Note: Mumsnet has not checked the knowledge, experience or professional qualifications of anyone posting on Mumsnet Talk, so this is not necessarily the best place to seek help if you're feeling seriously distressed or suicidal. Mumsnet cannot be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our mental health web guide which can point you to expert advice and support.

Help without Anti Depressants

(375 Posts)
SugarHut Fri 31-May-13 16:57:15

I'd really like some (kind,helpful) advice please, as I've seen some very harsh and condescending things written where people seem to genuinely be seeking help.

I have a 5yr old boy, and being very honest, I've never really even liked him...I feel like if I could press a button and it would take me back to never have fallen pregnant then I would press it like a shot. I make myself be as good a mother as I can, I hug him and tell him I love him, but I feel nothing. I don't feel repulsion, or hatred, but I feel nothing towards him. It makes me so sad...mainly for him, although I feel I hide it well and he's none the wiser. I long for the 2 days a week my mother has him when I can be me. I'm not a drippy "woe is me" failure, I'm a very strong woman, he's in private school, I have a very good job, which is not even very demanding...on the outside, I look like I have it made....but I wanted a girl so very badly, and every day I feel disappointed.

He's very smart, he gets outstanding reports, his behaviour is excellent, they are talking about putting him up a year in school...all things other parents tell me are amazing. On the outside I smile and gush and agree...on the inside I couldn't care less. I hate it.

Does this sound like depression? I can't bring myself to take any medication, so please don't advise me too. And please don't lecture me for "you shouldn't have had a child if you only wanted a girl" yes I did...but trust me if I knew I'd be this permanently disengaged and hate it to the extremes I do, then I would not have had him and saved us both. No pointless battering me for a decision I can not reverse, I feel bad enough as it is.

I look at other children at the school, and if I look at one of his little girl friends, I imagine it was my child and I get overwhelmed with these warm loving feelings, I want to pick her up and cuddle her, take her shopping, brush her hair, make cakes with her, read stories with her, I feel overwhelming pride and love even though it's a random child, then I look at him and want to cry. I am looking at him right now, and I picture him being a girl and I feel like there is so much love in me for a girl and he's just this child in my house that I don't even feel related to that's ruined my life.

What do I do??? Are there any non medication routes that actually work if I am depressed? Does it even sound like depression? I know these feelings aren't normal, and I know it shouldn't have taken me 5 years to say something about it. But anyone who has had a remotely similar experience please help me. x x x

SugarHut Sat 01-Jun-13 18:22:38

Sorry. That was very ranty. Just made my blood boil. If you saw a girl desperately upset and self harming, say, scratching into her arms, you wouldn't be enough of a self righteous dork to go up to her and preach "some people are born without arms, what a selfish fool you are" There are clearly underlying issues that she doesn't know how to deal with. Pointing out the sodding obvious and making her feel worse...wonderful sad x x x

Salbertina Sat 01-Jun-13 18:39:53

Exactly, Sugar. And don't worry about ranting. we've all done it on here.

Feel for you and really, really think you'd benefit from seeing a psychotherapist. Personally I think, from what you say, CBT won't touch the sides. It may very well be along the lines of what you've just read. Not always easy/quick to reframe one's thoughts.

Lizzabadger Sat 01-Jun-13 18:42:27

I think some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to work on your beliefs about what having a boy means could be really helpful. It sounds like you can afford to go privately. If so, I would do this and bypass the GP/waiting lists/inexperienced therapists/cap on number of sessions. You can google CBT therapists in your area. Look for one who is BABCP accredited. Have a preliminary meeting with them first and make sure you pick someone you feel comfortable with and can work with. Good luck!

BlackSwan Sat 01-Jun-13 18:42:37

Are there any interests you think you could share with your son - an activity which you might enjoy together? Perhaps doing things you both enjoy together might bring you closer.

Even if you had a daughter, she may not have been the person you expected - she may have found your interests boring nonetheless?

No judgement here, I just think it's a shame for both of you to miss out on eachothers' love. And an observation, you need to let go of your expectations of your child in order for you to love who they really are. That applies to all of us.

