A message under the door - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 11-04-2009, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I struggled with PPD with my second baby (now 16 months old) but was not really lost in it. Since then, we've had another- DS 2 who is 7 weeks old today. I've been well aware that I'm struggling far more than I have previously. I've been incredibly moody and irritable, irrational, and numb- I connect ok with the kids, but it's not the way it's 'supposed' to be...

It's been hardest on my sven year old who seems to bear the brunt of my irritability- I become enraged that she can't follow a simple direction (please clean your room..) and really come down on her in a way that I never intended to. In those moments I really hate myself as a parent. I've made an effort to step back and be less angry with her, and more tolerant/patient. Most of the time, I am- I sort of force myself to sit on how I want to react, and role play how a 'good parent' would handle a situation. Might not make sense to anyone else, but it's working for me.

Anyway, things are improving with her, and I'm seeing her behavior shift back to her normal happy-kid self in general, and as I've responded more positively to her, she's apparently decided to try to win back my favor (ugh- I hate that I made her feel badly to start with!). I woke up this morning to a note and picture slipped under the door to my room.

"Dear Mom,
I want you to be happy, and glad, and super. Love, A (Your Best Kid)."

Holy guilt trip.

So, apparently this whole 'suck it up and ignore it until it is better' approach isn't working for me. I would love to find something as simple as a med to 'fix' it all but I don't have options to do that. I skate close enough to being bipolar (ok, so i am, but I refuse to accept it) that antidepressants aren't a great option, I'm nursing, and can't take anything that would be a risk to the babies, and therapy isn't a great option as my mother is a therapist and works at the only mental health facility around- and the environment there is such that were I honest with how I'm doing, she'd pay the price for it and her professional image would suffer. She's a great therapist, and a great mom, as well as a supportive friend, but therapy with your mom isn't a great option either.

I needed to vent a little. I know there's not an easy fix here.. I just needed to be able to give voice to how I'm feeling SOMEWHERE.

On a darkly humorous note, the stickied PPD quiz linked to above states that if you score 40 or more you should speak to your doctor. I suppose a score of 83 isn't a good thing?
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#2 of 8 Old 11-04-2009, 04:01 PM
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I couldn't not respond....

My husband is a therapist...and so I am familiar with the concept of wanting to save face for his sake as a competent therapist. But, having had this conversation with him as I've been grieving the stillbirth of my twin sons, I have come to understand that there is no shame for a good therapist when one of their family members seeks psychological help. As a matter of fact, a good therapist would be proud to know that their family member was confident enough to seek help from someone like them when it was needed rather than to live in silence in the same kind of pain they help people to cop with all day long.

My eldest son is bi-polar. Just mildly really, but enough that it should be called bi-polar. He doesn't like the label...which is understandable. But, again, what kind of hypocrisy would it be to understand what bi-polar means, but deny it exists in a healthy family as well as any other family. If we, as mothers, would wish for our children to be able to seek help when they needed it, how can we deny that same help for ourselves? we can't.

I've been struggling with PTSD, anxiety and depression since I held my dead baby in my arms, and then almost literally died when the second one was born dead a month later. It was the worst thing I have been through since two years ago when my eldest son suffered a serious brain injury in an accident...the accident that clarified his being bi-polar. Because of my mental health issues, I bought an old English sheepdog to train as a service dog. He is so sweet and furry and calm. he helps me make it through the day. He helps me feel calm in public, and helps me deflect others from focusing on ME and my FEELINGS by being a presence that draws attention to him. He is not only my best friend...he is my link to sanity. He helps me to be more ME. I worried that my husband would be embarrassed that his wife needed a psychological service dog to cope with grief...but he is proud of me for knowing what I need to care for myself. he is proud of me for being strong enough to declare that I needed help and determined enough to get exactly the kind of help that would be best for me.

There is nothing to be ashamed of. You are feeling serious depression. You need to care for yourself, or you will never be the mother you want to be, and that your little ones deserve. Your mother, and her coworkers WILL understand if they have any integrity at all. I can not imagine that you or your mother would be judged because mental illness is not a sign of weakness, or defectiveness or bad parenting. It is a sign of mental illness...period. Mental illness is not a bad word any more than diabetes or high blood pressure are bad words. Sometimes we need a little extra TLC. A little extra help to get through this bog we call life.

