or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Women's Health  › Mental Health › At what point would my family be better off without me?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

At what point would my family be better off without me?

post #1 of 121
Thread Starter 
When my son is playing and says "Yah! It's a good day today - no-one is crying or mad!" (He's almost five.) ?

When the stretch of time in which I've been rottenly depressed and withdrawn reaches longer than weeks, longer than months, and into years?

When I see my son receiving almost nothing but rejection from me, inexplicable to him after three years of my love? I don't want him to see me upset and sad, but then the side I show him, the cold shoulder, is even worse...

I find myself unable to explain why I can't extricate myself from this mess I've made of my life, and can't help but wonder if the problem is that I don't want this life? Not that I can clearly ascertain what on earth it is I do want. I swear I love my family, yet I treat them negligently.


Look, I'm sorry. I'm all but new here, and I feel like I'm walking into a room full of strangers and asking them to help me. I came to this site briefly when my son was a baby, liked what I saw, but had next to no time for it. Now, I feel lost to the point of desperation, lonely, and obviously guilty as hell. Never mind. I don't even know what I'm asking for. Someone to talk to - who doesn't have the authority to agree with me and remove my son from my care (and me too, since, I'm neglecting myself even worse than I am anyone else). I live in a very small town, and am fairly confident that most doc's would quickly and unthinkingly hand me a prescription. What do I know, anymore? Maybe I need that. Horible, but better than some of the alternatives I can think of.
post #2 of 121
Wooooaaaahhhh!!!!

Pretty strong and desparate language. What are you thinking? If you are thinking your family would be better off without you, go get help anyway you can. No one wants to take your kid unless you can't protect him. Maybe you need meds, maybe you need therapy, maybe you just need a nap. How can I know from just one little post. If you are overwhelmed and feeling like a terrible mom, you will find lots of other women here who have or do feel that way, at least part of the time. But you are scaring me. Whatever mess you have made of your life I am pretty sure that this too shall pass. What do you need right now to be a better mom, a happier human? We can point you in the right way, I know we can.
post #3 of 121
I dont know what to say to you mama, but I couldnt pass your post by without replying. I just want you to know that I will be sending light your way, and you will be in my thoughts. It sounds like you are in need of some help right away. Dont be afraid of using some drugs, to help you deal with this depression... It doesnt mean that this needs to be a long term diagnosis. Your family will NEVER be better off without you... Please know this. Could you call a crisis line near you?
post #4 of 121
My first thought is that you are in pain, deep pain with issues that need to be addressed.

I am sorry you are feeling this way. Happiness can be fleeting, and for some, they have to consciously pursue it. And by that i mean soul searching, possibly therapy or counseling.

Motherhood and marriage/partnership isn't always tip toeing through the tulips, know what i mean? I dont know what your expectatons were, but maybe that has something to do with it.

I am sure there will be moms here who can give you more concrete advice.

post #5 of 121
I'm glad you feel safe enough to express your feelings here. I also hope there are some people in "real life" that you could unload with just like that. I know that when I have been in the throes of ....*whatever* I don't think I would survive without a few good friends to dump with, cuss with, cry and be totally myself with, however that is at that moment. I assure you, your family is NOT better off without you on any given day, and if you're having more of these kinds of days than other kinds of days where life is pretty okay, then I would really recommend seeking help. We are so complex that the issue(s) could be multi-faceted. You may need someone to help break it down and sort out the issues one by one. It sounds like all of it is falling down around you, smothering and overwhelming you.
When I feel that way I also, besides talking, I get out a journal and starting writing, writing, writing.

Peace to you.
post #6 of 121
It sounds like you should see a good, competent psychotherapist pronto. If your town is small, get in a car and drive to the next town. A good qualification to look for is LICSW, Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. An LICSW does not prescribe medications, so if you need meds you will have to also see an MD. You could also see a person with an MA or PhD in Counseling Psychology, or a Master's in Social Work (MSW). I favor cognitive psychotherapy because of what I have read about it.

This nice psychiatrist Dr. Ivan Goldberg keeps an informative (though not very beautifully designed ) website of links about depression and its treatment. (I decided he was nice based on his helpful website!) Here is the page from his site on psychotherapy for people with depression:

http://www.psycom.net/depression.cen...hotherapy.html

and, here is a page he linked to about cognitive behavioral therapy (the author refers to it as CBT):

http://www.cognitivetherapy.com/basics.html

a relevant quote for you, since the idea of taking drugs bothers you:

Quote:
What about drug treatment?
CBT is usually employed by itself, without psychiatric drugs. For some people, however, drug treatment is needed to obtain a partial reduction in symptoms before CBT can be fully effective. Usually, though not always, it is preferable to try CBT alone before prescribing medications.
If you are depressed and you get treated, you will feel better and your life will go better. Don't mess around, your son needs you and you need you. Don't worry about what other people think, some people are stupid. If you had breast cancer, would you not go for treatment because people would gossip? No.

