going to a mother-child mental health unit - feeling scared - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 18 Old 02-04-2013, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Has anyone else been to an inpatient clinic where you stayed with your child while receiving mental health treatment?  I'm worried about how my son will adjust and cope with being in a different environment out of his regular routine and then about the transition back home again. 

 

I am also feeling distressed about the reasons my counsellor gave for referring me to the clinic - because of some thoughts I regarded as premonitions that something was going to happen to my son so he wouldn't be here anymore, but not because I had done anything to him, and my fear that I would be suspected of hurting him.  She made a notification to child protection because of what I told her and that REALLY upset me.  I couldn't believe that was happening to me.  She told me that they have just recorded it as a notifier concern, but to even have my name on their records is REALLY upsetting to me.

 

Has anyone else been through this?

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#2 of 18 Old 02-04-2013, 01:43 PM
 
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I haven't, but just wanted to wish you luck. I've never heard of a program like that and it sounds wonderful that they'll have your child stay with you while you get intensive treatment. I'm sorry the referral was upsetting. Hopefully you can get some good help there, though. Hugs!
 


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#3 of 18 Old 02-04-2013, 01:52 PM
 
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Zacsmum, I haven't been through this, but I second the feeling that it will be good for you to get treatment *while* remaining a stable and constant presence for your son. 

 

When our kids are small, they commonly act out because of changes in routine, etc., but what's really hard on them is changes in people.  I've been in situations where I left my kids with trusted, familiar people to carry on their familiar routines, and situations where I took them with me even though the change through everything up in the air.  My kids get by okay, so far as I can tell, if they have the people they rely on.  Routine helps them get through the day, but knowing what's next doesn't make as much difference to them as trusting the people they're with.

 

The thing that really matters to your son is you.  I'm glad that you can keep him with you while you're getting help.

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#4 of 18 Old 02-04-2013, 10:49 PM
 
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Do you not have a choice about going there-b/c of what you said to the counsellor? Had you met the counsellor before? Is there good things you can try to focus on when you go?
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#5 of 18 Old 02-05-2013, 12:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your words of support.  I had actually phoned the unit myself on the weekend as I felt like I was getting to the point of needing some kind of inpatient care, so I am going voluntarily.  I was just really distressed about her making that notification about me and that things have reached such a low point for me.  I have been seeing this counsellor for a few months, but initially it was to help me with my anxiety about my son's feeding issues.  As my anxiety about the future started to escalate I started talking more about that and my fears of not being able to keep taking care of my son as he transitions into new developmental stages.  I felt really down yesterday and felt like giving up altogether. I am not feeling good about myself at all right now.  I just hope I don't have to wait too long to get in to this unit, because I don't want to put my son through the disruption of having me go into hospital without him.  I just don't know how I am ever going to get myself through this.

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#6 of 18 Old 02-06-2013, 08:50 PM
 
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Hang in there!!! I think it is wonderful you are taking steps to get better. It will be nice to get the care you need so you can feel better as soon as possible. Just focus on taking care of yourself & your little one! Good luck!!!
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#7 of 18 Old 02-07-2013, 05:15 AM
 
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Thank you all for your words of support.  I had actually phoned the unit myself on the weekend as I felt like I was getting to the point of needing some kind of inpatient care, so I am going voluntarily.  I was just really distressed about her making that notification about me and that things have reached such a low point for me.  I have been seeing this counsellor for a few months, but initially it was to help me with my anxiety about my son's feeding issues.  As my anxiety about the future started to escalate I started talking more about that and my fears of not being able to keep taking care of my son as he transitions into new developmental stages.  I felt really down yesterday and felt like giving up altogether. I am not feeling good about myself at all right now.  I just hope I don't have to wait too long to get in to this unit, because I don't want to put my son through the disruption of having me go into hospital without him.  I just don't know how I am ever going to get myself through this.

I would suspect that since you are going to a clinic that allows children, they will be able to help you with transitions.

 

I *probably* had PPD with my first and told my doctor some things that I now can't believe she didn't report me for. I was not sleeping, having recurrent and vivid daytime "visions" of four month old dd having horrible things happen to her--things which could in no way happen if someone was not trying really hard to make them happen. I think it was my minds way of telling me I was in serious need of help. I have very few good memories of her babyhood :-(

 

I am so happy that you are able to get help, my guess was that your therapist was just trying to make sure both you and your son are safe. PPD is not that rare, I wouldn't think twice about being reported in relation to this, especially since you are voluntarily seeking treatment. Your already doing the hard part and getting help. I am proud of you!!

