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Am I depressed or is my marriage falling apart?

(17 Posts)
Fullsteamahead Tue 09-Apr-13 18:33:17

I'm sorry but this is going to be quite long.

I've been married for over 13 years, two lovely children.

After I had first DC I suffered from depression. It was a combination of having a first baby and lots of changes with work, house, etc that all happened at once. I was in denial for a long time and my DH had to more or less drag me to the GP. By then my DC was over 1. I was prescribed Citalopram and took it for just over a year and then gradually came off it. The medication really helped except for almost entire loss of libido which I still suffer from almost 7 years down the line!!!

When DC2 came along I was a different person, I knew what to expect with the new baby, I was very calm and composed and things were going pretty smoothly.

However, something happened in the last year or so. I've started feeling increasingly isolated, very irritable, constantly angry with DH and DC1 expecting them to help. But it seems that no matter how hard they try I am never satisfied and always manage to find something else to be angry about. I'm very worried about the effect it has on my relationship with my family.

Initially I thought that I was perhaps suffering from very bad PMS, I tried taking herbal supplement Agnus Castus but it didn't help.

My OH and I have terrible rows and divorce has been on the cards a couple of times now. I do feel he hasn't been as supportive this time as he was when I first got ill. However, depression aside, I feel that our relationship has hit rock bottom. We seem to have no common interests, We don't do anything as a couple (mostly for financial reasons), I don't even feel attracted to him anymore. That said I know that he is a great family man, I know he loves me and adores his kids.

I've been feeling so low recently that every morning I open my eyes I think oh, no, not another day! I feel really confused and don't know what to think. Am I will again? Or am I just trying to hide behind the big word Depression and not facing up to the fact that my marriage is over?

I would appreciate any advice and opinions.

itsmagic999 Tue 09-Apr-13 19:22:36

I don't know how old your children are but mine are now 4 and 5 and we have had some very very tough times. The first thing to deal with is how you feel and whether you can get some help with how you manage your anger. There is nothing wrong with being angry and anger can be a signal that things are wrong but acting on it is generally not a good idea and does damage relationships. If you feel that your anger is like this then. I would urge you to get some help.

I hate to just say can you get some counselling but I think talking through with someone how you feel should help and will give you the space to start to thing about the future.

I would urge you both not to do anything in haste. I don't know how old your children are but it is only recently that I feel we have started to get back onto a even keel and recover in our marriage from the shock of children. Thinking that your marriage is over is a really strong stuff and I think you need to step back from that and loom at what's going on with you. Maybe your husband is not being very supportive, maybe he is angry, resentful but you can't change someone else, what you can do is get yourself into a position where you feel in charge of yourself and then you can look more calmly at your circumstances and work out what you want to change, what can change and ultimately what your bottom line is. But if your children are still very young I would say that that is turmoil enough for any marriage and things can get better if they are given a chance.

itsmagic999 Tue 09-Apr-13 20:14:55

sorry read better and see that your oldest is at least 8 but not sure how old the younger one is.

You sound as if things are feeling tough at the moment and i would encourage you to go and talk to someone as anger is very destructive. whether pills will help I do not know but I think that sorting things out in your head is important. and taking some of the heat out of the situation before you talk to your husband about the things you can do to improve and change your marriage.

in my experience lots of things are an effort once you have children and making time for your marriage is hard work.

Fullsteamahead Sat 13-Apr-13 15:15:35

Thank you so much for your reply. I'm sorry I didn't answer straight away, I've been away for a couple of days.

You are right, my eldest is now 8 but youngest has only just turned 2.

What I meant by being angry is being very irritable and short. I'm not even sure whether this is a symptom of depression or not. I did feel the same way when I first got ill a few years ago and Citalopram did help. I just somehow feel that I'm on my own, that I'm getting no support from my OH regardless of how hard he tries. Subsequently, I get angry, we fight and things get only worse. If I manage to step back and reassess the situation I usually manage to see that in fact there isn't anything to be angry about. But the reality is that I don't seem to be able to pull myself out of this constant negative state.

I just feel like a massive failure, I can't manage to be a good wife or a mother. I look at my friends who seem to manage everything with ease, they always appear loving and happy with their children and partners when I struggle to get out of my bed every morning. The way I feel has definitely affected my every day life, my house is a complete mess and I struggle to find any motivation to clean, the same goes for my personal appearance, I used to love going shopping, wearing make up, etc. Now I wear the same jumper and jeans every day and try not to look in the mirror so I don't feel even more disgusted.

What's worse is that my behaviour nowadays really reminds me of the way my mother was with me when I was a child. Looking back I'm certain that she spent years living her life with undiagnosed depression. Could this be hereditary?

