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

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#1 of 121 Old 09-28-2004, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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When the stretch of time in which I've been rottenly depressed and withdrawn reaches longer than weeks, longer than months, and into years?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.
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#2 of 121 Old 09-28-2004, 08:00 PM
 
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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.

Maureen
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#3 of 121 Old 09-28-2004, 08:01 PM
 
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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?

:
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#4 of 121 Old 09-28-2004, 08:01 PM
 
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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.

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#5 of 121 Old 09-28-2004, 10:13 PM
 
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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.
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#6 of 121 Old 09-28-2004, 11:14 PM
 
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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.


Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
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#7 of 121 Old 09-28-2004, 11:50 PM
 
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((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))
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#8 of 121 Old 09-29-2004, 12:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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!
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#9 of 121 Old 09-29-2004, 12:52 AM
 
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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!

"When the external begins to define the internal, instead of the internal defining the external, one begins living as a mortal rather than as a universal being." ~ unknown
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#10 of 121 Old 09-29-2004, 12:57 AM
 
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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!

"When the external begins to define the internal, instead of the internal defining the external, one begins living as a mortal rather than as a universal being." ~ unknown
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#11 of 121 Old 09-29-2004, 01:02 AM
 
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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

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#12 of 121 Old 09-29-2004, 02:18 AM
 
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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.
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#13 of 121 Old 09-29-2004, 02:52 AM
 
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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.
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#14 of 121 Old 09-29-2004, 03:24 AM
 
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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.
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#15 of 121 Old 09-29-2004, 03:38 AM
 
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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
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#16 of 121 Old 09-29-2004, 04:14 AM
 
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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.

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#17 of 121 Old 09-29-2004, 06:02 AM
 
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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.
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#18 of 121 Old 09-29-2004, 06:07 AM
 
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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.
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#19 of 121 Old 09-29-2004, 06:42 AM
 
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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.
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#20 of 121 Old 09-29-2004, 07:43 AM
 
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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!

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
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#21 of 121 Old 09-29-2004, 09:31 AM
 
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I want to hold you. I want to hold you and listen to everything you have to say. I want to sit in some of the empty moments with you and share the silence. I wanted to post something now, as empty as this post will be, but I will be back with the name of a place that can help you. I need to find out first where and what it is called. I went on a retreat last year during my depression, and it changed my life. It was in Australia, but I recall being told it was from the original retreat somewhere in America.

Maybe you need to hear what I needed to hear and that is that there was some hope somewhere. I sat with two bottles of pills and a bottle of vodka on my lap only two years ago. I felt that my daughter needed a better mother, and my gorgeous loving husband was paying too high a price staying with the shell I had become.

I don't know what got me through that night, somehow I managed to say, "Just another day, I'll give it just another day." and found out about the retreat the next day. To sum up an horrific and tragic story into post length reading, I came out the other end forever changed. I actually look back on it exactly like I had walked out of a black hole into some light. And the biggest thing I need to tell you is, you will look back on this time of your life one day and you will thank God and all things beautiful that you made it through.

One day you will look at your child the way you always wanted to look at your child. And one day, maybe not too far from now you will look at yourself with pride and relief. You are in a very vulnerable place right now, and you will be finding it hard to believe that it will ever be different. But it does go away, it just may need assistance to do so.

In April this year I stuck my fingers down my best friend's throat and made her vomit an ungodly amount of drugs. She had left her son all alone at home and driven to end her life. I knew where she would go and went and gave her one more night. She promised to give it another few months, and slowly, with the help of medication and then some St John's Wort (a herbal anti-depressant) she got better. She is very full of life again now and thankful for her second chance, and oh so grateful to herself for seeing it through to the other side.

There are so many testimonies like these, that I have seen with my own eyes - where feelings are so overwhelming you think you may be crushed - and yet here they are now, living the life they always wanted. They just needed to find the right thing for them, the right plan of attack, be heard by the right people, any or all of these things. I can guarantee you that you will be better than fine. Why? Because depression is a blessing wrapped in a nightmare. Depression is such a growth spurt spiritually and emotionally, and it has a purpose. You need to find its purpose. There is lots of good advice about counsellors for you here, so I will dedicate my time looking for the name of this retreat that did so much for me.

