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I don't know who I am anymore

(59 Posts)
SolidGold Sun 10-Nov-13 17:42:02

Apologies in advance for long rambling thread.

A bit of background: I've suffered with depression for 15 years, on and off, but mainly on. I've tried ADs in the past, but found the side effects were terrible (too tired to do anything, really bad headaches all the time). I've also had some counselling twice. Both times the counsellor thought things had improved and stopped the sessions.

I have no self confidence. I also think a week before my period hormonal fluctuations make it a lot worse, as in I think I am really ugly and fat and hate myself and also dh. I can feel this happening, it's quite a sudden change.

My relationship with dh is fine most of the time. We never row these days and I go out of my way to avoid a row because I can't stand the spoilt childish way dh reacts. Tbh he is lazy and slobby a lot of the time and I never comment because its too much hassle. It also is quite convenient, as it means I don't feel bad if I'm too down to bother to do housework or make an effort shock

He's been out of work now for 4 months and not done much at all. So much in the house needs doing. He doesn't Hoover or tidy. He'll wash clothes if I ask. He doesn't garden.

I don't seem able to discuss this with him as I am scared of how he'll react - not violently, I just hate the childish remarks and name calling that ensues. So either I do things myself or they don't get done.

I'm going mad with worry about our finances, but he won't discuss selling our house to find something cheaper. I know it's complicated for many reasons (bad credit rating, huge mortgage, falling house prices), But tbh I think what he's doing is just refusing to take responsibility for anything. Sometimes if I say let's do such and such he'll go along with it, sometimes he'll say that's ridiculous, we don't seem able to discuss things.

On top of that I have no life of my own. I am almost never alone, except at work (part time). I don't decide what tv we watch because he's so snobby about anything that isn't a quiz or scifi, a movie.

I have no friends, no hobbies except reading and nowhere locally to go and now no money to do anything anyway.

I don't know how to turn things round and be happy with my life and have respect for myself.

SolidGold Mon 11-Nov-13 16:43:18

No family nearby, dh's family are in wales, I am an only child and my parents are an journey and a half's drive away.

RantinEminor Mon 11-Nov-13 17:14:50

I am in a similar position except my DH has been out of work for nearly 3 years. Fortunately, my DH does do most of the housework, cooking and cleaning and accepts that whilst he is not employed it is a fair arrangement.

We just about bump along on the money I earn but things are tight and I have felt under great pressure to keep everything afloat. I am sure you feel the same. The thing is the longer you go feeling pressured, the longer you go with nothing nice for yourself, the longer you go with no break from the routine the more likely you are going to get yourself into a hole.

In an ideal world I would give prescribe a month on a beach in Thailand for you! In this world though you should speak to your GP, perhaps about an alternative antidepressant or some counseling. You should also try to do small things for yourself that are enjoyable or relaxing. I don't know have many friends or much money so the things I do are small but focused on me and treating myself or giving myself something to look forward to.

Your DH doesn't sound very supportive at all. He should be entirely open to being asked to stick the laundry on or buy the food or cook the tea whilst he has time on his hands.

SolidGold Mon 11-Nov-13 18:09:59

Rantin, sorry to hear that, three years is a long time sad Yes, I know what you mean, I feel I'm taking full responsibility and doing all the worrying, dh is like a child being looked after, because when I didn't take charge of the finances we got in an awful mess financially, so now I look after all that side of things.

What wouldn't I give for a holiday alone? We've never done stuff alone, always do everything together, but in January of this year I visited my eldest who lives abroad for three days. It was pure luxury, I stayed in a (cheap) hotel, we just ate out and went sightseeing, I loved it. I was hoping to go again, but then dh became unemployed... Hopefully next year some time. Obviously this year we haven't had a holiday anyway, so some time away would be nice full stop.

I really don't know if I can face taking ADs, I might discuss it with the gp and ask her about side effects, as it's possible things have improved. But taking ADs isn't going to take my problems away and I think I need to get to grips with those. I've been thinking a lot about contacting my counsellor again too, but I don't know if I'll gain anything really. There were a lot of things I didn't feel comfortable discussing, as he's male.

RantinEminor Mon 11-Nov-13 20:24:00

Thanks. It has been tough and this year through a combination of stress, overwork and neglecting to do things for mysef I wound up on ADs and signed off work for 7 weeks? I don't want to project my experience onto you but I would recommend taking care of yourself now, looking for ways to take the pressure off and treat yourself.

i hear what you are saying about ADs not solving our problems, and if you can manage without them ten I guess it would be better. I knew I had to take them when I couldnt think clearly, get out of bed etc. They did help me to get enough clarity to go to counselling. I also think I would have struggled with a male therapist. Is there any possibility of you seeing a female counsellor instead? What about couples counselling for you and DH, he sounds like he could do with a reality check re how he supports you and takes an equal (adult) role in your relationship.

