Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, see our mental health web guide which can point you to expert advice.

Help without Anti Depressants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Milkhell Mon 30-Sep-13 15:35:25

I haven't read the whole thread but are you overthinking this? I had extremely severe PND after my son a part of which centred on not loving him 'enough'.

Finally the intense all day OCD aspect of it faded but it does still occasionally 'flair'. Like when he bangs his head and I worry I'm just going through the motions of caring for him and not having the 'right' feelings of being hurt on his behalf.

I think I've kind of found a peace with it. It was though realising there is no 'right' way to love a child and no one is going to do an internal audit on me and check.

The fact that 1. You are guilty speaks volumes and 2. That he is wonderfully cared for also speaks volumes.

You do love your child. Love is not tangible. You wouldn't see him shivering, cold in the garden with no dinner.

I hope I've not oversimplified things but that's my take on it.

Sophiedotty Mon 30-Sep-13 13:35:23

I'm so pleased to read that. I hope you can have the counselling & work through your feelings. It sounds like you have 'clicked' with her which is very important for you to feel comfortable talking about your issues. I have seen a few psychologists for my issues & it took a while to find the right one.

SugarHut Mon 30-Sep-13 10:36:13

Thank you for appreciating the honesty. I think being able to really say it how it is has helped me no end. And I hope if any other poor sods are in the same situation, they can read through and feel a little assured that they are not uniquely screwed up.

I've really hit a cornerstone with all this. I'm not sure whether it was the whole "A&E" fiasco that sparked it off, but something has definitely changed within me.

It's a very gradual thing, baby steps. But I'm definitely more friendly towards him without realising I'm doing it, and you have no idea when I sit and reflect afterwards how relieved I feel that this may actually turn out ok. I'm more interested in what he has to say, and although he does still feel like a bit of a stranger to me, I feel like I'm really properly getting to know him for the first time, and I like what I'm getting to know. He's actually quite funny. And not a bad dancer. smile

One of the girls I met on a job the other day is actually a trained counsellor. She deals with young families, predominantly very young single mothers who are struggling. I like her, she's very no nonsense, and very, very intelligent. I've taken her number, we got on like a house on fire, so I just took it under the pretence of drinks/dinner, so not given her any information regarding all this as yet, but I think she may be the person to understand me, and more importantly, someone I won't get on my high horse with and will listen too.

I'll keep this thread updated x x x

Sophiedotty Sat 28-Sep-13 14:33:43

I haven't read all this thread just bits from the beginning & end.
It sounds like a bonding PND complex issue. A psychiatrist or psychologist would be the best person to see.
I had PND & got pg again when DD was 14 mths. I was on medication & we were going to terminate. We decided to keep the baby. I didn't 'bond' at all when I went to the scans. When she was born I just felt numb & felt like she wasn't mine. At 5 mths she started daycare & got gastro. She was really poorly & something changed & I knew she needed me.
I really think that with the right therapy & maybe medication you can work through the feelings.
I hope your little boy is ok now.

ophelia275 Sat 28-Sep-13 11:57:05

Why do you think the feeling you felt when your son was ill is gone? It's probably just sleeping. Don't forget the conscious/subconscious mind are very different. What you feel on a conscious level for your son is probably very different to what you feel on a subconscious level. The action of your instinct/subconscious proves that your feelings are much more complex than your conscious mind would have you admit. That's my two penn'orth anyway.

I wrote similar feelings to you in the "do you regret having children thread". Maternal feelings really are very complex. For example, I often feel like I don't like my children but I do love them on a primal level. The worst part is being in conflict with yourself.

Iamhappyanddelighted Sun 22-Sep-13 16:29:51

Op I know I am coming to this thread late but I just wanted to say I really respect you for being so honest on here. So many parents are too scared to talk about stuff like this, and I really think this thread will help others to know they are not alone.
I hope your little boy is feeling better now and I hope you two can get to a place where you can laugh together and feel the love x

Shakey1500 Thu 12-Sep-13 19:45:05

Oh, I hope he continues to recover as quick, must have been terrifying for you all sad

But illness aside, I did a little jig when I read your post. You're spot on thanks

kizzie Thu 12-Sep-13 17:58:43

Very positive :-)

SugarHut Thu 12-Sep-13 12:41:08

Major moment yesterday. The boy was sick. Properly sick. My mother picked him up from school, and phoned me straight away in a panic about his state. Quick call to the GP suspected meningitis, call the blue lights immediately.

