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struggling with PND for the second time in under three years and have had a breakdown recently (yes I know it's an outdated term but it does fit what happened).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

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

mummylin2495 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?

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