I'm just wondering if anyone else has experienced high irritability and very low self esteem and was diagnosed with depression? It seems that many people who write on this board experience anxiety but I've not seen anyone mentioning similar symptoms to mine.

itsmagic999 Sat 13-Apr-13 18:24:43

I can relate a lot to what you are saying, I have been very irritable and short tempered and depressed. I don't go for the hereditary angle in a biological sense but in a learned behaviour sense. I grew up with a very angry father who would nowadays I think be diagnosed with a personablity disorder and a mother who was not at all happy with him and four children under ten. Her own behaviour was at times not ideal and I had no closeness to her at all. For me I think a lot of my irritability and short temper is about lack of control and not being able to accept my lack of control with small children. I have to learn to be a parent just as I have to learn a new language.

If you feel as you did when you were treated for depression then probably it has returned and further help is needed.

You don't say whether you work but I certainly find being at home with small children is not good for me and I want to find some work when they are both at school.

You also do not say how things were before the birth of your second child, were things good after the period of depression?

I need and have received some psychotherapy for my issues and need to continue as I just did not gain the skills needed to be a good parent from my own background. Are there issues for you from your own mother and background? I see a lot of my mother in myself and I do not like it, becoming a parent causes many of us to reflect back.

Some of it or all of it may be depression, but it may also be an understandable frustration with your life, lack of work, lack of identity, lack of personal achievement. We are meant to be all giving as mothers and need nothing for ourselves but many if us are not like that.

I do not think there is one answer, maybe drugs again but I think also counselling to look at your dissatisfaction with your life. Anger, irritability, depression are all terms for telling us that things are wrong and need to change: your thinking, your interactions with others, how you feel about yourself.

Sorry I have gone on a bit.

Hoophopes Sat 13-Apr-13 19:23:04

It sounds like things are difficult in your marriage situation, whether the cause of that is depression/mental health difficulties is tricky. What I do know is that I have a history of depression/mental health issues and have been married a long time, have a toddler and we are not at divorce stage despite a significant relapse in my mental health state (needing hospital/crisis/social care involvement)

Could you have an honest chat with your dh about what you are not happy about in your family situation - as if those issues could be addressed then perhaps your mood would lift etc. Medication and/or counselling can help with depression but they cannot change what you do or don't do as a family due to finances etc, only you and your dh can deal with those issues, for instance. You say you feel no support from your dh, but have you been specific about what support you want from him? I know for me I have struggled to adapting to being married with a toddler - I have had to change what I expect from my dh as there are only so many hours in the day. Do you think your irritability is to do with dealing with day to day family life (which is exhausting with children), tiredness, frustration etc? What can help you with those things? How can you and your dh deal with those things?

As you have a young child you could ask your health visitor for a chat, for some support? She may be able to help you work out what is normal, as it were, with family life with young children, what support she can help offer you if there is any. Some children's centres have groups for support for mums with depression, or for familiees that are struggling etc. Or courses.Or groups that may help?Just throwing out some ideas.

for me, low self esteem and depression go together. Irritability,anger - no. Is it possible you are not happy with your family situation and are frustrated with it so your feelings reflec this?But it is possible your family life and situation has helped increase symptoms of an underlying depression etc etc. Seeing professionals can help you work out what is going on and what treatment may help.

Feel free to totally ignore what I say. I jsut think sometimes it is common to think :medication, counselling when hte issue is sometimes related to everyday life and problems in relationships, or the stresses with husbands and young children.

Fullsteamahead Sat 13-Apr-13 19:23:48

No, on the contrary, thank you very much for such a full and detailed answer.

We really do seem to have a lot in common.

I grew up with a very controlling mother who always knew best and very rarely showed any love or emotion. I was determined not to be like her when I became a mum but can't help but feel like a failure. I think due to my upbringing I used to be a highly organised and a bit obsessive person before I had kids. And then, literally overnight, I lost all control over my life and my identity, so I do feel the constant lack of control.

I have tried being a better parent by reading lots of parenting books and trying to apply the new technics in my everyday parenting, however, I, somehow, always manage to get lost and revert to being my mothers shadow.

I don't work and I know it doesn't help, I've tried applying for work in the last few months but haven't got anywhere. We live in the country, so commuting plus childcare costs make it very difficult.

I did feel pretty settled after I stopped ADs the first time and like I said in my first post I felt very good all through second pregnancy and probably up until my second baby turned 1. I'm not even sure where things have gone wrong...

I've just had a quick look on NHS website and read over most common depression symptoms and I can definitely relate to quite a few on the list.

Think it's probably best for me to go and discuss it with GP. Wish me luck.

cjel Sat 13-Apr-13 22:19:38

I'd say that depression can defiantly have hereditary traits, I have cousins aunts and uncles all over the world who suffer, but I would also say that I learned in counselling that there are things that can be learnt to change how you deal with the signs and triggers. I see it as almost having a depression gene like a lung cancer gene, YOu may have the gene but it might only turn to cancer if you smoke if you see what I mean. I recommend counselling to any one. Whether you have a depressive illness or a broken marriage it will help you work through your feelings past and present, put them in the right place and enable to make the decisions you want to make to make your life how you want it to be. Also loss of libido is a sign that something isn't right although I do know that the more you do it the more you want it!!

