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Struggling to stay

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I have been struggling with pp anxiety, especially over the last 3-4 months and especially the last month or so. I honestly didn't think I was going to make it to Christmas without running away, but where? I am totally financially dependent on my husband and have a 2 year old son who is dependent on me. I feels stuck and scared of what is going to happen to me and my child if I can't keep my fear of the future and feelings of inadequacy as a parent under control.

Please help me!!
post #2 of 23

Hey! What kind of help do you think would help you the most? Have you talked to a doctor or a therapist about your anxiety? How does your anxiety manifest? (Everyone is a bit different.) 

 

Some people really benefit from medication. I started smoking pot at 27 when my first child was a bit over a year old. I could no longer manage my anxiety and all of the western meds I tried made it so I couldn't parent. (Narceleptically falling asleep on the couch when you are a solo parent is not cool.) It's not a great lifestyle choice--I hate it. It irritates my lungs and I find the separation necessary for smoking to be incredibly inconvenient. But my doctor and therapist both think this is the right choice for me at this stage of my life. We have extensively talked about how this isn't forever. This is for now so that I have the physical ability to do this attachment parenting stuff. (I have a lot of psych issues.)

 

You are not alone. No matter how badly you feel you aren't alone. Ask for help. You don't need to suffer in silence. So this is a good first step.

 

I want to run too. But more than that, in 20 years, I want to have a relationship with my kids. I want that more than I want to breathe. My children are the only family I will ever have. I have to keep them. So I medicate like crazy so that I can handle staying.

 

I'm sorry you are struggling. Is there anything else I could potentially say that might help? 

post #3 of 23

First of all, know that anxiety is very common. 

Do you have the urge to run away by yourself or to take the kids and run away from your dh?  

Childbirth can bring on terrible anxiety in a lot of women, and many of them really need zoloft or some other chemical help.  Psychologists are also very helpful, but not everyone can afford to go to them.  I know countless numbers of moms who need an anti-anxiety pill to have a normal life.  Please try this before running out on your life...

Big hugs!

post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post

Hey! What kind of help do you think would help you the most? Have you talked to a doctor or a therapist about your anxiety? How does your anxiety manifest? (Everyone is a bit different.) 

Some people really benefit from medication. I started smoking pot at 27 when my first child was a bit over a year old. I could no longer manage my anxiety and all of the western meds I tried made it so I couldn't parent. (Narceleptically falling asleep on the couch when you are a solo parent is not cool.) It's not a great lifestyle choice--I hate it. It irritates my lungs and I find the separation necessary for smoking to be incredibly inconvenient. But my doctor and therapist both think this is the right choice for me at this stage of my life. We have extensively talked about how this isn't forever. This is for now so that I have the physical ability to do this attachment parenting stuff. (I have a lot of psych issues.)

You are not alone. No matter how badly you feel you aren't alone. Ask for help. You don't need to suffer in silence. So this is a good first step.

I want to run too. But more than that, in 20 years, I want to have a relationship with my kids. I want that more than I want to breathe. My children are the only family I will ever have. I have to keep them. So I medicate like crazy so that I can handle staying.

I'm sorry you are struggling. Is there anything else I could potentially say that might help? 

Thank you for your reply. I have talked to my doctor, a counsellor (social worker) and a psychotherapist and they have helped, but they still can't change what is going on in my head and that is where the problem is. I am on 2 different meds - mirtazapine and valium (valium only when I am really panicky).

I was really unsure about becoming a parent before I had my son and am still not sure it's what I really want, now or into the future. I have struggled with relationships my whole life and have been able to walk away from the ones I haven't wanted anymore, but this is different. The consequences of me running away from my own child are far greater. Neither of us would ever really get over it. So I feel stuck in something I am not sure I want and feel inadequate to do well even if I did. I know I need to put his needs first, but am finding it harder and harder to do.
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristmasLover View Post

First of all, know that anxiety is very common. 
Do you have the urge to run away by yourself or to take the kids and run away from your dh?  
Childbirth can bring on terrible anxiety in a lot of women, and many of them really need zoloft or some other chemical help.  Psychologists are also very helpful, but not everyone can afford to go to them.  I know countless numbers of moms who need an anti-anxiety pill to have a normal life.  Please try this before running out on your life...
Big hugs!

Thankyou for your reply. I am on meds and seeing multiple people for help,but still struggling.
post #6 of 23
That makes sense. On my hardest days i remind myself that I made a twenty year committment to do this. It isn't forever and it really does get easier when they get older.

