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I think I am still depressed - should I try a different GP?(21 Posts)
I will try to keep this as brief as possible without missing out any important points. I think I am sufferering depression, possible for 2 years, but feel that my GP sees it as a weakness in me and although I have seen her several times I am not having any treatment.
I have a 21month old DD and a 4.5yr old DS and I am the sole breadwinner working approx 50/55 hrs per week. My DH has been SAHD since we had our first child. This hasn't always worked out too brill as I have still done most of the house stuff, taken children swimming/lessons/toddler groups etc/worried about fall in income/cooked evening meal blah blah blah.
Both times I had to return to work after 6 weeks maternity leave, my boss was a bully and gave me a really hard time (1st person to ever have maternity). After my DD was born she suffered undiagnosed silent reflux and so I didn't go back after 6 weeks as hoped but did a few weeks part time. My GP said I shouldn't go back at all yet but as sole earner it was difficult as we had no money for mortgage etc otherwise. I tried a short course of AD's but when I told her that I was only taking half a day as I found the side effects too much she said she didn't think that they could be doing anything for me really and it wasn't worth taking them so to stop.
I have tried unsucessfully to find other work as income is not enough for us to live off even having cut everything right back. I have tried to get DH to find work as well but he has done nothing. I keep telling him I cannot go on like this - I find it hard he could see me struggle so much and do nothing.
He also has a smoking cannabis habit (evenings) that has caused us endlesss difficulties in our relationship. in Feb 2012 he was suffering depression & some paranoia - I said he had to stop smoking and do more to help out and fulfill the SAHD role or we were over. He promised he would, cut right down, went to GP & got AD's but never got to the point of smoking nothing and now I have recently found out that he no longer takes the AD's so if anything the weed smoking will probably go up rather than stop. However he now does do a lot more around the house so probably doesn't see it as a problem himself, but to me it is.
I again have problems at work. I would very much like to hand my notice and look at working part time doing some consultancy work with DH doing a full time job, however I am concerned that if we don't earn enough we could lose our home.
In my most recent appointment with GP I expressed my concerns and asked if this did happen would it be likely that my recent history with problems at work and the stress/depression it would cause would be able to support an application for housing assistance to which she was doubtful.
I don't want to sound as though I am looking for an easy way out - believe me I am trying so hard to get a solution to these issues and can see that the works problems are causing me so many hassles that I am left feeling really unwell - but it seems that there is no solution to my problems, that I am trapped and solving one problem (i.e. work) may cause others (i.e. housing problems).
The slightest thing makes me want to cry, I feel so tired all the time, I overeat even though I keep promising myself I won't and can't seem to get out of the viscous circle. Is it worth trying a different GP or am I being pathetic?
I don't think a different GP is the answer necessarily. Infact I think it's a red herring.
Your partner is not pulling his weight. You are earning all the household income and dealing with the household responsibilities, the cooking etc. I'm not surprised you are feeling depressed. Anyone with this burden would be feeling pretty awful.
Why do you have to work 50+ hours a week? Is there any way you could cut back to 35 hours per week. And if there is a shortfall in earnings, your DH will have to share the burden and worry about how to make it up. Sorry to be blunt but he sounds like a waste of space and is taking no responsibility. Why should you be working 50+ hours and stressed out of your mind, worrying about whether you can pay the mortgage, while he sits about smoking weed. It is completely understandable that you are stressed and exhausted, but ADs are not the answer.
For a start, is there anyway you can negotiate some more sensible working hours at work?
Thanks for answer. No cannot renegoiate hours, it is a culture of stress and long hours which is why I'm looking for something else. I had got to point where i thought I just cannot do this anymore, its gone on too long, and if I finish work and he doesn't pull his weight and we lose house what happens then, which I why I saw my GP. She just said I would not really get anywhere with any assistance for housing, which made me feel more trapped in my job. You see as much as I agree with what you are saying, I cannot physically force him to get a job and go to work, even though it obviously needs to happen.
I should also have mentioned I do have a history of several bouts of depression in the past and also there are quite high rates of it in both my maternal and paternal family.
Right now I feel as though anything I do could cause more hassle for me and therefore by solving one problem I am causing another problem and so the stress/depression will continue.