Salbertina Sat 01-Jun-13 18:43:50

For me , CBT was "pointing out the sodding obvious" and therefore made me feel doubly guilty for even failing at therapy! I know some people swear by it on here but i think it works less well on deep-seated issues.

SugarHut Sat 01-Jun-13 18:52:08

I'm a little confused Salebertina....initially you said therapy really helped you, but you now suggest it maybe didn't? Did you therefore try different types and it was just the CBT? We sound rather similar, I'd rather try the route you found successful in your experience first smile
Has anyone else tried CBT successfully?
x x x

Lizzabadger Sat 01-Jun-13 18:52:26

In general CBT works well for very circumscribed issues like this one. I agree it is not so effective for more all-encompassing issues.

Salbertina Sat 01-Jun-13 19:00:47

Sorry to confuse the issue, first stop for me was GP and then CBT, privately. This is what didn't work, for me. Then, much later, i turned to psychotherapy, again privately, on recommendation. HTH.

SugarHut Sat 01-Jun-13 19:11:10

Black Swan...no this is all part of it, I don't even want to interact with him. I have no real interest in trying to pretend to build a bond that will never be there. I spend all our time together with me on my laptop, or on the phone to friends, or cooking/cleaning.....whilst he veggies out in front of the tv, or plays with his toys. He has so much stuff, I massively over compensate with trucks,lego,cars,robots etc...he is not spoilt with faddy rubbish, but he has a lot very good quality educational games and toys for a single child, namely so he can entertain himself and not involve me. It's not like I can even say I can't bear to play with boy things, trains and trucks, I get annoyed at the taking up of my time when he asks for a bedtime story. Which actually appalls me to type that. I'm even looking at rehoming a little dog just to keep him company because I literally do nothing with him. The astonishing thing is he seems perfectly fine, yaps away to himself, builds all kinds of things, makes dens, reads to himself, always coming up and bugging me for something or other with a big grin on his face. It's almost beggars belief that he hasn't picked up on any of this yet.
Unless you feel like this, you just can't comprehend what it's like. Suggestions of "try activities together" are so nonsensical to me and my situation, I guess it just tells me how far from normality the way I feel is. The only thing that stops me giving him up is the judgement and disownment of others, and the moral impact and guilt of bringing a child into the world into a reasonably privileged family just to hand him over to a care system where I can (apart from super rare exceptions) guarantee he'll be plagued with social and emotianal issues for the rest of his life. I feel like that, and yet, he stood up in his school assembly and read a poem he's done about how much he loves his mummy. The damn woman next to me cried. I was uninterested in any way. How wrong is that sad
x x x

Ujjayi Sat 01-Jun-13 19:16:41

I'm not sure I can add anything of value to the discussion, other than to say OP that I do understand your feelings. For me, it wasn't disappointment about gender it was simply a lack of bonding. It lasted until DC1 turned 11 and slowly, for reasons which I cannot pinpoint, we began to bond.

What made it worse for me was having a second DC with whom I bonded instantly. Even now there is a "reckless abandon" to the manner in which DC2 (9) and I show our affection for each other. Lots of teasing, playing and cuddling. DC1 and I are nowhere near that level but we have developed a quiet loving bond.

So there is hope and frankly I admire you because this is the first time I have ever admitted to it.

ImNotCute Sat 01-Jun-13 19:22:29

I've had cbt for general problems with depression, not a specific issue like yours. It is very focused with lots of exercises to do, if there's an issue you need to discuss and explore the reasons behind maybe a different therapy would be better? When I was referred by my gp I saw someone who explained the options to me and we decided together that cbt would be best for me.

I hope you can get this sorted. Reading your posts I was thinking the same as another poster that even if your ds had been a girl there is absolutely no guarantee you'd have the relationship you want with her. You're very fortunate to have a very close relationship with your mum, but I'm sure you realise lots of mothers and daughters aren't like that.

Salbertina Sat 01-Jun-13 19:28:45

Sugar, you need proper help, nothing wrong with that. Well done for getting all this down now, that is a first step.