What things do you do to be really selfish? How much does dad help out?
post #7 of 23

hug2.gifYou are definently not alone in these feelings.  My depression is a bit different, because I suffer from long term depression that just gets a lot worse after having a baby. 

 

I can tell you what works for me, but can not promise in any way that it will be helpful to you.  I have to make goals that I will make it x much longer, I can make it to a certain point. For example I tell myself that I have to make it to the end of the month before I will alow myself to completely give up.  Durnig this time I try to find all the reasons that I have to stay and ways that I am needed and wanted.  I have a jar that I keep track of the good things about my life. I record anything good that happens in my life and I put them in the jar. On the really hard/bad days I pull out a few of the papers and read them to try to talk myself down from where I am at. 

post #8 of 23

Since you are getting help, I will now get philosophical on you and recommend the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.  Study it, highlight it, keep it close by you for when you are having a bad moment.  Since many of your fears are of the future, maybe this book can help change your focus to the blessing of the present moment with your wonderful child.  This book can absolutely take away my anxiety and ocd...  

Two other books that are absolutely life changing are Full Catastrophe Living and Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting by Jon Kabat-Zinn.  These books will teach you how to focus your mind, get control of your anxiety, and see what is really important in life.  

post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post

That makes sense. On my hardest days i remind myself that I made a twenty year committment to do this. It isn't forever and it really does get easier when they get older.
What things do you do to be really selfish? How much does dad help out?

That 20 years feels overwhelming to me. I know I only need to do it one day at a time, but I find it hard not to think ahead and worry about what may be to come and whether I am willing/able to handle it. Can I ask how old your children are?

I haven't been very good at self-care lately and have probably allowed myself to become consumed by my fear of the future. I know I need to do better at that and have been trying to get back into doing things I enjoy, like watching tennis. Dad helps out a lot, especially over the last couple of weeks he has been home from work, plus I get help from my mum and his parents. I know I have no good reason for running, it would only be me giving in to that fear.

Gotta go, will write more later.
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristmasLover View Post

Since you are getting help, I will now get philosophical on you and recommend the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.  Study it, highlight it, keep it close by you for when you are having a bad moment.  Since many of your fears are of the future, maybe this book can help change your focus to the blessing of the present moment with your wonderful child.  This book can absolutely take away my anxiety and ocd...  
Two other books that are absolutely life changing are Full Catastrophe Living and Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting by Jon Kabat-Zinn.  These books will teach you how to focus your mind, get control of your anxiety, and see what is really important in life.  
I have heard of the Tolle book, but not the others, maybe I will try the library for them, thanks for the recommendations.
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by zacsmum View Post


That 20 years feels overwhelming to me. I know I only need to do it one day at a time, but I find it hard not to think ahead and worry about what may be to come and whether I am willing/able to handle it. Can I ask how old your children are?
I haven't been very good at self-care lately and have probably allowed myself to become consumed by my fear of the future. I know I need to do better at that and have been trying to get back into doing things I enjoy, like watching tennis. Dad helps out a lot, especially over the last couple of weeks he has been home from work, plus I get help from my mum and his parents. I know I have no good reason for running, it would only be me giving in to that fear.
Gotta go, will write more later.

 

My kids are 2 and 4. So I have a very long journey to go. I think I have an unusual perspective on dealing with suffering though. I had a really bad childhood. The period of time in which I take care of my kids will be shorter than the period of my life where I was violently raped over and over by a total of twelve people. All of a sudden staying home with the kids and being bored for less than that length of time doesn't seem so bad.

 

I need to have short term selfish projects. That's a lot of how I get through. I have "what do I want to do this year". I do a lot of gardening. I paint my house. I have painted murals in several places and I will do more as time goes by. I like building and making things. At the end I get to look at the fruits of my labor. And I tell myself that I am teaching my kids a very eclectic but useful bunch of skills. :)

 

If your brain is unstable because of chemicals that's really not your fault. What you actually do is. I think of it is, "I have not yet done anything that is unfixable." I have screamed at my kids. I swatted a foot when she was violently kicking the car seat when I was trying to drive. These are my big sins with my kids. These are things that with love are fixable. In the long run they are ok.

 

I'm grateful you have help. That changes the whole experience. I don't have help other than my husband and he's kind of a work addict. We don't see him much. That's not true. We have close friends who pick up my kids for one weekend a month. But that's my help.