And know that you have touched many lives. Thank you for your courage and honesty, you are an inspiration.

With love.

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#22 of 121 Old 09-29-2004, 12:35 PM
 
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I just want to thank all of you beautiful women. I am constantly impressed with the enormous capacity for understanding and compassion in this community. Your children are so blessed. I spend my days helping mothers who are struggling and coming here helps me to fill up my own resources. You renew my faith in humanity every day.

Horrid-lurker (We are going to get you a new name first of all. How can you feel good about yourself with that label?)

The answer is that depression has closed you off from your own ability to heal and believe. You are drowning and you need a life line. And sometimes I feel that as much as we all want to help, we are just on the side line cheering for you while you go under, again and again. Please get professional help. Call and talk to someone without identifying yourself. Find someone you can trust. Ask anyone, everyone for a recommendation.

Maureen
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#23 of 121 Old 09-29-2004, 04:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I’m stunned. Thank you. I spent the night feeling panicky at having put some of myself out on the line like that, even anonymously. Your heartfelt responses are overwhelming, I’m grateful-ler than grateful. I’ve been friend-starved for so long, this outpouring of kindness is turning me into a blubbering mess. Sounds weird to be happy about that, but it’s a big step up from being scared cold and stiff.

I haven’t looked around this site much – I just pretty much stumbled in here and fell down. Every post I read in this thread is making me bawl like a baby. Man oh man, have I ever been denying myself any T.L.C. – these hugs might be intangible, but they feel as wonderful as if they weren’t. But I also don’t want to think too much about the fact that people here have problems of their own, real ones, that are out of their control and therefore lamentable. My own are no doubt relatively stupid. Big to me, maybe, but not something I should be wasting anyone’s time with. As for Finding My Tribe? I live in a v-e-r-y small town. Even if I could meet someone nice here, they would know the people I’m upset about. So would the doctor. I could change names, omit them, but really, this town is small enough they would probably still know who it was about! Obviously I do need to talk anonymously. It’s just that prior to coming here, I found it incredible to think that any stranger would give a crap about me or my pathetic problems.

The hardest thing with my son is that he’s worried about me. I can’t avoid him like I can the rest of my family, and he sees that something is wrong, or feels it even if I manage to hide my face and voice. And since I don’t explain to him what is wrong, he thinks it’s him. He says sorry to me all the time for every little thing, makes me stuff when I’m hiding crying in my room to make me feel better. He’s not quite yet five – he should not be stressed out about anything!! Especially not me.

I have the same problem with talking to my family as I do with opening up here, or to a counselor or a doctor: I dread admitting what is the cause of my sadness. I feel despicable. I have a husband willing to endure anything for me, and I repay him that sweetness with this garbage. Someone said that depression screws up your mind chemistry, and that startled me. What have I done? This is true, frighteningly true – I have lashed out at myself, within myself, in my mind and body, I have been so upset with myself, that I fear I have caused actual physical damage in here. Ever had a relationship or a friendship that you attacked with such ferocity and damaged so badly you could not mend it? This is what I feel like I have done to myself.

I do keep a journal, sporadically. It’s been re-reading some of the things I’ve written there which has, in big part, prompted me to try and do something for myself. I have felt some truly awful things, even if I’ve only admitted them to myself. Still, there are repercussions, aren’t there, even if my feelings are locked away within me. Maybe my family doesn’t understand why, but they still know something is wrong.

What have I done, then, that’s so terrible? I’m sure you’re all curious to know – so I’m going to just get it over with, and you can see why I am so disgusted with myself, and why I am sure you will grow to agree with me. I’m not someone you should be feeling sorry for. Nothing which has brought me this low in my life could not have been avoided by actually thinking first, before I got myself into trouble. Same can be said for my previous fall from self-control, years ago – purely my own fault. Which is why, I guess, I doubt that I can blame a chemistry imbalance. No, I’m pretty sure the problem is that I’m insanely self-indulgent. A brat, spoiled by the love of my husband into thinking I can get away with anything I want.

