Advice about Depression
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Advice about Depression
I was diagnosed with depression following the birth of my 2.5 year old
daughter. Unfortunately, it took almost a year to get help. I started
taking meds and was going to therapy weekly. It helped
hugely. Recently, I've gone off the meds because I don't like taking a
pill everyday in addition to the side effects. I feel much more aware
of the behavior differences between then and now though at the end of
the day I am still mostly the same person as before. I've been reading
a lot about how kids with depressed parents have different brainwaves
than kids without and how acutely depressed parents seem to affect
their children. So what do I do know? I feel like I've set up my
daughter to have the same problems I have, just like my mother
had. How do you undo the damage you've caused your child by being a
depressed parent? Am I still considered a depressed parent when I'm
not on medication even though I feel better and am more aware of these
behaviors and thought patterns? (And I will jump on the medication if
I ever feel myself going ''down'' again) How do I protect my daughter
from all this?
Thoughts, suggestions? Thanks
-want to protect my child
Firstly, you should be proud of yourself for getting help!
I too had terrible depression after my son's birth and
really had other people care for him a lot since I was so
down. It took me about a year to come out of it. Honestly,
I don't give myself a hard time about it at all because now
I'm doing really well and my son is absolutely thriving.
Remember that your child has a personality all of their own.
No matter who you are, they will do well as long as you
love them the very best you can, care for them, nurture them
and tell them how special they are. You don't have to be
smiling all the time. That's a lot of pressure to put on
yourself. If you need breaks, take them. If you need help,
get help. A child is part of a community and you can lean
on others to take a breather. Embrace who you are and love
yourself. That in itself will translate over to your
daughter. She will be fine as long as you are. Many blessings!
I'm going to suggest you go to two blogs which give lots of practical ideas about
happiness and kids (both of which have associated books if you'd prefer it that
Both focus on building a skill set for being happier, and helping your kids to do
the same (most of which is research based). It can be a little overwhelming as a
whole package, so just experiment. Pick a few ideas and activities, try them out,
keep what works.
I'm not saying that reading the books/blogs and trying the activities will cure
your depression, or prevent your children from ever being depressed. But,
doing these sorts of things with your kids is a great, often pretty fun, way to
teach them some useful skills and give them the best start toward happiness
that you can.
I think it's great that you're thinking about the impact
your depression may have had or may continue to have on your
child. And it makes sense that you don't want to stay on
antidepressants forever. Have you done therapy? A good
therapist can help reduce negative thought patterns and make
changes in your thinking and behavior to improve your mood,
benefiting you as well as your child.
In terms of the impact depression has on children, it is
thought to be connected mainly to attachment and
responsiveness, so those are the two issues that you need to
focus on. If your depression impacting your attachment to
your daughter, she would be likely to be either clingy or
detached, difficult to leave with others or able to go to
anyone indiscriminately. Lots of quality time, physical
touch and holding, as well as playing together -- and being
truly present with her when you do -- are the best way to
create a secure attachment. Mindfulness exercises may be
helpful to improve your ability to be fully present with
your daughter rather than getting caught up in your
Responsiveness is very important as well, in that you
provide a mirror for your daughter, tracking her behavior
and emotions as well as talking to her a lot and making eye
contact. That tends to get lost when a mother is depressed.
That running dialog that mothers have with their children:
''Wow, you did that yourself! You're feeling very proud...''
''You're really disappointed about having to leave the
playground...'' ''You wish you could have that toy that your
friend is playing with...'' It all seems kind of obvious, but
that kind of mirroring behavior can be affected when a
mother is depressed, and it is a major factor in your
daughter developing a strong sense of self.
Meri, MA MFTI
First, thanks for being concerned about your child, and
reaching out for advice. I too suffered major, chronic
depression while raising my children, as a single mom. One
book I read which I believe helped me enormously was called
''The Optimistic Child'', by Martin Seligman. The front of the
book actually says ''how to immunize your child against
depression''. I can't use this space to say everything I
learned from the book, but I DID use the techniques in the
book to help my kids learn a different way of thinking and
seeing the world than I had learned, as a child. My kids are
grown now and are NOT depressed! (yay!) I also am not
anymore. But, you are right that as a parent, you must treat
your own depression if you feel it coming on, because it
does influence what/how you treat your children and the
world. Kids pick up on everything, especially if they are
intuitive. I wish that I had gone on meds earlier. Therapy
helped me, but I needed meds, for about ten years. You CAN
teach your children ways of thinking that will prevent
depression. I hope that you can appreciate the book as much
as I did.
Good luck to you!
Your posting has been on my mind and my heart goes out to
you. I was diagnosed with ppd when my daughter was almost a
year old and found it to be a really long journey back.
Medication helped some. Therapy helped some, but even after
those,it was a long slog to get through the leftover
feelings of anxiety and guilt. One of the best supports
I've found is postpartumprogress.com I highly recommend
it...there are postings from moms who have been there/are
there still and experts and it is an understanding and
supportive community. My daughter is 5 and over the past 4
years I've done a lot of attachment work to make up for the
lost time and my hope is that seeing me find/work on healing
will be a benefit to her in the long run. Please feel free
to contact me if you want to talk to someone who has been there.
I am looking to understand the experience of other SAHM with
a toddler. I have a 2.5 yo and am currently struggling with
the job at hand. It is difficult for me to sort out what is
the normal feelings for a mom of a son in the terrible twos,
or what is more the result of depression. I have a history
of depression, and am not sure if my current feelings
warrant medicinal interventions, therapy, or just plain old
commiseration with moms in the same boat.
Lately, I feel constantly exhausted by watching him, like I
am forever trying to wrangle him in one direction while he
goes the other, bored out of my mind playing the same games,
frustrated with his lack of attention span. I can't seem to
be present with him, because I simply am not interested in
playing the same thing over and over when there is so much
to be done. Everyone in the family thinks he is the cutest
of the cute, and all I can think is, I wish he would nap! I
want to enjoy my child and our time together, but I am
really worn down.
Anyone have any insight into how to sort out what is
depression vs. someone just in need of a little break?
You may get lots of ideas and opinions, but here's one...
find a job part or full time and put your son in a daycare.
I find two quality hours with my 2 yr old daughter per day
just right. I can do puzzles the whole time or read the
same book over & over again, then dinner, etc.
You also mentioned the ''so much to be done''. I also find
housekeeping help invaluable. laundry, a couple meals per
week, take out the trash, etc. Working could likely pay for
love working, love my time with my daughter
It seems to me that it's neither of the two: what you
experience is not necessarily part of the territory nor it has
to be depression.
I chose not to be a SAHM because I knew that it wasn't for me.
I went back to work within 4 months and was a single mother
since my child was 3 years old sometime having crazy
schedules. On the other hand, I have friends that LOVED to be
SAHM and would do it all over again.
Perhaps being a SAHM is not for you either. Nothing wrong with
it, and knowing what works for you gives you a better chance
also in the relationship with your child. Mine is now a grown
adult with her own life, but we are still very close. What I'm
saying is that you can balance your needs and your child's
need so that everybody gets something.
I think it's the territory, but I'm someone who is not cut
out to be a full-time SAHM. I envy those people/parents who
think playing with a small child is fun, fun, fun. I am not
a small child, and I don't find small child activities fun.
I'd love to. I don't. When I feel bad about it, I remember a
mom friend of mine saying ''I'm not 2, and I don't find
2-year-old games interesting.'' She gave me permission not to
When one of my children was small, I worked 16-20
hours/week. That was perfect. I had time with her but time
to be an adult. The hours of one-on-one time didn't just
stretch endlessly before me. Currently I have to work nearly
full time, and my 3.5 year old is in preschool all day. He
loves it and has more fun there.
What I learned as my older one (now in college) was growing
up is that we all have ages of children we're best with. I'm
not a baby or toddler person. I enjoy my kids more as they
get older and we can share activities together. There are
lots of things I'm good at as a parent. I love teaching my
kids new things. I am loving and cuddly, and set good
limits. I have a great relationship with my older child and
was frequently praised for my parenting of her. I remind
myself of these things when I feel guilty that I don't enjoy
straight-on playing with my little guy.
Have you considered a co-op preschool for your child? You'd
get low-cost child care, you'd meet other parents, and your
child could socialize. I did that with my oldest and made
friendships that lasted years. If not a co-op, work on other
ways to hang out with moms and kids. It's amazing how much
better the parenting job is when shared. Makes you realize
why we used to live in tribes.
I'd go out of my mind as a full-time SAHM
You sound like me from a while back. I thought it was just
hard to raise a child. I finally sought out some therapy due
to my marriage getting so rocky, but actually ended up on an
anti-depressant after the therapist suggesting it for
months. I tried it and I can't believe I didn't do it
sooner!! It really changed some of the more subtle parts of
my life - like just feeling worn out and like I was never
getting enough sleep (even though I was sleeping 10+ hours a
night) and the lack of energy. My child (2yrs old) is a joy
to be around, even when we're handling conflict. And that
conflict is sooo much easier to handle now. I would strongly
encourage you to 1-seek therapy and 2-if they suggest it,
try what they suggest and give it enough time to kick in so
you can evaluate if it's helpful or not. You, your child,
and your family deserve a better you.
BOTH? The SAHM thing can be a huge drag especially if you are isolated from
other adults and therefore you end up depressed. The easy fixes, get out of the
house, join some play groups so your son plays with others and you meet more
moms. Carve out some time to exercise. Don't feel like you are the
entertainment. Your son needs to learn to play independently. See a DR. Good
It sounds like part of the territory. Consider that you have
given up the last 2.5 years of your life to focus on your
child (a very noble endeavor) and the lack of focus on your
needs is catching up to you. Also, the 2's are such an
intense time. I had the same feelings you did with the same
game boredom and praying for nap time. It's really great that
you are keeping an eye out for signs of depression but these
feelings are normal when caring for a little one.
- still praying for nap time
I don't think you need to worry unless your feelings are
actually interfering with proper care of your child. To
many, caring for a small child full time is BORING!!!
