Saturday, July 20, 2013

I felt so low


I've read about depression, read about the black dog, read about people unable to get out of bed in the mornings, unable to function.  That wasn't me.  I functioned, I always have.  I'm a coper.  And this year life has settled down and become a little more stable.  I've not been lurching from one crisis to the next, trying to firefight, to keep the show on the road.

What happened?  Well when the firefighting stopped, I began to feel overwhelmed by all the stuff that has happened over the past ten years, and how much my life has changed, how different it is from the family life that I had planned and worked so hard for.  Every day became a stress-fest, and I couldn't relax or sleep without a glass of wine, I needed constant pain killers for headaches.  I suspect  I would've taken anything to feel better, if it had been offered.  Yet I felt so guilty, I have three wonderful children (even if two of them do have special needs), a beautiful home, a job I enjoy, enough money, and great friends.

I went back to counselling, which is useful, and it means I can talk about stuff that I'm afraid to tell anyone else, but really it is only going to make a big difference long-term.  There's a lot to get through!

As I mentioned before, this summer is the most challenging yet - Smiley's summer camp has finished and I will have no respite, and she will have no school, until the end of August, while aspie boy says he wants to go out, says he wants to exercise, but is finding it so hard to tear himself away from the safety of the screens.  So I was looking out the kitchen window at the patch of blue sky above the rooftops as the waves of heat washed over me and bursting into tears every time I heard trigger words like gorgeous weather, Wexford, bank holiday fun, and of course anything that might remind me of my Dad.

So I was miserable, and I just wanted to hibernate, but I couldn't.  I have work to do, a house to keep and two children who have a lot of needs.  It's relentless.  But last Sunday - it's always Sundays! - I realised that I was definitely not being the best mother that I could be to my kids.  Friends rallied round and drove me to the GP on Monday morning.  I've always been afraid of telling officialdom that I am not coping, terrified of being judged, afraid of tales of children being taken away -- which could be worse for them than for me.   But of course the GP was lovely - I've been put on some medication, and within an hour my pounding headache was gone, and suddenly everything seemed to be doable - even without the help of wine and chocolate!  Perhaps I have now become a Stepford Wife after all....

I feel so stupid now -- clearly I should have gone to the GP months or years ago -- please don't make the same mistake as me, just because you are getting through the days does not mean that a little help won't make them better, for you and for your family.



57 comments:

  1. Don't feel stupid because you're not and thinking that will do absolutely nothing. Believe me, I know! I've suffered from depression and I think you could not have written a better piece and also couldn't have given better advice. Thank you for such honesty and for saying what everyone should hear... That being in the coping zone isn't always the best place for someone to be even if it could be worse. I really enjoyed reading this....I wish it wasn't your personal experience of course but still what you have written might help others and it is always good to hear that someone who sought help actually got it.

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    1. Thanks Joanna, I wasn't even planning to write it, the words just came to me this morning! Hope it helps someone anyway x

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  2. We always wait to long to take care of us, because we are so busy running from crisis to crisis. I am very glad you didn't wait too long.

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    1. That's it Kerri, and yet I thought I was taking care of myself...

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    2. Well, now you have all of us holding you accountable. So you better take care :)

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  3. Your honesty moves me. You are so right - when one needs a bit of help it's silly not to get it. So glad you're feeling better already. xxx

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    1. Sometimes it's hard to recognise that you need help - I've never been good at admitting it! xxx

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  4. I hear you and perhaps, I will start to think about getting some kind of help my self... thank you for 'speaking' so openly.

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    1. I hope you do Petra, and I'd love it if you'd let me know? xx

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  5. So many people will relate to your blog - it's a gift.
    Thank you and take care :)

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  6. Hope this isn't a duplicate post.
    So many people will relate to this, it's a gift.