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#8 of 18 Old 02-07-2013, 06:31 AM
 
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Thoughts like what you describe are called intrusive thoughts and are a commonly experienced part of postpartum depression. Is your counselor not particularly familiar with dealing with mamas with PPD? I mean, intrusive thoughts are on every list of PPD symptoms you see. I'm surprised she would report you to CPS for that type of thing. When I was dealing with this issue (both related to PPD and later as part of a general anxiety disorder), my therapist was very clear with me that the fact that the thoughts were very distressing to me made it very unlikely that I was going to *do* anything like that and that intrusive thoughts don't mean anything about what kind of mother you are. We (at least I did) identify our thoughts as being "who we are", when really that isn't necessarily true. It really helped me to hear that it wasn't an uncommon part of PPD and that it didn't mean I was "crazy" or going to do something that I didn't mean to do because I lost control or something.

That said, I don't think it's a bad idea to enter a mother-child therapy unit if you are having difficulties. In fact, I wished at the time that something like that had been available where I live.

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#9 of 18 Old 02-14-2013, 12:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I found out today that will probably be weeks before I get into this unit because the age of my child (2y5m) makes us a lower priority. I just don't know how I'm going to keep going that long - I really don't want to end up in hospital and even staying with him at my mum's as I have been doing the last few days still doesn't give me the psychiatric help I need and has made it hard for me to maintain my connection with him, not to mention my husband who is now without work for the foreseeable future. At least I have him home to help me during the day, (I am back home for now) but we still need him to find work soon. It's going to be a real effort just to get through each day and even harder not knowing how much longer I will have to wait to get into the unit and get the real help I need. I can only hope that my counsellor and the in-home support I have put my name down for that will hopefully start soon will be enough to get me through.
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#10 of 18 Old 02-14-2013, 05:21 AM
 
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There are other programs out there. What about a day hospital? You could get the psych treatment you need and be home with your DS at night. Please don't wait if you are struggling that much to stay afloat. Call your counselor and ask what other programs you might be eligible for.

I've never been on a mother-child unit (I think it's awesome that something like that exists!) but I have spent time hospitalized in many different settings. I know for some people it can be scary or horrible but for me it wasn't that way at all. I learned a lot and in many ways those programs saved my life. Aside from urging you not to wait weeks, the other bit of advice I have is, don't stay somewhere that isn't helping you. You should know within a week if a program may be helpful to you, and if you get there and it's not the right fit, ask to be transferred. I wasted a lot of time in non-therapeutic settings -- all these places are not created equal.

I'm so sorry you are struggling. You will get through this and you & your son will be stronger for it. Sending you strength and hope.

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#11 of 18 Old 02-14-2013, 05:43 AM
 
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There are other programs out there. What about a day hospital? You could get the psych treatment you need and be home with your DS at night. Please don't wait if you are struggling that much to stay afloat. Call your counselor and ask what other programs you might be eligible for.

I've never been on a mother-child unit (I think it's awesome that something like that exists!) but I have spent time hospitalized in many different settings. I know for some people it can be scary or horrible but for me it wasn't that way at all. I learned a lot and in many ways those programs saved my life. Aside from urging you not to wait weeks, the other bit of advice I have is, don't stay somewhere that isn't helping you. You should know within a week if a program may be helpful to you, and if you get there and it's not the right fit, ask to be transferred. I wasted a lot of time in non-therapeutic settings -- all these places are not created equal.

I'm so sorry you are struggling. You will get through this and you & your son will be stronger for it. Sending you strength and hope.

I agree with all of the above. 

 

Really, you sound desperate for help right now--take it--even if it means you are separated from your child for a short time. Even if the help isn't the one thing that works, you are screaming for help and really need to gently lay down some of your responsibility as a parent. You are ill, it happens to the best of us :-)

 

Military parents are deployed all the time, people travel for work, my own kids have spent months apart from their father for various reasons--and they are all fine. My kids don't even remember all the times Daddy had to leave for long periods , and he is a super-hands on parent and the kids were over two for most of our forced-separations. We spent half of last year apart due to medical needs, and my almost ten year old could care less. The other kids have already forgotten--seriously time flies for kids, much like it does for adults, assuming they are taken care of by people who know and love them--it sounds like you have those bases covered.

 

You husband is currently without work, let him take care of your son or let your mother if she will. Just go get the the help you want and need.

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#12 of 18 Old 02-14-2013, 03:34 PM
 
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I agree with the above mama. Maybe your husband being out of work right now is a blessing given at this time so you can get help. Please remember that the BEST gift you can give your DS is a happy healthy whole mom. The longer you remain depressed, the more likely he will retain long-term effects from it. Being separated from you for a short time is likely to be less harmful to him overall than no separation but a continually depressed and anxious mom. 

