EMERGENCY PARENTING 101: How to parent through a mental illness - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 71 Old 11-13-2008, 02:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Please share any books, mantras, advice, prayers, etc. you have for getting through the tough times.

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#2 of 71 Old 11-13-2008, 02:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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adding my own:

http://www.magicalchildhood.com/
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#3 of 71 Old 11-13-2008, 03:22 AM
 
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I have found great help from daily evening primrose oil softgels. I originally found it helps my PMS which had been severe, but discovered it helps all month. Makes me feel like I am not in an emotional freefall...
If you are dealing with anger, I used to take my kids with me to throw rocks in a pond. We would all throw (the hurt, frustration, disappointments etc) until we felt better, and then go back home in the car.
Anger reduction: there are 2 other good methods that work for me...Electronic drums with earphones on; and/or smashing inexpensive (bought at yard sales)dessert & dinner plates into a dumpster (in my apartment complex). I had a lot pent up inside and these worked wonders.
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#4 of 71 Old 11-13-2008, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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#5 of 71 Old 11-14-2008, 06:37 AM
 
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great suggestions as i'm struggling with this issue since dd was born.

sadly to say i lost about a year of my daughter' life due to bp. it was tough but i couldn't be there for her. between my ugly divorce and bp i lost it for almost 10 months.
the last 2 years i have spent catching up and trying to built myself. i learned my limits and talk to dd about my moods. i use to snap a lot, cry, scream and then apologize. then thru my counselor i learned just to walk away. sometimes i even lock myself in the bathroom and dd understands that mommy needs to be alone. i try not to cry in front of her, when i get angry or frustrated i bite my lip, maybe walk way. i tell her i need mommy time. 4.5 is such a challenging age, its so hard not to snap.

there are no words of wisdom. but trying to learn self control and not take my dd's action or words personally. make sure i take care of myself, sleep, eat on good schedule so i can fresh for her. i even mediate.

single mama to DD 5.09
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#6 of 71 Old 11-17-2008, 02:13 AM
 
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Eccomama, I snap or nit-pick and then do a lot of apologizing. So that's not really the way to go, is it? Just don't say anything? :

I try to get lots of supports when I am really bad -- with childcare, housework, cooking, etc. I hire neighbourhood girls for $5/hr as a mother's helper to play with my older one. I let housework sllliiiiidde for awhile. Sometimes I can scrape enough together to get a cleaning lady. We use prepared meals or I just do some basics. I apologize and just try to take one day at a time. Try to get some "me" time.

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#7 of 71 Old 11-17-2008, 02:29 AM
 
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Thank you for this thread. I wish I could offer some gems of wisdom but every day is a struggle for me over here and I am subscribing in the hope of learning something.

Surfacing, I do as you explained and I know too that it is not good enough. How to explain to young children that I have a problem not them without them blurting out to everyone that "mommy has to take medicine to make her not be angry and mean"?

:SaHM to 3 *DD* DD2 * DS
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#8 of 71 Old 11-17-2008, 02:30 AM
 
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#9 of 71 Old 11-17-2008, 02:56 AM
 
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Surfacing, I do as you explained and I know too that it is not good enough. How to explain to young children that I have a problem not them without them blurting out to everyone that "mommy has to take medicine to make her not be angry and mean"?
We have this discussion from time to time, that mommy needs brain medicine because I have too many cranky and angry chemicals, and not enough happy chemicals. She needs to know I am working on it, it's not just going randomly out of control, unchecked or something. We talked about it today, actually.

In our family, we have mental health problems ALL OVER THE PLACE. I'm talking EVERYWHERE. EVERYONE practically. Same with my dh. So I figure that my children are going to have to understand depression, anxiety, and all the stuff that comes with it. I grew up with all kinds of messed up ideas about mental health problems (the person is crazy, lazy, stupid, etc., very harsh negative words from my father's side of the family).

I too have thought about the fact that my children will tell their friends (and whomever else) that I take meds. But I'm okay with that because if it helps others to know that somebody is taking meds and getting help, then maybe they will be encouraged to go ask for help too one day if they need it. It's like giving a face to someone living with mental health problems and being a person people can come talk to if need be.

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#10 of 71 Old 11-17-2008, 03:15 AM
 
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Thanks Surfacing. I guess I have to let go of my concern about my kids telling everyone, (they are very chatty kids). I certainly do not want to explain it to them and then tell them not to tell anyone, because that would be defeating the object of openess, understanding and no stigma, so I just have to get over it and focus on my kids mental well-being. I like how you explain it to your DD. I think I will try that.