Things that helped me:
Fully develop a group of mom friends to hang out with-I
went bonkers at home all day-but then you have adults to
talk to and the kids play.
Imagining in my mind that developmentally stimulating my
child and playing with him was my job-so I went about it
with more discipline as if I was at work-like I might want
to just play for 5 minutes and then go do something else,
but now in my mind it is my job to play this repetitive
whatever for 1 hr. Just like I might not always like say
writing a report at work, but it is my job, so I stay
focused on doing it and committed. This mental mind game
helped me with my child.
At the beginning of the day, laying out a game plan in my
head or on paper or for the week. Ex, Mon we go to the zoo
in the am, then take nap, then play for 1 hr, then meet
Amy and her kid at the park from 3-5. This helped the day
have more structure and broke it up.
Nights out alone with no kid-something to look forward to
or going to the movies ALONE. This was my safe space-a
place where no one will ask anything of me, whine, cry
scream or demand. No one will touch me, speak to me, or
bother me for a predetermined 138 minutes or whatever-I
found this very soothing to my nervous system when my
child was small.
Hope that helps-don't feel bad, everyone likes different
ages the best and everyone has limits of tolerance.
got bored too
I literally could have written your post. I SO feel for
you--the boredom, the isolation of being home with a
toddler, the frustration of trying to get things done with
toddler-in-tow, the longing for naptime! I'm right there
with you! Sometimes I wonder if something is terribly wrong
with me. And sometimes I wonder if what I'm really reacting
to is the general expectation that I ''should feel lucky to
be able to stay at home with my baby.'' As if I ''shouldn't''
feel anything but happiness and joy and ''I'm having fun all
day staying home with my precious baby?'' It's NOT fun all
day. It's a lot of the same boring crap OVER and OVER and
OVER. Right? Anyway, I think that the best thing I do
for myself is say and accept what I'm feeling. And often,
I'm bored, frustrated, exhausted, and just friggin' depressed!
All my sincere sympathy,
Another bored mom
I literally could have written your post. I SO feel for
you--the boredom, the isolation of being home with a
toddler, the frustration of trying to get things done with
toddler-in-tow, the longing for naptime! I'm right there
with you! I also wonder if something is wrong with me--if
I'm just depressed. And sometimes I wonder if what I'm
really reacting to is the general expectation that I ''should
feel lucky to be able to stay at home with my baby.'' As if
I ''shouldn't'' feel anything but happiness and joy and ''I'm
having fun all day staying home with my precious baby?'' But
we both know that it's NOT fun all day. It's a lot of the
same boring crap OVER and OVER and OVER. Right?
Anyway, I think that the best thing I do for myself is say
and accept what I'm feeling. And often, I'm bored,
frustrated, exhausted, and just want to be ANYWHERE else.
My favorite thing is to get together with mom friends who
can keep it real and just KVETCH about it. If you ever want
to go to the park, let the kids play, and yap about how
annoying they are, email me! firstname.lastname@example.org
All my sincere sympathy,
Another bored mom
You definitely need some (or more) time to yourself each
week. You sound burnt out but still desire to connect with
your son. Hire someone to give you a break, it's worth it! I
can recommend someone reasonable in the Laurel area if
you're around there.
Yes, being a stay at home mom can be very frustrating and
isolating. Since it sounds like your mood/feelings are
starting to negatively impact the way you perceive and
interact with your son I think it's time to reach out for
the help of a mental health pro.
Other suggestions: (ones you'll probably get from your
mental health pro)
He's at a good age to start a preschool or coop play group a
few hours a week. He'll love it once he gets used to it and
you'll meet many like minded parents
Join a gym with childcare if you haven't already. This is a
a major life changer. Going for a quick workout followed by
a long hot shower will do wonders for your mood. Plus it
helps break up/organize the day and you get some time to
Schedule at least one ''formal'' activity a day and commit to
attending it. Could be as easy as story time at the park or
a tumbling class.
Take stroller walks outside when you are feeling down or
frustrated. Being outside in the fresh air, seeing folks
and new things is pleasant for you both.
Make sure you have at least a couple times each day that you
devout to totally being with him, connecting him, and
Make sure you partner takes a turn on the weekends or
evenings. You should have at least 2-3 hours a week to do
your own thing; whatever that may be.
Glad my kids are in chldcare!
I'm sure you're going to get a lot of responses saying this
is common for SAHMs (or NON SAHMs), but I thought I'd chime
in with the opposite. No doubt about it, toddlers are
trying and tiring, and I'm sure there are a number of people
who have the same feelings you do and aren't depressed, but
my experience was that when I started feeling the way you're
describing, I knew it was time to reevaluate my meds. I
have a long history of depression and so wasn't off my meds,
but had lowered my dosage. For me, one big clue is that I
began to feel physically weighted down and exhausted beyond
normal tiredness. A few other things you wrote spell out
depression to me: not being present, easily frustrated. I
say it's worth trying the meds, or at least talking to a
therapist to evaluate. As soon as I upped my dosage, I was
able to really be present for my daughter, not be so easily
annoyed, and have my normal amount of energy. Trust me, I
still got tired, frustrated, etc. but the change was
I'm not sure if I'm the best or the worst person to answer
your question, since I could have written your post
myself.... but I feel compelled to respond, if only to let
you know that you are not the only one!
I, too, have a history of depression and have also gone back
and forth mentally about whether I need meds or am just
going through the tough reality of parenting a toddler.
I do want say that a friend recently told me she thought my
self-perception of not being ''present'' enough for my child
was inaccurate and was really more of a reflection of my own
hyper-vigilance. I mention that because, even though I don't
know you, just based on your post, it's a good bet you're
being too hard on yourself. Toddlers really can and do suck.
(That being said, if you truly do not appreciate just how
adorable your 2.5 yr old is when he's momentarily not being
a butt-head, then it may be time to think about medication.
While parenting is really hard and getting over-whelmed IS
''part of the territory'', it is also entirely possible that
you are depressed. So, my advice on that front is to make
sure you are feeling some joy some of the time....)
Anyway, I really did appreciate your post. As another mother
of a 2 yr old, I struggle a lot with the questions you
asked. So thanks for putting it into words and reminding me
that I'm not alone in my experience.
I really felt your pain in this. I think it may be a little of both but you need
figure that out for yourself or with a therapist. From my own experience, I
think there is a lot of class pressure for women to not only be SAHMs but to
also be incredibly perfect at it: always engaged, saying the right thing,
understanding your child completely. Now that my kids are older, I think this
pressure is out of control. When my oldest was 2.5, I had a new baby. I also
experienced PPD for the first year of my second child's life. It was maddening
as my first child was spirited and I just felt like a terrible mom. I went back
work and felt incredible guilt about that. And, you know what? My kids are
FINE and think in the long run, I am a big believer in the village concept of
raising a child than the idea of the solitary mother alone with her child doing
it all. In the old days, moms were home but they had community and usually
grandparents, aunts and muti-generational siblings to all help out. In a
nutshell, the constant attention a toddler needs cannot be possibly met in
addition to having to clean, cook and all that. So, cut yourself some slack and
if I were you, I'd look into some part time preschool where he can socialize
and you can get a break.
satisfied with being a substandard mother (now)
I have never suffered from clinical depression, and you
have described exactly how I feel about spending time with
my small children. I love them, I do enjoy them in small
doses, but a lot of the job is drudgery. They are now
three and six, and as they get older and play with one
another more I enjoy the job of parenting more and more.
There are parts of parenting I like, and I feel that I'm a
good parent. However I'm not the kind of parent who enjoys
playing with little kids. Some people love doing this,
My fantasy of parenting is that I would play with them for
hours and marvel at the way their little minds work while
we did things like make jam or play with homemade wooden
toys. The reality is that I got issued actual children,
and they got issued the sort of mom who rushes them when
we're taking a walk for fun.
I enjoy the parts I can, I grind through the parts I
can't. Hope you can too.
It's usually a good idea to talk to a doctor or therapist
about the possibility of depression, but also, have you
considered that maybe being a stay-at-home mom is just not
for you? Your message describes exactly how I would feel if
I were at home with my 2 y.o. full time. I work part-time
(3 days/week) and for me this is just the right balance of
work and child. I adore my little one, but would feel
totally unhappy and bored and irritable and exhausted if I
were a full time stay-at-home mom. It wouldn't be good for
my child or for me.
I have many friends who are very happy and fulfilled as
SAHMs. But if you're not - maybe it's just not the right
thing for you at this time. Consider looking for part-time
work in your field or an area you're interested in. If you
can afford some child care even without working, you could
volunteer or do an activity you enjoy, a couple of times a
week. If finances are too tight, a child care trade with
another stay-at-home mom could be great for both of you (and
your kids, who would get to play together). Even 5-10 hours
a week might make a big difference in how you feel about
your time with your son. I promise you, self-care for
parents is good for children.
One other thing that's been helpful for me with my child is
identifying the things that the two of us both like to do,
and trying to do more of those things, even if sometimes it
means the housework doesn't get done. For example, maybe
your child loves to watch construction machinery and you
find it extremely boring... but you both love to swim. So
you could go to swim classes together.
Parents have needs too
Sorry your feeling down in the dumps.
I can't answer any diagnoses questions... but as a fellow SAHM of a 2+ year
old, I thought I'd share two coping strategies that work for me.
- When I am feeling super-disengaged from play with my babe, then I tell him
its a good time to play by himself while I do a mommy-activity. Usually this
means something not-too fun, like folding laundry or doing dishes... But, it
helps to check an errand off the list. I should note that he loves having a
playmate, so he often pops out of his room every 15 minutes to show me a
toy, and I just say ''hey, that's nice'' and then keep at my task. It helps both
us to have some space.
- Find some new fun things you want to do together. If I am getting stir crazy,
but he's happy logging 3 hours in his room, I'll just say ''mommy needs fresh
air'' and we'll get outside... whether I'm pushing a stroller or taking him for
walk on foot. Sometimes I have him to move some toys to the place where I
want to work on something else, and he often joins me in a new activity - like
he'll make a mess in the kitchen while I cook dinner.
