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Should you expect your mother to be there for you unconditionally?

(101 Posts)
Stripedmum Wed 31-Jul-13 20:43:48

Long, long story short...I'm struggling with PND for the second time in under three years and have had a breakdown recently (yes I know it's an outdated term but it does fit what happened).

I've got a toddler and a newborn and I'm off work with them. DH is quite frankly a saint but has to work full time.

My mum is retired but still fit and in good health (early 50s)

The last few weeks I've needed someone to be there with me at all times (I've been close to feeling suicidal). My mum knows this.

All I want is for her to sit with me. She doesn't need to do anything with the kids. I can still look after them. I just don't want to be alone. However she's still gone on holidays in the last few weeks and after a couple of days of spending all day with us has now had a major falling out with me over something silly, made comments about my inability to cope (despite this being PND#2 I've never really relied on anyone except my DH) and walked out.

She is a fantastic mother in terms of the love she has for my DCs, financially and has done so, so much for us all. Am I expecting too much for her to be there unconditionally until I feel right again and able to cope?

ImNotBloody14 Wed 31-Jul-13 20:46:32

In aanswer to your title- no- once you are an adult you cant expect unconditional attention from parents.

However on reading your op- it sounds very much like your mum is not the best person to support you with PND. She doesnt seem to understand it tbh.

Mazzledazzle Wed 31-Jul-13 20:57:39

I intend to be there for my children unconditionally, regardless of their age. That said, I have a pretty selfish mother who, unless it suits her, isn't very supportive.

Have you told your mother, in simple terms, exactly what it is you need? Pnd passes with time, so I don't think it's unreasonable at all that she gives her full support. Once you feel stronger, you won't have to rely on her so much.

It must be so tough for you flowers

Stripedmum Wed 31-Jul-13 21:06:16

Thank you both for your replies. I want to be there unconditionally for my kids too but at the moment I don't think I'll make it through.

She does know I'm at the end of my rope (I've has the crisis team out repeatedly) but I just feel it's not quite fitting in with her life.

I just need someone there AM until PM until I'm mentally okay again. I've had two major 'crashes' since DD was born and I'm wanting to prevent another. I know I can only do this with support (for the first time in my life I've realised this) and feel I've been pragmatic in asking for help now I really need it. But it's not there.

Would it be weird to set out exactly what I need? I.E time and patience?

akaWisey Wed 31-Jul-13 21:26:27

I understand your DH is working but if things are that bad you need someone there all the time isn't he the best placed and most appropriate person? Can he get compassionate leave? Or could a RL friend come in so your DM can get on with what she needs to as well as spending time with you?

TBH, your DM may not feel she can give the kind of support you are asking for . To ask someone to just sit with you may feel like a simple request but if you've had the crisis team out twice she may feel completely out of her depth.

akaWisey Wed 31-Jul-13 21:27:17

Sorry, not twice but repeatedly with the crisis team.

MrsRochestersCat Wed 31-Jul-13 21:29:19

My mum deals with me being ill in a similar way - it's like my being ill is her failure and if she shuts her eyes to it then it isn't real. When I was sick this attitude just compounded my feeling that I was alone and stranded, now I am no longer sick I can see she was incredibly stressed and not thinking properly. I no longer ask her for help because her stress feeds into my illness.

My advice would be to ask your crisis team to help you get funding for a mothers help or a nanny, and ask about any Sure Start programmes in your area.

Hold on - it does get better!!

Missbopeep Wed 31-Jul-13 21:33:54

Might help to say I am older than your mum, still working though!
She's a young woman- early 50s is very young so wouldn't excuse her in terms of no energy.

However, maybe she feels worried you'll become dependent on her if she sticks around all day? And, tbh, in her does I'd offer support but I would want a life of my own too- which means I would find it hard to sit with you and 2 young children all day every day.

You are asking a lot of her really.

Have you friends who can support you?
What about organisations which offer support? Home Start? Have you asked them- that's one thing they offer.

she doesn't have to be with you ALL the time to support you unconditionally- the 2 things are different.

Unconditional does not mean 24/7 at your insistence.

I think you need to talk to her openly about the support you feel you need and the amount of time she can give you. yes, you are struggling but you are also asking a lot.

ineedtogetoutmore Wed 31-Jul-13 21:35:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Missbopeep Wed 31-Jul-13 21:35:27

I meant Sure Start- not Home Start.

aturtlenamedmack Wed 31-Jul-13 21:41:02

I think sometimes the people closest to you, understanding mental illness and having the ability to support you through it can be difficult.
In some ways she might be blaming herself or just not understand how best to help you.Do you have anyone else that you can turn to for support, are there any services available to you that would help?
I'm sorry you're struggling and haven't found the support that you need. Things will improve. Keep your chin up.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Wed 31-Jul-13 21:46:28

I don't think you can expect your MOther to give up her whole life to be your sole carer, especially as there is no time scale on when you might be better. She has a right to her own life too and to attend to her other family as well.

Can your GP suggest any help/support you could have so the load is not placed upon one person.

slipperySlip000 Wed 31-Jul-13 21:46:52

OP I think in your situation I would expect/need/want very much for my Mum to be around. In my situation my Mum died suddenly shortly before I had children. I know that my Mum would have moved heaven and earth to be there and hold my hand - all Mum's need 'mothering' and someone to lean on. In your situation doubly, quadruply so. The fact that you've realized that you need to reach out, at last, and your mum hasn't responded, must be very difficult.

That said, it may be something in your Mum's personality or her generation that she can't face the reality of your illness. Either because it's a significant/serious mental health issue or because it's you, her daughter, or both, quite possibly.

I would imagine if you are feeling on the edge something suitable needs to be set up, in terms of giving you support/supervision. Health Visitor? Family Support Worker? Social Services? Are any of these things happening? If things are in progress but taking time, I would imagine your DH needs to step in temporarily until something is organized. Homestart are brilliant.