Sorry – I’m stalling. This is damn hard. I don’t have some reason for all of this that will inspire sympathy. So…

In a rather unflattering nutshell, this is what’s happened: I had a dream one night, oh, about two years ago now - an erotic one, about me, my hubbie, and his best friend. Uh-oh, says the audience. Well, had I left it alone at that… I didn’t. I fantasized, and had some fun with it in my own mind. Seemed harmless enough, right? Stupid woman, groans the audience. Well, somewhere along the way, I got to thinking maybe there was possibility in this – hubbie’s generally pretty open minded, our friend was single, lonely maybe. Then I even started wondering if maybe he likes me. Well, this is all leading nowhere good, and fast, you’re probably thinking, and you’re right. We had a party one night, over a year ago now, and I had got it so going in my mind that I could maybe pull this off somehow, get them drunk, take advantage of them It flopped. Drunk or not, there wasn’t a thought in the world in either guy’s head like the ones in mine. They didn’t even notice me trying. So, I began to feel dejected. And began to see what an ass I’d been being. Would that I had left it alone at that…

Again, I didn’t. I was too wrapped up in this, emotionally. I’d developed a crush on the friend – I’d like to at least say I’d fallen in love with him, but we don’t really spend enough time together for that to be true. But I also still love my hubbie, and don’t think I’m feeling the way I do about his friend out of a desire to escape my marriage. I want them both, and my daydreams still revolve around such polyamorous themes. Worse, because of the plot and the vividness of this dream I had had, I’d gotten it into my head that I want to have a baby with the friend. I even developed a naggingly strong conviction that I am meant to have this baby, this unusual family arrangement. See, the dream doesn’t totally gel with reality, since in the dream, our single friend, after our impulsive three-way hop in the sack, and after finding out I’ve gotten pregnant, leaves town, angry, but comes back ready to make peace, and with a charming and astonishingly open-minded woman who becomes part of our family as well. So, I spent last winter morose and confused. Had I only found someone I could talk openly to then…. But, that’s not the way it has played out.

My husband and I are close – I eventually confessed to the desire for a threesome. I kept the idea of a baby to myself. That’s too much. He was reassuringly human, for once – he felt all the jealousy and insecurity I would, if he were to drop such a bombshell on me. But he understands my feelings as best he can, and gets on with life, hoping I would do the same. He’s way too functional – I feel imperfect as hell next to him! So, I’ve been wallowing between guilt over my mental infidelities and wondering what might have happened if I had ever had the courage or self-confidence to try to get something to happen.

Pretty much where I’m still stuck, except that this year, our friend did hook up with a really wonderful lady whom I’ve met three times now, and like a lot – all the more reason why I should stay the hell out of their lives. Our friend is happy, and the last thing I ever want to do is screw anything up for them. I should be long, long , long, LONG over this by now. It’s nothing, it’s less than nothing. It’s imaginary and unimportant. Yet I can’t get it out of my head. I feel like I’ve made a wrong turn somewhere in there, or several, and I don’t know how to get my life back on track. Worse, I’m no longer sure what track that ought to be. I won’t talk to my husband anymore about it – it only upsets him, and changes nothing. And, as I’ve said, I haven’t any friends I could confide in.

And, as I’ve said, I don’t think I’ll be endearing anyone here to me, with any of the truth of how I’ve let myself get to this point, where I cry most days, think so little of myself that my little boy feels he has to try to cheer me up. He fends for himself, most of the time, watches tv, plays by himself, while we wait for daddy to come home. And I had planned to homeschool him! He’s lucky if I read to him once in a while. All I seem to be any good at doing is feeling sorry for myself.

And all I want to do now is NOT post this, and go stick my head back in the sand (read – up my arse).