I feel scared to make a decision and just wondered if either AD;s or councelling may help make things clearer for me.
The reason I did wonder if another GP might be more sympathetic is because when i explained how much I do she just shrugged and gave me a look as if - 'well that is how it is for women' - I don't think she understood how imbalanced things were and how I am finding it difficult to come to a solution and I think she was rather bored by me in all honesty. But that is probably my own fault, as obviously it is only me who can change it all.
Hi, it may help if you are referred for counselling. I found it really helpful, although they can't solve problems it helps to talk about them and come to conclusions yourself. It might be worth contact MIND for advice with regard to your job/housing etc.
You are exhausted. No one can be expected to have all that on their shoulders.
I think your husband is an utter disgrace.
You are worrying about losing your house and he is wasting money smoking weed? Sorry but thats completely unacceptable. You need to address the balance in your relationship. If he cannot pull his weight then he needs to get out.
I dont think ADs will help in the long run really, the stress you are under isnt going to go away by taking some pills.
But I do think a more understanding GP would be a start.
Can you look at renting out your house and moving into a rental property which is cheaper than your mortgage?
And you can force your husband to get a job. He is a ridiculous man if he thinks his behaviour is ok.
Thanks for replies.
I agree the balance needs addressing.
If we rented our house out it would not earn as much as the mortgage - there would be a shortfall of around £400. Ours is a 3 bed semi, bought in 2004. Our mortgage is fixed rate due to end Mar 2014.
We are not in immediate danger of losing home, we now just cover everything but if I did change jobs for something less stressful we wouldn't cover it then.
DH wouldn't earn what I do as he is unqualified and so earns a lot lessl.
Sorry posted too soon.
I do know I have to change things for it to get better but seem too exhausted and worn out to know what the best options are.
It sounds like you have an awful lot to cope with and at the moment you're so low you can't see a way out.
I think there's no harm in seeing another doctor as I believe you do need ADs to get you off the floor so to speak. Taking the ADs won't remove all the problems but will eventually give you the strength to be able to cope. When you start to feel better in yourself it's then easier to find a way out.
You have coped with this for so long on your own and need some support. It's not a sign of weakness to take ADs. You've had to be strong for far too long and shouldn't be made to feel guilty or weak for seeking help.
Thanks orange it certainly did. I have wondered myself if it would just give me the boost I need to see things clearer. I will think on things and maybe try another GP.
I don't want to use them just to make myself feel better now, I am thinking of it as a prop to help me get things sorted.
Sorry if my saying ADs wouldnt help came across wrong.
All I meant was that even on ADs you will still need to address the problems you are facing. Mainly the situation with your husband.
But ofcourse you should take them as a boost. It wouldnt be weak at all. I think you also need a rest. Can you take AL from work?
Thanks for replies, yes I can see that it is the issues that need to be addressed - I just honestly don't know how to resolve them. I discussed with H that it would be better to sell the house, him to work full time and me work part time around the kids, and alright it is hard to put into place right now because I am working, I am on a long notice period and if I don't do my notice I won't get my money out for my shares which I would use to pay off an o/s bank loan etc. He says yes but I think that he is really putting his head in the sand and hoping that it will all go away and get better (the work situation has been ongoing a long time with things improving/getting worse - but overall it has to stop and I can see that).There have been times in the past few years that when the storm has passed at work I have not been so desparate to change jobs but have always continued to look for a better working option.
Because I can see that it is very likely things will not change- there are few jobs around us I went to the GP to find out if I did work out my notice and as a result of potentially having no work had to sell the house, (even if we can sell - after all economy not brill) would the problems that I have had with my work over such a long time support us in a housing application or would I be classed intentionally homeless for selling our house. My GP said that our local HA are notoriously difficult and it would be unlikely I would be able to rely on my situation and problems to get any help - ie I would be voluntarily homeless.
This has caused me further distress as I now think if I don't continue I will potentially lose our home and have all the stress of that instead - I know from past experience that private tenancies can be very difficult with children and that they can end so easily.
I cannot decide which situation is worse but know that only I can ultimately make the decision.
Anyway I can see that the situation is of my making really and so I suppose I just need to get on with it.
Thanks everyone for replies.