None of these are any replacement for your Mum. I wish you the best, OP, and a speedy recovery.

kilmuir Wed 31-Jul-13 21:48:31

depends on relationship you have with her.
hope you get the support you need

joanofarchitrave Wed 31-Jul-13 21:56:13

People are who they are. I wonder if she found having small children quite difficult herself - did she have PND herself? Even if she doesn't have to do anything with them, being in a house with small children is not relaxing IMO. She might also find seeing you in pain too difficult to cope with. People can only do what they can do; you can expect what you like, but if she is not able to give you this, you are going to be constantly disappointed.

Where is your DH in this - either taking some leave or coordinating help? What about his parents? Brothers, sisters? Why are you worrying about this, rather than him? What does your psychiatrist or GP say? Do you have a community psychiatric nurse?

MayTheOddsBeEverInYourFavour Wed 31-Jul-13 21:57:52

I'm sorry your having such a difficult time, it must be awful for all of you

I don't think as an adult you can expect unconditional support from anyone though its something I personally would want from a partner or spouse

Being with you all the time is a really big ask, I don't think you're wrong to ask for that level of support but I also don't think your mum is in the wrong not providing it

If you really feel you need that level of care then you need to find it from outside agencies or from your husband. I understand it's not easy, I am physically disabled and when I became that way my husband had to give up the job he loved to care for me, it was an incredibly difficult time but we just had to do what was necessary to get through

As much as we would all like to support our children unconditionally it's just not always possible, if you needed to be admitted somewhere you would not be able to physically be with your children but you would still love them just as much

Corygal Wed 31-Jul-13 22:03:01

Whatever you expect from your family, if it doesn't happen you would be better off looking somewhere else. Realistically, it doesn't sound as if your mum is going to be the support that you need - can you think of anyone else, or a group of people, who could at least pop in on you?

Ask friends, other family, everyone - just to come round for a bit. They'll understand what a hard time you are having.

Stripedmum Wed 31-Jul-13 22:04:39

Hi everyone. I have a panic disorder where I worry if I'm alone I'll 'lose it' - not in terms of temper or anything to do with DCs - just that I'll somehow lose the plot. It sounds so ridiculous writing it down!!!!

Yes I totally get that it's asking a lot. I really do. I could sense hee mounting panic that this dependency would be long term but I don't think it is - just until I get back on a 'level'.

I coped with similar issues alone with DS and I just don't feel I have the strength to do it again.

themidwife Wed 31-Jul-13 22:20:25

I'm sorry I don't think you are being reasonable to expect her to "sit with you from AM to PM" every day. She has her own life. It's also unreasonable to expect her to cancel a holiday to sit with you all day.

I know you feel unwell & if you can't cope on your own at the moment your local childrens' centre family support workers could put together a support package for you including home start, health visitors & outreach. Also - are you under the card of a perinatal mental health team? If so your CPN should be visiting regularly if you have been suicidal & maybe a referral to social services for extra support for you would be appropriate?

Much as we can't expect when we get older that our adult children put their lives on hold for us, we shouldn't expect to be looked after by our own parents after we grow up & become independent ourselves, especially for a long term problem such as PND.

I hope you get the professional support you need, after all that IS what they are there for. I hope you feel better soon thanks

Dahlen Wed 31-Jul-13 22:28:05

I think once you become an adult you can't expect unconditional love from parents. I would not have expected that from mine. However, while you shouldn't expect it, as a parent I would do anything in my power to help my children if I thought it was reasonable (and probably a little beyond).

Reading between the lines with this, however, is it possible your mum has compassion fatigue? Sometimes, if we have had people lean on us a lot, we simply run out of anything to give. It's not that we don't want to give, but there simply isn't anything left to give unless we severely neglect our own lives in the process. I'm sure she'd be devastated to think that you're feeling so alone and vulnerable but maybe she just hasn't got any reserves left right now and needs a little time to recharge before she can swoop in all supportive again.

I feel for you. Living with MH issues takes a strength and courage that is quite amazing in my view. Keep reminding yourself of that. Mentally you're doing the equivalent of running the London marathon with your shoelaces tied together. You should feel proud of your determination.

I hope you feel better soon and you and your mum make up. flowers

mrsdinklage Wed 31-Jul-13 22:48:22

Maybe your mum is struggling a bit with this too. I agree with other posters that you should get additional support. When she is with you do you manage to go out together - like a walk or a picnic in the park. I hope you can talk to your mum, and discuss what is realistic in the levels of support she can provide. Good luck flowers

Missbopeep Wed 31-Jul-13 22:51:43

Is your mum the only person you want- or the only person who is free to help?

Have you no friends who can visit? Other relatives? Does your mum have a husband? In other words your dad? Is he around?

What support are you getting from outside agencies?

Can your DH take leave so he can spend time with you?

In your mum's shoes as I said, I'd do everything I could to help, but I'd actually feel very powerless to help just by sitting in your house all day. I think you have to try to see it from her side and not just yours. And your first choice should be your DH- he should try to take some annual leave etc to support you.

Stripedmum Wed 31-Jul-13 23:26:48

I'm just so sad it's reached this point. I never in a million years thought it'd be me that was trying to keeps handle on this.

I feel that it is asking a lot but it is just (hopefully) short term while I get back on my feet. I have to emphasise that this is the first time in my life I've asked for support in this way. Everyone says please recognise when you need it and ask - that's what I've done and yet now I've overstepped the mark?

I've seen a psychiatrist who has just immediately 'signed me off' just saying I'm adjusting and the crisis team told me to have 'me time'. I turned up at the GPs in bits twice explaining I couldn't cope with how I'm feeling, my counsellor once and no one seems interested unless I'm hearing or seeing things, which I'm not. All agencies are fully aware of how I'm feeling yet as I'm coping in the day to day looking after children way there's no help there. We're a 'nice' family in a lovely, clean house with healthy well dressed kids and I think there are more 'deserving' cases - which is why I've turned to my mum.