Well, so far, you have all provided me with some very candid opinions and feelings. I won’t lie and say I’m ready for some more, but I crave it, I feel I ought to be scolded. My son is trying to develop a view of life, and I’m feeding him nothing but self-pitying poison. I feel like motherhood is a privilege, and that I should have mine revoked.
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#24 of 121 Old 09-29-2004, 04:57 PM
 
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Oh my g*d... I thought you were going to tell us there were bodies buried in your back yard. (And I was still going to try really hard to be supportive and understanding. )

You made yourself crazy- who here hasn't done that. You got an idea stuck in your head. Boy, sucks to be human doesn't it?

Just a thought. What is your spiritual background? Because I hear a whole lot of shame and guilt going on. That is usually something we pick up at church. It may be time to take it back there. You need a lesson on forgiveness and fast. If all of these women care and support you. And I'm sure your confession isn't going to scare even one of them away. (They are a pretty stubborn bunch.) If we can understand, when are you going to forgive yourself?

Sending lots of love and healing your way. Just open yourself to it.

Maureen
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#25 of 121 Old 09-29-2004, 06:02 PM
 
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No scolding from me- just hugs.
It is normal to have some romantic/sexual fantasies. (And usually in these fantasies things are perfect! Not like real life!) You seem to feel a lot of guilt about the fantasy that you tried to make happen- and the other involved people have worked through it and moved on, without lingering hard feelings. When you feel you've done something wrong, you make amends the best you can, forgive yourself, and move on. (Hopefully a little wiser.)
((hugs))
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#26 of 121 Old 09-29-2004, 06:09 PM
 
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It will take a lot more than that for me to judge you, my friend!

The 'mind' is an instrument, a vehicle - just like the body. The body sends us signals, gets us from a to b as intact as possible. Same with the mind. The mind is a never-ending impulse and signal cycle with the sole purpose of getting us from a to b intact. Nerves are the body's pleasure and pain circuits, telling us things like "take your hand off the burner". Emotions are the mind's pain and pleasure circuits, giving us constant evaluation of our surrounding world, keeping us safe, or leading us toward pleasure or peace.

These circuits can and do get screwy. In the physical, for example, we can derive satisfaction from pain eg - self harm, cutting, etc. Sometimes it is also that we need to create an alternate sensation that overrides the current one. My brother slashed himself for over a year, as this re-channeled his emotional pain onto focusing on something physical.

Emotions get screwy just like this. When we feel threatened, even by ourselves, we wish to re-direct this emotion into something familiar, something we can handle. We pick and choose our emotions, we just are not aware we do. We may pick guilt over rejection or loss, if guilt is an emotion we would much rather be feeling.

Dealing with death is a good example - people go through 'stages' of grief, and this is primarily because the harsh, painful direct truth of what they would feel if they didn't choose anger or guilt instead is much, much more hard than the real pain, the one they are avoiding.

Why would we rather feel another negative emotion over the first negative emotion instead of choosing a more pleasurable one? Often because something inside us requires a process. Requires that we drip feed our soul the pain to help us survive it.

Guilt is a somewhat pointless emotion. It is good in that while we feel guilt, we are processing our part to play in a bad outcome. It is important to move out of guilt and into the real emotion you are hiding from. May I be so bold and guess what they may be? Shame. Rejection. "not good enough". Awkward. Self-loathing. Doubt. Longing. Love.

These are the emotions you must face. These ones are the ones that will set you free. Guilt will kill you. Guilt will get you nowhere. Guilt is re-affirming all of the above emotions without healing them. Experimentation is no big deal. Wishing to experiment in a relationship is very, very common. Taking steps to bring it into fruition is also common. Having your wishes rejected? Yep, very common.

First - decide what your real feelings are for your husband and then what they are for his friend. If this confronts you, if you don't like what you find, you must start there, as it may be the key.
Second - Know that you are perfecly normal. True, yes, definitely, completely.
Third - Know that what you went through has been gone through by many on these forums, they may just not admit it. I know too many myself (inluding myself) for it to be abnormal or worth hammering yourself about.
Fourth - Realise you are choosing your emotions. They are so strong and can feel beyond our control, but it is simply a fact that we choose them. If I say to a room full of ten people, "Love", there will be ten different emotions. One could feel devastated, as they just lost someone they love. Another could feel resentful, because their model of the world is "love doesn't last, its all a bunch of crap". Another could feel immense joy. We are constantly choosing how we feel based on external circumstances and our own inner model of the world.