A wise (teacher) friend once said to me "it's not entirely down to you, you know". V kind and considerate and true! At the time, I'd been taking sole responsibility for various issues with ds (and my muted feelings for him). Great that you both have a good family, lucky ds, that may insulate him from a lot. Don't feel guilty about that!

Salbertina Sat 01-Jun-13 19:34:10

Ujayyi, am similar. I love dc2 with wild abandon, always have! Dc1 is a work in progress who i have grown to love. Can't quite believe i am writing this either. Rather cathartic but i do feel ashamed.

Looking back with the benefit of hindsight i can see we both needed so much more physical/emotional support after the birth as we'd both been damaged. He's never wanted to be held (which i foolishly took as rejection of me as his mother, the shame!) if i could go back to redress this, i would.

It does sound like depression to me.

My lad is now 1 year old and I feel like he is my son now. But I didn't like him for a long time (long and complicated story featuring psychotic episodes where I thought I hadn't even given birth and he wasn't related to me). But I had exactly the same feelings of no connection, no love, not even liking him, prior to the psychosis. I saw a psychiatrist every couple of weeks for about 6 months, and I found that just talking about it and him really helped 'place' him into my life.

Another thing that I found really helped establish a connection was visiting family, and seeing where he fitted in as part of the larger, extended family.

I would seriously recommend that you do talk to your GP about this. They cannot make you take medication if you don't want it, and they may be able to get you some 'talking' time with a counsellor.

How are your other relationships (with parents, siblings, colleagues?), do you feel 'connections' with other people?

Has it occurred to you that you could have had a girl who hated all this stuff you love? My mum longed for a little girl, to dress in girly clothes, do girly things. Then came me, and still today we don't like the same things, but we have a great relationship.
You need a good proper talking therapy. How are your other relationships? Do you expect too much from people, or specific things? How do you react when people act in a different way from what you wanted/expected? Or when they show themselves to be different from what you expected?

Ujjayi Sat 01-Jun-13 20:19:31

Salbertina - our stories are pretty much identical hmm. DS1 didn't appear to want to be held, wasn't interested in bfing etc. I felt rejected, upset & angry and completely & utterly ashamed. I would do anything to be able to change that time.

We are getting there slowly - as you say, a work in progress.

It is true OP that even a girl might not have given you the relationship you wanted with your child. Regardless of the approach you choose you will at some point have to take steps towards interacting with him. I can relate to the irritability when he wants your attention but I can also tell you that won't get better until you change your mindset. It took lots of pretending on my part before it finally began to feel natural.

Also your DS hasn't noticed anything amiss yet but he will: and like my DS he may well call you on it. It is painful to deal with but you can get there.

BlackSwan Sun 02-Jun-13 06:42:23

Sugarhut - I understand and don't want to make you feel any worse than you obviously do. Do realise though that a lot of us, to a certain extent, are doing things we don't really want to do when we do things with our kids. For a lot of us it is effort. I'm not outdoorsy and I avoid endless trips to the park, but yesterday my son asked me to come too - I could see it was important to him and I said yes, though frankly I would have rather had some 'free time'! I enjoyed it. I could see him having fun and I realised how much bigger and more able he is now than when I used to take him when he was smaller, and I was proud of him. Of course, going for his sake should be enough, but I had fun too. I could have dug my heels in and told him to just go with his dad (have done that often enough) but I didn't.

If you don't make an effort, you will miss out as well as your son. And the divide will only increase. It is a huge step that you're considering therapy. Is it going to help you though if your efforts are conditional? I will try this, I won't try that (anti-depressants). I will parent I girl, I won't parent a boy. This rigidity, to me, seems part of the problem.

Salbertina Sun 02-Jun-13 08:52:43

I think (effective) therapy could address exactly that issue and to be fair to OP, she's sufficiently self-aware to have been v frank on here. It's a positive start.