My reaction amazed me. I told her we have no time to wait for the ambulance, I was biting back tears, jumped in my car, picked them both up, drove (like a twat) at lightspeed to A&E. I was cool on the outside as I don't do "hysterical dame," I deal with crisis in a very clinical, collected way, but inside I was panicked and distraught in a way I have never been before.

He's fine, serious viral illness but home now, in bed. Much better today even. And today, now I know he's fine, I'm back to my usual not giving a monkeys self. But I did give a monkeys last night. I do care. I've been trying all day to bring out those emotions I felt last night again, but alas they are long gone....but this is the first time I've ever felt a genuine maternal feeling. Insane it had to be something so extreme to provoke it, and again, it's gone entirely now, but it's there, and up until now, as I've never experienced it before, I truly believed I just didn't have that part to me. Like a missing gene.

I feel very positive about this.

x x x

HoopHopes Wed 28-Aug-13 23:07:49

Why not ask for a referral for official testing of personality disorder? There are tools used to test for all e personality disorders, think it is a SCID something if it helps.

Shakey1500 Wed 28-Aug-13 19:39:36

Ok have read (most) of the thread. The most useful was this link...

...and reading through the traits. Honestly? With the usual disclaimer that I am not a medical professional, from what you've posted thus far, I don't think it's you.

Just going through your last post can I highlight a few things?

1. Maybe he thinks I don't like him and he comes out with these little things thinking it will make me smile

I think that's a real possibility. But, this we know already. And interesting you mention further down that you don't dislike him. There is something there. Not in a patronising "you'll get there" type way but just a plain and simple "you like him". Now I know (boy, do I know!) that to us, there is a huge chasm in our perception of the difference between "liking" our child and the "love" we "ought" to feel. But there is feeling there no? Even if it does "only" come under our umbrella definition.

2. so truthfully no abandonment/daddy issues

To highlight one of the things that makes my (unprofessional) head intimate that it's quite possibly NOT bpd.

3. The whole reason I did my degree and qualified as a chartered accountant was primarily to be able to shoot people down after years of being treated like an oh so pretty dipshit

Just a quick "bloody well done and I appreciate that it must have been a slog" and admire anyone for doing such a thing in the way that I haven't grin

4. I would have given him up, I could not have got this far on my own

Another unanswerable one isn't it? You sound like a tough cookie. Equally you quite possibly would have dug your heels in and made it work. And that could relate/tie in with my amateur theorising that ponders if things had have been harder financially/emotional support wise, would there been a bigger sense of achievement etc? When people's (sweeping generalising here) back's are against the wall, sometimes that's when the greatest achievements are made. Sink or swim. I've a feeling that you're the type of person who wouldn't have been satisfied until you'd swam the channel wink

5. but I don't hate him, or dislike him, I just don't love him or have any fondness. I have a great big nothing towards him

I don't agree. I know you know and own your own feelings but you're right when you say-
Maybe there are feelings there, and for whatever reason my weird little head refuses to allow them to come out <---that's on the money right there.

I think it may be useful to dismiss this word "love" and all it historically encompasses. View it a different way. There are many ways that you are already showing this "love" if we stop writing it (metaphorically) in big neon letters. Not going to write a patronising list but I think you know what all those things are. PLUS you "loved" enough to write here and explore your feelings.

Hope all that makes sense! I am "copy and paste"-ed out smile

Shakey1500 Tue 27-Aug-13 21:52:35

Arf at "old money" grin

Will have a look, might be tomorrow so can digest better.

SugarHut Tue 27-Aug-13 21:50:34

Ummmmmm, a wee bit technologically retarded, no idea how to link threads....

In old money, if you click on the Mental Health forum, and look three threads from the bottom, it's the one called Borderline Personality Disorder with 419 posts.

x x x

Shakey1500 Tue 27-Aug-13 21:29:42

Can you link the thread so i'm looking at the same one? smile

SugarHut Tue 27-Aug-13 21:16:35

Agree with a lot of this.... whilst non of my actions come from maternal love, they seem to be having the right effect, so far. Going forward, and he's no longer a naïve 5yr old, my charade is going to be picked apart rather swiftly....well, I think it will be. Maybe I have a couple of years grace.