You are choosing guilt and shame out of an outcome that another person could choose to take the lesson, feel grateful they tried, realise the amont of love they are capable of, and move on. It is up to you, you are a powerful person. You can feel anything you want to feel. I validate why you are feeling this way, many others would too. But not everyone, and you too can be one of the other ones, if you choose to focus on this moment, and BE HERE NOW. You only ever have THIS MOMENT. You never have the past, and the future is always the future.

Being in this moment with the realisation that you choose your emotions was the single greatest lesson I ever learned. I hope to reach you with this lesson too.

I am thinking of you, and sending you so much light and love you have to be drowing in it, can you feel it - vibe vibe vibe. Please, be patient with yourself, please be kind to yourself. And go an smell your child's hair, run your hands down his arms and wrap yourself around him. Children are the best healers in the world. They simply ooze healing, out of their pores, even when they tell us to go away, its still oozing a trail behind them.

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#27 of 121 Old 09-29-2004, 06:25 PM
 
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Elaborate fantasies, that evoke strong emotions, can be a symptom of depression. It's a way to have something to deal with without dealing with real life.

Guilt and shame are also hallmarks of depression. You have found a reason to hang onto those things with both hands. They keep you stuck where you are and spare you the hard work of having to get better. As horrilbe as they feel, they are familiar and comfortable. Letting go of them and moving into the unknown, even with it's promise of sanity and forgiveness, can be terrifing.

What would your life look like if you decided that today was a clean slate? If you chose your real life over this imaginary life?

What would your life look like if you imagined this whole fantasy life you've become so invested in as a ballon and let it drift away from you? If everytime you had a thought creep back in about it, you blew up another imaginary balloon and let it go? What if everytime you were tempted to retreat into your fantasty life, with all its drama, guilt and shame, instead you make a concious effort to engage with a real person, no matter how mundane the interaction?

What would your life look like if your forgave yourself?
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#28 of 121 Old 09-29-2004, 06:41 PM
 
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: I'm no expert, but I feel we ALL doubt our abilities to parent at one time or another. You are NOT alone. I will pray for you. And, I think you came to the right place! Sometimes it's easier to vent to unseen strangers, than your closest friend. Many, many prayers for you
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#29 of 121 Old 09-29-2004, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I came here for a little mothering myself, I suppose, and I’m getting it – thank you! You must be telling me truths, because your words hurt. I feel like I’m being totally impolite, and that if I want to make friends like I say I do, I ought to at least try to carry on something like a real conversation. Maybe I’m not truthfully here looking for friends, then – hence the stupid username. I’m just here to moan and drip my way back off this mental cliff-edge. So I’m just going to put all my feeble excuses out there and ask you to please stomp away. Maybe if you all kick me in the ass hard enough (with love?) I’ll quit moping and pull myself together. All my thoughts are self-defeating; all my solutions are catch 22’s. Maybe if I confess every nasty little thing I can think of, I can, as you suggest, try to forgive myself.

See, there is, I suppose, a body buried in my backyard. Of course there are other issues, old sewage, clumping to the top of this backed up sludge of emotional junk that, if I were healthy, I would dispose of just like physical waste – all this old mental shit I obviously never got rid of properly the first time. I know, this is going to bring up another wave of ‘get yourself to a therapist’ advice, and I’ll admit I’ve nervously told myself this before. Maybe I’m trying to put myself between a rock and an even harder place, to make it easier to get over this deep-rooted distrust and ask for professional help.