SolidGold Mon 11-Nov-13 20:32:17

Rantin, thanks for the reply. Sorry to hear things were so bad hmm. I too was heading for a breakdown two years ago, shouldering the whole burden of sorting out our debt alone. Counselling really helped then. Not sure if it will now, due to the female nature of many of my health issues. There is unfortunately no female counsellor in the area.

Can I ask what sort of things you do to take time out for yourself? Dh would think I'm mad if I took myself off to bed without him for example! That's what I mean by we do everything together. He would probably say, ok, I'll have an early night too.

I did read in the bath last night for half an hour which was luxury, but don't feel I can do that every night, as filling the bath uses up all the hot water = expensive! Showering/ washing is much cheaper.

SolidGold Mon 11-Nov-13 20:34:19

Not sure about couple counselling. That would mean telling dh all is not well, and I just can't cope with that at the moment hmm

TheSilveryPussycat Mon 11-Nov-13 21:20:31

Got to say, solid, that my depression lifted when I got divorced from my Ex. I thought my depression caused my relationship problems; in fact it was the other way about. I really do hope this is not the underlying cause of your problems, but felt obliged to state the preceeding.

SolidGold Mon 11-Nov-13 21:30:15

Really sorry to hear that Silvery. However, dh is my 2nd dh, and I can't face putting dd through a divorce. My first one was awful for my two eldest children. I do love dh and will make it work, at present I'm not in the right place to change the dynamics in our relationship. I hope one day to feel more confident and things will change. Alternatively when dd has left home I will do something about it shock

TheSilveryPussycat Tue 12-Nov-13 08:59:17

Funnily enough for me it has all worked out for the best, Solid. If I hadn't lasted out till DC were adults, I wouldn't now be with Lovely Bloke. I managed to hide the fact that Ex was a cocklodger from DC, so they think he worked much more than he did, and are unaware that our life was financed by me (through some work, and capital from DF) - so that they both have good attitude to work and both have jobs. Their attitude to housework not so good, as they took his lead and did v little, but that will sort itself in time.

I was lucky to have good friends and beautiful Co Durham to sustain me. ADs definitely helped. And MN helped me realise eventually what was going on, and get free.

Clearly your DH is different from mine, in that he wants to work. Are things better when he is working?

SolidGold Tue 12-Nov-13 10:13:17

Thanks for your reply Silvery. I hope you didn't misunderstand my last post, I would NEVER criticise anybody for getting divorced ever. I have been there and last time it was the right thing to do. Unfortunately it was very difficult for my children and I just don't feel I could live with myself if that happened again, so I choose to stay for now. I also have no friends to help me through it. Add to that, that I do love dh, whatever, when times are good we are fine. Things are just very stressful at the moment.

I don't think he wants to work, but put it this way, when he is working he enjoys his work. Maybe I just need him to get out of the house! He had been working from home for ages before he became unemployed, so we have barely been apart for years now.

This thread wasn't really meant to be a moan about dh, I was more wondering how other mums manage to stay a person in their own right, how to make time for myself, what to do with that time! I think I'm coming across as very feeble, and I'm not really - hence the big background explanation, I think it's just circumstances getting my down at present, I hope I will bounce back one day.

I'd like to start doing something for myself, but I just don't know where to start.

Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you very much for taking the time to read and reply, I really appreciate the input and advice.

monikar Tue 12-Nov-13 10:25:29

Solid I do know what you mean about not putting yourself first, that is being a mum and it is easy to get into the habit of always doing things for other people. Did you used to have hobbies before the DC? The reason I ask is that I took my crafting back up about 5 years ago after a really long break of about 20 years and I really like doing it. I knit for charities and it gives me a sense of purpose. It is not everyone's cup of tea though. I find it very peaceful and relaxing. If you do something you used to love doing, it is surprising how quickly it all comes back to you, plus the enjoyment that comes with it.

I like reading too. What sort of books do you prefer? I like biographies best really. My DH has a kindle but I am too frugal for that so I get my books from the library. Would you consider joining a book group? Our library has one advertised - I can't go as I have work but it would be a chance to meet other like-minded people and have a chat.

I know what you mean about being isolated though - many women probably feel this way but most don't speak about it. I feel lonely sometimes and it's not nice. When the DC are younger you get a lot of chatting time with taking them to school and all their activities. When they are bigger you are just the taxi to drop them off and don't get involved. I found that quite difficult when it happened to me.

I think it is an excellent idea to give your DH a task a day - that is a step forward. He will also probably feel better for some activity. Perhaps in a week or so, you could step up to 2 tasks a day and so on?

Hope you are feeling ok today.

SolidGold Tue 12-Nov-13 10:32:34

Hi monikar,

I used to knit too, haven't done for a few years now. Do you follow certain patterns for the charities? I don't like knitting for adults (!), just baby clothes, little easy things, but don't know anyone who has a baby.