I think what we might need to do is have a family summit of sorts and try and allocate 'turns' of being with me. I know it sounds silly but I'm at a loss of what to do next. I start CBT soon.

My dad is out of the picture (lives elsewhere).

I'm just so scared my family is unravelling.

Stripedmum Wed 31-Jul-13 23:28:30

Sorry for the typos blush

Stripedmum Wed 31-Jul-13 23:31:12

Yes mrs dinklage - a walk to the park does help. We have done that every day.

I think I may have slightly exaggerated 'sitting with me' but you get the picture - I feel incredibly vulnerable and don't want to be alone.

BrianTheMole Wed 31-Jul-13 23:33:57

I don't think youre unreasonable op, I'd do whatever it takes for my kids, no matter how old they are. I hope you manage to get some help.

Bogeyface Wed 31-Jul-13 23:37:13

To answer your OP, no you shouldnt expect that.

AYBU to think that you should be able to rely on her now, given your current issues? Yes, absolutely. I would move heaven and earth for mine if there were feeling even a tenth of what you are feeling now.

Is she generally dismissive of others illnesses, MH or physical? Does she find it difficult to deal with MH issues? That could be it, not that she doesnt care but that she is frightened or doesnt know how to deal with it. Totally wrong though, whatever the reasoning.

I hope that you turn a corner soon, I have been where you are and it was hell. I too had no support, but the community mental health nurses were brilliant and got me through, I accessed them via my health visitor who are generally better at dealing with PND that GPs. Take care xx

TwasBrillig Wed 31-Jul-13 23:40:14

I had a very difficult time post natally but didn't have family to fall back on. What do you think would happen if you didn't have someone there all the time?

What about schedulling lunch with someone, so you have a few hours on your own, but with something planned for a few hours later? Or give your mum a specifit task -ie, on Friday could you watch the baby/take it for a walk while I sleep? She could feel useful and the task par a specific end time.

I think expecting anyone to sit with you all day is a very big ask. Maybe for a morning.

Home start is in fact fantastic, I'd self refer or ask your hv to refer and state that you need help to increase your confidence being at home with two. You'd get a visitor once a week (so that would be one day you wouldn't need family) and they would come alongside you and support you.

The newborn stage is hard. Adjusting to having two is hard. Life has changed completely and you are entering a new phase of life, but it will get easier and you will get on top of it.

eccentrica Wed 31-Jul-13 23:40:43

My mum has 3 daughters, we are all in our early thirties. I'm the only one with children. Both of my siblings are extremely needy, demanding and immature. They both have psychological issues such as panic attacks and depression, plus make a big fuss of any physical ailment, and both expect and demand my mum to be there all the time. She will do anything for her kids and as a result she spends most of her life rushing from one of her children's crises to another.

This makes it difficult to impossible for me to ask her for 'normal' mum/grandma stuff like looking after my 2 year old or spending time with me, so I don't ask her very often.

In short, I think once you are an adult it is not necessarily fair to put all of that on your parents. No matter how much they love you, they don't hold a magic wand to fix your problems, and it is not really OK to expect them to drop everything and be there ALL the time. I'm sorry for what you're going through, but you say yourself your DP is a saint, and I think if you need additional help you should be looking for it elsewhere, not expecting your mum to be there constantly.

Sorry if this sounds harsh and I genuinely hope you feel better soon but just wanted to give another perspective. I should add that I have suffered from mental health problems myself but I never wanted or expected my parents to solve them.

IsSpringSprangedYet Wed 31-Jul-13 23:45:01

I will be there as much as I am able, for emotional and financial support for my sons now and when they are adults.

But yes, your mum should stay with you. I can appreciate that she maybe feels a bit overwhelmed perhaps (?), but she needs to bear it for as long as you need her and put you first.

Hope the CBT works and something changes for the better for you.

Stripedmum Wed 31-Jul-13 23:45:06

Thank you for all the supportive messages.

She definitely doesn't understand mental health - she's never suffered. So that's definitely not her fault. If you've not been there you don't know.

Someone mentioned health visitor. I could give them a ring and explain my feelings too - I hadn't thought of the health visitors. They knew about my problems after DS but not now.

Realistically though can anyone really help me except me? For those who have been there is it just time or is that wishful thinking?

Bogeyface Wed 31-Jul-13 23:56:12

Time does help yes, as does physical exercise but what helps far more is knowing that you are not alone.

Nobody can fix it for you but they can say "I was there, I know how you feel and one day you will be better"

So, for what its worth,

I was there, I know how you feel and one day you will get better.

Thinking of you xx

ImperialBlether Wed 31-Jul-13 23:56:33

Hi Stripedmum, I've sent you a private message.

I found health visitors very good, personally, and I'd rather approach them than my doctor, though when I did, they made me an extra long appointment with the doctor, too.

Bogeyface Wed 31-Jul-13 23:58:12

You will find a lot of support on the MH board

Stripedmum Wed 31-Jul-13 23:58:49

<holds hands with Bogeyface>.

Thank you Imperial - you're absolutely lovely. I've replied smile

Bogeyface Thu 01-Aug-13 00:01:41

smile There are many many of us who have been there. We may not be there in person but we are here for you all the same.