Thanks

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#11 of 71 Old 11-17-2008, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been talking to my kids - I feel like I HAVE to. I dont know if I say the right thing but I have been SO depressed I just feel like I can't let them go on thinking its normal to be like I am.

I think my 5 yr old is mimicking me, or is really getting depressed himself.

I have decided that both dh and I need to embrace our mental illnesses (or whatever they are called LOL) and start managing them.

I think we are going to have a good family but I don't think its going to look like i daydreamed about when I was younger. He has ADHD, and I may. Along with depression. And each one of our child either has something or is just really quirky.

We need to learn to play on our strengths (which I am not sure what they are yet) and downplay our faults. (Like having an uber messy house most of the time because we cant complete a task. )
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#12 of 71 Old 11-18-2008, 02:26 AM
 
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I think we are going to have a good family but I don't think its going to look like i daydreamed about when I was younger. He has ADHD, and I may. Along with depression. And each one of our child either has something or is just really quirky.

We need to learn to play on our strengths (which I am not sure what they are yet) and downplay our faults. (Like having an uber messy house most of the time because we cant complete a task. )


transformed, I read your posts on here and you seem like such a good & smart person. I'm sorry for your struggles and hope you will feel really a lot better soon
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#13 of 71 Old 11-30-2008, 11:50 PM
 
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Hey Mamas, I was thinking about this thread tonight, we had a rough day here. I forgot to take my meds this morning and was really irritable, grumpy, snappy all day -- my poor family!!! Soon after I remembered to take them tonight I felt calmer and better again.

It's unbelievable. It's scary. But I guess I have a mental illness. It's funny, on the meds when things are better, it's easy to forget what the worst of it is like. But then there are times when it comes up again. As it is, we're adjusting my dose and changing my meds and I've had some rough spots. Poor dd1 always seems to get the worst of me at those times.

These times pass. Things get better. Right?

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#14 of 71 Old 12-01-2008, 01:17 PM
 
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oh yay for this thread!!!!!!!!! i was going to post something of the sort myself!!! i will read more after going to the dr. w/ HOPEFULLY a Rx for...something other than this zoloft. sigh...
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#15 of 71 Old 02-06-2009, 06:18 PM
 
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Wow, this is exactly the thread I need.
The thing that I hate most about my depression/anxiety is that I can't be the parent I desperately want to be. Everyday I think maybe it will get better and it doesn't. I HATE snapping at my daughter. And losing it with my youngest because she is up AGAIN in the middle of the night. I just want to crawl in my bed most of the time and not get out.
I want to be that mom that is constantly coming up with creative things to do, takes them to the park, playgroups, things like that. I know my 3 year old is bored because I just don't have it in me to do these things.
Ahhhh............ok, kinda went off there. LOL. But my point...........I will be watching this thread to get some tips.........

Angela married to the love of my life Mommy to Summer Hailey and Evan
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#16 of 71 Old 02-06-2009, 07:17 PM
 
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Focus on what you can do, not what you can't.

Can you muster a bedtime story, and a focused stream of attention for 15 minutes at the end of the day for your child/children?

Can you commit to using soft words for a day and see how that goes?

Play one game this afternoon?

Do something messy and fun in the kitchen even if you don't clean the mess up?
It really helps me to block thoughts and comparisons to what the ideal mom is doing. The ideal mom is a crock.

We must challenge ourselves to do OUR best, not anyone else's. Be quick to forgive yourself, but always continue to grow and manage your illness. Do not give in.

Beating yourself up and bashing yourself in your head is dangerous and toxic. Avoid it.

You messed this morning up? Forgive and move on. Do one positive thing today.

That's how I live. Each day gets a little calmer, each day gets a little more "normal", my normal that is- not "ideal mom normal".

I think the biggest thing is to not let yourself get down on yourself. It's really hard, we all want to do better.

And last get help if you're unable to manage your life. The key to wellness is managing your illness, not ignoring it.
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#17 of 71 Old 02-06-2009, 07:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by angela1435 View Post
The thing that I hate most about my depression/anxiety is that I can't be the parent I desperately want to be. Everyday I think maybe it will get better and it doesn't. I HATE snapping at my daughter. And losing it with my youngest because she is up AGAIN in the middle of the night. I just want to crawl in my bed most of the time and not get out.
I want to be that mom that is constantly coming up with creative things to do, takes them to the park, playgroups, things like that. I know my 3 year old is bored because I just don't have it in me to do these things.
Angela Progress, not perfection. It's really hard when you have sleep deprivation. That tips the balance for me too.