 

For me a lot of the "need to run" is because I have so much anxiety in my body I feel like I am choking to death on it. Anxiety is energy. Anxiety (for me) means I need to go find a way to occupy my hands and my feet and my brain or I just cry and shake. I can't just sit still with the anxiety. I have anxiety because I have too much energy for my life. I'm used to having to adapt to a lot of things no longer present in my life. Sure, my body is freaking out. That happens. Oh well.

 

I can ignore my body when I'm interested in what I'm doing. For me passive things like watching a sport aren't as useful. I have to move. If it works for you--great! :D

 

What do you want to do with your life that is special to you and no one else can do it? That's how I talk myself into staying. I am a very unusual person. There are a great number of things in this world that *I* want to do that no one else would ever think to do. So if they are going to get done I'd better hurry. I'm running out of time. :)

 

This is how I try to psych myself up. I haven't left yet. I've lived in this house for longer than I've lived anywhere in my life. I want to leave so bad it makes me cry. But I can't. This is the house where I am going to raise my kids. Dernit. :)

post #12 of 23

I felt much like that with my first.  it does get so much easier, I promise.  two is still a really tough, demanding age and it's like that up until about five.  I know it seems really long, but if you can hang in there for the next three years and give yourself LOTS of breaks, before you know it, babe is in school, going to slumber parties, going to grandma/grandpas for the weekend, going to summer camp (mine did at six for a week!  she was ready and it was a godsend), taking lessons, attending birthday parties alone, learning to independently play, ect.  you really do start to get life back, little by little.  babies and toddlers are all consuming and it's hard to see that it will ever be any different in the moment but it gets so different and so much better.  in the meantime, do foster some activity you love, hire a babysitter if you can afford it, get out at least three or four times a week (even just for an hour!  guilt be damned...this is your sanity at risk and a happy mom is way better than an ever present, unhappy mama), pick up little projects you can do, carve out time each night to enjoy a book or glass of wine or tv show, drop babe off with relatives and go take a class (yoga, sewing, jung, whatever....anything you've ever wanted to learn), re-decorate your home and get rid of extra "stuff" that can make your life feel overwhelming, get out and about with your kiddo, make some mama friends with whom you can just sit and chat over a cup of coffee while your kiddos play, see a therapist at least one a month, go back to school or even work part time again if that's what you need to do.  all of this really helped me when I felt like I was in a pit of doom.  affirm yourself over and over - "I am a wonderful mother, I take care of myself and my family and I am happy to take care of my needs."  motherhood does NOT have to be an all-out suffering martyrdom way of life.  take care of your needs first, and everything else will fall into place.  you can still be a loving, attentive, AP mama AND take care of yourself.  it's not impossible!  even if it means working for 15 hours a week so that you can feel a little more you.  stop the negative loop and remember that just like no kid is the same, no mother is the same.  nurture yourself!

post #13 of 23

zacsmum; Regarding your anxiety: I have suffered a lot with anxiety myself, most of my life (I am 33). Although, I don't have children yet (I am 13 weeks pregnant now), I can assure you that the anxiety I have dealt with has been crippling because of abusive relationship habits, jobs that I chose and lifestyles I chose. After taking out the bad lifestyle, finally starting a healthy romantic relationship and quitting a crappy job, it was confusing to me that I still had major anxiety problems. I chose to not go the medical route because I have a family history of major depression (bipolar, schizophrenia etc). The doctor wanted me anxiety and depression medications but I decided I wanted to take more holistic approach because after researching the medications and watching my father suffer through them throughout my life, it is clear they have their own unwanted side effects that much of the time, are as bad, if not worse than what you can already be going through.

 

I decided to go with yoga and meditation, changing my diet to be better and good old fashioned cardio. At the beginning of this decision I had no idea what I was getting into. I had never meditated in my life and was scared to be alone inside my head. I decided it could not get any worse than this, so I threw myself into a 10 day silent Vipassana mediation. Scariest thing ever. In the brief 4 hrs where we can talk to others before being silent for 10 days, I spoke to a woman who was there because she had a 2 and a 4 yr old and she could not imagine going on being a mother anymore. She was at the end of her rope and she wanted to run, she could not go on. She felt guilty for feeling that way and all she wanted was to be able to be a better mother. The first thing she said to me, was that she was worried her partner would let them watch too much tv and eat too many snacks while she was gone.....even though she couldn't take care of them..here she was. Anyways, after the 10 days, she was refreshed and ready to begin being a mother again. It's not easy.