<squeezes Stripedmums hand>

Stripedmum Thu 01-Aug-13 00:06:13


xalyssx Thu 01-Aug-13 00:07:48

As you are still managing to keep on top of things, and you have people helping you some of the time, I truly believe that you can do this. I think you don't need people there all day every day, but I agree that everything is much smoother with someone by your side.
Your mother cares about you, and I think that she was upset because you are upset. It is a bit unfair to ask her to come over for that amount of time, but it would be a good thing to have her come round for maybe 4 hours every other day, and to be on the other end of the phone whenever she's not there.
I think that it would be good for you if you can talk to someone more impartial than your mum eg. a health visitor, as they can help you without their own emotions complicating things.
The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone and there are always people who care about you and want to help you to the best of their ability.

garlicagain Thu 01-Aug-13 00:11:28

I understand how incredibly raw and terrifying it feels. My thoughts are with you. I also understand that people can't do what they can't do. Frantically wishing they could is totally reasonable, but unhelpful when it comes to it. Your mum evidently supports you in the ways that she can do - she's just another frail human, she has her limits and this is one of hers.

If there still is a Sure Start service near you, reach out to it. Also get in touch with Mind. Their resources vary depending on where you are; if yours say they can't come & visit you without a referral, get the crisis team to make a formal referral (mine did this). A partly-trained visitor once or twice a week can be really grounding & provide some reassurance. Mind will also have contacts for other voluntary services near you, for example my nearest city has a women's centre type thing that can be helpful.

You will get through this. thanks thanks thanks for reaching out.

garlicagain Thu 01-Aug-13 00:14:33

Oh, and don't forget Samaritans. You can talk to them for an hour at a time, every hour of the day if you want!

Stripedmum Thu 01-Aug-13 00:16:28

Xalyssx - are you my mum?! Ha! What an insightful message. And thank you for the lovely vote of confidence.

I have coped so know I can cope - it's just at the moment I'm coping but it feels like I'm on the cusp of there's a tongue twister for you!

DH is going to try and wangle some time off. Hopefully I'll get back a little bit of confidence and then the once every other day thing could work.

I had no idea life could be so hard - and there are clearly people in much worse situations (much worse). I just hope it's all going to start getting a bit easier and that it's all going to be worth it in the end.

Stripedmum Thu 01-Aug-13 00:19:49

Thank you Garlic. She's a great mum in so many ways and it's tempting to lose sight of that when feeling let down and angry.

Yep I'm onto Mind who are providing my CBT and I spoke to the Samaritans after my first 'crash'. A lovely man called Brian (are they all called that?!).

It's all just so bloody scary. I hope it's all going to be okay.

fabergeegg Thu 01-Aug-13 00:26:22

You are doing your best. You're not responsible for the crisis and I believe you when you say that if you could cope alone, then you would. Unfortunately we live in an age where mothers of young children are expected to be alone quite a lot. As if social isolation wasn't enough to contend with, there is also a worrying lack of medical support for most people with mental health issues.

Your back is against the wall and you're fighting to keep your children and to get through this. It means everything to you to survive and in that context, a few weeks, months, even a year, out of your mum's life is worth that. That's the way I see it, probably along with many others with first-hand experience of pnd. For whatever reasons, she's not coming through for you. That must hurt like hell. I'm so sorry.

Due to the onset of sudden, serious disability, my first experience of being a mum was also my first experience of needing a 'carer' around. We didn't have a choice. We put everything else on hold and employed a local woman who ended up being an unofficial granny. It made ALL the difference. Is there is a chance you afford to pay some nice retired lady minimum wage, even for a bit of time in the hopes that your mum will help out when she sees you doing everything you can without her? One ad in gumtree and you'd probably have a flock to choose from.

I presume you have a Home Start volunteer? That would be another morning taken care of.

There are several different parenting helplines it might be worth remembering are there as another port of call. I would definitely call and enlist their help in accessing a befriending scheme in your area.

Is it possible for your husband to take any time at all off work? Would you be expected to struggle on alone if you'd broken your leg?

Wish I could be of more help.

Graceparkhill Thu 01-Aug-13 00:30:38

A couple of thoughts from me:
I think the rota is a good idea. I know from experience that caring for someone with a mental health problem is very tough so it would help to share that out. In my experience lots of people are willing to help if you can be specific about what you want eg " keep me company for 2 hours once a week"
Secondly does the companion need to be physically with you at all times? Could you phone/ Skype/ email? If so the rota could be broadened to include friends/ family from far away.

Stripedmum Thu 01-Aug-13 08:10:58

Thank you both for your thoughtful replies. We can't afford help although that's a fantastic idea and wish we could.

I'm praying DH gets a few weeks off and I can try and explain how dire I honestly believe the situation is and get family on board to help. I can just see everything coming apart if I'm 'thrown back in' alone and have another big fall.

Missbopeep Thu 01-Aug-13 09:04:30

From what you have said- and I could be wrong- you haven't made much use of outside support- or is that incorrect?

Why are you predicting or anticipating another 'crash'- maybe you'll be fine!

Maybe we could help more if you could open up about what exactly gets on top of you? Does your toddler go to play group or pre school? Do you have contact with other mums? Have you friends who know how you are feeling?

I have the impression that this is all under wraps except for your immediate family.

Are you taking meds for the depression and if so are they working?

Stripedmum Thu 01-Aug-13 09:27:13

Hi missbo. I just don't feel right. I don't feel like 'me' and I panic all day about feeling like this. It's a lonely and desolate place - and I can't quite articulate what it is that's 'not right'.
I'm hoping the psychiatrist is right and it's just adjustment. No one seems concerned.

In regards to outside help - do you mean friends? I have a fantastic best friend who had been through much of what in going through and other lovely friends but they've all got similar age as mine - in fact some have three!!

I'm not on meds as I don't feel like they would be right for me. I'd panic over every little 'symptom' massively and I think in part you need to trust that they'll help you. I massively distrust them. I know they help so many but I honestly don't feel like they're for me.

Missbopeep Thu 01-Aug-13 09:38:55

The reason I asked about meds is that you said you had PND- and a friend of mine who had this was on ADs for just 3 months until she turned the corner.