Meant also to post:
Only 1 day AL left until new lot in Feb 2013 but we do get 2 weeks off at Xmas (AL that has to be used then for our shutdown) so no opportunity to take AL as I have a couple of appointments that I need to use 1/2 day each for.
I also think the idea of ringing MIND is good, maybe I could get some names of counsellor or something.
Thinking of you and your situation and hope you get some good advice from MIND.
I can only endorse everything that posters have already said. Does your D(?) H look after the children properly or is he smoking cannabis when he is caring for them. What sort of dad is he?
I think that with your history of depression it is highly likely that you have depression and anxiety (as you know I'm sure they are intertwined) at the present time. I would definitely see GP about getting ADs - have any of them worked in the past - if so it might be worth asking for one specific one. Don't think GPs are really bothered which one they prescribe.
Re your housing situation. I don't think the GP is the best person to ask about this. It may be best to contact CAB or SHELTER (housing specialists) Were you hoping that you would be able to get a council property if your home was re-possessed, given your health difficulties. I don't think that would be the case tbh but maybe you should put the worry of the mortgage on hold for the moment as you are not yet in that position. You may be able to reach an agreement with your Building Society about reduced payments. I think the only thing you could do if your home was re-possessed would be to rent privately (there is no shortage of properties to let at present) because so many people can't get on thehousing ladder. I know it's not like owning your own home but that I think would be your only option.
There is a book called "Depression - the curse of the Strong" can't remember author but it is on Amazon.
No he doesn't smoke in the day, I know that for sure as he is the same at the weekends - it is always as soon as I come home from work (5.30) when he then rushes off - his mind is obviously pyschologically set to 'need' it at this time as at the weekend as you see that time coming you can see him getting restless in the build up to the time when he gets it. Also he is like a different person then - anxious before hand and just completely relaxed after. Before the 'blow up' at the start of the year when he promised to stop I think he was sneaking some in in the day - but since then you can see the difference in him with regards to how much has been done around the house - the gardens have been regularly dug, a couple of areas that needed clearing and taking to the tip have been done, the house painted inside, the windows and woodwork outside - there has been a definite improvement and I can tell from how much he is outside in the evening compared to previously he is smoking less in the evening too (than pre the Feb meltdown). BUT he has only cut down and promised to give up and that isn't good enough for me, he has to stop completely.
Yes I definitely have anxiety as well and I will look that book up.
It has helped enormously to have people to share with so thanks for taking the trouble to post.
I think a new GP is definitely the way to go. Your current one isn't meeting your needs at all. I think a course of ADs and perhaps some CBT would help enormously, but obviously as others have pointed out there are practical things that need addressing as well.
I don't believe you need to force your DH to get a job. He's providing in his own way with the childcare (unless it would be cheaper to outsource this?) BUT having a SAHP needs to be a mutual decision and work for the whole family. If it's not working then something needs to change.
The work on the house you mention sounds like a big improvement. As a SAHM I do the bare minimum apart from actually looking after our child during the day as I feel that's the point of me being there. But once DH gets home and on his days off we share the childcare and chores 50/50. I think this is how it should be.
Changing GP would be my first port of call in your situation. Anti-depressants aren't going to fix your problems but they will help you see things more clearly and help prevent you from going under. The CBT should help you tackle everything else.
I also think you should see your local CAB about housing advice, agree your GP is probably no help in this matter. Unfortunately I'm not sure how much help there is for those who own their own home, but WRT your point about private tenancies being unreliable with young children; I've always rented privately and as long as you go through a reputable agency they have to give you notice to leave, they can't just kick you out.
Have you a spare room you could rent out to a lodger? Or perhaps you could rent the rooms out individually if moving into rented accommodation, perhaps the shortfall could be made up there? Sorry I'm not very good with the practical stuff but I've had depression (most of my life, last bout around 5 years ago) and anxiety (most recently last year treated with CBT) - there's no shame in getting help but if the ADs aren't working/side-effects are too much you need to keep going back to your GP until you get the right one.
Best of luck OP, don't underestimate how strong you are, you've an awful lot on your plate; most people would have cracked by now!
Again another useful reply and I continue to be grateful to people who are taking the time to do so.
