Mental Mumma - Life as a mother with depression and anxiety.
The facts and my musings about my life as a mother with mental health problems. How we all cope as a family. Parenting my child through depression and anxiety. Candid, sometimes bleak, sometimes hopeful, but always honest. One post won't tell you my story- follow me to get to know my life.
Tuesday, 2 October 2012
So much has been going on that I just gave up on talking for a while- it didn't seem to be helping. And I guess I feel embarrassed that I'm not better yet. Does anyone else reading this ever feel that way- ashamed that somehow they've been depressed for too long, and that they should be better by now? Or at least improved? Well I do.
A lot's happened since I last logged in, but I don't feel up to getting into any of that today. Today is just to get me back here, and start me talking again.
Talking is hard.
Sunday, 15 July 2012
My husband got his new job. He starts at the end of the month. That's going to be great.
In the mean time, We've all been sick with stomach flu. Very unpleasant and exhausting.
Oh, and yeah, we got evicted. My husband messed up and was $5 short on the rent. The land lady rang up and screamed at him, and said she's sick of us and wants us gone.
I really don't have the energy to elaborate much more, but I just wanted to get that out.
Tuesday, 3 July 2012
Monday, 2 July 2012
Most probably wouldn't imagine a parent calling to report that they fear their child is not safe in their own care.
But a few weeks ago, that's exactly what I did. And although making that call and the consequences that followed, were high on the list of the most terrifying experiences I've had, I'm so glad I did it.
If you've been following my posts here, you'll know that I've experienced recurring bouts of depression and anxiety since I was a child. Through learning from those experiences and I guess through the natural process of gaining maturity as I age, I've learned some skills and techniques to help me cope. This means that now, when a wave of depression and/or anxiety hits, it usually only sticks around for a period of weeks-not months- and and the effects aren't so extreme. I can usually hold on to the hope that things will get better in time, because I've seen it happen that way so many times before.
But this time, things have been very different. I've been deeply depressed for a number of months now, and my mood has steadily dropped over time. So much so, that a few weeks ago, I realised I had lost hope altogether. Life seemed so bad that I couldn't imagine that things would ever improve. Compounding everything, our financial situation was (and still is), dire, my husband and I were fighting almost constantly, and had discussed separation, and he had returned to full-time work for the first time since our daughter was born, leaving me as her primary caregiver. I felt totally isolated living in the countryside away from long-term friends and family. It was just me and our child alone in the house day in day out. I felt trapped. And my daughter's normal 2 year old defiance had become unbearable in the state I was in.
I'm ashamed to say my mood was affecting her very negatively. She needed my love and attention, but I was closed off. Every squeal or clatter she made while playing sounded like nails on a chalk board to me. All I wanted was to be alone, to cocoon myself in silence and to make myself feel better. Now I realise that was never going to help me recover- it was the depression talking, wanting me to isolate myself further so it could perpetuate itself.
To get the attention from me she needed she started acting out. She would scream, hit, and throw tantrums numerous times a day. I tried my hardest to react to this by sticking to the discipline measures advised for her age. Staying calm, attempting to distract her onto another activity, counting to three, giving her time outs for 2 minutes at a time. But the behaviour didn't stop, it escalated, and so did my anger. I was losing control, screaming at her at the top of my lungs. Terrifying her.
Looking back, I can easily see the essential elements that were missing in dealing with the situation. She was receiving a lot of discipline, but very little positive attention from me. I would reach out to try to hug her a lot, and tell her I loved her. But I wasn't showing her I loved her. I was ignoring her until she forced me to pay her attention with bad behaviour. She needed me to play with her, to provide activities and participate with her. To give her positive reinforcement. To connect with her. But I had pulled out of our relationship. And I was very, very angry.
That's when the thoughts started. I would catch myself thinking about hitting her, just to make her stop. Stop the noise, stop the hitting, stop the grabbing at me for attention- just stop. And I was starting to think about suicide.
As the weeks went on, it became harder and harder to dismiss these thoughts. The anger and despair was boiling up inside of me. Until one morning I felt like I really might snap and hit her. I wanted to throw her against a wall. I wanted to punish her for the torment I blamed her for. And I wanted to cut my throat and die.
Somehow, underneath all of those raging feelings, I still knew she was my perfect little girl that didn't deserve any of this. It was this weak little voice that pleaded to be heard above the thunderous storm poisoning my mind. My girl was defenceless against me. I was a bully. And she needed help.
So, with no dignity or pride left in me, I shut her in her room. Not for punishment. But to keep her safe from me. She screamed and hit the walls, while I cried uncontrollably and searched for the right place to called for help. I tried Plunket first, but after several attempts, I couldn't get through. Then I tried Barnadoes, with the same results. I was desperately trying to think of somewhere else to try, when a social worker from Barnadoes called me back. She had heard someone crying before the click on the answerphone, and had checked for the number.
This was it. It was time to be honest. I told her my daughter was not safe in my care. I told her everything.
She was more understanding than I had expected. But she told me what I must do. I had to call CYFS, and tell them what was happening, or she would be forced to call herself. CYFS! They were the people that took people's babies away! Put them into foster care and destroyed families! They might take my child. She might end up all alone in one of those awful places. Her whole life might be ruined.
Those were the panicked and irrational fears that jumped immediately to my mind. But then I remembered why I had called in the first place. My daughter wasn't safe in her own home. I was hurting her. And these people only wanted to keep her safe. From me.
So I rang. I rang, and I told my whole story all over again, this time to a call centre staff member at CYFS.
The police were on my doorstep within five minutes.
That's enough for today.
- Hi! I'm Maya and I'm here to blog about my life as a mother with mental health problems. I'm getting a lot out of reading the blogs of others and their experiences, so I'm giving sharing my own a go. I'm pretty approachable, so if you want to talk to me or ask me a question, go ahead :-)