Sorry, no glamorous answers here. Just that you shouldn't feel trapped in
redunda-play-land. If your babe is happy playing solo, take advantage of that
time to do your own thing in the same part of the house (we had to work up
to this dynamic). Also, try to find some new things you want to try with him.
Maybe he'll be excited about a new book? or a trip to the library? a new
playground? Ride the bus? Sure helps me just to get out of the house and see
other people. I also started gardening out in the front yard, and that gives us
time to say hi to strangers, dogs, and neighbors, check on seedlings, dig dirt,
etc.. Mixes it up.
If you are feeling down in the dumps, maybe fish oil? But.... it sounds like you
just need new activities that you are also interested in.
Dear Tired Out,
At first I thought - you saved me a post, and the timing
couldn't be better... I was planning to submit something
very similar this week, only in trying to formulate the
actual question (because my dilemma differs from yours in
one important way), I missed the posting deadline.
I also have a 2.5 year old son. I love him more than
anything in the world, but to be perfectly honest, I don't
enjoy ''doing'' things with him in the way I know that I
should. To be even more honest, I will say that entertaining
him can be tedious and boring. In fact, there are often
times when I would rather be doing any one of a number of
household chores. I realize how horrible this sounds! Yet at
the same time I know how much I love my boy. I wanted
desperately to have him. He means everything to me.. When I
am away from the house even for a few minutes, I think of
nothing else and can't wait to return just to see him. I
chose not to go back to work because I couldn't bear the
thought of being away from my precious baby. It is difficult
to reconcile the two. I love being around my son and
watching him learn and explore, but entertaining him is a
stressful and demanding job that I seldom actually enjoy. I
am always relieved when my husband takes over and I can
appreciate just ''being'' with the two of them. I never did
enjoy walking around the neighborhood with a stroller, much
less trips to the playground. Doing those things made me
very depressed. I used to watch the clock tick away, as I
desperately awaited the changing of shifts in the evenings.
I also wondered whether to attribute this to postpartum
depression. However, I soon realized this was not the case.
When I did have moments to myself I found that I was not
depressed. Of course, this realization brought with it a
tremendous amount of guilt - something I have struggled with
for the past two years. Over time I have come to the
realization that I am simply not a perfect fit for this age
(0 - toddler). Hard as I try, it doesn't come naturally to
me. I am convinced that as my son gets older I will truly be
able to enjoy spending time doing things with him. Even now
(at 2.5), it is a little easier than 6 or 12 months ago..
That is something I have to constantly remind myself of as I
go through the day playing pretend games, telling the same
old story, and otherwise catering to my rambunctious
toddler. Being a SAHM is hard! Your feelings and what you
are going through are probably not that uncommon.
I am sure many readers will suggest that what you are
experiencing is likely a manifestation of underlying
depression. Perhaps that is the case. But wanted to share my
story because with me, it wasn't.
Best of luck to you.
I didn't have my period for about 3 years during the
stretch where I was pregnant and breastfeeding my little
ones. As soon as I stopped breastfeeding and my period
returned, my depression came back. Specifically, the week
before my period, I get deeply, severely depressed. I
went to my doctor because I felt that I needed to go back
on antidepressants (which I had stopped without issue when
trying to get pregnant). I'd struggled with depression in
the past and had been on Rx for about 5 years, but never
connected it to hormonal changes per se. My doctor
suspected it was related to hormonal fluctuations and also
told me that PMS symptoms worsen the closer you get to
menopause. (I may be perimenopausal considering some
fertility issues we had.)
I'm on 40mgs of Citalopram (Celexa) and my doctor
recommended going up to 60mgs for that week. I was
dubious until I just got through my bad week again. I
just got so low, I felt overwhelmed, sad, I drop all the
balls, I avoid social engagements and people. Sadly it
corresponded with my 37th birthday and I didn't really see
or talk to anyone. Next month, I'll see if upping my
dosage helps, but I somehow feel that's not the only
Have there been any advances in women's health? Why is
this happening? Is it going to get worse? Am I doomed to
be Jeckel and Hyde? Is there some sort of specialist I
should see? I feel this cyclical depressive drop is
outside the spectrum of what could be considered normal
PMS moodiness. I'm not really sure what to do, but this
doesn't seem right. (Yes, thyroid has been tested.)
Feeling better today because my period started,
If your hormones fluctuate this dramatically, wouldn't it makes sense to
address that -- the root cause -- rather than just the symptoms of
depression? I urge you to consult Judy Burgio, a licensed pharmacist and
certified nutritionist who helps clients manage a wide range of health
challenges holistically (which can include Rxs). Check out her website,
www.coachforwholehealth.com. She is terrific and can refer you if you
need other kinds of support. Bio-identical hormones have transformed my
life, but I'm older than you, so I can't advise if this is a viable route for you
as well. Good luck!
you sound exactly like me! i don't have a magic wand, but
i'll tell you something my therapist suggested, which seemed
trivial but has made a HUGE difference.
mark your calendar for when you should be getting your
period, and make note of the week before. and then let
yourself off the hook for that week. don't make big
decisions, don't work too hard, don't expect ''your best''.
basically, be prepared for that to be your down week. for
whatever reason, being prepared for it has helped me a lot
and has also made it easier to remember that it will pass.
You're definitely not alone on this one! If you can take
birth control pills without depression issues (and you're a
nonsmoker), that could help. Please see your OB/GYN about
this, but I'm pretty sure every birth control pill can be
taken without using the blank pills, i.e. just taking the 3
weeks of hormones without pause back to back. There is
really no medical need to have a period unless you are
trying to get pregnant. Your doctor can tell you if you can
do this indefinitely, or whether you need to take a hormone
break every so often.
If you can't take the pill, I'd go with upping the dose of
your antidepressant. I've experienced a significant
reduction in peri and menopause symptoms with a generic form
of Wellbutrin. Best of luck to you!
I too experience bad PMS. Antidepressants are definitely
crucial for me. Other things that have helped are
acupuncture, meditation, and bodywork. I know there are
doctors that specialize in women's hormonal issues, but
you have to pay out of pocket. I have not done this
because it's just too much money. But i couldn't get by
without the antidepressant for that time of month.
Kate: I feel for you. I hope this doesn't sound pithy, but please considering
researching GLUTEN sensitivity. It's an issue that more folks are learning about
(and that docs rarely mention in my experience). You'll learn that our
imbalances, whether mental or immunological, may be corrected by taking a
surprising allergen out of the diet. Going gluten-free is a hard thing to fathom
(no more bread!?????) but easy once you talk to people who've done it and once
you're on the road yourself. There are so many resources out there. For our
family, going GF helped 3 members of our family (including a depressed spouse
and an asthmatic kid). Good luck.
Researched and enlightened
A good nutritionalist or holistic nutrition consultant who
understands how food affects hormonal cycles, an
acupuncturist, a ND, or an herbalist could all help you with
what you are experiencing.
A nutritional consultant can help you look at your diet and
see what food changes will support an easier transition
during your cycle. An acupuncturist can use any of a
combination of needles, nutritional counseling, or herbs. A
N.D. will also have a range of skills for helping you, or an
herbalist can create formulas for you to take long term or
for the time of month when you are having problems.
It sounds from your post that you are biased towards
allopathic medical care. If that is the case, then a skilled
nutritionist who has experience addressing hormonal
imbalances, PMS, and hormone-based depression should be able
to support you in conjuction with an MD. Though food, herbs,
and energetic-based healthcare take longer to take effect,
they are easier on your body and put a higher value on self
care and long-term overall health. Expect to be asked about
things like your stress levels, sleep patterns, eating
habits, and other seemingly unrelated topics that will help
give clues to how to support you overall. I can tell you
from personal experience, as well as those of friends, that
any of the above four types of practitioners has been
infinitely more helpful in solving problems like you are
describing than many trips to and drugs from an MD.
What you are describing is something I see in my clinic
quite often and have great sucess treating. Acupuncture is
phenomenal at treating menstrual problems, by regulating
the hormone levels so you don't experience the big dips
(and associated depression). You can try meds, and there
are even some marketed specifically for PMS depression.
But if you don't like the side-effects or want something
to actually treat your condition and not just mask it,
then I highly recommend you give acupuncture a go. And the
bonus is, you'll probably sleep better and feel more
relaxed the rest of the month too.
Have you tried acupuncture and herbs? I've had a horrible time with hormone-
related depression, and the only things that have really helped are regular
exercise (I do yoga and cardio, but I think whatever feels good and is challenging
will work), acupuncture, and herbal medicines (prescribed by my acupuncturist).
The herbs were aimed at my pituitary gland, and they produced dramatic results.
My acupuncturist is wonderful: Lynn Segura (510) 843-8889, on Ashby near
I have similar issues where I struggle around my hormonal
cycle and my PMS has gotten worse over the years. I have
used paxil for the past couple of years but recently started
acupuncture. It definitely is helping. I even have hope I
will be able to go of the drugs altogether. Their are
several community acupuncture clinics that have low fees but
finding one that you click with and specializes in this is
Oh, I walked many miles in your shoes. The week before my
period was horrible psychologically; and my period was
painful, sometimes I felt bad after my period. I only felt
''normal'' about 10 days out of the month. It got worse as I
moved into peri-menopause.
What helped me a lot (didn't ''cure me'' but made it much
better): 400 mg. Folic acid, fish oil capsules, evening
primrose oil, taking daily walks, and better
anti-depressants in slightly larger doses. Plus the
realization that my hormones were a factor in my general
mood--i.e. physical factors played a huge role.
What cured it: menopause!!! Hallelujah!! I thought it was
going to be a nightmare, based on how bad my periods were
and after hearing horror stories from other women. Not so!
Menopause has been a blessing for me; my moods are so much
So I'd say you need better supplements, better meds and a
broader perspective. Look for a really savvy psychiatrist
who you can relate to (who understands women's cycles and
how it affects mood). Some women I know have also benefited
enormously from working with a gynecologist, and/or
alternative specialists using herbs, nutrition, supplements.
