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Parenting with depression(4 Posts)
I am struggling to get through the days at the moment. Dd is 4 and lovely but intense, very strong willed and kicks off if she doesn't get her own way. I have long term depression, I'm on meds which keep me relatively stable but recently I've been particularly low, crying a lot, no patience, no energy, no motivation. It's been all I can do to walk to the corner shop recently, we've not been to a park for ages or done fun things. I find it v difficult to cook, dd eats bugger all anyway so there's almost no point making a proper meal, so she just ends up eating fruit and pasta and I drink endless cups of tea, if I can be bothered to make one!
I've been proactive enough to ask some friends for help so I've got people coming over different days this week to take her to play (their dc are her friends) so I have an hour or so where I don't have to think, but she gets stressed and angry quite a lot so sometimes this can be more trouble than its worth as she'll come hime and have a tantrum.
I'm not averse to sticking the TV on to give myself a break but if she watches too much she does get cranky and again it's more trouble than its worth.
On top of this I'm so scared of messing her up. I feel like my parenting must be so shit that she just doesn't have a chance of growing up as a stable, well balanced, happy and mentally healthy person. She's started biting her nails and I'm convinced it's a sign of stress or some kind neuroses.
I'm so worried about everything but my mood is so low that I feel it's impossible to be the kind of parent I feel I should be to avoid the things I'm worried about!
Any advice for navigating parenting with a mental illness would be very much appreciated
Hi TheWitchsCat sorry to hear you're having such a hard time. You say you have long term depression, have you had ADs, therapy etc? X
It doesn't sound like your messing your child up at all. All children have tempers, sometimes bite their nails and so on. I remember once feeling like you describe, everytime my child felt sad or worried I was convinced I had passed on anxiety disorder and messed them up due to my own anxiety. Can you get some cognative behaviour therapy to help you recognise these negative thoughts? Try joining the mood gym online, it's free and a really good starting point.
All mothers worry about how they effect their children, that's love and instinct. Getting a bit of perspective would really help you be kinder to yourself and feel better in the long run. Its like a vicious circle. For me I had anxiety and depression, which I believed made me a terrible mother, which then depressed me further so I had no motivation for anything and couldn't see past my own thinking. I now look back at the time I felt like that and I can see I was sort of mentally bullying myself. I never credited myself for the good things I did, I simply obsessed about how I was failing. It go so bad I worried if I really was cut out for being a mum. These days couldn't be more different. I feel confident as a parent, I can see how my nurturing ways really help my children thrive.
I know it's difficult and really can feel hopeless. But you can change your perspective over time. I know how patronising it is when people say think more positively. For me I couldn't force the negative thoughts out, that made them worse. I had to let them in but correct them.
Can you start by giving yourself credit where credit is due? Each time you accomplish something, recognise it. Each time you get them to school on time, each time you shower or bath them, washing clothes, hair cuts, talking with them when they are upset, homework, Christmas fun and presents, cooking a nice meal, buying them a treat, when your kind etc. Praise yourself.
Now the next step is just as important, if not more so important when your depressed. You have to learn to be more kind, less judgemental and forgiving to yourself. Your a mother yes, but you will make plenty of mistakes. At times you may struggle, that is ok. So If you only give your child beans on toast 1 night, or forget to do homework, forget to wash clean shirts for school, don't feel like going out or happy and joyful then that is ok. There really is so much pressure at times, we see on Facebook how other mothers are and it's hard not to question ourselves. But what we don't see is the many tears that mother may have shed, her down days and mistakes. It's rare a mother stands up and says today I left the house a mess, had no motivation and my kids got on my last nerve and I may of shouted at them and now I feel bad.
Society presents to us the perfect mother, the ideal. Well I can tell you she doesn't exist! A happy mother still struggles, but she has learnt to accept that herself anx not beat herself up over things.
Oooh I do hope I haven't made u feel patronised, it's difficult to articulate but I just wanted you to know you can feel better and you can move forward.
cymru, I'm on ADs but may have to come off them as they seem to be affecting my heart - which is just what I need!!! I've been referred to a psychiatrist to discuss a proper treatment plan so im waiting for that. I've had lots of therapy of various sorts.
moopy, not patronising at all I really recognise everything you describe, focusing on the bad and never giving credit for anything positive. I need to focus on the small things at the moment and stop putting pressure on myself.
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