He's striving for something I think. He tells me that he loves me, but I do wonder sometimes if when he says it, he is just saying the words and feels nothing, as I do. He also does weird little things which are quite sad, today for example, he bought some sushi from the supermarket, and we took it home to eat. Nothing unusual. About an hour afterwards he came up very quietly whilst I was reading and said "Mummy, thank you so much for buying me a lovely lunch, it was so kind of you" It's like he wants me to know he appreciates me all the time. Maybe he thinks I don't like him and he comes out with these little things thinking it will make me smile, although on the other hand he was a little sod last night (dog pinched the biscuit he was eating, nearly yanked the dog's ear off in revenge, and so got sent to bed early), so maybe he was just creeping a little to get back in the good books. Who knows.

Blessed in life, yes and no. I feel a little fraudulent here too....I was raised in a very loving family, to a single mother, but our entire family (over 30 of us) lived within 8 doors of each other in a pretty little village and so we all had our aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents around every day, so truthfully no abandonment/daddy issues. The reason I am so fortunate is purely down to my genetics. And I do feel like the fortune and opportunities I have had are down to no skill of my own, I was just born with the right bone structure, hardly a talent is it. I do feel like everything I have, so easily, is very undeserved, and others work so hard for a fraction of my life. The whole reason I did my degree and qualified as a chartered accountant was primarily to be able to shoot people down after years of being treated like an oh so pretty dipshit. It grates on me that 7 years of studying for a very well paid job to most people (chartered acct) I don't use these skills ever, as I earn over 4 times more for my appearance. Disgraceful state of the world, but sadly I am all too aware that this will never change, and I should be grateful that I can play the game.

How would I hypothetically cope if I felt this way towards my son and had the "normal" worries, frankly, if it wasn't for my family, I would have given him up, I could not have got this far on my own, the 2 days he goes to nanny's house each week recharge me sufficiently to "glide" through the remaining 5. I think my façade would have shattered a long time ago if I had him all day, every day, I'd feel desperate, suffocated almost. I probably would have depression.

Maybe there are feelings there, and for whatever reason my weird little head refuses to allow them to come out. I think, after 5 years, at some point, something might have slipped out if it was going too. I know I'm repeating myself, but I don't hate him, or dislike him, I just don't love him or have any fondness. I have a great big nothing towards him.

I've just out of curiousity clicked on another thread on here. Borderline Personality Disorder. I've read, re-read, read about 10 times. I really think I have this. The deliberate sabotaging (is it actually that I am refusing to have any feelings for him) the irrational dismissal of so much (virtually perfect boyfriends that would walk on hot coals for me that I just flick out of my life) loss of contact with reality (my lifestyle is like something out of a teen magazine, I flew back from hols on a private jet last week, again nothing unusual about that for me/The Boy.) The only thing that doesn't ring true are the suicidal/self harming tendencies. The rest massively resonates. Would you mind having a look and seeing if you think there's anything in this??

x x x

Shakey1500 Tue 27-Aug-13 20:14:58

I've been pondering/musing.

I think you are right in that, you haven't fucked up else people wouldn't be so complimentary. So that's great right? I recall (not a child related yarn) that when I was in retail management, I felt a complete fraud. Felt that I'd "talked" my way into the position without really being able to perform effectively in the role. Classic "talk the talk but not walk the walk". I confided in someone years later (whilst still in the role) but they suggested that it didn't matter and I was convincing myself of that whilst actually succeeding along the way without realising it.

I would add however, that the chance could still very much remain that his perfect behaviour is striving for the love he may instinctively (without fully understanding) realise you are withholding.

I was musing also as to whether there may be something in the following (and I'm not sure how to word it really so it may come across as a load of old tosh). It comes across (and I may be wrong) that you've been thus far, blessed in life. The great emotional relationship you share with your Mother, financially stable, few hardships etc (again, apologies if this is not accurate). And now you have a seemingly delightful, well mannered, personable, intelligent, well behaved little boy. And (aside from how you feel towards him) it's perfect. Had it not been so perfect through, God forbid, illness or financial struggles, lack of family support on your side- the usual struggles that many face, would you feel different? I realise that it's an unanswerable question but do you see what I'm getting at? In that there's been no hardships to overcome thereby feeling more grateful for what's there? I'm waffling. grin

DISCLAIMER FOR NEXT BIT- I realise that many on this thread have suggested similar to the following but I'm going to write it anyway, feel free to dismiss/shoot down in flames (delete as appropriate wink )

For what it's worth my amateur psychobabble thinks that somewhere, deep down, you do feel more than your conscious is telling you. I would speculate that for some unfathomable reason, you are subconsciously suppressing it. Possibly (like me and many) having a child felt like having a personality transplant. Still think private therapy is worth a go, but it's good that you don't have idealistic expectations that a magic wand will appear and you will be churning out apple pies for the PTA next week.

