Youngest just turned 2, so I know this isn't exactly PPD, but thought I might get some answers here trying to figure out if what I have is depression.
I have felt like this off and on, honestly, looking back (I found an old post here from when DS was 3) probably since DS was about 1 yr old- he's now 7). But I always just chalked it up to being an isolated SAHM without any help (no family around) besides DH, who has been working 60 hrs / wk lately. DH works on weekends which is tough, especially for DS who has to write "weekend news" for school...our weekends are pretty uneventful. I don't have a car, and not a whole lot to do. We have a couple of neighbor friends but I don't want to interrupt their family time on weekends.
Anyway, for the past few months I've noticed it more so- there are days when I just can't handle it-I mean not being able to cope with even preparing breakfast, I'll break down crying trying to make pancakes or wrestling with DD to change her diaper - I just can't handle her "giving me a hard time" (ie, being a normal toddler). Seems like from the moment we wake up, DD is screaming and throwing fits (fueled by DS's teasing and laughter and thinking it's hysterical when she screams, which doesn't help of course). Getting ready to go out (which is probably what we need to do badly) is overwhelming, I'm just a mess crying about the littlest thing that doesn't go my way (yeah, and I wonder why my toddler acts that way!), yelling constantly at the kids for misbehaving/ not listening. Forget about going to do fun things, we're just staying home today. The TV has been a babysitter these past couple of days. DS was not kidding when he said , wow, I got like 4 hours of screen time today! (his limit is usually 1 hr). When we stay home, I try my hardest to sit down and play with them, but honestly, I'm not able to. I'm just choking up in tears, I just need to disconnect from the world and clean like crazy (lately this helps me to calm down) or go online to read parenting forums or just window shop. A handful of times I've literally broken down in front of the kids. DS is very sensitive and hugs me and tries to console me...DD just looks confused saying "mommy crying? mommy be happy"..I feel awful they have to see me like this, especially because I can't explain why- I just say "mommy's tired and cranky"- which I am. I'm sure sleep deprivation doesn't help- I'm studying part time, taking 2 online prereq classes to apply to grad school for next fall. and the only time I have to study is at night- which is after 10pm since DD doesn't fall asleep until then on the days she naps. Once I go to bed, I often toss and turn, lately with nightmares for an hour or so, often not falling asleep until 2am. So I often only get 4-5 hours of sleep at night. On weekdays, when DS is in school, I try to nap with DD, which helps a little.
I realize I don't get enough "me time"- definitely a big problem, but what I feel some days is beyond simply exhaustion or running on empty- it's just not having a desire to do anything. It's a feeling of just giving up on everything- eg. saying" Screw going back to school" (even thought it's something I want to do to be able to start a new career and provide for our family), "screw the job interview next week" (even though it could be a great opportunity, get me out of the house, but no I don't feel emotionally stable enough to have to go to work everyday), "I'll just stay home miserable everyday and just provide my kids with the basic food, care and love"....but other days I'll feel perfectly fine and sometimes overjoyed about everything. I guess my question is, could it still be depression even though it's not a constant state of mind? It's like an emotional rollercoaster, with very steep ups and downs.
I seem to go through phases, a hard week here and there...now I'm wondering if it's cyclical/hormonal, not sure if it happens to coincide with PMS. I didn't feel it while I was pregnant with DD, and before and after my cycles have always been irregular which makes it harder to pinpoint.
It's hard to talk to DH about it- he perceives it as me constantly venting about being a SAHM when he works hard each day to provide for us. Before going back to school I was actually working from home, too, and he was very supportive and helpful in making sure he took care of the kids whenever I had to get work done. But once I started studying too, it was way too much for me, so we decided I would just concentrate on studying at night and being a SAHM during the day- therefore he picked up more hours at work, making it harder again for me. But I can't make him feel guilty for doing so...so it's an ongoing argument when I turn this in to the classic "SAHM vent about I work hard all day too with the kids, why do you get to come home and sit back on the sofa after working a 12 hr day"- which is unfair on my part too, I realize, but I feel like he just doesn't realize it's more than that.
I feel awful yelling at my kids so much, losing my patience- it goes against everything I want to be as a parent- I just want that connected feeling back - enjoying every moment- not letting the little tantrums become an uncontrollable tantrum of my own. I feel so much anger sometimes that I slam my fist down and hurt myself. I'm able to just walk away when I feel like I can't control my emotions when I'm holding my DD or feel like I might get physical with DS. I do call the parental stressline often, but got tired of their "canned responses"- I need a therapist who can not only listen to me but give me some insight on how to control my emotions. I need the help but I'm not sure if I'm just in denial sometimes- for example, tomorrow I might wake up fine and forget about looking to get help until I have another "bad day". So can you still have good days when you are clinically depressed?