I want to know that you are going to be okay, so please check this thread and let us know how things are going.

post #7 of 121
((hugs))
You just need some help right now and someone to talk to- things will get better. It sounds like you need professional help- doctor, counselor, etc. Can you make a doctor's appointment and see what they recommend or prescribe? If you've felt this way for years, it really is time to try something that might help.
We are good listeners here and we do care. Let us know how you're doing.
((hugs))
post #8 of 121
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your replies – I’m quite overwhelmed, actually. I wasn’t sure what to expect, here.

I’ve been tending more towards oversleeping than lacking a nap, but thanks – you made me smile. Also cry for a couple of hours, but I was going to wind up doing that anyway! All these recommendations to seek help...Is that it, then? If you truly doubt your sanity, your ability to keep it together, is it wrong to balk at getting help? Is it wrong to subject your family to this crap, just because you are scared witless of admitting you're no good at coping with life?

I know I sound alarming, even to myself. That’s what I’m trying to figure out – when should you step out of the picture, when there are children involved? These past couple of years I have let myself unravel to a point where I no longer have faith in my own ability to put myself back together again. I have had a pretty good-sized battle with depression, but that was before I had my son – none of my now outdated coping strategies are of enough help to me anymore. I think they wouldn’t be, even without my being a parent now - I’ve learned one or two things since then (not much, just a little) that make my old ideas basically useless.

I have had a run-in with the psychiatric system in my country (Canada), and do not feel anywhere close to fit to deal with that again. I am suspicious of crisis centers for the same reason – I fear that if I say too many of the wrong words, I will be ‘turned in’. And if I am honest, I will set off lots of those bells. I suppose that’s why I can feel safer about venting here. I don’t feel quite as defensive – you’re not ‘the authorities’. To me that means hospitals and doctors, too, since they seem to be able to make decisions for you, whether you agree with them or not. I think sometimes if I could find someone I could really trust, friend or psychotherapist, I could open up and accept some help…but how to handle navigating those I cannot trust? I’m fragile as a half-cracked egg, these days.

I do want to protect my son, in a very fierce mother-bear sort of way. But mostly, I feel that the worst influence and harshest aspect of his life, by horrible leaps and bounds, is me. As in, otherwise, everything is fine – if you take me out of the equation. I am what he needs to be protected from. But of course, you can’t take his mom away, either, can you, without giving him another awful thing to have to deal with. I just feel like no matter what I do, I am a blight to my family. And my world. Do I like to lay it on thick or what? When I was 16, I had a baby and gave her up for adoption, thinking myself too immature still to be a good enough parent for her. At that age, I was unanimously congratulated for having the wisdom to do so. Silly me (or criminally stupid – wanna help me decide?) for thinking that ten years later, I was mature enough to handle becoming a parent. Now, if I fail to do a passable job (and I fear I am failing, miserably) and someone has to step in and find my son a better mom, I would be universally condemned.

His Dad is insanely tolerant and patient. He really is a good guy – he just maybe needs to wake up and realize he needs, and could easily get, a better wife. For himself and his son. I can’t decide if that just sounds like I’m trying to weasel out of what I only think I love, or whether I’m just suffering a disgustingly large bout of self-indulgence. And, on top of that, coming in here and asking strangers if you’d like to peep in on my little pity-party of a life, and to see how serious you think any of it really is. I don’t know – I’ve disappeared so far into my own little world (no doubt this involves my head and my arse) that I no longer have any advantage of perspective.

See, here I find people, open-minded, kind strangers willing to give me a little time – and this is the best I can do, to explain why I’m here crying so pitifully for help. Nice. About the question of what is it I need right now, obviously one of my biggest needs is for friendship. I’ve been sorely lacking a confidante. I have family I can normally talk to, but my problems have been the sort of thing I’m really ashamed of, and I haven’t been talking to anyone for a terribly long time. I’ve drifted from the couple of friends I had before becoming a mom, and haven’t made any others since. I’m rather petrified that I’m going to say the wrongs things, and scare off anyone who might be bored or kind enough to bear with me, hear me out, talk with me. I’ve never been good at making friends, even in good times, and this site is just brimming with intelligent, gentle, and startlingly on-the-ball people. I can’t begin to tell you how inadequate I feel, here, or how inappropriate my trying to spill my guts here seems to be. I’m sorry!
post #9 of 121
Welcome, first of all... glad you came here b'c there are some awesome people here to help you find ways to help yourself, as no one has the magic potion but you. My quick thought on things for you, find a good therapist or counselor who has experience... maybe they've helped someone in your exact shoes to get better so then they know what you need.