You’re oh-so-right, under piles of guilt, I’m feeling worthless, and unlovable. Pretty out of whack with the insignificant amount of rejection I’ve received, right? My husband still loves me. Our friend has no idea how I feel, and maybe would think less of me if he did, but maybe not. I don’t know, and I’m too chicken to find out. More at risk in reality than my own limp little ego. Who am I to mess with other people’s lives?

I feel like so many things said to me in these posts are so right! I feel like I do know I am choosing this ugly route through what doesn’t have to be so bloody hard – and then I feel guilty about feeling guilty and around and around we go. And pugmadmama, you’re bang on, too. I am trying to strangle myself emotionally rather than deal with some hard truths, and trying to find an easier way out than having to do the unpretty work of that. But I think my real life has plenty more to give than my flimsy fake one – not much substance to it, you know? No satisfaction from it, either. Escape, sure, but from less and less, the longer I hide in there. I try a similar sort of thing every now and then, to your balloon idea – I go to the river, and try to let it all wash downstream, let it go. I’m sure it’s a device I’ve created, but what I think keeps bringing it back is this unshakable feeling I’m supposed to be feeling these things. I’m not supposed to be letting them go. There’s something else I’m meant to be doing with them. I tell myself it will make a crucial difference in his life, if I tell our friend I care that he exists and is in our life. All, as you say, elaborate…and all, I’m almost totally sure, bullshit. It’s that stupid almost that grabs me, every time. That, and the impossibility of merely asking if it matters or not.

Well, here’s another delectable little secret for you voyeurs into my dumb little melodrama, a rotten little piece of meat that will certainly make you all say ‘ahh – that’s it, then’ – the body in the backyard of my past. This, at least, is something mothers especially will be able to understand, why it is I would beat myself up so. It’s not a very big body – it never had much of a chance. As well as having given up a child for adoption as a teenager, I also have had an abortion. Oh, I see all those lights coming on, now – aha! I guess that ‘explains’ me, doesn’t it? Case closed.

I don’t want to live with secrets rotting in me. My husband knows the truth, sort of, but that doesn’t diminish my guilt one bit. My mom doesn’t know I had an abortion, and I know that bothers the hell out of me. But that was one of the biggest reasons I felt justified in never telling her – why put her through the pain that bit of information would bring her, if she doesn’t need to know? She grieved, and still does, for the granddaughter she may never get to meet, the baby I gave up for adoption when I was 16. I feel like I can’t be a real friend, to her or to my son, without someday being honest. No way to be honest without hurting them. No way to lie without hurting myself. And if I can’t forgive myself, how’s anybody else supposed to? Or, put another way, what good is anyone else’s understanding or forgiveness if I can’t cut myself some slack? Before my son was born, I thought I had all these things dealt with and put behind me. What combination of isolation or tiredness or conscience or bad brain chemicals is making it all fester up again now is not only beyond my reckoning, it doesn’t matter. You’re all right. I need to quit pretending I’ll get over this, and give myself over to some help. Admit I’m incapable of finding my way out of this elaborate maze I’ve made, admit I’m a mess, and hire a brain-janitor to clean me up.

I don’t know how much (how seriously) I’m messing up my son. I mean, he’s just a little kid – he doesn’t know what to think of this, except I’m no fun when I’m sad all the time, I’m grumpy, and I far too frequently tell him to just go play, or leave me alone. I don’t explain myself to him much – I just tell him I’m not feeling very good, if he asks. But it’s like I’m imprinting on him, anyway. I can’t hide it well enough. If I don’t eat (and that’s much too often, it’s like it’s an acceptable form of punishment for me??) sometimes he notices and says to his dad, when offered a snack or a meal, ‘Is Mom having some?’ Or he’ll come offer me some of his sandwich, if he sees I haven’t had breakfast yet. And somehow, no matter how much I insist I love him, no matter what, he seems to think it’s all his fault. Often, he will burst into tears with little or no provocation, and wail, ‘You don’t like me!’ I keep trying to tell myself maybe it’s part of the teenager-ness of this age he’s at, but most days I’m convinced it’s all my fault. Like I can’t see where he’s getting these ideas? Today he actually really scared me – here I am, reading these replies citing suicide, and trying to decide just how close to that edge I’ve really let myself get, and my son comes into the room, upset and crying because ‘he’s going to miss me when he dies someday’! Much strugglingly constrained shock and confusion later, I calm him down and figure out he got this in his head from something on a cartoon he was watching about someone’s pet dying – he made the leap from that idea to the one that people must get old and die someday too. Wow. Can you imagine how unprepared I am to talk about this with him? Maybe that’s what’s getting so hard, with parenting. Well, also in my marriage, I suppose. As my son gets older, I’m confronted with a lot more than chores to deal with. Likewise as my relationship evolves and grows deeper, more serious, more committed – I am digging ever deeper into who I am, trying to express that to people I naturally want to have care about me…but looking that far in, questioning how I deal with life, I don’t much like what I see.