 
And it may help you to heal to have some time away. I have had PPD and one of my worst symptoms is almost complete obsession with mothering, feeling like I must do/be/fix everything related to my child. I totally lose myself. Its like a slowly dissolve into nothingness - I am _____'s mom, not wife, not sister, not teacher, not friend, not "me". My family kindly reached out to me when one of my sons was a toddler and suggested I get a part-time job. I recoiled in horror and pulled further away from them. There was no way I could, I needed help, but I agree, looking back, I needed space. Overcoming PPD is hard work and may bring up some bad feelings at time. There are times you might need to really cry/rage/etc and personally, I would want space from my child to do that, so as not to frighten them. 

 

I also agree with the PP who suggested intrusive thoughts are part of PPD and the counselor was possibly over-reacting in reporting to CPS. I can totally understand why that would feel like a betrayal. That being said, I wouldn't worry too much about having a record there or even having someone come and visit or check in with you at times. We have worked with CPS over the years due to an abusive XH and also with my DS who has mental health issues and Aspergers.The fact is they are there to help families stay together safely as their primary goal. All whom I have worked with have been respectful, kind, and receptive to my concerns and ideas. They are just people, don't be worried. You are clearly doing your best and seeking help. That is all anyone can ask.


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#13 of 18 Old 02-15-2013, 06:25 PM
 
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hug2.gif  I don't have postpartum depression but your post caught my eye.  My psych told me about 6 weeks ago that when i started under her care for my OCD that I was literally days from her calling CPS on me if she didn't see rapid improvement.  And ya wanna know what for???  I'm a washer/cleaner.  I'm that stereotypical "Monk" OCD patient with germophobia.  At the time my kids weren't allowed to have friends over and there were very stringent rules as to washing hands, changing clothes, etc directly off the bus from school.  But no way was I losing my grip on reality.  My kids were bathed, fed, loved and hugged, well-clothed, etc.  No one was being harmed.  Perhaps I was too strict with them out of fear and perhaps I yelled more than i would like.  But in no way was my behavior worthy of a CPS call.  I ended our professional relationship the day after she told me this because I feel personally that I would be unable to trust her and be completely honest with her if I felt like a call to CPS was looming over my head anytime my condition took a turn for the worse.  Anytime the thoughts got a little too overwhelming and I slipped up again I would be subject to scrutiny.  Who would be honest about that????  I don't want to lose my kids!  So I completely sympathize.  And I think maybe you might want to shop around for another counselor.  Maybe your time inpatient will be the perfect time to find another professional.  I found a lot of great support during my last time outpatient and everyone I dealt with was fabulous.  I hope you have the same experience.  A mother-child unit sounds incredibly warm and comforting for mental health issues. 


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#14 of 18 Old 02-19-2013, 12:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies and support.  After one night sleeping back at home, my son is back staying with my mum with me staying at home and spending some time with him during the day and my husband and I spending some time with him after dinner and putting him to bed before we come home to sleep.  So far he seems to be coping with it okay and it is giving me the break I need, especially from having to get up to him early in the morning as I have not been sleeping well. 

 

I went back to my dr yesterday and he increased my meds again, hoping that would help with my sleep, as well as my anxiety and depression, but last night was the worst night's sleep I have had in recent weeks - I was awake at around 2am and didn't get much, if any sleep after that.  I still went and spent time with my son today, but lacked energy and it was left to my mum to do most of the hands-on caring for him. 

 

In the coming week I should be starting an in-home parenting support program for parents with mental health issues that affect their attachment with their child (similar to what I would get in the mother/child unit), so I am hoping that will give me some of the extra help I need right now to keep trying to be there for my son and maintain that attachment, even if it's only in a limited way for now.  I felt frustrated by my last session with my new psychologist, wasting time trying to get the wording of my "problem" right and not making any progress with giving me the help I am going there for (trying to manage my anxiety better), but I am going to try again tomorrow and see if it is any better.

 

My husband has said he is willing for us to stick with this arrangement of my son staying with my mum and us visiting him for as long as it takes me to get into the unit, even if it is a few weeks.  I know I am not physically or emotionally capable of taking care of him at home myself right now and worry that I never will, that the support from my mum will become a dependency that I am unable to break.  I worry about how that might affect my son and my relationship with him, as well as us as a family.  I also worry about the strain that would put on my mum, who has health issues of her own and is getting older (she is 67yo) and her ability to continue that level of care-taking.

 

I have a lot of fear about the future and how I will cope and how my son will cope and how everything will turn out.  I am so scared that everything will fall apart and I won't be able to put it back together again and my son will suffer because of it.  I don't want that to happen, but I am really struggling to hold it together right now.

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#15 of 18 Old 02-19-2013, 05:28 AM
 
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One day at a time. For now, you are safe, your son is safe, and your mom is able to help. Just focus on today. There's no sense worrying about 10 years from now... with the right treatment, you may start feeling better in just a few weeks or months.