    Thank you, take care and keep writing x

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    1. Thank you so much for commenting, sorry that I need to approve them, so that's why your comment disappeared the first time x

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  7. oh sweetness, am glad it is getting easier x

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  8. I'm so glad you reached out for help. You are coping with quite a lot, and you are doing it on your own. It can begin to feel relentless, no matter how much you love and appreciate your children and the other gifts in your life. It can be a challenge to juggle all that without any down time. You are doing a remarkable job. Take care of yourself. x

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment - and yes the relentlessness is one of the big problems x

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  9. Glad you got the help you need - and if you are one of life's copers then you will avoid doing so until it probably gets a good way past the point where you should have!!!

    We all break down sometimes - you are amazing. I hope that the medication helps and that the blue skies soon bring cheer again xx

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    1. I can't believe how much better I feel already - and how much better I am coping!

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  10. Helping and being helped. There's a lot to be said for both. Glad you were able to get the help you needed and hopefully you'll begin to feel on the mend soon. x

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    1. Thank you for looking at it like that, really appreciated :) x

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  11. So glad you got the help (or some of it) you need for YOU.
    Even tho you know you need some kind of help, you have to be ready to accept it - if not, it may not work.
    Life can be stable for a while, then you get whacked - the meds will hopefully help get you to a good place.
    Sorry - waffling - just glad you are ok - keep on breathing

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    1. I get what you're saying - you DO have to be in the right frame of mind to accept help x

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  12. Oh, I am so sorry to hear this but very, very relieved that you went to your GP.
    You know, my mother always suffered from depression- her chemical make-up, not always stress-induced- ans always said she hated Sundays!
    I too admire your honesty in writing about it and I hope writing it has helped you. Next time you feel overwhelmed read your own words ;-)

    ((xxxx)) Jazzy

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    1. I think that's probably very good advice Jazzy, thank you xxx

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  13. *hugs* I didn't tell anyone I wasn't coping until I couldn't cope anymore and broke down at an official meeting at the school. Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom to be able to admit that we need help sweetheart. Much love xxx

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    1. I just knew I was not going to get through the summer, so glad I realised it now xxx

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  14. First of all good for you actually going to your GP and getting help! Secondly most people have to hit a certain point before they get help so do not feel stupid for not going before now. As things have settled for you it probably meant you actually had time to think and that's when it can all get on top of people. You have done the right thing for both yourself and your family- hope things level out soon for you xx

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    1. You are so right - when you're in the thick of it you don't have a chance to think about it all, you just have to keep going! xx

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  15. Well done for asking for help. I could have written your post. There is nothing wrong with not feeling okay. x Ciara

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    1. Thank you, I wish it wasn't so hard to do x

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  16. You are so brave and amazing to write this. Brave in that it's not easy to talk about, and amazing because finding the clarity and the words to describe mental suffering is really really hard and you're description really brought me back to a time when I was in that space too, I really recognise it. Real, evocative writing. It can and does get better. I'm so sorry to hear you've had a tough time and it is weird the way it hits us when we actually have time to breathe for a change. I suppose when we're in adrenaline adrenaline adrenaline mode difficult feelings get put to one side to deal with when we have a bit of time. One thing I don't hear much chat about is the lack of emotional support when you are a lone parent - that's what I find hardest sometimes (well along with the lack of regular breaks). I know well that not all relationships are emotionally supportive so just because there's a partner there doesn't mean you have the support but often there's a least a bouncing board to talk things through with or share some of the emotional needs of the kids. The best summer days are the worst if you are suffering from depression. I remember well feeling miserable because it was a beautiful day and I couldn't even feel happy about it - giving out to myself for not being able to enjoy it - it is painful. Hope you are being very kind and gentle with yourself, you are amazing. xx

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    1. Dee, thank you so much for this comment: and for your understanding of lone parenthood and summer days. This was just one of those posts that wrote itself, the words just poured out one morning, I'm so glad you liked it xx

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  17. Well done on putting into words what so many of us feel and have gone through. We convince ourselves that we must be strong for our children, partners, family, friends and put on a mask to hide the absolute exhaustion which depression brings. After a while we believe our own act until the steam runs out. So sad that we leave it so late to reach out to the professionals who really do understand and are ready to help. I hope the many other parents reading this wonderful account take the advice and move forward in getting help. You begin to enjoy life and your children again. Thanks C stay well. G