 

Meditation (classes, courses, workshops), yoga and exercise and health eating really worked for me. Learning to breathe was a huge thing. I have taken breath into every aspect of my life and used it at moments I never thought I needed it.   I now have the tools that I need to use when I have an anxiety/panic attack, which is almost never now. Im sure it will creep back when its time for me to worry about everything we worry about when we are mothers. 

 

I was single when I started my path of slowly untangling my anxiety issues. Im sure its harder when you are a mother, I have no doubt about that. But, if your partner is supportive to what YOU NEED than perhaps you can be given the time to find out what you need to do about it for yourself. Its really hard to just do something. Maybe mediation and exercise is not for you but if you haven't tried it before I would encourage you to just take a peek. It might help a little, it might help a lot. I hope this helps..

 

Take care, 

post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks to everyone who has replied and offered empathy and support and advice.  I feel like if things could just stay the way they are, if my son could just stay at this developmental stage, I would be okay, because I am actually coping with it okay.  He is actually relatively easy to take care of - he doesn't have many tantrums, he is cooperative most of the time and when he's not, I can gently get him to go where I want him to, he sleeps well, he is a fussy eater, but I've adjusted to his eating habits for now.  For me it's knowing that this won't last and that one day he might start having more tantrums and/or be less cooperative and/or start talking back and/or have any one/number of the challenges that 3, 4, 5 etc year olds have and I won't be able to cope with them and I'll give up on myself (and I guess him too). 

 

I have been reminded several times this week, including a couple of times today, just how dependent he is on me - from getting upset at being separated when I dropped him off at daycare to clinging to me during swimming class.  I don't know if I could actually bring myself to leaving him altogether, but I don't know how else to make staying with him work without him suffering at least some trauma, because it would probably mean me moving him and me in with my mother and then where would his dad fit in, because I still want him to be part of his life too, but I don't know if he'd cope with sleeping in 2 different houses, especially if some nights I wasn't there and especially since right now he still relies on a dummy/pacifier to go to sleep and still sleeps in a cot, plus he isn't toilet trained yet, so it would make those transitions more difficult too.  I know the best option for him is for things to stay the way they are (ie my husband, him and me all living together), but I'm scared I won't be able to continue to make it work.  Plus I am financially dependent on my husband, so then I would need to worry about how to support myself on my own and whether living with my mother is even an option long-term, so where else would I go? etc etc.

 

The other thing that has been troubling me recently is a premonition that something bad will happen to him in the next few months and I don't know what to make of it - whether it's just my anxiety/fear looking for an escape or whether I should take it seriously.  It is really not helping me at all.

post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 

Is anyone still out there willing to help me with this?  I am still struggling and still need support from people in this community.  I appreciate the support I have already had, but still need it moving forward.

post #16 of 23

Part of how I deal with the ongoing changes in what my kids need from me is I read year by year development books. Otherwise I don't know how to have appropriate expectations. I just don't understand kids. They are mystery to me. :)

 

Do you feel like your relationship with your husband is actually unsustainable or do you just feel like you want to run away? Those are very distinct situations. Something that I do is go on road trips with my kids. When my first child was 18 months old we started going on multi-week road trips just the two of us. I would drive for 1-3 hours then stop and play for an hour or two. We went and visited my friends who live in different states so that I felt less trapped and gasping. I am *ridiculously privileged* and we are members of the Disney timeshare. I take my kids down there for 3-5 days without my husband every few months. 

 

I need the change of scenery. I need to feel like things in my life are not going to be exactly the same forever. What kind of breaking the monotony can you do?

 

I have no idea if this is helpful or not. :)

post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post

Part of how I deal with the ongoing changes in what my kids need from me is I read year by year development books. Otherwise I don't know how to have appropriate expectations. I just don't understand kids. They are mystery to me. :)

 

Do you feel like your relationship with your husband is actually unsustainable or do you just feel like you want to run away? Those are very distinct situations. Something that I do is go on road trips with my kids. When my first child was 18 months old we started going on multi-week road trips just the two of us. I would drive for 1-3 hours then stop and play for an hour or two. We went and visited my friends who live in different states so that I felt less trapped and gasping. I am *ridiculously privileged* and we are members of the Disney timeshare. I take my kids down there for 3-5 days without my husband every few months. 

 

I need the change of scenery. I need to feel like things in my life are not going to be exactly the same forever. What kind of breaking the monotony can you do?