SugarHut Fri 23-Aug-13 23:06:53

Shakey... "fake it till you make it"..... this is very true, could not have described it better. It's exactly what I do, for that exact reason, what else is my personal alternative.

A major part of why I haven't done anything until now, is again, exactly what you say. I know I need help, but I do sadly believe that even with counselling, I will never feel different. I just can't get my head round how something so black and white unchangeable as gender, can be "fixed" in my head. If my problem was not being able to cope as he had behavioural issues, then I could feel hope that I could eventually understand them and work with professionals to fix them. Being devastated by a gender, is something that can never be changed....only the depth of my devastation can be attacked and attempted to resolve. Plus it's not really a problem in the literal sense. It's not hyperactivity, it's not ADHD, or another medically diagnosed condition. It's a gender. I hope this is making sense....I don't feel 100% defeated before I even start, I'm trying to say the "root cause" can not be altered, only my thoughts about I do feel rather pessimistic about the outcome, but would love to be proved wrong. I can't see it happening, but you never know, it can't make it any worse to try. You are right though, I am shamefully seeking help because I feel I ought too....I feel so indifferent towards him that he just doesn't provoke the maternal want to help him that would normally instigate a mother seeking help regarding her children. I don't feel appalled, which I know I should, I guess at least I can recognise I should and I'm not just massively in denial, but I just don't get emotional regarding him.

We got back from hols today, and he was fantastically behaved. The men were so impressed with him, and he did a load of "boy" stuff with them..helping with bbqs, digging on the beach, mini workouts in the gym, and actually, I felt ok when he was interacting with the men. It was quite nice to see their enormous approval of him. "He's so polite" "He's such a dude" "He's so handsome" "He's so inquisitive" which helped me a lot. I can't have fucked it all up beyond help yet, or I don't think these comments would have flowed. Perhaps I have underestimated how differently I would feel when I am with the right man. He sat on my ex's shoulders chatting away, about how engines were made, and I walked behind just listening. I can recognise what a lovely boy he is to everybody else, there were other children there who were frankly little shits in comparison, it just makes no sense why when I can see that he is so accomplished, intelligent, engaging, that alongside this, I feel no pride or love. Then I see a random girl wander past, and the difference and warmth in the way I look at her is alarming. My ex's daughter was at the villa, I took her to the salon, I helped her diving, she borrowed my clothes, we made hot chocolates together, and yet spending over 5 minutes with my own child bores me to tears sad

x x x

HoopHopes Fri 16-Aug-13 22:40:28

Sugar, I hope your time off work and holiday abroad is helpful for you. I definitely agree that treating yourself is a good way to help lift mood.

If I remember rightly your gp did not know which service would be best for you so out several referral in, perhaps all the options at his disposal. Therefore one of them as you have just found out may not fit and perhaps is best not being followed up. I do think though that you may be frustrated with any NHS provision as it tends to be all one size fits all mentality which is not your situation. I doubt the usual NHS 6 sessions of cbt would suit you either. Whilst you have holiday off work for 2 months could you explore the type of help you would like, whether a private psychiatrist or talking therapy options and see what is the best in the area you can get? At least then you can make a direct comparison with the other NHS referrals before you proceed with either?

Legoland sounds fun, something my son would love!

Shakey1500 Fri 16-Aug-13 22:19:13

I'm sure you've heard the phrase "Fake it till you make it". To all intents and purposes what you're "displaying" is fraudulent. But at least you're doing that. Else, what is the alternative?

I think it may be, as you suggest, wise to go private. Whilst I would not judge or cast aspersions on the place you have been referred to, if from the offset you don't feel it's the right place, then personally I'd make enquiries privately.

Have you considered the possibility that even with counselling, you may never feel any different? How does that prospect make you feel? I may be wrong but from your posts, it comes across that a large percentage is that you feel you ought to do something as opposed to truly wringing your hands in despair. Equally, your perceived indifference to the situation may be a mask, and you really do feel appalled.