Hoophopes Sat 13-Apr-13 22:59:11

Good luck indeed. And good luck on finding work, I bizarrely find work part time helps my depression, gets me out of house and a focus on something other than myself and housework!

Seeing gp sounds good idea. Also good to see what you can do medium term to change things for yourself as if you do not change things then things may not improve as quickly. Totally hear you about need for control, toddlers and family life is a far cry from professional life and I totally get what you say about identity. That I think is what being a parent is all about! Could you ask your HV if they run parenting courses if you think that will give you tips, but am sure you are a great Mum.

Ginga66 Sun 14-Apr-13 01:05:36


Irritability, loss of energy, less personal hygiene are symptoms of depression yes.
How is your appetite and sleep?
The problem is that having kids can cause a lot of this anyway.
I have two ds one is four the other ten months. I do all the nights and have not slept propel for four years now!
My dh and I have argued to the point of divorce talks numerous times. I tried getting help with relate twice.
I also tried the emotional abuse forum on here but found all people did was tell me to leav and say terrible things about him.
Realistically we can both be very badl behaved and are both I'll a lot and over run with house kids finances etc.
I urge you not to throw the towel in. Depression is an illness of perception. All things look terrible.
I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety years ago and have had a lot of therapy and been on and off meds.
I also am very very short tempered but have leant to modify my anger.
I think therapy and possibly an antidepressant would be an idea and if things are no changing after say six months try relate and then after nother six months have an honest chat about your options?

Fullsteamahead Sun 14-Apr-13 11:15:04

Thank you all so much for your great responses and support.

I've never had any form of counselling or outside support. I'm still a bit undecided about that but will speak to my GP about it. It's sort of fear of unknown, I suppose. I felt the same way about going ahead with ADs the first time. I also struggle with the whole aspect of "social stigma" associated with mental illness. I never feel confident enough to speak to friends about how i feel and what I'm experiencing and have no family nearby, not that I would ever want to discuss this with my mother. I'm very close with my sister but she lives thousands of miles away and I would not attempt to talk about this over the phone.

Ginga66, I've not experienced any major problems with loss of appetite but my sleeping has definitely been affected. Almost every night I stay up until very late pointlessly surfing the net just to take my mind off things and even if I go to bed I struggle to fall asleep. Come morning I feel like I've been run over by a bus.

I've also become terribly forgetful and can't put things in my head in any logical order. I'll get up in the morning thinking I need to clean the bathroom, do shopping, call regarding car insurance, etc, and then somehow get lost and forget things. I then get very upset and angry with myself, it all snowballs, the house is a mess, the car insurance is still not sorted out and I feel like sh.t...

It seems the more I put things on paper the more my eyes open up. I really do need to go to the doctor.

cjel Sun 14-Apr-13 12:09:45

thats sort of how counselling works, it starts where you are and unpacks it bit by bit. someone told me its as if the mind is a loft, we store all sorts of stuff up there and one day there is no room for any more and we can't get to the stuff we want properly. When you start at the beginning and take one thing out at a time, look at it, deal with it, discard it or store it tidily, you can then use the stuff you do want better - does that make any sense?

Hoophopes Sun 14-Apr-13 16:40:31

Could you work on your sleep to help you feel more energised in the day? Lack of sleep may be fuelling the depression or irritability. With counselling their are no magic answers, it is about learning new tools and strategies to cope. I have had to work really hard at sleep, going to bed at right time, not using screens befor or in bed, as the light on screen increases melatonin which stops sleep, and getting up regularly in am. For me when sleep is good I am a happier person, it is linked for me. Regarding stigma for mental health, the help is there to assist you in making the changes you want. But you have to put the hard work in yourself and be ready to do it otherwise it is not always helpful.

Hope gp helpful.

Fullsteamahead Sun 14-Apr-13 22:51:30

Thanks again for being so supportive. I'll come back and let you know how I get on once I've seen the GP.

Off to bed now, almost 11 which is rather early for me smile

cjel Tue 16-Apr-13 10:08:40

How you doing?x

Fullsteamahead Tue 16-Apr-13 16:42:10

Hello all,

I've had an appointment with the doctor this morning.

Found it very difficult to talk openly and honestly about my feelings and was on the verge of breaking down all the time during my appointment. The GP said that judging by my symptoms it's unlikely to be just PMS and I really need to start taking ADs.

I told her about my upbringing and its impact on my adult life so she has given me a phone number for the local support team to discuss things further.

I got Fluoxetine 20 mg, I used to take Citalopram when I was first ill but she decided to change it to see if fluoxetine would have less effect on my lack of sex drive. That said the GP felt the loss of libido may well be caused by depression itself rather than the medication.

So here I am, nervously waiting to start the tablets tomorrow morning. I know I'll probably feel pretty rubbish for the next couple of weeks but can anyone familiar with Fluoxetine tell me what side effects I should expect.

Thank you

Courtney34g71 Mon 16-Nov-15 08:12:49

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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