Ask your doctor if the meds could be causing your sleeplessness. Meds and even supplements can have that effect and you don't always realize it 'til after you've stopped it. This just happened to me, I was taking a supplement that was supposed to correct hormone levels, decrease stress, increase energy... and it worked, except that every single night I was up 'til 2am, or wide awake from 3am-6am, and just incredibly anxious. I stopped the supplement and within 24 hours I was calmer and able to sleep well, despite some horrible major stresses going on in my life. So it could be the meds are making things worse. If not, see if your doc can prescribe something to help you sleep. If you are already anxious & depressed, sleeplessness will just compound it, make you feel even worse. You need rest. You need the break that sleep provides!

It sounds like you're doing your best, and that's all you can really do. This is not permanent. It will get better. You just need the right meds/doses/therapy etc. to start to see improvement. It may take time to get there, and that's OK. In the end, you and your son will both be stronger and happier because you are doing what you need to do right now. hug.gif

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#16 of 18 Old 02-21-2013, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The increase in my meds was supposed to help me sleep more, but so far it hasn't.  My son is waking up early at my mum's and sometimes during the night as well, and she is also having to deal with some problems with my disabled brother's meds, so it is all starting to take its toll on her.  I'm worried about her ability to keep doing this for much longer and am starting to think that maybe I should bring my son back home to sleep and just go to her for help during the day.  And maybe I need to start getting my husband and MIL to help more, something I've been trying to avoid, since I want my husband to be looking for work and at the same time he is unwell, and I don't really trust my MIL to give my son the same kind of care my mum gives.  But I can't have my mum falling in a heap either, so maybe making those compromises are going to be necessary to make sure we don't all fall apart and my son suffers in the process.

 

I found out today that I may be eligible for some free nanny help for up to 38 hours a week for up to 13 weeks.  The only problem is, it takes a couple of weeks to process the claim, which may still be rejected, and may come up or be interrupted by my stay at the mother/child unit, so I would lose the service for the time I am in the unit, which is usually 2-3 weeks.  So I don't know whether to apply for it now, or wait until I know I have a place in the unit and then have it start once I come home. 

 

This is the problem with having such a small support system of people I feel like I can trust to take care of my son while I am not feeling well enough to cope on my own.  That just makes me feel under more pressure to pull myself together so I can take care of him more and not have to rely so much on those few people and risk them getting to a point of not being able to take care of him either.  Which is the last thing I feel like I need right now, but maybe I will just have to somehow find a way to do that.

 

God, please help me!

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#17 of 18 Old 02-21-2013, 07:50 PM
 
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I would apply for any and all help now. It doesn't really seem like you have time to wait. You need the help now.

And yes, rely on DH, rely on MIL, rely on whoever you have there to help you. Maybe no one else will do as good a job mothering him as you, but they (presumably!) all love him and will do their best to make sure he is taken care of until you're able to do it yourself. Assuming they are grounded, not abusive, etc., their love for him will make up for any imperfections in their caring for him.

I'm so sorry you are struggling.

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#18 of 18 Old 02-22-2013, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am relying on my DH and MIL just on weekends for now and my DH comes with me to spend time with DS after dinner and do the bedtime routine with him.  Yesterday I panicked when I saw how exhausted my mum looked, but she said it was only because of the issues that have come up with my brother having problems with his meds and pain caused by torn hamstrings.  He has been to the doctor about the meds and will be starting treatment for the hamstrings soon.  She said she will be okay if she can have (most of) the weekend off and she will see how she is feeling next week.  If necessary, she said we will get someone else in to help...may have to be my MIL, since we can't really afford to pay for someone and I think I want to wait until after I come back from the unit to make use of the free nanny care.

 

I went to spend some time with DS yesterday afternoon and mum had to take my brother to a dr appt, so I took care of him by myself while she was gone.  It was fine while he was in his stroller going for a walk, but as soon as we got back to her house and he realised she wasn't there, he became really distressed and cried on and off for about 1 1/2 hours until she got home again.  That was hard.  Now I am worried how we are going to be able to transition him back home, if I actually ever feel capable of managing that.  Having said that, we did bring him home for his daytime nap today and he went down fine here, so maybe we just need to do it slowly to get him (and us) used to being here again

 

Last night I had the worst night's sleep so far this week - even though I was so exhausted I could hardly keep my eyes open, I still found it hard to go to sleep and then at some point during the night was kept awake by my husband's coughing, so I moved into another bedroom at the front of the house where I could hear the traffic noise (we live on a busy road).  I moved back into our bed a few hours later, but still couldn't go back to sleep.

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