Eitherway, obviously yes, it is utterly worth exploring. How is your son by the way? Is he enjoying the summer break etc? We've spent two weeks in Greece, and cut knee/3 stitches aside, it was a well earned break for us smile

SugarHut Wed 14-Aug-13 09:59:09

Ok, termination done. Last Monday. It was actually a lot more bearable than anticipated, and whilst I have a little sadness that my son is still an only child, I am very much in a happier place. Also, had gained about 8lbs, which in my profession is not cool, so that's slowly coming off now, and I'm feeling a lot more like me again. Got rid of my current partner, who proposed and started looking at massive houses when he found out I was pregnant...too much, too in my face. Ordered me a new RR Sport though, which would have been nice (lol awaits simple types not seeing the humour in that). I just had one of those moments where you just go "Arrrrrrggggghhhhh, fuck OFF!" to everything. Clearing out all the stuff I don't want in my house. Shopping for a new car. Have told my boss I'm having 2 months off. Chucked the boyfriend. Took The Boy to LEGOLAND for a couple of days last week, and my ex is flying us to Portugal for a week this Friday. Spent nearly every day polishing myself where I had let myself go since I found out I was pregnant. Little things, new hair, nails, tans....tiny things, make a massive difference to your mood.

I've had one letter now resulting from the GP's visit. Rather odd really. Quite annoyed at the GP for either not listening or not giving a shit and just ticking the box to get them to contact me. It's from a centre in Great Yarmouth who basically deal predominantly with traveller families, and generally children living in poverty, children of drug users, Jeremy Kyle type stuff sort of "social outcast stereotypes". I have no idea what I am being referred to them for, they are not remotely heading in the direction that my problem stems from. I've researched them extensively over the internet, and frankly it seems like a group of volunteers, majority with no relevant qulaifications who want to help kids with socially/financially inept situations. This is not me, my son doesn't need fruit and veg vouchers, bloody headlice treatments or free school uniform, he needs his mother's head fixed. Binned the letter. I can see me going private with this rather quickly.

On the plus side, not feeling any worse towards him. I did enjoy a couple of points at Lego Land, but maybe 1% of it. That's 1% more than I would have done this time last year. I just watched the other parents all smiling and waving and filming their kids on the rides. Buying the photos. I'm just so unattached to him, got my phone out and blankly copied what they were doing. Feel like such a fraud sometimes.

x x x

Shakey1500 Tue 13-Aug-13 14:28:55

How have you got on Sugar?

SugarHut Mon 29-Jul-13 23:38:56

Ps....please don't be distressed with The Boy, it's nothing, seriously nothing. He is The Boy.... also Boy Peas, Peabody, Monkey Moo, The Legend and Wiggly Woo, depending on a) his mood, and b) the family member you talk too.

x x x

SugarHut Mon 29-Jul-13 23:36:20

Shakey, prior post obv not mean't for you. Re the pregnancy, you are right, the more I dwelled on it, the more I panicked it was a girl, and I think I would inevitably have cast him further aside.

Think I'm doing the right thing, it's good to hear reassurance that you do too. Unpleasant decision to make....

x x x

SugarHut Mon 29-Jul-13 23:33:28


The point is, I don't care how the written word comes across. And not in an arrogant way which is instantly what you have jumped to (can't believe I'm explaining this AGAIN to someone who has "read all the post") but in a way that ensures I am as direct as possible. No, its not pc, and it's not written to gain friends and a luvvy support network, it's shocking in places, heartfelt in others, and brutally honest which a lot of people should try and be. It is to gain the insight and advice from people who have had a similar experience, or professional knowledge, of which I can not thank some members enough for taking the time and care to fully understand and put their thoughts forward, it's been life changingly invaluable and prompted me to take professional help.

The concept that I can't take responsibility, thank you for at least making me can't have read the thread, so I'll not waste any further time here....

Oh and please don't hijack my thread with pointless statements of how I am wrong and you are of course not, you just happen to be in the 70% of posters who really don't read and understand, as opposed to the 30% that truly do. Nothing wrong with that.

Booked in for consultation for termination next Weds. They'll give me a date for the procedure then too. Definitely for the best. I would love to keep the child, but single mother, 2 children, 2 different fathers, neither present, not the best situation, again, being real.

x x x

Shakey1500 Mon 29-Jul-13 23:32:58

Sugar I have read all the thread and have "conversed" with you a few times on it. Yes,that it isanickname and just because it is "obvious" doesn't make it any less distressing. (given the nature of your problem)

I would seriously consider your options regarding your pregnancy. That you have acknowledged you have a problem with your first childbeing a boy is a step.But it is a step towards, what I feel,will be a very long journey for you. And a journey that needs tackling as is.Not with the added stresses a new baby will bring. What if this baby is also a boy? It is unsettling enough that there is oneboy missing out on a parents's love,never mind two.And if it's a girl, the perfect girl you have envisaged,will he be cast aside further?

It's grossly unfair and absolutely horrible for him sad You are an articulate intelligent woman,please please don't bring another child into this.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

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

Register now