**Hours later, I wanted to add that I KNOW what its like to distrust the counseling/medical community in general... they can seem so calculative, so categorical in what they say sometimes... BUT maybe simply spilling your guts to various therapists & then counting OR DIScounting their advice will help you anyway???
As an example, I searched YEARS for a dentist! A DENTIST!!! Whom I trusted, which is a far stretch from someone I could trust with my LIFE & FAMILY.

I totally understand how you are skeptical of the "community" of so-called help that appears to exist. They seem to be so ready to *call* you on the things that most all of us endure & make it seem like a weakness. My hope is that you can talk around & find someone who will just listen in earnest & then give you help. Please don't be turned off in general at the "help" community, there's a diamond in that rough for you I'm sure. If not, just telling your troubles over & over sometimes helps to bring yourself perspective, yk???

All of that said, IF there isn't a therapist who makes you feel comfortable, don't go to them! BUT, please DO keep looking for help. Like someone after me said - here, there or anywhere, there IS someone who has been in your shoes & knows exactly what you need... just keep seeking mama... someone else said NO ONE can take your place. OMG that's SOOOOO true, please keep on keepin' on mama! YOU're the only mama your babies know, regardless of your past altercations, YOU are their world right now & only YOU hold the "make it better"... love that they need.

Also, sometimes when I feel overwhelmed & uninspired, I get basic & write it all down. Sometimes I list the ways my life is confused, then write my "solutions" (as if there were no obstacles, don't let yourself get in your own way sort of thinking here, it's a free free list of my solutions if anything were possible) across from the obstacles. Or I list my obstacles/troubles & get real with what I can truthfully do to turn my situation around in a week, a month, a year, or more. That one helps alot.

Really, you have to get quiet & dig deep to find what you need in your own life... NO ONE ELSE has your key, that's (ironically) the beauty of it all, it's what keeps us strong & viable. I wish you luck buc I know you're strong or else you wouldn't have had the guts to adm,it you are having difficulty & then seeking solutions. hug

*although your primary posting concern was your family, everything will fall into place once you have YOU figured out. "If the mama ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy" not sure who coined that phrase but she was right on!
post #10 of 121
Oh & please stop apologizing for simply living! Life is HARD & CHALLENGING sometimes & I think you're great for thinking so much about your family that you'd go looking for help!
post #11 of 121
Mama, I do not want to offer you empty words especially when PP have offered you wonderful words and advice, as I do not know what to say. I do want to offer you many hugs. Also, like most mamas here, you are more than welcome to PM or email me at any time if you ever need to talk--ever. I would be more than happy to listen.

Also, I know many have posted looking for friends and confidants. Have you checked Finding Your Tribe for other local mamas? And then possibly search http://yahoo.groups.com for mamas in your area. Maybe even put some flyers up at a health food store or something for a mamas group. I hope you find what you need and make peace with yourself.

But tonight I want you to know I am thinking about you and sending you many
post #12 of 121
OK- you're not ready to get some professional help. Keep coming here and posting. PM one of us, PM some of us, or PM ALL OF US and say hi. We care.
post #13 of 121
First off, I too, want to welcome you to this "home away from home"; I hope you find in us the comfort and companionship you seek.

This is definately one of those times that I find this medium of communication so lacking ~ what you really need right now is for someone to hug you and tell you it's going to be alright.

I must commend you for having the courage to reach out and ask for help. So many people view this trait in themselves as a sign of weakness or undesireable in some way ~ I feel the exact opposite. To be able to recognize when you can't do this anymore without assistance from others is a sign of strength and a healthy first step to making whatever's wrong, right again. To me, it's not a question of *if* you can fix this, it's when. There's no concrete answer as to how long it may take, but no matter ~ the alternative is just not up for discussion.


You need to understand something - your family will NEVER be better off without you. NEVER. The reason I am so sure of this is because I have asked myself this quetion a thousand times, and the answer that comes to me is always the same, no matter how badly I've screwed up. I am the best possible person to be the mother of my child, as are you. I am not trying to downplay how you feel about yourself and your depression ~ that is a very real and frightening place to find yourself in, and needs to be addressed, obviously, but your husband and child love you and will stand by you as you struggle to find your way out of this.