I read all sorts, mainly trash though these days, due to lack of concentration and because I only tend to read for ten mins before going to sleep. I like books that I can relate to, for example about the area I live in or people of similar age. I love Bill Bryson books. Books that make me laugh are good too smile I got a Kindle as a birthday present a few years ago and must admit I do use it, it came preloaded with quite a few books and I'm still working my way through them, plus I look for the 99p books on Amazon sometimes. I must admit I find the thought of discussing a book in a book group too difficult, I sometimes find it difficult to put my thoughts into words (lack of confidence again), but am just happy reading for myself - when I can find time.

Today my parents are coming to visit, they just rang to ask if that would be ok, so I'm going to run round with the hoover, as I have let things slip - a lot!

monikar Tue 12-Nov-13 11:27:04

Solid I don't like knitting for adults either as the things are too big and take too long. I like making baby clothes best - they are small and pretty and quick to do. Also most items can be made from one ball of wool and I buy a lot of my wool in charity shops and mostly only one ball is available. My neighbour had a baby recently and I made her a cardigan but I think any more gifts would be embarrassing so I tend to donate my items to charities. I don't think under the rules of MN we are allowed to promote charities so I will pm you the link (if I can do it!) of the one I send to and then you can look at it and see what you think.

I don't follow certain patterns, I just use the ones I have already got. My mother has given me loads plus I have bought some in charity shops - brand new patterns are so expensive now! Sometimes I use a pattern for the number of stitches and the shaping but then I do my own pattern or colours on it. I tend to knit baby cardigans and jumpers, bootees and hats. Sometimes I crochet blankets to use up my leftovers. I thought I would have forgotten how to knit after not touching it for literally 20 years but it all came back - like riding a bicycle. I also chat on the 'Arts and Crafts' board with other knitters so I enjoy that too.

I know what you mean about the book club idea - it sounds great in principle just relaxing in a library (I love libraries as we always went as children) discussing books, but in reality it would mean reading a book which wasn't my taste and also having to read it in a certain time.

Hope you have a lovely day with your parents - when things have gone here, I just push it all to the edges and then hoover in some stripes on the carpet!

TheSilveryPussycat Tue 12-Nov-13 12:29:28

No, I didn't think your post was criticising my decision - I was just trying to say don't underestimate relationship problems as causation of depression. Then in my follow up, that despite all that, I actually had some good times during marriage (though not with Ex much), and that DCs have grown up just fine. And if you want a moan or to share experience, am happy to PM And that I am divorced and happy now (Lovely Bloke is just an added bonus)

I am a lapsed knitter and have a jumper that has been waiting years to have 100 and something stiches picked up for the neck!

Apparently you can knit boobs for charity - breast feeding I think?

There are lots of classics that are out of copyright which you can get on Amazon or Project Gutenburg in Kindle format - I got Cranford, and The Pickwick Papers, among others.

RantinEminor Tue 12-Nov-13 13:45:14

Hi Solid. How are you today? Good I hope. You asked what I do for myself. If I have the money, once every 6-8 weeks I will have a neck, back and shoulder massage. This is my biggest extravagance at £35 a go but it is something I really look forward to in the intervening weeks. I don’t drink, smoke or go out raving so I can justify the price.

I am not a girly-girl or particularly into make-up, personal grooming, clothes etc but since hitting my 40’s I seem to take greater pleasure from a bit of pampering, I get my eyebrows threaded once a month (£4), I also find just sitting down once a week and filing my (admittedly quite short) nails into shape and putting a clear polish on them quite satisfying. Sometimes I will treat myself to a new bath oil or a conditioning hair treatment or a face mask and I will enjoy a long hot bath and relax in it with a book or trashy magazine.

I am lucky to live in a pleasant market town with a nice park and some good walks around about. So every Saturday morning I take a regular walk sometimes through the park and onto the hills, sometimes just around the streets where I nose at admire other people’s (posher, better decorated, better maintained than mine) houses. I am a bit of an architecture/heritage geek too and there are some nice buildings in our area which I never tire of looking at. I always end my walk at the local market for a browse around the stalls and antique/junk shops. At the market I will always treat myself to something small, usually some baklava or a fancy cake to eat later when I am watching Strictly (lame I know!), DH and our DS who is eleven wouldn’t be caught dead watching Strictly so I usually get the TV all to myself on a Saturday night.

Since being signed off work I have taken up crafts. I have been teaching myself to crochet and so recent me-time has been spent making simple infinity scarves with cheap balls of wool from the market whilst listening to audiobooks or the radio. I have also been learning applique and am making a bunting each for my niece and nephew with their names appliqued on the little flags. I am using old scraps of fabric and recycled curtains to do it so it isn’t costing much. It’s proving tougher than I thought and taking longer but I do enjoy it. I always stick Radio 4 on in the background and can quite lose myself in it.