--It DOES get better
I went through something similar when I first went on birth
control pills. It was like having PMS 3 weeks out of the
month, with the middle of my cycle and right before my
period being the worst. I finally changed birth control
pills, from one with a steady dose of hormones to one that
varied levels over the cycle, and, lo and behold, the
problem went away completely.
You didn't mention if you are on BCP now, but if you are,
you might try changing brands. If you aren't, it seems
possible that going on an appropriate pill would help.
I'm not a doctor and don't play one on TV, so talk to your
doctor, gynecologist or even an endocrinologist, about the
Have you tried getting back on the pill, or some other hormone therapy?
Perhaps working at this from the hormonal end will provide some relief.
I suffer from ongoing bouts of depression and myself
struggle to understand it--thinking if i can just somehow be
strong enough i can remedy it myself, but also at times can
recognize that therapy and hopefully some medication can
help. I've sought both out at times, with limited measures
of success and much failure. In short, I grapple with
depression as I know so many others do, and have yet to find
a way to successfully keep it at bay. What's becoming a
larger issue for me is the fact that my husband doesn't
really ''believe in'' depression, therapy, or medication. He's
not some regressive person but he had a parent that was
probably schizophrenic, requiring hospitalization, and I
think as a child had some very bad experiences with family
therapy that led him to doubt the profession. So in his
mind, which I can understand is twisted by the bad
experience, mental illness is not real unless it's full
blown mania, and therapy is just a crock. Though he is
generally a supportive partner, I find myself despondent at
times that he can't understand what I struggle with. I mean
he understands that I struggle emotionally but I feel like
I'm to blame since there's no understanding of a disease at
work. At some level I worry that he doesn't have ''my
back''--can't see when i am really despairing and call a dr.,
a trusted friend, someone to help. I find this more and more
depressing in and of itself and worry for me and my small
child, and of course like everyone else with recession
worries, lately our situation is only more stressful. Anyone
have recommendations--ignore the issue with my husband,
create alternate support networks (difficult now that I'm an
isolated, out of work SaHM), I don't know what? Thank you.
Sorry to hear your husband is not supportive.
Unfortunately, his thoughts are very common. You need to
ignore your husband and persue the options that are best
for you. It is your right to do this without his blessing.
Dont try to get him involved right now. If he sees positive
results he may change his mind, but don't focus on making
him happy or change, focus on yourself and if that is too
difficult then focus on whats right for your child.
I'm no expert but I've been noticing lately that the least
supportive people of such things are spouses, because all
the extra work falls upon them, and they resent it. I've
noticed my friends really resenting their husbands' health
problems, for example. I find myself thinking not very
nice thoughts about my husband having a cold or flu,
thinking ''if you took better care of yourself it would be a
lot better for me.'' I've noticed husbands in general not
perfectly supportive of their wife's mental health problems.
I think you made some excellent suggestions yourself when
you said, ''--ignore the issue with my husband,create
alternate support networks (difficult now that I'm an
isolated, out of work SaHM). I find being a SaHM can be
depressing in itself unless you make some mommy friends and
do fun mommy things, like go to the museums on admission-
free days, in which case it can be really fun. But it was
like starting at a new school, I really had to work at
making friends. Also, medication is changing so many lives
for the better if you can find the right meds and the right
dose and can afford it. So you know what to do, and you've
started to do it. Carry on! Yay for you!
Hope this helps - happy SaHM
I've been in a similar situation.My husb. did not want me take anti-
depressants & thought that I was lazy,wasting days when in reality I was
doing my best & moving slowly as I worked on life, getting my special needs
baby healthier while depressed.I was very angry @ my husb. & thought about
leaving him but stayed.I secretly took an anti-depressant.It wasn't a good
match for me but it led to me talking to my husb. more about my depression
& what we could do to make things better.Factors contributing to my
depression were exhaustion, lack of sleep, no time to myself, not enough
exercise, vitamin deficiencies, stress & isolation.I didn't end up feeling like he
really understood but I did feel like he tried to work w/me on the exhaustion,
etc & how, I/we, could help to make me feel healthier and stronger.He helped
me more with baby was the end result & I had more time to myself.I also
started seeing a therapist who was very helpful.Her name is Padma Ali. 3 yrs
later,I still don't feel that my husb really gets depression,but have come to
the conclusion that I needed to just deal with it on my own because it wasn't
just that he may not have my back but also I couldn't rely on the fact that
someone would have my back. It's nice to know that there are friends & fam.
that are there for us when we need them but what if there weren't,how could
I take care of my baby as a depressed person?What if something were to
happen to your husb and he weren't around?Would it matter at that point that
he didn't get your depression?You would still need to care for yourself and
your child. so how can you find a way to manage your depression with or
without your husb's support?I would suggest therapy, trying to work out
some alone time, getting regular exercise, getting a healthy amt. of sleep,
reading about depression & how vitamins can help depression,& talking to
friends about your depression.You can also talk to your MD & see if she will
prescr. an anti-depressant.I also recommend setting goals for yourself &
thinking about things you would like to see happen.Do you have other friends
who you can spend time with to just hang out, have fun? I feel better but I try
to make sure I get a bit of exercise and sunshine 3x a week & starting to see
early results as I work towards specific goals.I also take more vitamin
supplements now.I am not depression free but feel like I have to stay strong
for my son. Good luck to you.
Making It Work Somehow
I,m a stay at home mom, of two healthy nice kids 4 and 3, I have
enjoy beeing a full time mom until the last year I started to
have weired feelings, kind of I'm ashamed to say it, but like I
don't love my kids, But I do, if you know what I mean. I'm living
hell in my soul, even my life is perfect, we do have a pretty
house, we are healthy, my husband is amazing and I have a nice
but small family support but far away, and few nice friends, but
who have their own stuff to worry about.
I went for help to a Psychiatrist who right away gave me a sample
of a drug. But here is the problem, both me and my husband are
very hesitant of starting a treatment with this type of drugs.
I found lots of information of people who have benefit from
Lexapro (the one that Dr. prescribed) but it seems that either
you will need to keep increasing the dosage or you hit plateau
and it does not longer work.
My anxiety is moderate, but it's keeping me of seeing the beauty
in my every day life. Not even a vacation is exciting now.
So here is my question.. Are there any peolple out there who have
successfully batle anxiety and/or depression without medication?
And if you decided to use medication for how long did you use it?
I'm kind of seeking people that have use medication but in a
short term period and were able to gain control of their lives
I have to mention that I do run 30 min a day, quit caffeine , and
my few cups of wine a week. I'm taking care of my diet, and I'm
taking herbs (st John's worth and fish oil) and vitamins.
but despite my efforts, even I see some improvement , I'm still
living this horrible days of pain in my heart.
Either I'm mad or sad or just plain dragging my self to do things.
Thanks for your input.
Never thought motherhood was so brutal on one's soul
My situation was exactly the same and I was able to get out of it without drugs. I went to see Dr.
Sharon Bass. I recommend her highly or anyone who you think is good for you, not some one who
gives you drugs before you even begin the work of transformation. Talk therapy gets to the heart of the
matter. What is the matter? It is that you are in a cocoon stage. I assume 40 is on the way if you have 2
kids. This depression is right on schedule for you and most women. The way you get out is talking to
someone who can help you see that this is the beginning of a rebirth for you as you enter the next
phase of your life. You can learn so much from depression. You can't always see it when you are in it
but retrospectively I can say, ''That was good for me, I am better for it.''
I am now in a position where I want to begin to help women through this cocoon stage of life and
I am now teaching classes for women who are Re-Emerging. I would see someone ''professional'' first
for at least 6 months. Cry and cry and cry and get it all out and then you will begin to in-vision your self
as your new post motherhood glorious self. You will morn all the things you did not do, you will morn
your aging you will morn all that you lost or did not have, and then you will embrace who you are about
to become. You don't need or want drugs for that.
Replace a sad thought with a beautiful thought. One thought at a time.
Read: Road Less Travled, or the Power of Now
Gather your friends around you.
Sit in the sun.
All us mothers are with you. WE really are.
A few months ago I was facing severe anxiety and moderate depression. I was not
interested in drugs (been there, done that) and I didn't want to talk it out. I
knew that I was off balance and just needed help getting myself upright again.
I tried acupuncture on the recommendation of a friend (who had had success with
it for anxiety and OCD). Not something I would have chosen on my own, and I
didn't go in ''believing'' it would work. It did, amazingly well, and the effects
have been lasting. I'm sure there are lots of recommendations for locations in
the archives. I can recommend Peea Kim-Hassel in Berkeley,
email@example.com. She is fabulous.
seeing clearly again
Please know, first, that you are not alone. Depression is very common; it is one of THE MOST common
experiences for women (much more than men). Also, just so you know, depression is considered a
mental health issue--don't be scared if you hear someone talk about it in those terms. It is simply
how it is categorized, nothing more.
About the medication: Talk to your regular doctor, not the psychiatrist, about your fears. Understand
that often, when depression comes seemingly out of the blue, people use an anti-depressant for a few
months and then ease off of it. It helps with situational depression. However, if you have chronic
depression, then please do not be ashamed. This is, as I said, *extremely* common for women, and is
simply a physical imbalance. Ask yourself: Do I treat my other physical maladies (headache, sore
muscles, etc.) with medication? If so, then please understand that depression is simply part of your
I know it can feel scary. There are many groups to help you find support. I would recommend starting
with NAMI in Alameda County; you can get lots of information on the namicalifornia.org Website as
You deserve to have the happiness back that you once had, and I promise that by being proactive--
which can be very difficult when you are feeling depressed--you will feel happy again.
best of luck
In college, I was clinically depressed and started on Prozac, later switched to Wellbutrin. I went off it the
next year, got depressed again, went back on and stayed on for 5 years or so until I stopped when trying
to get pregnant. Haven't gone back on (it's been 5 years), and have been fine. So that's my story of going
on antidepressants and coming back off and being fine.
