extended family or community directly involved in family life. I haven't known a mum who was actually happy in the situation I was in. I was then told that the pioneers did it.
Show me the evidence that they were HAPPY though. Where is it? And why do we assume they were happy to raise their children in a foreign land in isolation from other families and even their spouses in many cases?
Oh and how about valium? Mother's Little Helper? Was that for all the happy
sahms who were just so glad and content in their isolation and feelings of not mattering? Please. Dp found out recently that his deceased grandmother was on a constant buzz from alcohol, and that's probably how she remained so calm while raising her four dc in a foreign country while her dp worked all day and had a fling on the side... There are a lot of self-medicating mamas in those stories but nobody talks about that. Surfing the net can have a similar effect and outcome, I think, but if you are retreating that way, you are not alone! Uuuuh, we're called internet 'users' btw.
It's like the idea that there are mothers who give birth in fields and just keep on working (also told to me when I was suffering very badly after two c/s in two yrs and adrenal exhaustion and more), but while this may be true, it is not HEALTHY and I have no reason to belive that this is an IDEAL of any sort taht I should aspire to in my life! I think it's terribe that a mama would give birth at work and then strap the child on her back with some errant rags and keep working while blood runs down her legs. Wow. So romantic.
You know something is wrong. I don't think it will just pass
, and I can see that neither do you. Ignore people who say that; they just don't want to feel or acknowledge the pang of responsibility for your situation; you need better friends than that. I think it's pretty much innate that if a human being is suffering, and we know about it, we have a responsibility- it varies, but it's there; most people don't want that burden for others even though their flippant responses indicate that they must be aware of it.
So, move on and find people who are open and proactive in their lives, and think of yourself as being that way too, even if you cannot muster the energy to actually do anything just yet. You are reframing, and if you have to take time to do that, then do so, but do it with intention! Eventually, you will act, and you know that; until then, work on your thoughts and plans and make changes to allow yourself the space to act when you are ready. My empty house provided me with a lot of that. You may have a different strategy, but you need to have one whatever it is.
You have to be proactive and it might take a long time. One of the hardest obstacles I had was the realisation that if I was going to get better, I would have to do it on my own (as if I didn't have enough of that going on!), so I made a plan that involved reorganising my physical space. Then my brain space. Then my body space and all with overlaps of course. Your situation is different, but inevitaby, you'll be the one doing it in you- but it is wonderful to have support. Make sure the support you have is support for what you need- specifically. It's not support to have someone who isn't willing to even recognise what you need or what's going on. That's just a person in close proximity, which can still be useful to you, but you also need personal support in some form.
I instituted quiet time for my dc which took forever to take hold and I have since lost that time (I want it back!). I began to set up boundaries physically, emotionally, etc.... Dp was not supportive of any of what I was doing. He was clueless, and it was heart-rending to me to realise that I was married to someone I would have to fight against to get better! Eventually, I came to the point that I had to tell him that he either supports and doesn't cause me stress or conflict or he leaves. I had to stand my ground because I knew that with a partner in my way, it would take more energy to get better than I even had
to expend. It was actually life-threatening for me to have conflict and I endured it anyway for years.
My dp has severe ADD and that was a really difficult thing to navigate; thankfully now he's also working on himself and our home is usually peaceful, we're accomplishing things as a family and we have plans and ideals that line up! What a tranformation!
Anyway, I have had to work two lifetimes-worth to get anywhere in myself and my family in this one life so far, and in the process, my dc who obviously suffered too, also learned and healed as they watched and participated in my journey as they will continue to do. My marriage is better than it has ever been and presently, I am very content and so is dp. We are doing things together- renovating our home, learning better communication and raising our dc together
instead of it just being me while he's gone doing his work and school and I am run into the ground. Our whole family has gone through an enormous healing process that has been alongside my recovery, initiated by me.
I could go on and on, but I am willing to bet that you have an idea of how you might begin the journey you have to take from here. And that might be figuring out what to do next (you did this already; you're compiling information and reassurance that the changes you need to make are okay, that you can be a good mother with different ideals or even the ones you have). Of course you can, and now you have evidence of lots of other mamas who agree.
You can do what you need, and you know that the other options are just not satisfactory or you'd be content with what's going on now. I am not in an ivory tower at all; I live this still, but each change and each progression unlocks and unravels a lot of stuff, so while it looks like a mountain to conquer now, it's more like a snakes and ladders board bt without dice- with choices and self-discovery at the tops of ladders and bottoms of snakes. But it's worth whatever little bit of time and energy you can eke out. If you need to rely on the internet for reprieve, then spend your time reading about people who have accomplished in their lives what you want to and learn some tricks to help you get there.
I hate pump-em-up motivational stuff, and I know I'm coming off that way myself right now
but really it's because I'm trying to pack more in than will fit in this space and my time to be on here. I just wanted to share some of what has been helpful to me; maybe some little thing will trigger some little or big thing for you and you'll have that tiny spark that keeps you going onto the next thing. Or not, and even so, I know that being human, you have immense personal power, so regardless of my contribution, you can do what you need to do.