I know how exhausting it can be with a baby. There is just a 2 yr gap between my Dcs and each were terrible non-sleepers for 6 months.
My mum lives 300 miles away and I had no close family around at all and no close friends. My mum would come and stay for a week at a time then go back to her home. I don't think I was depressed but i was exhausted.

I am hoping the CBT will help you as it's more about changing your thought patterns, and getting back some confidence.

Fingers crossed!

SirBoobAlot Thu 01-Aug-13 09:52:19

I understand. <hugs> When I'm falling apart, I'm terrified of being alone, mainly because I don't trust myself to stay safe. So I totally totally get wanting someone to be there.

I think maybe it might be worth reconsidering your opinion on medication. You don't have to be on them forever, and very low doses can make a world of difference, both for depression and anxiety.

When are you due to start CBT? It's very good for anxiety.

Would a nursery or similar be an option financially for you? Even just one day a week.

As for your mother... People who have never suffered with a mental illness find it hard to understand. I would really recommend a book called "Depression: the Curse of the Strong" as a way of explaining it to her, it really helped my parents.

teacher123 Thu 01-Aug-13 13:56:01

This is possibly going to sound a bit unkind, but I really really really don't mean it to. And I am coming from a place of severe anxiety and currently on ADs for PND. I cannot understand why you would feel this awful and not take medication for it, that will possibly make you feel much better. My life has been transformed since I started taking them, and yes I am still anxious, but I no longer am ruled by irrational fears and panic attacks. Please consider taking some appropriate medication, This is an illness and there are things that can make you feel better, I think that it is unfair to expect so so much from your mum when you are not doing absolutely everything that you can to cure yourself.

I am now awaiting flaming, and really hope that you read this in the spirit of support that it is meant, not read it as being horrible!

fabergeegg Thu 01-Aug-13 14:25:58

OP, I hate to say it but I think teacher may have a point. As someone who has suffered from awful depression and suffered side effects/withdrawal effects that were almost as bad as the depression itself...if you think you may lose your life, I feel you have a responsibility to try something, even if it's just at a low dose to start with. You don't have to stay on it but it really could make the difference between not coping and coping. I would never, ever say that to someone, but if you're a mum and you're not sure you're safe...well, there's a time for drastic measures and this is probably it.

I struggled on without anything and eventually ended up being admitted to a psychiatric ward, whereupon they hit me with every drug in the book and I had no control over it whatsoever. At that point, I wished I'd made a calm decision to try one antidepressant in my own home, at my own pace. Looking back, as much as the antidepressants were awful and sapped me of energy and any remaining sparkle, they flattened out the troughs at that time, leaving a level ground to start rebuilding from. It was a huge sacrifice but my family had also made huge sacrifices trying to help me go it alone. Surely it's better to be alive and there for your kids, even if you are panicking about every symptom? And their efficacy is not a placebo effect, so it wouldn't matter if you didn't think they worked. In a mental hospital, virtually nobody thinks their medications will do any good!

Please don't feel you have to respond to this post and justify yourself, as you shouldn't have to and you've already done it upthread anyway. I really, really hope your DH gets the time off and your get the space you need to rest and heal. And I'm sorry if my post has hurt you in any way. Good luck

garlicagain Thu 01-Aug-13 14:35:27

I agree about some anti-anxiety meds for now.
Depression/anxiety can be a lot like an addiction, in that it "tells" you things to keep you trapped inside it.
Vodka 'tells' the alcoholic she can't sleep without a bottle every evening.
Tobacco 'tells' the smoker she'll lose control if she can't have a cigarette.
Depression 'tells' the sufferer life really is ghastly, why not admit it?
OCD 'tells' the obsessive danger lurks if she doesn't check and check again.
Anxiety 'tells' us meds will make us anxious about side-effects.

CBT mantra: "The day I become more interested in being aware of my thoughts than in the thoughts themselves - that is the day I will find my way out." Meds can take the edge off the fear, helping us to observe our thoughts with detached interest.

Stripedmum Thu 01-Aug-13 16:15:12

I do agree. I'm seriously thinking about them now. Will they 'fix' things though?

How do I go about getting the right ones?

Is it a case of suck it and see?

Stripedmum Thu 01-Aug-13 16:24:30

Farber is it inappropriate to ask why you were admitted to a psychiatric ward?

moonbells Thu 01-Aug-13 16:26:42

Dear Striped
I know a couple of folk who are or have been on ADs, one because of PND, another just because their brain is wired a bit oddly.

One is my DF, who has suffered depression his whole life and it wasn't until a decade or so ago that he was finally put on Prozac, and he says it was if a light was switched on. We spent quite a few weeks wishing pointlessly that they'd been around decades before, so we'd not had to go through all the not being able to cope stage. But we were all grateful beyond belief that he had finally got them. He still takes them: GP said at the time it would be for life. And now he's prime carer for my disabled DM, he does everything for her, and he has a workload that would have crushed him 30y ago. Wish I lived closer!

Find one that suits you and you will get your life back. Warning though, they often start (as they did my friend) by giving Citalopram and that can make you feel sick for a couple of weeks before it suddenly goes away. You have to make it through that period then it will get much better!

Best wishes

Personally I think it's a shame your DM cannot give you the support you need, or could really do with ATM, since she is physically available to do so.
However I suppose it could be that she doesn't really have the emotional resources or understanding to give generously the time and energy you are asking of her.

I want to be there unconditionally for my DC at whatever age.
I'm not sure my DM would be able to for me though - she's always tended to put DF first. So, though she's given me a lot of support it's not to the extent I hope to support my DC in the future should they need or want it.
Personally I felt very slightly thrown out of the nest when I went to Uni at 18. To many this may seem quite normal, but to me once a mother always a mother smile

Hope you can get the support you need Striped and begin to feel better soon.