I realise that the recent efforts of what has been done take a lot of work, definitely I can see that the contribution is much greater and there has been an improvement in other areas - has done some evening meals and also for eg did all the ironing over the weekend.
I think because he did so little for so long in the depth of hte cannabis smoking that if there is a little slack it immediately throws me back into the feeling as he is doing nothing - i.e. he has started to do most evening meals but when he didn't do them one night and I was also stressed with everything else going on it that it got to me more than it would do and you then find it more difficult to deal with.
The housing situation only becomes an issue if I give up my work, I have recently spoken to my boss about I am finding everything so difficult that I may do this and this may help to resolve some of the issues here.
It is the combination of the hassle at work, plus when H was not/does not pull his weight that makes me feel like it is all not worth it. A little less stress in both situations would help enormously and may prevent housing becoming an issue. Maybe if I was a little stronger I would stop people taking advantage of me and all of this wouldn't be an issue.
You have all given me lots to think about and some useful tools in how this could be resolved, so thanks again.
Please don't blame yourself WN as you say "maybe if I was a little stronger I would stop people taking advantage of me" - we are as we are. However that doesn't mean you can't become more assertive and there lots of books on the subject. However change is very difficult because I think we just become more like ourselves as we get older (many may disagree - it's just a personal point of view.) Is your DH the dominant partner in your marriage.
It does sound like your DH is addicted to cannabis and that is going to be very difficult. He has to have the motivation himself to seek help to break the addiction and no one else can do it for him. I wonder if he started smoking cannabis to "self medicate" when he was depressed as many people do that with drugs or alcohol. Actually I believe that cannabis is less harmful than alcohol, as it calms people (as you have noticed) and alcohol abuse tends to make people more aggresive.
It sounds to me like you are more anxious than depressed and anxiety is the medical name for fear of the future, and it is a horrible illness because the fear goes round and round in your head and you can get into a downward spiral. ADs do lessen anxiety as well as depression. CBT is also another method of dealing with anxiety. It didn't help me much but many MNs say how helpful it was.
I think we have been through various periods of who has been the dominant one - certainly he was when we first met 16 yrs ago. a few years after this my then 7 yo DS was diagnosed with cancer and my having to fight for him in a strange way made me stronger. Sadly my son died 4 yrs post diagnosis and we have been through various periods since then. When my career took off as I threw myself into work I very definitely was the dominant one. We decided that financially it was better for him to give up work but I think he found it difficult to socialise with others as a SAHD (it is rare around here!!!) and that probably fuelled the depression, and his once 'social' cannabis smoking became a problem which came to a head in Feb when he had depression and promised to give up.
When he went to GP's and got put on AD's I was hoping that he could use prescribed medication to stop the smoking, then withdraw sensibly from AD's and have a more positive future. Then just over a week ago realised that he had stopped the AD's and knowing that the evening smoking was still happening, just knew that it would always therefore continue.
To him he may not see this as a problem as he is doing a lot of things and helping out much more than before, but to me it is as I think the evening is a time when he could be doing a few hours work a couple of nights a week without it costing any childcare but as this is when his addiction takes place he is unlikely to do this.
It in effect has a double whammy because the money he is spending could be used on the family and he could also potentially add to this by earning instead of smoking.When in Feb he went to the GP for AD's he could see all this - he volunteered the info himself and several times since when I have raised the issue he has said "yes I am trying but it's just hard........."
I suppose at that point I had no idea the AD's had stopped so I still had hope.... Now I don't (for the smoking).
I think I say "maybe if I was a little stronger I would stop people taking advantage of me" because I know when I have been in a better place things have gone better and I haven't had such hassle.
Wow that was such a long and rambling post!!!
I think you mentioned in a previous post that you were hoping to get names of counsellors from MIND. You may well do, but you can find accredited counsellors and therapists by looking on the BCAP (British Ass of Counsellors and Therapists) and you will find several in your area. Some of them give details of their specialist areas, which can be helpful. At least on this site you will know that they are properly accredited as they cannot be registered with BCAP until this is proven.
Thanks NN I have been to the site a few days ago and identified someone who seems to be specialising in the relevant skills - I am not sure if it may have been a link from the MIND site to the bacp actually ?
Anyway I am still, a few days later, trying to pluck up the courage to make that call.
Appreciate your continued interest.
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