Lately I've been thinking about this again.It's scary because without meds I wouldn't be near the mother I want to be. I wouldn't be functioning as well as I am. I sometimes imagine a natural disaster or something that would make me unable to get meds or suddenly cut off from them. How the heck are you supposed to parent when you're feeling like you're in a black hole? I think about how I would ruin my children's lives being how I am without meds. Then I remind myself that it's not helpful to think like that.... I'm catastrophising, fortune telling, etc.... ...but still. I get scared because I think if I was in another time and another place, maybe I would have done something irreversable to myself by now. KWIM?

Sorry to post such a downer, it's just been on my mind and I wanted to talk to some people who understood.

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#18 of 71 Old 02-06-2009, 07:51 PM
 
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Porcelain Interior - your post rocks!!!!!

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#19 of 71 Old 02-12-2009, 07:37 PM
 
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As soon as I saw my problems affecting my parenting, my husband took two weeks of vacation, I got into therapy, the first month I was in at least twice a week and I also went to a psychiatrist who put me on the proper dose of medication. I had been medicated by my primary care, but psychiatry is a specialty. That being said, I would not be embarassed if my three and five year old chat about me taking medication for some or another reason. I also would put very little creadence into anything a young child said to me about their parents mental health -- If they talked I might wonder what they said maeant but that would be the extent of it. Parents use very simplistic explainations with kids and say things like "You are making/driving me Crazy!" I would be hard pressed to get a diagnosis from a child or make sense of passing words
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#20 of 71 Old 02-13-2009, 01:59 PM
 
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I have been talking to my kids - I feel like I HAVE to. I dont know if I say the right thing but I have been SO depressed I just feel like I can't let them go on thinking its normal to be like I am.

I think my 5 yr old is mimicking me, or is really getting depressed himself.

I have decided that both dh and I need to embrace our mental illnesses (or whatever they are called LOL) and start managing them.

I think we are going to have a good family but I don't think its going to look like i daydreamed about when I was younger. He has ADHD, and I may. Along with depression. And each one of our child either has something or is just really quirky.

We need to learn to play on our strengths (which I am not sure what they are yet) and downplay our faults. (Like having an uber messy house most of the time because we cant complete a task. )
Honestly....the only think that keeps me centered (or kinda close to center) is reading the Bible and praying. I CAN NOT do this on my own strength. There is no way. If it was not for the Lord, I honestly would probably not be here.

I have been struggling with severe ADHD all of my life. I have also been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. As of right now, I am not comfortable taking any medication, so I have been relying on my own program of behavior modification, though modification, and building my relationship with the Lord so that I can see His truth through the lies that my mind tells me.

Still have those days, but when I stay connected to God I am able to stop myself and breath instead of getting totally pulled under by the force of dispair.

May not help anyone, but honestly that is the ONLY thing that has helped me So I thought I would share

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#21 of 71 Old 02-13-2009, 05:11 PM
 
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The key to wellness is managing your illness, not ignoring it.
These words jumped off the page at me just now...

I've been struggling a LOT lately, and have been avoiding it/ignoring it... I don't want the "here we go again" mentality to hit my DH, or miss any more time with my DD, or lose any more $$ to my "issues"...

But anyway, thanks so much for that tidbit. It helps me to see things in a different light...

SAHM to Chloe (02/28/08) & Samantha (10/06/10)... not quite crunchy - think of us as al dente, finding our way to self-sustainability & full-out crunchy living ... trial and error, one day at a time! 
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#22 of 71 Old 02-13-2009, 06:13 PM
 
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Has anyone heard of using sepia 30x for mood swings/hormonal bs. my midwife put me on it in my 4th month because of the anger/anxiety/depression/bitchiness I have been dealing with basically my whole life. I finally had to talk to her because of what i may have been doing to my baby. let me tell you, the crazy urges are gone as long as im taking it. im the kind that can go from one level to the 100th level in seconds, and then right back down. only realising it either in the middle or after i feel like crap because of the awful thing i just said to DH. i struggle with wondering why he is with me, why he puts up with it and have seriously considered leaving him just to save him my animosity. i have a lot of it towards his family, and i think him too. i need to figure out how to deal with those issues, and i think i will go back to "normal". but after 4 years where do you start?

~New natural Mama to my EBF preemie, Cameron~3-21-2009~10 wks premature~3lb 9.5oz~:
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#23 of 71 Old 02-14-2009, 01:49 PM
 
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Never heard of taking Sepia :

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#24 of 71 Old 02-17-2009, 07:10 AM
 
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Thanks SO much for starting this thread. I can so relate to the need for EMERGENCY parenting. I have called it paralysis for years, even before I was diagnosed with severe anxiety. Now, I just know that I have to change my priorities frequently, depending on how I am feeling.