I would encourage you to try the drugs. It can be scary to go on antidepressants, but they can be
miraculous. You sound quite depressed and as though you're not enjoying your children's childhood which
is so sad, especially because it really, really doesn't have to be that way. I used to worry about who am I if
my personality can change with drugs. But once I went on prozac, I realized that was silly. The
antidepressants took me back to who I knew I really was. And also, if you decide for whatever reason you
don't like the drugs, you can always go off again. As for the plateau, I don't know about that drug in
particular, but there are so many and a doctor can always help you find the right one.
If not for your sake, do it for your children.
No longer depressed
I have had anxiety for years, but post-baby it got really bad. I tried all
sorts of alternative treatments on my own but ended up going on Lexapro. it
worked like a charm. I was on it for years at the same level and it continued
working. Went off it to get pregnant and carry my second baby (didn't sleep for
9 months...literally...because of the anxiety) and re-started at about month 7
in the pregnancy. Had horrible horrible side-effects which hadn't happened
before. So now I'm on Celexa and its great. I've been on the same dosage for 1
1/2 years and feeling fine.
I know its scary to do a long-term drug. But you have to think of your anxiety
& depression as a medical problem, not your fault or a sign of weakness or
something that is likely to just go away on its own. If you had cancer, would
you treat it homeopathically only or would you go for the big guns?? (Yes, I
know anxiety/depression aren't cancer, but I hope you get my point.)
If Lexapro scares you, try something else. God knows theres enough choices out
there. Its not an easy thing finding the right one for you-they all have
different side effects, and one may work on you better than others. They may
give you a mix, Lexapro & something like wellbutrin which is a depression drug.
The only continuing side effect I have had from these is sexual, which SUCKS.
But maybe you will be lucky.
Anxiety is a horrible thing. It sucks all the joy from your life and leave you
feeling alone and crazy. You need to fix it. It won't hurt to at least try a
few different prescriptions. You owe it to yourself. If you don't like it,
just go off it. Its not a permenant thing.
been there, done that
If your doctor gave you a sample, was it long enough for the drugs to kick in?
SSRIs can take up to 5 weeks to get up to speed. There is no reason for you to
suffer, so I'd say:
1. Work with your doctor to find the right drug and dosage to get you through.
Worry less about the long term effects and concentrate on getting to a more
balanced you. Yes, SSRIs can loose their effectiveness but not always. And there
are lots to switch around to. Relieve that you may be unreasonably anxious about
2. Get into talk therapy to figure out what your core issues are. Without
addressing what's really going on, you will remain anxious. This is the path to
getting off the drugs long term. There is a mind/body relationship and it's
important to realize that it's not just chemical.
I have been in a situation where I was dealing with constant panic and anxiety.
When the SSRIs kicked in, it was a huge relief, and I wondered why I had put it
off for so long. I am a better parent and partner without those feelings, and
better able to focus on issues rather than pain.
Give yourself points for having this realization and taking care of yourself in
so many good ways. Take the next step and address the problem. Don't let your
kids grow up with an anxious and distracted mommy!
See the upside of the meds
My husband is an M.D. and I've heard him talk about this issue for years...many of our friends and family
members are on various antidepressants, and I've seen these drugs save marriages, and save lives. One
thing he tells people who are wary of taking drugs: Depression is a disease. It's not that you're just
''crazy''. Your brain has an actual chemical imbalance, and can be helped with modern medicine. It's both
a physical AND a mental issue. If you had cancer would you turn down chemo? If you had a fever would
you deny Tylenol? Drugs for depression are real, and can really help you. Find the right doctor for you,
and find the right drug. It will change the way you see your life.
a Berkeley mom of 3
I am a clinical psychologist and am on Lexapro, so I can answer your question from both of these
perspectives. First, there are definitely ways to treat anxiety/depression non-medically. The best is to go
to a well-trained psychologist (or other mental health professional) who uses cognitive-behavioral
techniques. You could start by calling the the San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy
(www.sfbacct.com). However, medication also can work very well, and is much easier and cheaper than
going to a therapist. Many people who take any kind of medication, including antidepressants, start on a
low dose and increase. It is called titration and it is a process used to ensure that side effects are
manageable and that ultimately the proper does is found. And yes, for some people the effects of Lexapro
or other antidepressants fade over time, but that is usually after years of use. And that is not necessarily
going to be the case for you. Please do not let hearsay prevent you from getting treatment and feeling
better. It is so important for you AND for your children. I have been on 20mg of Lexapro for 3 years and
it literally saved my life. And remember, Lexapro is just one of many possible antidepressants that might
work for you. I tried 3 others before I found that Lexapro was right for me, both in terms of having a
positive effects and having no side effects. I really encourage you to try medication (and tell your doctor
about the herbs you are taking) and/or to find a good therapist.
I'm very sorry to hear about your pain and struggle. I noticed that you mentioned using St. John's Wort
as an herbal supplement for your depression. In my experience, this herb is best suited for the kind of
depression associated with a diminishing amount of daylight, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. You seem
to be suffering from a different kind of problem, and I would suggest that if you do want to treat your
problem without drugs, you enlist the help of a trained herbalist. You can find an herbalist in your area
by searching through the American Herbalist Guild
(http://americanherbalistsguild.com/member_profiles/CA), or by following any of the
recommendations on BPN for acupuncturists, who are trained as herbalists in CA.
I want to add that I have treated many people in my clinical training as an acupuncturist who were
using anti-depressant drugs on a short-term basis, as you describe, and had success in moving on
from them to a more stable place. This is best done with the awareness and supervision of your
prescribing MD as well as other any health care provider who is giving you herbs or supplements, as
these drugs have varying half-lives and side effects if weaned too abruptly, as well as potential drug-
herb interactions. Acupuncturists also see a great number of patients who seek treatment for these
conditions as an alternative to drugs entirely, and I can confidently say we see a lot of success in
helping people feel better.
Good luck to you; I feel certain you will find the light in life again.
Of course there are people out there who have battled anxiety/depression
without medication. Anxiety and depression can fall on such a wide spectrum
that some people are very successful with overcoming it without medication and
others are not. I don't think it speaks so much to who you are as a person or
your skills if you can or cannot overcome without medication, as much as it
does to the severity of the anxiety/depression and whether it's situational
anxiety/depression versus genetic.
I think one of the big issues is that people often see themselves as a failure
if they can't fight the depression/anxiety on their own. This is not the case,
and far from it. Anxiety/depression, is like a medical condition for many,
that without medication cannot be cured. I don't think medication is the end
all be all though, and should be complimented with some sort of therapy,
probably in your case, CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy).
You mentioned that you didn't realize that motherhood could be so brutal on
one's soul, but I don't think this is about motherhood at all and god, can
that attitude make a person feel oh so guilty, and actually feed into the
anxiety/depression. That's where CBT can help you.
My husband has moderate anxiety, and has tried to fight it for many years on
his own, without medication. He finally caved in and decided to try medication
and is on 5mg lexapro, which is the lowest dose you could possibly take. He
has been taking it for a year now, with no increase in dosage. It doesn't
solve his problems but really takes the edge off his anxiety and makes him
feel like he can tackle the bigger issues that are causing his anxiety whereas
before he felt overwhelmed by it. Will he take the medication forever? Not
sure. But at this point it's helping A LOT, and in conjunction with therapy,
he is hoping that he can eventually stop taking it.
Don't see medication as a weakness or a crutch. It's there to support you
after you've tried all these alternatives, with some success, but perhaps
there is a genetic/biological component that you can't control, and medication
can help with that.
Best of luck to you. I know it's a hard decision and one that comes with a lot
Married to a Lexapro User
I have always been an easy-going, happy-go-lucky, carefree person. Life was
wonderful. My husband and I decided to start a family, I got pregnant, and we
had a beautiful baby boy.
Shortly after, I feel into severe depression and didn't know it. I was opposed
to medication and fought my depression. Little by little I got better but it was
a slow painful process.
When I got pregnant with my second child, I knew that I didn't want to go
through the severe depression I went through with my first. I was prescribed zoloft.
The medication made ALL the difference. I was my happy, easy-going, carefree
self again. I was able to enjoy my daughter and being a mother to both of my
children. Furthermore, I realized that I never got over the depression from the
birth of my first child.
Medication is not for everyone but it certainly was for me.
I hope you find what's right for you.
I am also hesitant about taking medications (generally speaking), but did it
during a period where I suffered feelings of anxiety, unease and emotional
flatness a while after my daughter was born. I was so thrilled to finally be a
mother - and I too was/am blessed with a good partner, career, etc. I loved my
daughter dearly, but eventually started having horrible anxiety and felt like
there was a dark forbidding cloud above my head and no amount of exercise and
walks in nature (my usual cures for feeling down) were working to help me
shake it. This was very disturbing as I usually go through my days feeling
good and am regularly noticing beautiful things around me that make me happy &
grateful for what I have, where I live, etc. It finally got bad enough that I
reached out for help to my OB/GYN who I've known for years and who delivered
my daughter. She referred me to an excellent doctor/psychiatrist who
specialized in post-partem anxiety and depression. I met with her twice, found
it a huge relief to be able to just spill my guts about what was going on and
how I was feeling. She reassured me that the combination of my family history
(too involved to explain), hormonal changes not just from the pregnancy and
birth of my daughter, but from my transition to motherhood, were all factors
contributing to the anxiety, etc. After trying a mild anti-depressant which
made me feel weird/worse, she prescribed an anti-anxiety medication called
Loraizapan/Atavan. I only took it for about 4 weeks, but it got me back on
track. I felt like myself again for the first time in months. It was almost as
if I just needed a re-balancing of my chemistry. That was 7 years ago and I've
never felt that way again. Like most parents, I somtimes feel down/exhausted
and blah about things, but when that happens, my old common-sense methods of
getting extra sleep, exercising and vitamin supplements with B-Complex usually
gets me back smelling the roses again (literally). I honestly don't think I
could have made it past that dark period without the help of the medication.
I'm sure it's not the same for everyone (nothing is), but wanted to share my
story in case it helps.