 

I have no idea if this is helpful or not. :)

I have been told by my therapist and mother to stop reading parenting books and parenting websites, because they just seem to make me more anxious.  I think I have more than enough for now.  Because of my reading, I worry about my son having certain behaviours and my ability to respond to them in the "right" way and feel inadequate and totally inferior to the parenting coaches/mothers who write those books/websites.  I read Playful Parenting by Larry Cohen this week and there were scenarios in there that totally freaked me out and made me wake up in the middle of the night in a complete panic.  I just don't think I could deal with some of the stuff he writes about and I know there is nothing to say those things will happen with my son, but I still worry about what is going to happen with him and me being able to manage it.

 

I don't really want to leave my husband, although he can be difficult to deal with sometimes.  It's my son that I feel like I want to run away from, but at the same time not, because I know I would miss him and worry about him even more.  My husband is mostly really good with him - he gets down on the floor to play with him and has had even more time with him in the last few weeks since he has been on holidays from work.  I still want them to have a close relationship, it's me that's the weak link and I worry about getting to a point where I don't feel like I can manage my part of it anymore and will need someone else to step in, but I don't know how confusing/unsettling that would be for Zac or how it would affect my marriage or my own self-esteem, knowing that to a degree I will have given up on myself, even though I would try my best to stay involved in their lives.

 

My son has started daycare 2 mornings a week, so I am planning to use that time to do some volunteer work to try to regain some of those skills.  Maybe that will help boost my confidence so I feel more able to face taking care of Zac.  Plus I am continuing therapy and counselling to try to help me keep my anxiety under control so I can do as much for Zac as I can.

post #18 of 23

First of all, I want to say, give yourself a great big hug, you are finding this time in your life difficult, there is nothing wrong with admitting that. The next thing I want to say is, you are doing awesome. You ARE taking care of your son - even though you are struggling. You HAVE NOT walked out of the door. For every little thing you do for your son, recognise it and appreciate your work that you are doing in taking care of him.

 

I have been were you are now, not all that long ago, after my first son was born, when he was 3 weeks I almost got up off the bed and walked out of the front door, the ONLY thing that stopped me was the thought of how messed up he would be if I did that to him. Of course I was glad that I didn't because he IS amazing and I would have missed out on so much, and now we wouldn't have his brother who is so awesome he makes my heart hurt just to look at him.

 

The second time I nearly walked was last year, but that was more to the hospital, I was so close to committing myself, I didn't because we have NO ONE to look after the boys. It was rough., really rough. I was not in a good place. This is what helped me, I made very teeny tiny steps, started taking a shower and getting dressed, although I was looking after the boys, I was not looking after myself. I started an astronomy class (I had a panic attack in the class on the first day), I had to go back to work part-time, but it did ME so much good, it got me talking to other people again. The thing I regret not doing is going to the doctor for help. I didn't tell anyone. I suffered in silence, and it probably made everything so much worse.

 

I was also very patient with myself and what I could achieve that day. If I didn't get dressed that day no problem, at least I hadn't commited suicide. I was that low. But this is not about me, this is about you. I really started this reply just to give you some encouragement and if you feel like the worst, you most definitely are not the worse.

 

For every tiny thing you do for your son, please make a note of it and think fab I am taking care of things, forget anything that you don't do, it is so easy to get into a negative spiral of self-recrimination.

 

I am glad you are getting help, just take it one day at a time.

 

I hope some of this helped you.

 

Love, light and blessings.

post #19 of 23

I don't get dressed on lots of days. I righteously tell myself I'm cutting back on laundry. thumb.gif

 

It sounds like your anxiety and mine are different and like my coping methods might hurt you. So I don't really know what else to suggest. :( I overload my brain with possible futures and then micromanage how I will respond to them and then I can relax because I HAVE A PLAN. But it doesn't sound like it works like that for you.

 

What things lower your stress?

post #20 of 23
Hi everyone, I am really appreciating this discussion for its honesty. I dont know what.support i can be. I am pregnant and worrying about ruining my life &the childs life. Not that thats what you are doing, but just that i am worried i may feel that way &dont want to get "trapped". It feels hard to talk about in my DDC so i wonder over to PPD, thinking about what may happen. I hope i dont offend anyone because i havent yet had a baby but do have depression&anxiety. I thought about abortion but it made me so upset i decided not to think about it &now i dont know what to think. I dont wanna write too much b/c i am worried this is in wrong place, i just felt a bond after reading thru. Its hard to explain b/c its like reading other peoples experiences just makesme want to take a "safe out" whatever that may be. Its not personally your stories, its everything i read about motherhood thats hard that makes me wanna get away while i still can. I cant just go on the hope that it wont happen to me,ahhhh, too much for now.
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