I know how it feels to look at your child and wish he had been born to another mother ~ not because you don't love and want him, but because you love him so much you would give anything to take away the hurt they're feeling. I'm currently at a place in my life when I've never before felt so badly about my mothering, and many nights I lie awake thinking to myself they'd be better off if I weren't here. But that's so wrong. They need me and love me, as do *your* son and husband.

Please look into counselling for yourself ~ I can't recommend it strongly enough. This is a person who is impartial to your situation, and will help you see things in a light you may have overlooked. And while I hear you in regards to how you feel about medication, more than half the time, depression is a chemical imbalance, over which you have no control. This in turn means you also have no control over how you interact(or don't)with your son. It's not that you don't want to spend time with him, it that the depression renders you incapable of doing so. Please, don't let this thing rob you of the relationship that was meant to be between you and your family. You can beat this, and you've already taken the first step ~ you reached out to us, and we'll help you in whatever ways we're able.

There are so many wonderful ladies here, and a kindness and wisdom I've never before encountered. There is help available and I'm sure sosme of the women here can point you in the right direction. I'm glad you reached out, and I have faith in you and your ability to come through this. Please, don't be so hard on yourself ~ you're doing the very best you're able to at the moment.
post #14 of 121
Hey~ I just wanted to you and tell you that I think you are incredibly strong. For many things and in many ways. Go back and read your posts. I have found stregnth and love in your words even if you didn't intend for it to be there. Yiou can do this. This was your very first step and I think you need to honor that. You said you were scared. I get that, but you still got alot out here even if we aren't the authorities. You needed to tell us what you are feeling and to see our reaction. You see, none of us think you are weird or strange or terrible in any way. You are a HUMAN. Your feelings are your own, and you recognize that you don't want to feel like this anymore, so you took a step and I am proud of you. You should be too mama.
post #15 of 121
Oh, sweetie....
I just want to reinforce every kind thing said before by the previous poster mamas...
No one, ever, in a million years will be able to be the mama to your offspring you are.
I've been in your place before, and might be again someday.
I'm haunted by the life story of a friend of mine, though.
When he was 2, his mom committed suicide. She thought it would be best.
Well, at 11 years old, he was institutionalised(sp) for suicidal tendencies, drug abuse, anti-social behaviors, theft, and depression.
I in no way blame his mom for this...she was desperate! She really thought she was making the best decision for him.
But in retrospect, she might have saved him a lot of pain by pulling through...
Please, please...post here as often as you can...
Do whatever it takes to make it through this...drugs...therapy...whatever...
You are irreplaceable!
Only depression will tell a mother that her child would be better off without her.
Only depression would push a mama to that point....
We love you, and you are needed by your family...
Much love,
-kelly
post #16 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by kellyb
Only depression will tell a mother that her child would be better off without her.
As someone who lost her father to untreated depression, I want to second this. I would give anything in the world for my father to have gotten help and to have stayed in this world to be part of my journey in it. I had only six years with him. It was not nearly enough.

That voice that tells you you are no good, that you are a blight, that you cannot function in this world is Depression speaking. And Depression is a liar. Depression has spoken to me, too, throughout my life, telling me hateful things that, at the time, I thought were "Truths." It made me understand more the pain my father went through--but my own pain at losing him has made me even more determined not to repeat the past with my own child.

Please, get help--any help you can. Posting here is a fine start. Perhaps soon you can then take the next steps towards healing, whatever those steps may be. You can heal. You must. Your family needs you. Don't believe the lies your illness is telling you.

post #17 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by horrid-lurker
...All these recommendations to seek help...Is that it, then? If you truly doubt your sanity, your ability to keep it together, is it wrong to balk at getting help? Is it wrong to subject your family to this crap, just because you are scared witless of admitting you're no good at coping with life? ...That’s what I’m trying to figure out – when should you step out of the picture, when there are children involved?

...I do want to protect my son, in a very fierce mother-bear sort of way. But mostly, I feel that the worst influence and harshest aspect of his life, by horrible leaps and bounds, is me. As in, otherwise, everything is fine – if you take me out of the equation. I am what he needs to be protected from. But of course, you can’t take his mom away, either, can you, without giving him another awful thing to have to deal with...
I think you can only step out of the picture with a child if you have tried everything else. The ramifications are just too large.