SugarHut Sun 02-Jun-13 12:39:18

Salbertina, Ujjayi, thank you for your frankness and your honesty, and for getting some things off you chest that you never have before. It doesn't make me feel better that you were/are ever like the way I feel (wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy) but I do believe there is small comfort and perhaps relief in knowing I'm not a freak of nature and this has happened to other people. Hugs x x x .

BlackSwan, I think you feel like you're helping, but if you could not post anymore it would probably be for the best because you're going to get both barrels if you carry on, because I don't think you quite realise how you sound and oh my goodness please don't even start with the "I understand" because if you did you wouldn't have written something so ridiculous. The fact that you have the audacity to even write that you understand when clearly you have no understanding says a lot. Self congratulating yourself for actually going to the park (seriously?!) when you didn't really want to, then having a oh such a super time. Gold medal to you. That really is a first world problem. Then comparing that as something you didn't want to do, to the serious condition that myself and other posters are suffering from is insulting and gets my back up. I hope that is understandable. And I'm trying not to get snappy with you, as I don't think you're doing it intentionally, but if you look earlier at my little "rant" you are skating very close to this. I will try this, I won't try that... who the hell do you think you are. You can't seriously be that dumb to have read all of this and then made a comment like that. And all that shows to myself and the other girls is how little grasp you have of the situation, although to you, you are naturally the best informed person, you can tell by the way you write. Did you skip over the allergies bit regarding the medication. Thought so. It's pointless me trying to explain to you as frankly, you already believe you have a total understanding of this. Thank you for your comments, I would appreciate you leave it there.

Guys, I'm going to phone my GP tomorrow...but I really don't want to talk to him about it, just to whoever he assigns me too. It's a big step talking to a trained professional, I really don't want to have to sit there and have to tell the GP all of this just so he allocate me somewhere else. I know he won't judge me, but that's how it will feel. Can I just say that I have been having serious issues bonding with my son, that I recognise now that I need help with, and that I'm not comfortable with talking to him and would like counselling? Will he take that seriously? Yes, I know I could go private directly, but to be honest, I'd feel like I'm paying to fix my mental head and I don't want to feel like there's a price tag attached to my problems. I can always go private after if I need too, when perhaps I have improved a little?

x x x

BlackSwan Sun 02-Jun-13 17:52:56

Clearly I hit a nerve. I was being honest with you, and I think you're being hypersensitive. Perhaps therapy is the best way for you to spend some more time alone without your son. All the best with that.

I think that sounds like a reasonable request to make to your GP - you clearly do need to talk about your feelings with regards to bonding. He will (should) understand when you say you need to talk to counsellor. And if he doesn't - see another GP until you get what you need.

OP, you didn't answer my questions and then got all sensitive to blackswan comment which, apparently, was spot on. You said it yourself that you just do your things in the laptop instead of interacting with your Ds. Lots of us would like to do that (I would!) But we don't because we put the childrens needs first. You sound like you still put your wishes and needs in the first place. Maybe you are not ready to have a real person as a child. You love the idea of a girl (a little princess to be precise). Would you really be able to love this little girl with all her quirks and annoying traits (that every human has)?
And don't think your Ds didn't notice you don't like him. From what you describe, it's precisely the opposite. He is desperate to please you, that's why he is so good. If he were secure of your love he would be himself. That's pretty sad that he can't relax and show his good and bad side to his mother...

Hoophopes Sun 02-Jun-13 19:46:27

Hi asking your gp for help sounds a great idea. He may need to ask questions to refer you to the right area, depending on what options there are in your area. If it is bonding issues am not sure if you could see the peri natal psychiatrist as cannot remember when they stop working with mums ( what age the child) but it may be one option. The more information you give the better the chances of referral.

Hoophopes Sun 02-Jun-13 19:50:04

If they mention referral to social care that is another option for support I forgot to mention as different teams offer different budgets. For instance your sign can be referred to CAMHS early practitioner teams from the age 4 if you feel he needs help due to your serious issues. It may be you need to be seen together for you both to get help. You can self refer to this if your gp does not. There are educational psychologists, family therapy workers, all sorts to help you both.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now