I am so sorry you are going through this. Sounds like you are in the middle of
a clinical depression, and that you've already tried many ''natural'' ways of
dealing with it. You haven't mentioned if you were going to therapy, which is
as natural as it gets. Whatever you decide, there is no way to just swallow
(or stop eating) something, and get well. Sure, excercise helps. One also
needs to find new tools to break the vicious cycle of anxiety and depression.
It's hard to find a therapist you like, especially when you are depressed and
have a hard time doing anything. You sound committed to getting better though,
so I am sure you can do it!
In addition to therapy, I recommend anxiety and depression classes at Kaiser.
I also recommend their mindfullness class (a mix of meditation, yoga, etc).You
don't need to be a member to attend, just call them at (510) 752-1075 to
enroll. Their class schedule and descriptions at
experienced clinical depression 2 years ago, and it was the worst experience
in my life. I thought it would never end, and I was afraid I would end my life
in one of those moments when I was having (almost) uncontrollable suicidal
thoughts. I was also sceptical of the prescription drugs. Luckily, St John
Wort worked for me - but you should realize that it's still a drug that
changes the natural chemistry of your body, and you would need to wean yoursel
off it. I was able to go off St John's after about a year of using it, and it
took me about 4 weeks of taking smaller and smaller dose of it to stop.
Doesn't sound like St John's is doing much for you though. Talk to your
psychiatrist about your concerns with the drug he prescribed. Maybe he can
assuage your concerns, or maybe he'll change you to another drug you are more
comfortable with. If nothing else helps, and you know that in your heart that
you are not living your life in a full and ''normal'' way, then the only way
out of that would be to start taking a prescription med - IN ADDITION to
continuing with your good diet, excercise, therapy sessions and classes.
You will get better... maybe with a drug or maybe not... but you will!
First I want to say that I think your issue is very normal. Based only on your
brief description, it sounds like your soul is wanting something (but I might be
projecting!). I have taken anti-depressants in the past (Paxil-not recommended)
for a short-term recovery period. Ten years later, I am again going through a
very difficult stretch, and decided that this time I wanted to approach it
without drugs. Mind you, I wasn't doing the right eating and exercising so I am
incorporating a lot of new behaviors as part of my improvement.
One thing that has helped me a LOT over the years was an article I found on
depression proofing yourself and your kids, based on Martin Seligman's work on
No one can tell you whether drugs are right for you at this time but you and
your practitioners. Before you make that decision, I strongly recommend that
you reach out to alternative practitioners such as a holistic doctor,
acupuncturist, and/or a body-based or somatic therapist. There are
sophisticated ways to read the body and help you make a decision that might
support more ease in your situation without necessarily using Western
anti-depressants. It's working for me.
As someone who has anxiety/depression, my advice is to try the drugs out.
Ten years ago (while in graduate school), my life was going well. All of a
sudden something changed in me. I intellectually knew that life was good, but I
became very anxious. I would pace a lot and was not happy. It honestly felt
like I wasn't really in control of my own feelings. I would tell myself
everything was fine, but I didn't feel that way. I tried counseling, but it was
totally ineffective. There was nothing currently in my life that was wrong to
change. Finally my sister convinced my to talk to my doctor about SSRIs
(Lexapro is an SSRI) as they have helped many of my relatives (I come from a
long line of very successful, well educated anxious/depressed people).
My doctor tried Celexa (citalopram) and within a week I was back to my old self.
It was truly a miracle. Now I control how I react to my life and situations. I
have tried going off of it and the results are not great. I become anxious
again and think that everyone I encounter is a total jerk (including my
fantastic husband). I realize that my brain chemistry just works that way and
it is an inherited condition. However, with the SSRIs, I am in control of
myself and my emotions. I can still get sad, angry, etc. but I am in charge of
how I react. They really are a wonder drug for those of us that need it.
If you actually need these drugs, herbs and what not are not going to do the
trick (St. John's Wort can actually cause a lot more problems). Also as an FYI,
I started out on 20mg of Celexa and am still at the same dose. It also still
works fantastically. Those bad things you have heard about SSRIs are simply not
I tried Lexapro, taking 1/2 a pill, which was even less than the min. dosage.
After a few months, I realized it made me nauseous. When I literally threw up,
then I knew it wasn't working for me. I tried Perika, St. John's Wort, and
that also made me feel sick. I now take 1/2 pill of Sam-E (avail. at Costco),
once a day, and that seems to take the edge off my anxiety and helps me
concentrate. I am glad that I am not taking prescribed meds. I try to focus
on the ''highest good'' and keep myself on the positive. You are doing all the
right things with exercise. Find a therapist that understands you. Do you get
enough time away with your hubbie? Perhaps a Friday or Sat. night out regularly
would do you some good.
Another Anxious mama
I don't understand why you would not try the medication your Dr is prescribing
to you. You are admittedly depressed. Do you think that it is healthy for your
children to be raised by a depressed mother? Do you think it is good for your
husband to have a depressed wife? I don't!
I don't understand the stigma attached to anti-anxiety/ anti-depressant
medication. Please re-think your choices. Your children need a healthy mother
and YOU deserve to be happy.
I could have written your post a few years ago (down to the St. John's Wort,
fish oil, exercise and not wanting to take meds). My guess is that 1) you have
the wrong diagnosis and 2) you definitely have the wrong meds. Please call Dr.
Donald Stanford. (510) 540-6235. Genius. I can't speak highly enough about him.
He really knows his stuff, he keeps up with all the research, he listens, he
isn't judgmental about alternative treatments or trying to limit dosage. Don't
mess around with a GP, go to an expert. More than anything, please be open to
the fact that medication may be the right answer for you, and don't beat
yourself up. You have tried non-medication routes and it hasn't worked
satisfactorily. You have the sense to know that you need to do something about
it. So much of this has a biological basis, and maybe sleep deprivation or
stress or age or hormones just made it surface now. Once I found Dr. Stanford
(actually on BPN!) I felt like I got my life back - I was myself again. Now I
wish I had found him years earlier, I wasted years of my life and precious time
with my kids by being so out of it. I don't care what my diagnosis is or whether
I need to be on meds the rest my life, or whether people judge me about
medication - I HAVE a life again. My oldest can remember my time b/4 meds and I
am sad that she had to go through that. There is a solution out there somewhere,
don't give up.
-Happy to be myself again
I have tried Lexapro and it did not work at all, just made me feel worse and
gave me night sweats like you wouldn't believe. The only thing that worked for
me was St. Johns Wort. I would give that a try before you start chemical meds.
I followed the instructions on the St. Johns Wort and within a week I felt much
better. Not so many ups and downs, more even keeled and not as anxious and
depressed. You have to keep taking it though. If you miss a day or two it
will come back. There is also SAM-E but that was too strong for me. I wish you
the best of luck, I know dealing with depression and anxiety can be just
awful. All the best to you.
I've been there!
Perhaps you should consider: 1) you are dealing with challenging ages 2)trying
psychotherapy before RX 3) Getting a break from being a SAHM. I have a 2.5
y.o. and recently have gone back to work part-time. (At first, I had a lot of
anxiety about it. I was a SAHM for the first 2 year.) But I really think I
NEED it now. I get overwhelmed at times with the challenges of raising a
toddler. It's emotionally and physically exhausting. (I have a very active,
strong-willed boy.) Going to work, is a break for me, where the demands are
simpler and not emotional. It has been very good for me. And going to day-
care, (after the initial period) has been really great for my son. He has
learned a lot about appropriate behavior simply from watching other children.
And now has a big group of friends/playmates to see each week. While he would
most like to hang out with me, he definitely enjoys his day-care. I would
suggest staying away from meds, at least, until all other options are tried
mom who needs a little space too
Your message touched me and I can relate. I struggle with those feelings too and I applaud you for
asking for help, reaching out to the community and being open to different suggestions. Yours is the
kind of message that makes me wish I knew the person who wrote it as I feel we'd have a lot to share. I
know many people who have gained great benefits from medication. I don't feel that there is anything
wrong with it. As a mom who has experienced exactly the feelings you describe, I happened to choose
a different path and so far it has worked for me. I went to my acupuncturist and described my
emotional difficulties - yes anxiety - I even had a panic attack in the acupuncturist's office with him
standing there - yes depression, insomnia etc... I worked with Dr. Zeiger on Telegraph Avenue. I can't
say enough about him. He offered (together with the acupuncture and herbs) some simple wisdom
without judgment to help me. And it did help, a lot. I went through a terrible phase and whenever I
felt I needed extra help and support, I turned up at his office and he was able to help me correct
whatever neurological/hormonal/emotional imbalances I was experiencing and get back to feeling
calmer, more peaceful and yes - happier. It started to work immediately but I kept going back over a
few months for ''top ups''. I combined this with twice weekly sessions from a wonderful psychotherapist
to discuss in a safe place the terrible feelings I was having.
I am sending emotional support out to you through the universe, I do it right now and wish you all the
best. I hope this advice can help you and if not just know that you are not alone and there is nothing
wrong with you.
Hi, I've been a psychotherapist for 25 years, and I specialize in women and
depression. I have seen many women recover from depression and anxiety, and
I've seen that happen through a variety of scenarios. It sounds like you are
working hard to feel better, and using some of the self-care techniques (like
eating well and exercise, and there are many more) that are important in
recovery from depression/anxiety. Lots of people recover without medication,
using self-care and talking about what might be causing the depression with a
good listener, often a psychotherapist. On the other hand, a few people find
medication miraculously gives them back their lives, and ends their daily
struggle. Some need both to recover.
The key to figuring out what you need for successful recovery is figuring out
what is causing the depression. The more the cause is genetic/physiological,
the more likely it is that medication will be required. Most of the time,
even when it is physiologically-based, though, there is a precipitating
event. Post partum hormones can be a precipitating event, but you probably
would have noticed feeling like this three years ago, if that were what
started this. Try to think back to when this started, and what changed in
your thinking, or feelings, or even actions (like a change in medication or
what you eat, for example) right before you started feeling so bad.
If that doesn't lead you to feeling better, I would recommend you see a
therapist (who works with a great psychiatrist, for medication evaluations,
when needed). Even one session with a good therapist often helps people feel
better and begin to understand what needs to happen for further recovery.