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    1. Thanks G: I'm amazed by how many people have read this post, and I would love to think it might encourage others to go and get help :)

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  18. Thank you so much for sharing this. Its an honest and heartfelt post. We all do seem to lurch from crisis to crisis without asking for help and all too often forget to look after ourselves. I think you have done the right thing by asking for help. Its something mums of special kids don't do often enough. We are all guilty of it. I really hope that this is your first step to things getting better and I'm sending lots of love and best wishes.

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  19. You're a fab lady. I know so well how you feel, and unbelievable as it sounds, it really will get better. Whoever knew we could come through so much (and all the better for it)?
    Lots of love to you sweetheart XXX

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    1. Lots of love returned, and thank you once again for your support, Jean xxx

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  20. do you know what? you have written exactly what i needed to hear - I'm coping, but surely life should be about more than coping? the small things are overwhelming me - the mess in the house, what to have for dinner etc. I keep telling myself that because i'm getting out of bed every morning and taking care of the kids without collapsing in a heap in the corner, i mustn't be depressed. But I think maybe i am.. maybe i do need to do something about it. Thank you xxx
    Taz xx

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    1. Thanks Taz - and yes I think life should be more about coping, and I hope that it will be for you soon too xx

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  21. Such a great post and one I know so many people will identify with. We all think you are amazing anyway - but even more so now we know you are brave enough to seek help when you need it. Sending love and hugs and so glad you are back on track. x

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  22. Absolutely don't feel silly. You thought you were doing what was right, and by the sounds of it you were doing what you've always done - your best. That's all we can do. You face such huge challenges every day, I don't think you'd be human if you didn't occasionally at least feel overwhelmed. Am glad to hear you asked for help, that's always the hardest part. Just keep doing what you're doing!

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  23. thank you for sharing this moving and honest post, sounds like it's already helping people.

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    1. I honestly can't believe how many people have read it and some seem to be taking action as a result, that's amazing :)

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  24. Oh C, I'm so sorry to read this. I wish I have been around more online lately but the holiday and house move have zapped me.
    Please please PLEASE don't feel stupid. You are not stupid, far from it. You are a beautiful and inspiring woman who copes with so much. I just so wish we lived closer. I'm so glad you went to the GP. I promise I'll be around more from now on and what a brave and honest post...which will help others xx

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    1. Thank you Heather, and you have so much going on right now, it must be very hard for you not to feel overwhelmed by everything - hoping that your news is better too xx

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  25. Big hugs to you, and well done for going to the GP and recognising you needed help. xx

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  26. Awww Jane you put into words how I feel. I find somedays it's not just the daily battles of depression but all the stuff thats happened that just comes down on top of you when the storm is calm (or as youve put it the fire fighting has stopped) and sometimes you can't just stop when you've a family to look after. So glad you're feeling better now after going to your GP xxx

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    1. Thanks Yaz - and it helps to know that others experience the same thing xxx

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  27. I cannot believe I missed this post when you first put it up! Of course you're not stupid. Even with effective medication and counselling, I firmly believe that you have to be in the right place to get help for depression. And also, you need a breath to have that moment where you realise you do need help. And let's face it, you don't get many of those. I struggle with depression, too. I was in quite a bad way when Boo developed the infantile spasms, it really was the straw that broke the camel's back. The anti-depressants I took for a few months didn't seem to do much, but then they weren't the ones the GP would have prescribed if I hadn't been breastfeeding at the time. CBT worked better and I came of the anti-depressants. I am doing OK, although I have a vitamin depletion problem caused by stress I found out yesterday. Ho hum. I am so glad that you sought advice and so pleased to read in your later posts that you are feeling better. I know you're not a saint, but you are one impressive lady!

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    1. I always felt that I had fake depression - not the proper thing at all, but I guess it can be brought on my circumstances too! So glad that you are doing ok now xx

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