Anybody have any tried and true ways of getting into a med routine, so that the ebbs and flows of anxiety are not so turbulent??? I have a friend that often reminds me, but she is in the same boat as me and often we BOTH forget.
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#25 of 71 Old 02-17-2009, 11:14 AM
 
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Anybody have any tried and true ways of getting into a med routine, so that the ebbs and flows of anxiety are not so turbulent??? I have a friend that often reminds me, but she is in the same boat as me and often we BOTH forget.
Hey there! Good morning! I know how forgetting goes... sadly the med I'm on will remind me (with weird dreams and nausea) if I stop taking it - or go w/o it for LITERALLY 24 hours. But there are better ways to remember...

My mom is on anxiety meds, and she takes hers every day WITHOUT FAIL at breakfast. She gets it out of the drawer right next to the coffee pot.

Is yours a PRN? That'd make it harder... or if it were multiple times a day, leave yourself a note on the fridge, on the bathroom mirror, in the silverware drawer, somewhere you frequent. HTH?

SAHM to Chloe (02/28/08) & Samantha (10/06/10)... not quite crunchy - think of us as al dente, finding our way to self-sustainability & full-out crunchy living ... trial and error, one day at a time! 
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#26 of 71 Old 02-17-2009, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I keep my meds in a weekly pill box (You know, "M,T,W,Th,F,S,Su" kind )

Because alot of my symptoms mirror ADD/HD and I forget to take pills, and so that helps me stay on top of them.

What is a PRN?
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#27 of 71 Old 02-17-2009, 07:01 PM
 
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I keep my meds in a weekly pill box (You know, "M,T,W,Th,F,S,Su" kind )

Because alot of my symptoms mirror ADD/HD and I forget to take pills, and so that helps me stay on top of them.

What is a PRN?
I also use this box with AM/PM spaces.

I assign my pills to a meal. I frequently forget meals too so I have to work very hard to keep on top of that.

I have in times past found it helpful to send myself EMAIL reminders to take my pills- through my MSN calendar. If I put something on it it emails me at a set time.

Also if your kids are of time telling age enlist them and say "In case I forget can you try and help me remember that I need to take my pills/vitamins at X oclock?" Some kids get a big kick out of parents forgetting and asking for help. My kids LOVE LOVE LOVE to remember something I forgot.

You can also set a kitchen timer to go off at the time you need to take the pills- yes you also have to remember to set it, but that gives you some warning.

The biggest thing is getting a routine going so that the same thing is happening at the same time everyday.

So easy to say....so difficult to implement.

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#28 of 71 Old 02-19-2009, 04:19 AM
 
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i take my pills with breakfast when i give dd her vitamins. so that's my mental reminder. on days i dont have her i use the pill box or i totally forget...

single mama to DD 5.09
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#29 of 71 Old 02-20-2009, 05:16 PM
 
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Anybody have any tried and true ways of getting into a med routine, so that the ebbs and flows of anxiety are not so turbulent??? I have a friend that often reminds me, but she is in the same boat as me and often we BOTH forget.
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I keep my meds in a weekly pill box (You know, "M,T,W,Th,F,S,Su" kind )

I have a magnetic pill box, I keep it on the freezer near the handle. When I get my creamer out for my coffee I take the first set of pills. Then when I'm making dinner I'll take the 2nd set.

I take six 25 mg Lamictal - three 1200 mg of fish oil - and one Super B Complex.

I used to have a regular weekly pill box that I'd leave on the counter near the sink, but forgot to take them much more frequently than I liked.

That said, I haven't taken anything in about a week, maybe longer, because we've been sick.

OH, and when I first started taking meds, I'd write it on the calender. We have a dry erase calender for appointments and things we need to remember. So I'd write "A - dose 1" and the time.

And now, when I'm not sick, I keep 1 full days dose in my purse. Of everything. So if I have an early appointment or we're out with family and I forget to take it before we leave the house, I have it with me and ready. I keep this in an old Rx bottle.


As for parenting. WALK AWAY!! I get way too frustrated, and irritable and I yell. I will also throw things (never at the children!) so I just have to walk away. Usually go throw a shoe or two at my shower wall and then I can go deal with whatever the issue was. Or I pass it off to my husband. After that, I clean something.

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#30 of 71 Old 02-23-2009, 02:35 AM
 
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Hey Mamas, here's a great resource:

http://circleofsecurity.org/
The Circle of Security™ Project is an innovative, first-of-its-kind early intervention program designed to alter the developmental pathway of parents and their young children.

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