Finally, I have also started playing table tennis with DS who is usually not very sporty but does like this game. We book a table every couple of weeks or so at the local leisure centre (£4/hour).

I have also taken a subscription to Netflix (5.99 a month) so that when DH is watching something on the TV I am not into I can buzz off with the laptop and watch a crime drama or some such.

That’s it really, although sorry if it’s gone on a bit!

SolidGold Tue 12-Nov-13 17:52:26

Thanks moniker, got your pm. I'll take a look.

SolidGold Tue 12-Nov-13 17:57:21

Thanks Silvery smile.

I have lots of half finished knitting stuff in the garage, need a sort out I think.

I'll have a look tomorrow and see what I can find, maybe I can start again with something really easy!

TheSilveryPussycat Tue 12-Nov-13 18:01:01

Should have used brackets, not strike through! Only meant to indicate that if you want to PM about Other Stuff that'd be fine, and wanted to separate it from the 'how to cope' aspect of your thread.

SolidGold Tue 12-Nov-13 18:08:50

RantIn, thanks, today has been ok. I spent the morning tidying and cleaning, then sat chatting with my parents and went for a nice long dog walk with my mum - she has a dog too.

I think I saw the infinity scarves mentioned on MN, so might try one if I can find some nice wool.

You sound very busy! I'm not very good at girly stuff either, but agree, now I'm in my forties (in fact very close to my fifties!) I have to put a little effort into making myself presentable. I don't really enjoy it though.

I live in a small village, there is nothing much nearby. Before dh was unemployed, I used to meet my mum in the next big city once a month, but since dh finished working I haven't done. I think I need to get out more, as it is a beautiful city only 45 mins bus ride away and I would love to go there more often, but need to make sure I don't go shopping!

We have no leisure centre nearby, as I also quite like table tennis or badminton. I used to enjoy yoga, but we only have one (!) yoga teacher in the area and I don't like her routine at all. Once dh is back at work I will try to get my yoga DVD out at home, but I need privacy for that!

Lots of plans, not sure if I'll manage to find the energy ...

I have arranged to meet my old school friend on Sunday, which I am looking forward to, as I haven't seen her for ages smile. It will be nice to catch up.

SolidGold Tue 12-Nov-13 18:10:03

Silvery, that is very kind smile. It's lovely to have people to talk to. I didn't realise how lonely I was blush

SolidGold Tue 12-Nov-13 20:00:15

RantIn, I watch Strictly too. It's the only tv program I choose. Dh reads whilst it's on because he can't stand Bruce Forsyth. I love the dancing and the dresses and Bruno makes me laugh!

TheSilveryPussycat Tue 12-Nov-13 20:12:33

A Strictly fan here, too. Craig and Len are my faves. My DM got me into it, we used to watch X Factor, but dancing and music is much better smile I also watch It Takes Two.

SolidGold Tue 12-Nov-13 20:13:37

Watching It Takes Two would be pushing it here. I'm usually cooking or eating then.

SolidGold Tue 12-Nov-13 20:48:13

I'm worrying about my drs appointment tomorrow. I don't think I'll mention that I'm feeling down, but will stick to discussing period problems. They only allot 10 mins so I wouldn't have enough time probably. I still can't decide whether to contact my counsellor or not. I need some time alone (ha!) to think about it.

monikar Wed 13-Nov-13 09:18:26

Solid and Silvery I love Strictly too! I am usually on taxi duty for DD when it is on so I tend to watch the end and then try and catch up on iplayer later in the week. I think it is a great programme - good music and all the lovely dresses. Bruce and Tess at the beginning get on my nerves a bit though - their exchanges always remind me of a rather bad pantomime, and yet when she is in the platform part at the top chatting with the contestants while they wait for the judges' scores she is very professional and chatty and then I find I really like her again!

Solid I find with my knitting that if I return to half done stuff it doesn't hold the appeal of a lovely new project. I have a bag with my on-going projects (currently 2) which are both unfinished but I am itching to start something new. Saying that though, if I am feeling industrious I will sometimes finish something if there is not much to do to it.

Pleased you had a good day yesterday with your parents and a nice walk with the dogs. It is freezing here today and there was ice on the car this morning when I took DD to the station - proper winter.

Hope your doctor's appointment goes well. At least if you can get your period problems sorted out that will make you feel a bit better. I am your age too so I do sympathise. Hope you can get some help. My friend was prescribed tranexamic acid to try and control her bleeding - at first she was delighted as it was much less but she found that it extended her period to almost 2 weeks, so while the bleeding on a day-to-day basis was less, she thought that the total amount lost was about the same. It did mean though that she wasn't housebound for literally 2 days as she had been before though. It's grim isn't it?

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