I want to encourage you to seek the help you need, regardless of the fact that your mother's coworkers will KNOW you are her daughter. She will be proud of you...and so will they if they have ANY integrity at all. After all, when you go into mental health work, it is because you believe it is a valid and needed service for all...not just for a few crazy people. seriously. think about it....and know you are not not not not alone. not at all.

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#3 of 8 Old 11-04-2009, 04:24 PM
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I want to give you a hug. You're doing th best you can right now and need a little extra help. Go for the therapy and/or meds. It has absolutely NO reflection on your mother. These are brain chemicals and hormones we're talking about, not how you were parented!

Even nursing there are meds you can take that will help. It's not just about risks, but risks v. benefits. And only you can judge is the benefits are worth it.

I've been on the edge of a depression/bi polar type II diagnosis for a while and Lamictal (which is finally out in generic form) has helped even me out immensely. I'm much less irritable and impatient when on it and my older kids and husband definitely are better off with me on it than when I'm off. I've taken pregnant and nursing. Your dr can help you find what will work for you whether it's just therapy, just meds or a combo of the two.

Again, hugs. Forgive yourself. You are good mom doing all you can.

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#4 of 8 Old 11-04-2009, 04:51 PM
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#5 of 8 Old 11-04-2009, 06:51 PM
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I second emerging butterfly--telling someone at the mental health facility about what is happening will NOT hurt your mother's professional standing. Actually, I think a lot of people go into that field because they or their family members have experienced mental health problems. They know that it isn't always someone's FAULT. Now, if you would need to tell them something personal about your mother in therapy....I can understand that you wouldn't want to tell her close associate. There are NO other professionals in your area? Have you checked out postpartum international?

I wouldn't rule out medications because of bi-polar or because of bfing.

However, there are supplements and self-care things you can do for treatment. Vitamins, fish oil, exercise, personal meditation, light therapy, etc. Read around in this forum, do some of your own research and I'm sure you can come up with a treatment plan for yourself.

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#6 of 8 Old 11-04-2009, 11:38 PM
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I'm so sorry you are going through this. You've received some good advice here, but I will add that I've had a lot of the same feelings you are experiencing and taking floradix once a day really helped me. It's safe while nursing, it's an herbal iron and B vitamin liquid. Being low on these essential nutrients really made me irritable and moody. Maybe this one little thing will make a big difference for you. Getting enough sleep helps a lot too. How is your new baby sleeping, and letting you sleep?
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#7 of 8 Old 11-09-2009, 03:57 PM
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I just came into this area of the forum for the first time, hoping to find some ways to deal with how I've been feeling. My situation couldn't be more similar... I have a 5 year old, a 20 month old and a 10 week old. I struggled after the birth of my 20 month old, and now it seems even harder this time around. Like you, I feel like my oldest catches the brunt of my frustration and lashing out... and I hate myself for it. I know EXACTLY what you mean when you said that you try to react the way you think a parent is supposed to, and not the immediate way you want to. I do the exact same thing... I find myself having to pretend that someone is watching my parenting skills all day long. That's how I prevent myself from acting irrationally.
I know for certain that meds would be suggested if I ever opened up about this with my dr., but I can't even get that far. People on both sides of my family have depression/drug/alcohol problems, and I feel like I'm trying to fight being "one of them". I watched my grandma have to wean off of her antidepressants, and it was horrible. I'm so scared of that happening to me, that I just ignore the issue.
I feel like my kids and my husband deserve so much better... and I wish I knew the answer. I hope you find something that works for you mama!

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#8 of 8 Old 11-10-2009, 02:07 PM
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What a lovign, caring dd you have. I hope you are able to find the help you need. You should be able to find a mental health professional in your area who can help. Try psychologytoday.com, they may have a listing for someone who treats depression in your area. Also I would also suggest trying traditional chinese medicine. I think a TCM provider might be able to help you gently balance out your hormones and the herbs would not have a negative impact on your nursing babe. Good luck and don't worry about what anyone else thinks about your seeking help. It's better to get the treatment you need rather than suffer in silence. Depression is a very insidious problem and can be difficult to manage on one's own.
Best of luck.

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