I have been in a place very similiar to you. I've tried herbs, homeopathy, art therapy, music therapy, yoga, Omega-3, group therapy and all kinds of individual therapy. I was finally hosptialized for three weeks. I was lucky enough to find a combinations of drugs that gave me my life back (combined with cognitive behavior therapy.)

I'm not saying you should take drugs. Not at all. But I am saying that depression screws up your brain chemistry. Depression messed with my mind way worse than any psychiatric drug I've been on.

Motherhood forces your hand like nothing else will. For your child's sake, you can't stay like you are and yet you can't leave either. It sucks. I remember feeling so trapped and like all of my options were bad.

The flip side of that pressure is that if I did not have my son, I do not think I would be here (& what a horrible burden that is to put on a child and so I would never share that with him although I am sharing it here.) I think I would have put off getting help for so long that it would have been too late. But having a child meant I had to do something, even though doing something was the most painful thing in the world. Depression paralyzed me and breaking out of that was a very long, difficult process.

Make a list of all the things you have not tried yet (from daily exercise to light therapy to talk therapy to medication to whatever.) Decide what on that list you can start today. Take that first step. It's so hard because your self confidence is so low but take that step anyway. And if it doesn't work, go to the next thing on your list. And then the next. You deserve to get better. You really do. Please believe that.
post #18 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by horrid-lurker
...When I see my son receiving almost nothing but rejection from me, inexplicable to him after three years of my love? I don't want him to see me upset and sad, but then the side I show him, the cold shoulder, is even worse...
I also want to add, if you are hurting your child emotionally, then sometimes it is best to step away for awhile (assuming your child is in good care in your absence.) But please step away to get better, not just to escape. Your child needs you to get better but they also need you to come back.

Part of the reason I was hospitialized was because me being around my son had reached the point of doing more harm than good. It wasn't fair to him. But I couldn't just walk away with no plan to get better, that would not have been fair to him either.

You don't have to decide anything right now. Just look carefully at your options and give yourself credit for doing that.
post #19 of 121
Dear mama I have been in a similar state of mind before for reasons of my own - mistakes made early in life and feelings of inadequacy. And I have to tell you that my meds do help. Not in the sense that they make the problems in my personality disappear or change me in any essential way, but in the sense that they gave me some space to deal with the problems in an effective way. So if you are really in crisis, then maybe that would be a help to you?

My dh is also tolerant, but he also is of the 'just get on with life' school of living (he is English, I am from California. So even though he was very supportive of me, he really had very little understanding of how depression works. I am also sure, quite sure, that he could 'do better', and have tried to force him out of my life, but I am the one he wants. And I am sure that my son could also have a better person to take care of him, in fact he had a star of a day care provider when I worked full time, but he prefers to be with me...you don't have to be the best, it is enough to be good enough.

I hope that you will continue to vent and that you will be able to find the peace that you need. If you really feel that you are abusing your child, then I do suggest that you step back for a few days to think about what to do.

take care and God (or the diety of your choice) Bless.
post #20 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by horrid-lurker
I have had a run-in with the psychiatric system in my country (Canada), and do not feel anywhere close to fit to deal with that again. I am suspicious of crisis centers for the same reason – I fear that if I say too many of the wrong words, I will be ‘turned in’. And if I am honest, I will set off lots of those bells. I suppose that’s why I can feel safer about venting here. I don’t feel quite as defensive – you’re not ‘the authorities’. To me that means hospitals and doctors, too, since they seem to be able to make decisions for you, whether you agree with them or not. I think sometimes if I could find someone I could really trust, friend or psychotherapist, I could open up and accept some help…but how to handle navigating those I cannot trust? I’m fragile as a half-cracked egg, these days.
This is very bad, because they are supposed to help you.

You go to them and say, "I am very sick and a terrible mother, I think I can't be treated. Sure, I got over depression before, but now it's really bad, so bad that, well, just forget helping me."

They are supposed to say, "Aha! Many people with depression think they are terrible parents and bad at everything! It's a symptom of depression! Many people with depression think they can't be treated! That's one of the ways we know it is DEPRESSION."

If they say "oh, she says she can't be treated, we should believe her, let's drug her up" what's that all about? That should not happen!

Let's try to figure out what real resources are out there (where you live) for people with depression that don't involve terrible oppressive mental-health systems. It's really really really unusual to have depression that's so bad that it can't be treated. You know there are a bizillion different treatments out there, and even some that have been shown to work!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Mental Health
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Women's Health  › Mental Health › At what point would my family be better off without me?