CailinDana Thu 01-Aug-13 17:17:37

Hi striped.
My dd (dc2) is 5 months and i am recovering from pnd. I have had depression before so when i started feeling really anxious and stressed when dd was about 6 wks i recognised fairly quickly what was going on. I tried to soldier on for weeks but i ended up feeling very much like you do - panicky, frightened and on the edge of a precipice. Like you it looked like i was coping - kids were fed and happy, house was running fine - but i felt one thing could tip me over the edge. I then had a night of diarrhoea and i got even less sleep than usual and i felt my threads of sanity start to go. I wasn't suicidal as such but i did want to run away

CailinDana Thu 01-Aug-13 17:26:08

Sorry phone problems.
I knew i had to do something so i went to the gp who fobbed me off. That scared me - i felt hopeless. Fortunately dh recognised what was going on, rang the hv and got me an emergency appointment with another gp. She got me an immediate referral to a psychiatrist who prescribed anti depressants. Even though they had worked for me before i was very reluctant to take them. But things were bad and i knew i had to. After only two weeks i started to feel better and now about 3 months later i feel almost back to normal.
I am here to talk if you need it.

Stripedmum Thu 01-Aug-13 17:27:00

Hi everyone. I've been overwhelmed by the response I've had on this thread. I honestly believe MN has saved my life on occasions.

I wondered if someone on here could help me out.

Basically my DH has got the time off work - and so nothing really 'bad' can happen.

I've got myself into this terrible hole of terror - and yet a respected psychiatrist has certified me 'not mad'. And didn't offer meds. I need to accept that. I'm not mad.

I'm not seeing anything or hearing anything or having inappropriate thoughts. Not yet anyway - and hearing stories from others who did isn't going to help my situation. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it's usually a duck. So hopefully it's a combination of terrible life events (diagnosed with major health problem, house move, threatened redundancy x2, two babies, two bouts of PND and a chronic anxiety disorder that's brought me to this place.)

I'm going to use this time wisely. I'm going to take each step as it comes - I.e. now I'm going to brush my teeth, now i'm going to change a nappy etc etc and any thought that crops up i'm going to look at. Is it irrational? Or not. I'm also keeping off the Internet in terms of Googling symptoms.

My diet is fantastic at the moment and I'm running 5k most nights.

If in a week I'm not in a better place then it's time for the meds. I just want someone to check back on Aug 8th to remind me of this promise.

Thank you all again and I hope in a week I'm in less of a pickle.


CinnabarRed Thu 01-Aug-13 17:28:07

I found ADs enormously helpful when I was suicidal with PND. They made life bearable again very quickly - within a week or so in my case.

I took them for 6 months, and was about to come off them when we discovered that I was pregnant with DS3. As a result I stayed on them throughout my pregnancy and DS3's first 6 months, and I didn't get PND with DS3.

I found coming off them very straightforward too.

I appreciate that ADs aren't for everyone, but I think they're particularly good for PND due to the situational/hormonal cause of the depression.

CinnabarRed Thu 01-Aug-13 17:29:09

I've made a note in my diary to come back to this thread on 8th August smile.

Stripedmum Thu 01-Aug-13 17:30:44

Hi Cailin - thank you for letting me know that. I've got a week, and then I'm giving them a go. Will ring HV on 8th if needs be. I've been repeatedly fobbed off too - and sometimes wish I was in America (ha! Random thought!) as they seem more 'on it' with post natal problems. Good luck to you and see you in a week. X

mrsdinklage Thu 01-Aug-13 17:31:46

Good for you - that sounds really positive. yy to not googling symptoms. I know how scary it is when you feel right on the edge. Good luck x

CailinDana Thu 01-Aug-13 17:35:04

Striped will you stay on this thread between now and the 8th? I recognise where you are at the moment and i hate the thought of anyone being alone in that awful place.

daytoday Thu 01-Aug-13 17:35:40

You should not expect anything unconditionally from someone else. It sounds like your mum is really there for you but your anxiety sounds severe.

I think your mum may also need to protect her mental health too. Anyone who has had real experience of helping a loved family member with illness of any sort, will know its very important to look after your own mental health too.

It's complicated but love your mum for what she can and does do - not what she can't and won't.

Shellywelly1973 Thu 01-Aug-13 17:43:34

AD can help. They have a place in the recovery from PND.

I became very ill with PND to the point that i was deluded, paranoid & not functioning anywhere near as good as you describe.

My mother moved when ds was 3 months old, so it wasn't an option for her to help.

Ive learnt to cope with all sorts of life changing and life shattering events by myself. Even though, its not easy or pleasant, im a very strong person now.

You've made a plan. Keep sticking to it, even when it gets tough.

Best of luck & keep posting on here as an outlet.

Bonsoir Thu 01-Aug-13 17:49:19

Not all mothers give their DC unconditional love and support, even in childhood. I think that it can be very hard, even as an adult, to realise that your mother isn't able or doesn't want to care for you any longer. But it is best to try to accept it and to find other sources of love and support.

That's wise Bonsoir - I hope I'll be able to offer more unconditional support than I think I experienced. But then my DM probably gave me more than she herself received from her parents. Just as I'm doing my best she may well have been doing her best too.

Lovingfreedom Thu 01-Aug-13 18:12:49

No. You are an adult and your mother has other things going on in her life. Do you give her your unconditional attention? I'm sorry for what you are going through but harbouring this resentment and entitlement is unlikely to help. At some stage as an adult you have to take responsibility for your own life and stop expecting your mum to devote herself to you. It's tough but you'll do it. CBT will help you grasp the nettle and stop these unhelpful thoughts about what you deserve and need from your family.