This would also give you a chance to ask questions and express your concerns
about medication, including not only Lexipro, but also St Johns Wort, which is
essentially a medication too. Finally, I think it's important to talk about
having mixed feelings about your children. Most parents have times when we
don't like our children, just as we all have times we don't like our
spouse. In most cases, this is normal, but stirs guilt and shame for people,
which can turn into depression. It could be helpful for you to get some
perspective from another parent who understands and has compassion for these
The medication that was recommended to you - Lexapro - is very effective in
what you are looking to alieviate.
What is tough is that there are two things in your way of making this work.
Fist, you have trouble with the idea of medication, and second, this
particular medication takes a bit of tenacity to get through the initial
Lexapro is highly effective with anxiety and depession. Here was my
experience. First few days, weird feelings, fatigue, listlessness. Feeling
hungover (without drinking). Enough misery to make most people say ''enough
allready!''. Then, after about a week, the clouds lift and sights and sounds
are enjoyable. A lightheartedness and sense of fun emerges. If you are afraid
of medication, you may not make it through the first few days though.
It does work. Very well. I took it for about 8 months at full dosage and after
feeling better I've tapered off. In that time, the life changes from freeing
myself from anxiety and depression are remarkable.
I've not only landed a great new job - in less than a year I got a promotion.
My social life is fantastic - I make friends easily and am fun to be with.
I've lost my insecurities and paranoia - a few things that held me back prior.
If you want to make changes, stick it out. You can take this drug, feel better
and then wean yourself off. But the first few days are hard. Talk to your Dr.
for the best advice.
You sound depressed. Maybe related to having kids, maybe just something you have. If you are willing to
ingest St John's Wort, I can't understand why you wouldn't want to ingest SSRIs that are far more clinically
tested and dose reliable. I have seen many people;s lives turned around after using those meds. It is
understandable not to want to take a drug for the rest of your life, but if you had say, diabetes, i don't
think you would balk for one second at taking the right medication. And why is your mental health less
important than your blood sugar? Mind and body are integrally connected. Get a good psychiatrist, get a
good therapist, (some people have had success with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy--the main thing is to
find a good set of people to help you...use your judgement, and the first or even second medication you
try may not be the right one, be patient)...at least for awhile, and find a medication that works. Come to
peace with yourself and the idea of taking a medication. The anxiety and depression are probably not
going to go away with 'mind over matter', your mind is the matter. Give yourself a break and some good
attention. Good luck.
Here is my sister's story. She's an alcohlic, sober 15 years and she suffered
from deep depression. When she got sober, she absolutely did not want to take
drugs again. She tried all the groovy methods, excersize, eating right but she
resisted taking meds. Finally she relented. She is now a nurse, her life is
finally on track but she always says, she wasted 10 years by not get a
diagnosis and taking medication. She bacame a nurse at 41 and she really feels
like she stole 10 years away by being so hard with her conviction to stay drug
free. She is a different person, happy, successful, a 180 degree change from
her old life.
got my sister back...
I feel exactlty the same way. Staying at home putting your life on the
backburner is brutal. I had a super exciting lifestyle, traveled often.
I have also joined a gym, run and quit caffeine too. I haven't taken any meds
yet there were times I really need them to get me out of my depression.
I recommend checking out a herbalist as you mentioned you were taking herbs.
Really helped me getting a good tincture and drinking that in my green tea
every morning. My herbalist uses a variety of herbs, I like the ''Inner
Mother'' -herbs are tailored. Like you I take vitamins, the Omegas...don't
remember to take them all & some days think of Suzanne Sommers (she takes a
I tried acupuncture and it has helped me maintain my spirit. If I'm really
down in the dumps, non-appreciative, not even enjoying vacation time, I
schedule two visits a week. This really seems to turn things around, helps
me be positive and excited about my life. In my case being depressed is the
end result of not pursuing my dreams and ambitions (ambition not as strong now
that I'm older). Staying at home takes a toll on all of us, I have many
friends who get depressed esp. the ones currently unemployed. I have tried
almost everything under the sun to maintain my spirits, pls give acupuncture a
try if you've never tried it. I will try anything other than long/short term
meds. Right now I drink acai juice in mornings (I think it's called Mona
Vie), order this by the case. I buy SAM-e from Costco pretty regular. There
are days I don't take Sam-e and drink the juice. The Sam-e does work for me,
google it as you should be taking B's along with Sam-e.
Also, my rule of thumb is I try to have one good conversation a day with a
caring supportive friend. It really seems to help.
take good care,
My experience with Lexapro was that it was wonderful. I used it in college
when I was just really stressed and anxious, and continued using it for a
little over two years. When you go off of it, you *have* to do it very slowly
and I'm talking over a period of months, or you can have increased anxiety,
agitation, etc. That said, I would do it again in a heartbeat if I felt I
needed it. It sounds like you've come to a point where you're very unhappy
and Lexapro may be worth a try. From all the research I've done, it seems to
be among the best as far as mild side effects, etc. I had some fatigue and
upset stomach the first week, and then was fine. I have read that there is no
clinical difference in how much better people feel when they take 10 versus 20
mg. I didn't need to increase my dose. My sister just took 5 mg and she had
the same experience as me. She used it for maybe a year, and then tapered off
over 3-4 months. I would definitely suggest trying it. It really gave me my
You asked for advice about curing depression without medication, but I'm going
to encourage you to try the drugs. You describe feeling no love or joy in
your life, and that is probably having a serious impact on your long term
health and your parenting & your children's well-being - there is a lot of
literature out there about the impact on children of their parents'
depression. You are already doing so many things right, like diet and
exercise. So you may need to try something else, without shame. You said
motherhood is hell for the soul, but if you're like me, it's really that
hormonal changes after childbirth are hell on your brain's chemical balance.
The medications nowadays can do wonders for rebalancing you, and many have
been well tested over long periods of time. A lot of people in Berkeley will
tell you to avoid pills, but to me that's like saying you shouldn't take
antibiotics when you have pneumonia, because it isn't natural. Also, don't
just see a psychiatrist. See a good therapist to help you feel better about
yourself and the choices you make to get well.
just say yes to drugs
Many people are reluctant to start depression medication because of various
fears. But depression can sometimes go so deep that what you've been doing
can't quite reach it. And when you're in it, and it's been going on for a
while, it's easy to lose perspective. You write that your ''life is perfect'',
but when you also write that your depression is affecting your relationship
with your kids, that you're ''living hell in my soul'' and living with ''horrible
days of pain in my heart,'' that's a sign of deep, chronic depression.
It's great to try to treat what you're going through in more natural ways, and
it sounds like you've made a terrific, serious effort. But medication may now
be the best addition to those things to help pull you out of this dark hole.
The medications aren't perfect fixes, but they can help and people do
sometimes get the response they need and then move on after a short course
with them. Please don't write off medication because it's not ''natural.'' This
pain you're feeling isn't natural either, and you owe it to yourself and your
family to do what you can to break free.
All good thoughts and wishes to you
As someone who grew up with a depressed mother - please, please try the
medication. Do whatever it takes. Work with a psychiatrist. You may not have
to be on it for long, but it is SO BAD for your kids to be exposed to that much
depression. You can't care for them in the way they need and they learn to have
a depressed mindset. Do it for your kids.
I didn't see the original posting, but here are my thoughts. I have been on paxil for the last 8 years, it
worked great. Now I want to wean off because of the difficulty of orgasm, and weaning off is a very slow
process, I go down 5 mg every 3 months. And I feel my anxiety and depression coming on. There are
alternatives! Read The Mood Cure by Julia Ross http://www.moodcure.com/ I found this to be very
helpful, and have recently been working with a Naturopath who is familiar with this work. My mood has
really stabilized and I feel hopeful that I won't need to continue with antidepressants.
so many paths...
Are you suicidal? If so get yourself some immediate help.
If not then there are methods that work. First, no sugar,
no alcohol, and only tea for your caffeine. Then if you are
not allergic, take fish oil (lots there of). Finally
exercise, exercise. There's a good new book out called ''The
Depression Cure''. Really if it's not severe and you can
handle it right now, I would try natural means to cure your
depression. It's hard at first, but it quickly becomes
easier. I can't take fish oil, so am taking flax seed oil
and E3 live. They seem to help a lot. I also gave up sugar
and limit alcohol. But really the book is the best.
Anti-depressants have a lot of side effects, and some
long-term. But if you are suicidal, they are lot better
Best of luck, been there not so long ago.
I didn't see your original post, but I am in my 40s. In my
20s, I went on an antidepressant for a year plus. I
resisted going on it but everyone said it was the thing to
do and I didn't know of any alternatives at the time. In my
30s I developed anxiety and began doing some research. By
then I knew there were other options. I learned that they
had discovered the tricyclic medication I'd been on in my
20s often caused people anxiety in their 30s. I hated the
idea of being a guinea pig for the pharmaceuticals so rather
than treat the anxiety chemically, I discovered a book
called ''Prescription for Nutritional Healing.'' It has
become the closest thing to a bible that I'll ever have.
Using supplements - vitamins, amino acids and diet changes,
as well as being sure to get enough exercise (yoga helps
tremendously), I was able to avoid chemicals and have been
anxiety free ever since. It took a few months for the
changes to kick in so I had to be patient, but if you want
to avoid the slippery slope that starts with
antidepressants, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of
the above mentioned book. I wish you much peace and healing.
Happy, healthy, and chemical-free
I think something must be wrong with me, but I don't know
what. I'm rarely ''happy,'' but I'm also rarely ''sad.'' My life
is sort of a straight line, with no real highs or real lows. I
don't get a lot of joy out of things; I feel like I'm just kind
of going through the motions. I have a three year old son, and
I do enjoy my time with him. I do find, though, that I'm not
as fully engaged in my time with him as I think I should be.
My marriage is fairly blah. I love my husband, but I'm not in
love with him and there is zero passion (at least on my end, he
says he finds me very attractive, etc.). I'd be fine if I
never had sex again. My job is okay - I don't love it, I don't
hate it. I don't know if maybe I'm depressed? Has anyone else
felt like this? I'd like to live my life more deeply and more
passionately, but I don't know how. Thanks!