As you say, MsMoMpls – it sucks to be human. I know, I ought to grow up, get over it, get a life, maybe get out into the big scary world, maybe make a friend. I used to joke in the winter, that I should go out with a sign around my neck reading: Hi I’m a loser – will you be my friend? Maybe I do have some good ideas, after all.

Okay, so obviously, by my million mile long posts, I have a lot more soul-searching to do. A lot more courage I need to drum up. You know, getting back to ‘reality’ and ‘health’ again (gotta put them in quotes – they don’t look real enough to quite believe in from this far away!) would have been so much damned easier had I turned around with my tail between my legs and crawled back to them a long time ago. I’m not sure what perversity of spirit has allowed me to run so far from where I should be (an adult, sane, normal, a good mom)… if I can figure it out, I’ll post it here, as a lighthouse to other silly people so they don’t blindly smuck themselves up against these same rocks as I have. Good thing I’ve got such a thick skull.

Thank you for telling me I’m not alone, and not a total freak. And that I matter, even to perfect strangers whom I may never meet, who may never get anything back in return for their time and their kindness. You’re angels. Thank you for sharing yourselves with me. I feel like I don’t deserve an ounce of kindness, so to get a landslide of it…it’s rocking me to my roots. It’s good – they needed to be rocked! This has been way more than I’d ever expected. Much too close to the bone, but that is needed, too. Thank you.
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#30 of 121 Old 09-29-2004, 10:29 PM
 
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HL, I applaud you for starting this thread and for sticking with it thus far. If nothing else comes of this, I want you to stop by a mirror, look yourself square in the eyes and say, "I am proud of myself for reaching out to the Mothering community. That took courage and I did it." If you can't say it, then write it on a piece of paper, stick it to your mirror and read it until you believe it.

I love your river visualization. Thank you for sharing it.

Here's the thing with becoming focused on something other than your own mental health...it can be so hard to let it go. Letting go can feel completely wrong. It can feel like admiting what happened in the past was not important or like admiting things that are important to you will never happen in the future. But none of those things were true. You can set those things aside without in anyway diminishing their importance. You can give yourself permission to get better, in part, specifically so that you can deal with those things someday. Maybe when you get better you will feel differently about these issues of your past and your future, or maybe you will feel the exact same way, but the big difference is that you will have the tools to face these issues head on (I know that doesn't seem possible now), instead of feeling like these secrets are rotting away inside.

You need to work on living fully in the now. The past and the future are destroying your present. That is no way to live. You deserve so much more. Yes, you. Exactly as you are, with every confession you've made my faith that you deserve a better life has not waivered one bit. I am opinionated, I call it like I see it, check some of my other posts and you will see. If I didn't believe you deserve better and that you can get better, I would not say it.

When I was hospitialized, they asked us to write letters to ourselves in the future. I wrote in my mine, which I will keep forever, "I have learned that you are worth fighting for. Please never stop believing that. And if you can't believe it, then take out this piece of paper and believe in it. Because it is the truth."

You are worth fighting for. You deserve to feel peace. You are worthy. You are special. You are a gift. You are precious. You are a unique being who no one else can replace. If you can't believe that right now, will you please believe me, will you believe all of us here, when we tell you it is the truth? Please?
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