Obviously everyone has their POV but there seems to be a lot of tough love (to put it generously) in some posts

fabergeegg Thu 01-Aug-13 20:31:53

Lovingfreedom - You don't know what you are talking about. At least, I hope you don't, for this would be a startlingly callous post from someone familiar with what it's like to be suicidal. The OP is brave, actually, and she has a plan. Enough said.

fabergeegg Thu 01-Aug-13 20:34:17

Sorry OP, to answer your question upthread - I asked my psychiatrist to admit me because I was experiencing severe anxiety and feared for my life. It was years ago, now. Terrifying. I don't think I could have made it alone at that time. Good luck.x

mummylin Thu 01-Aug-13 20:36:23

I would be there for my dd whatever the problem and whatever her age. The same for my ds.

That's a lovely thing to read mummylin
Me too smile (and I have one of each)

daytoday Thu 01-Aug-13 20:53:52

Is there a difference between loving someone unconditionally and limitless practical support? I don't think they are the same thing at all. I get the feeling op that your mum lovingly supports you a lot?

yes, fair enough I'd say they are different daytoday

But many of us would want to do whatever we could and whatever was needed I think.

curryeater Thu 01-Aug-13 21:06:57

Sorry to hear things are so hard, stripedmum. I am sorry if this sounds really bossy and sanctimonious but please try not to think in terms of what your mother "should" do. you know she won't do what you want her to so it is just upsetting to frame it in terms of "should".

Fwiw my mother would not change her holiday plans for me, in a million years. I don't tell her anything about my health problems because she denied them when I was a child and in her care so she certainly doesn't want to know about them now. I am feeling better about this as I am learning to think of my mother as a wonderful person in her own way who just happens to be someone who can't give me what I need.

Missbopeep Thu 01-Aug-13 22:50:11

I'd like to think I'd be there for my kids whatever- I'm older than the OPs mum but my DCs are still single etc.

But it's a huge commitment to sit with someone 24/7 and give up your own life etc indefinitely. Especially when the OP has not tried the most obvious solution to her depression- medication.

She may think she is practising 'tough love' or she may underestimate the issues.

I'd like to know why the Op wants her mum there- is it her mum she wants because they get on well, are close etc etc- or is it something as basic as no one else being able to fulfil a mum's role when you are down?

Because if she just needs another person, there must be friends and family apart from her mum who can do this and share the load.

teacher123 Thu 01-Aug-13 22:55:23

Phew I'm so glad that I didn't get shot down in flames!! I think the support on MN is amazing, so many stories of PND and getting better. It's certainly helped me. I do think that there's a stigma about taking ADs, yet if you had another illness you probably wouldn't think twice about taking medication for it! There is an element of trial and error, and I have had some side effects BUT nausea and dizziness is better than feeling like I wanted to run away from my whole life and leave DS somewhere safe with someone else because I couldn't look after him properly. Come back in a week and see how you feel, we'll be waiting. X

Lovingfreedom Fri 02-Aug-13 09:29:14

I do know what I'm talking about. My reading was that OP is not suicidal. She was discharged by the psychiatrist and has not been prescribed any treatment. If you are suicidal OP please go back to the doctor or hospital and get treatment. You can't expect your mother to devote all her time to you. And if you stop thinking about being so let down by her you might realise you are quite lucky in having a supportive family.

themidwife Fri 02-Aug-13 10:09:25

You really must go back to your GP & start medication if things are that bad. Excuse my harshness (I have compassion fatigue due to my parents lifelong "illnesses") but you must put your family first & try to get well. You are not having any treatment yet you want your mother & husband to stop working/living for themselves to sit with you endlessly while you feel depressed. I know you can't just "snap out of it" but you must have the will to get better by committing to treatment. I had a friend at Uni whose whole childhood was ruined by her mother's depression which was never treated but caused year after year of misery for everyone. It's not fair on your family is it?

Missbopeep Fri 02-Aug-13 10:33:38

OP I have a little knowledge on this from a professional point of view ( research) and can confirm that in many studies, exercise does help you overcome mild to moderate depression. Exercise outside in green spaces works the best ( some of this was researched/ carried out by MIND who organised green space exercise in groups- which has an even higher rate of success.)

So- your running will help but it won't work in a week. People I have spoken to as part of the research I did say it took around 3 months- 1 person I spoke to was in as bad a state as you, with 2 small children, and suffering very bad PND and panic attacks.

If you are going to go down the no-meds route then you need to be very committed and also pursue the CBT because your posts do show you are being trapped by negative thinking- understandably.

I think that although you want your mum, you need to try to work through the reasons why you want her ( or another adult) to sit passively with you at home, whilst somehow the PND will fade- which is what you seem to be banking on.

You mentioned originally other issues which are not PND but will I assume have an impact on your mental state- health issues and loads of other stuff. Is this being addressed at the same time?

tangerinefeathers Fri 02-Aug-13 10:49:37

Re Ads, as others have said: what you have is a health issue and there are great meds that will pick you up off the floor until you are well again, and you can go off them.

You may get yourself out of this depression without them, I am not suggesting that you rule that out. I only went on them once when I had what I would call a breakdown. A few years later I found myself sinking again but went into therapy instead, as I wanted to address the root causes that were causing it (funnily enough, my mother...).

but as others have said the hormonal fluctuations around the postnatal period can really floor you (i remember it well) and you have enough to deal with, so maybe a spell on ADs will get you back to normal faster.

waiting a week sounds like a great plan. and you sound like you are looking after yourself with good food and exercise which is another huge plus.

good luck. xx

Fallout1977 Fri 02-Aug-13 11:31:59

My mum is there for me unconditionally, she was there when I nearly died, she was there when my marriage failed and she is here for me now. She does the same for my brothers and will always do it. I am exactly the same with my kids and I hope they will be the same for there's.
I also recognise that my mum also has her own life to lead and try not to put on her too much. Luckily I married an amazing man 2nd time round so my mum just visits us to enjoy.
Of course you want your mum there but you must remember that she could be frightened for you and it may be incredibly distressing for her to see you like this. Hopefully she will come around and sit with you again.

Stripedmum Fri 02-Aug-13 23:03:05

Hi everyone. I just wanted to check in. I've been to GP today. They're testing for hormone and vitamin deficiencies etc - and if they come back clear I'm going onto the ADs. I have to give them a shot.

Thank you again for all being so, so kind.

themidwife Fri 02-Aug-13 23:52:45

I'm really really pleased to hear that Striped. I hope you didn't feel I was too harsh but it's so important to give it a go & get well for your family. thanks

garlicagain Sat 03-Aug-13 00:30:32

I'm proud of you for taking on board that there is a health problem, and seeking advice. Well done smile I hope the weekend's good to you.

teacher123 Sat 03-Aug-13 11:09:38

Well done! That step is so hard smile if they don't work or don't suit you, at least you know you've tried everything. X

Stripedmum Wed 07-Aug-13 20:21:53

Hi everyone!

Well what a funny old time I've had.

I've had my tests back and my hormones are screwed - absolutely screwed. So there in part is a 'reason' for some of the awful shite I've been going through.

A week of eating extremely well has made so much difference. I'd been exercising a lot but the nutrition side was missing. I don't know if it's that I've taken control though that's made me feel better?

CBT has commenced. The first session I thought was waffle but actually I was given some things to read that really hit home. I'm going to really put the work in.

Finally I've realised that I've been relying on others emotionally far too much and it's unfair. I need to be okay and that needs to come from me. I'm just so glad I'm in a better place than I was this time last week, I.e. the lowest ebb of my life.

The other thing which is positive for me is if things take another 'turn' I'm willing to try the ADs. I've let my GP know to expect me in fact! I think 'letting go' of this fear of the ADs could have helped me too.

Thank you all so much. MN has helped pull me up - again.

Having suffered PND I'd say unfortunately some people just don't understand it at all, it doesn't make them bad or toxic people just sometimes you need to have experienced depression to appreciate what someone with it needs.

Mumsyblouse Wed 07-Aug-13 20:47:18

I'm so pleased to read your update. I can relate entirely to how you were feeling last week and what I always find amazing is that your thinking and mental state can often shift quite dramatically in a short space of time, especially if what is driving the anxiety and distress is basically hormones/lack of sleep. That's not to say it will all be hunkydory or you won't have bad days, but the shift in your thinking is really positive.

In relation to your mum, I know it sounds a bit silly but in some ways your mum did you a favour by pushing you to find your own solution to this which is as it has to be. I'm not saying she did this deliberately, but what she did do was put boundaries around what she could personally offer. I don't think this was a bad thing to do.

Hope that you carry on with getting better and do go back to the GP if you need to.

Stripedmum Wed 07-Aug-13 20:55:36

Mumsy you're absolutely right. In fact CBT woman said today she might have felt it was something she had to do. And I was that bloody angry about the 'not coping' comment and my perceived lack of support from her that I thought "right time to get aggressive about this."

She's an amazing mother. Amazing. And intentionally or not she did me a huge favour.

themidwife Wed 07-Aug-13 21:00:27

That's a great result & a great update. It's true - no one can make the decision to get better with help & support other than you. That's not to say you don't need help. It's just that you have to be willing to seek it for yourself & not make it your loved ones' responsibility. Bloody well done!! smile

Well, I'm just glad you're feeling much better than last week - glad some of the CBT ideas are helpful - I think that's generally a very good approach.
Glad your more reconciled now in your relationship with DM too.

cory Thu 08-Aug-13 08:57:42

Good to hear that things are moving.

What I was going to say is that I have been in a similar situation to your DM- except that my suicidal daughter is still a teen.

And yet when I broached the subject of giving up work to sit with her all the time, the MH services said that was precisely what I must not do, because it wouldn't be the best thing for dd. She is only 16, but their take on it (on the day after her second suicide attempt) was that she had to take ownership of her treatment. To me, as a mother, that felt really hard, but I could see their pov.

In dd's case, what was needed was a combination of medication and CBT, and generally paying attention to her wellbeing- eating well, getting enough exercise.

To me, it turned out, unconditional love meant stepping back.

Stripedmum Thu 08-Aug-13 09:04:21

Cory in sorry to hear about your DDs problems - I CANNOT imagine dealing with what I'm dealing with at a younger age. I'm in my thirties. It must have been horrendous for you and the whole family.

I am very happy to hear though that things sound like they're in hand.

My father in law said something about tough love is what hurts the most. Cheesy maybe but true.

Stripedmum Thu 08-Aug-13 09:07:30

Also therapist said this childlike need for your mum is common in these scenarios. Amazing.

CinnabarRed Thu 08-Aug-13 09:58:22

Hi Striped - my Outlook Calendar just reminded me to come back to this thread to check how you are - and, wow, what a fantastic update. I'm really, really pleased for you.

Not wishing to create a cloud for your silver to line, but if you experience some down days in the future, please don't be afraid to come back to this thread - we'll be here for you.

Stripedmum Thu 08-Aug-13 10:56:35

Thank you!!!

No I agree with you totally - I'm prone (very prone) to this and it's not going to be calm waters ahead. I really appreciate that offer and will snap your hand off!

I'm just so glad I'm not 'lost' for good. I feel so much more like the old me it's a bit disarming.

ImperialBlether Thu 08-Aug-13 11:23:27

I'm so glad you're feeling so much better. I'm not sure whether your mum meant to help you out there but I'm glad it's all worked out for the best.

When you say your hormones are all over the place, do they mean in a "needing HRT" kind of way, or in a way that can resolve itself naturally?

Stripedmum Thu 08-Aug-13 14:47:15

will PM you Imperial

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