Well, you kind of sound like I did when I was diagnosed with
postpartum depression. It would definately benefit you to talk
with a therapist and work out some of these issues. I found
that when my life was; as you explain; blah.. I wasn't dealing
with some big things in my life. I wasn't willing to become
emotionally invested in anything. I am way better today and
feel like my life is fulfilling, it has benefited my kids,
husband but especially ME. Good luck and know that there are a
ton of support groups- might be time to start checking them out.
Yes, you are depressed. Your post could have described me for
much of my adult life (I'm 36 now). I never had the symptoms of
major depression and was very functional and successful in many
ways, but life was just very blah - like you describe, a straight
line. For me, talk therapy just wasn't enough, and I finally went
on an antidepressant last year. It has opened up a whole new
world to me. I'm able to enjoy my children, my marriage, and my
life in a way that I just didn't know was possible. I know I
probably sound like a pharmaceutical ad, but you should probably
talk to your doctor. Take care, and good luck.
You sound very depressed to me. I have suffered from depression
for 7 years. The description of your lack of enjoyment in your
life is almost textbook. You may even be suffering from a
postpartum depression that is still lingering. A good
psychiatrist and therapist can definitely help. I was going to
Dr Heisler in Walnut Creek. He is currently on a medical leave,
but there are other doctors in his office. I have a very
sensitive, compassionate and helpful therapist in Alameda, Rawna
Romero, 415-533-9724. You don't have to feel so blah. You are
not alone. You deserve to enjoy your life. Good luck.
recovering from depression
I think it's good that you are contemplating these things. Most
people just go through the motions and never think about these
things. When I felt like this in the past, what I needed was a
sense of personal growth and movement. Having a family and
worrying about others all the time can leave me feeling like a
robot. I think what can help is to determine something that you
can do for yourself and give yourself a feeling of growth and
If you can find something that includes your husband and your
child, then that's even better. However, most people have some
time to spare, for example, I'm sure I can turn off the TV more
and engage my mind and spirit.
I could have written your post almost word for word. I've
never considered myself to be depressed, just more like
unenlightened or uninspired. There are a couple of things that
I have done that have greatly improved my outlook and happiness
level. First, I joined a couple of mom's groups on
Meetup.com. I had moved and didn't have any friends and was
having a hard time meeting new people. It's been a little
slow, but I'm finally getting a core group of friends through
these groups. Just going out with them, even if we don't click
on a deep friendship level, has been enjoyable, and it helps to
get me out of the house and out of my rut. I also find that it
gets me to spend more time with my son. If there is a late
afternoon or weekend playdate scheduled, I try to make the time
to go, rather than doing whatever I was going to do instead
(work, errands, etc.).
The other thing I have done over the years is to volunteer my
time with a dog rescue group. Dogs (and all animals) are my
passion, and since I can't make a career out of it right now, I
do what I can in my spare time to help. A lot of what I do can
be done from home on my computer, so it's not that
inconvenient. If there is any cause that interests you, and
you have a little time to spare, check it out. Even just an
hour here or there can help a lot and boost your spirits, and
you'll get to meet some new people who share your interests.
As for my relationship, it still needs work, and we are
definitely in a rut. I love my husband, and even though the
passion is gone, I don't believe that it's irretrievable. I
just don't know how to get there, and having a young child
around makes it much harder. So I don't have advice for this
topic, but just wanted to let you know that you aren't alone.
I hope some of this helps and that you get some more advice
You don't say how old you are. Could be wacky hormones. Could be
would recommend you get saliva-testing of hormone levels done to rule
that out. If it
comes back wacky, there are a number of ways you can deal with it.
Exercise is a great
way to deal with EITHER issue. Good luck!
You may be exhibiting some depression symptoms. Have you thought of
mindfulness training? You could find a class, or you could try a book
living, Calming your anxious mind, and Mindfulness by Ellen Langer are
ones). Mindfulness is especially good for helping you stop just going
Hi there: You sound emotionally exhausted, spiritually
bankrupt and not much more that vaguely aware that something's
wrong. Why don't you make some time every day for regular
exercise lasting at least one hour-- this is clinically shown
to be as effective as anti-depressant medication (I know there
are times when it's appropriate, but still, why has everyone
allowed themself to be so easily mind-controlled into believing
in a Magic Pill, from Big Pharma, that cures all your psych-
ills? Paying for it, you're just lining ''their pockets-- Duhh!)
When you ''get moving'' physically, it's amazing what else gets
moving, and ''stuff'' will come up. And when it does, feel
inside yourself to find your emotional responsibility and DEAL
with it. Also, find something you really love-- REALLY love--
to do-- you need to find some kind of passion and not be afraid
of it. GET GOING!
Well, I know that pre-kids ''fun'' for me was a weekend away --
sometimes very far away; nights out in bars and restaurants and
long, frank soul-baring talks with friends. Once I became a
mom ''fun'' became redefined as gray Sunday mornings at the
playground and playdates where there wasn't much chance to talk
with other adults -- let alone soul bare.
I think being a good parent does mean putting aside the things
that sparked our passion in pre-kid days. I also think that
after seeing your spouse in their frayed underwear every
morning for a few years, the concept of marital passion can
seem somewhat ridiculous.
Stop fretting about self-diagnosing ''depression'' and -- sorry
about the cliche -- do count your blessings.
You say you are married to a man you love, a man who finds you
attractive and I assume your son is healthy, yes? I ask because
my child is just a little older than yours and she has a very
serious life-threatening disorder that has required radiation,
chemo and several surgeries. Would it make me ''happy'' if she
were to be cured? Of course.
Mom of 2
Well, you've certainly got the blahs! Are you getting any
cardio exercise? Seriously, it makes the world of difference
post baby in terms of energy level and getting your libido
back. I remember having those same feelings when our child was
in pre-school and ramping up my exercise routine really did
wonders for my mood and libido.
Those early years are very psychically draining. You might want
to really think about the things that you would like to do to
be more present and live deeply. Join a meditation group, a
book club, take a class (online, even). If you have the time,
volunteer for something you feel passionate about. New social
contacts help you feel less blah.
Definitely give yourself some time and attention, but also give
some to your spouse. Try to do things that you think will
please him and show your appreciation- being kind to others
actually makes us think more kindly of them. It's a positive
feedback loop. Talk honestly abt your low libido and ask him to
let you ''off the hook'' for sex, but increase your physical
affection. Cuddle, hug, and kiss. Taking the pressure off so
sex doesn't feel obligatory and making an effort to remain
physical can really help re-kindle things.
It might be helpful to have a therapist to be your support and
cheerleader as you get your groove back. There are alot of good
folks in the archive, but I highly recommend Taryn Thomas- 510-
496-6070. She's in the Berkeley, Albany area.
Lastly, do appreciate what you have. It sounds like you are
blessed with a husband who loves you, a wonderful son, and a
job that is just fine and pays the bills. See your
boredom/blahness for what it represents- stability. You have a
wonderful stable base to deepen your relationship with
yourself, your partner, your child, and your community. How
Don't let the blahs get you down!
Been there, too.
Yes, I feel very similar and feel like I'm kind of going
through the motions in life with my marriage, work, etc. I
have a 3 year old son too, and he brings a lot of joy in my
life but I worry sometimes that I am too dependent on him to
make my life fulfilling. I recently started doing two things
to change my situation: 1) I started going to therapy, and
while it hasn't been a ''magic wand'' in changing my feelings or
situation, it does really help to talk to through with someone
and 2) I've tried to make a real effort to develop some
friendships. I'm really just starting this, and after 10 years
of not really trying to make a new friend, it's not easy, but I
am starting to see the benefits in it. I'm not sure what your
situation is but I found that when I started my relationship
with my husband, I really just focused on that (and now my
son), and I really didn't make time for much else. I've seen
advice about this alot on the BPN, and I really do think it
helps to develop a hobby, do some volunteer work or make
friends outside of your immediate family. It gives you
something that is your own.
It is hard to say if you are ''depressed'' but clearly you are
not feeling as good as you would like to be. I would suggest
starting with a complete physical to be sure nothing medical is
contributing to the problem. I don't know if you get regular
aerobic exercise but that can often help. I also think you
might benefit from identifying some interests of your own and
It does sound like you are depressed. When people think of depression
think it has to be severe and debilitating to be considered ''
people just like you never seek help because they are ''functioning''
but there is a
clinical term for what you seem to have dsythymia. It's a sort of like
chronic blues. I
have a M.A. In psych and am a practicing Life Coach and have had a few
who have had similar issues to the ones you describe. I also have
this personally before and it was very helpful for me to get counseling.
suggest looking into some sort of counseling for yourself because often
some underlying things that need to be addressed and having a supportive
safe place to explore this is the best way to begin moving forward. I
suggest talking to your family physician and getting your thyroid
checked and blood
tested for any other potential physical causes.
I was depressed a few times and my symptom were much more severe.
I was teary and tired, wanted to sleep a lot. Nevertheless, I
think you have a mild depression and you might want to seek help.
I recovered immediately after a few treatments of acupuncture. I
went to a Chinese acupuncturist in San Francisco and Oakland
Acupuncture Project in Oakland. I loved OAP due to their
affordable price. Good luck
I want to comment on one response to the original posting which sounded
dismissive, coming from a mom of a seriously sick child.
I totally emphasize with the mom, having borne a seriously sick child
spent way too much time in hospital myself. I have also been depressed
for quite a
while before I admitted it to myself and finally reached out for
I don't think it is fair to discount the poster mom's concerns about
just because she may be blessed with a healthy child. Is she therefore
to feel depressed? Any mom deserves to get help when needed, and any
deserves a happy, functioning mom. I suggest to get professional help to
what the underlying issues are.
I have heard a lot of comments like ''I can't really complain to you,
situation is so much more serious.'' or ''what am I complaining about,
at least I am
blessed with a healthy child''' and similar. I always respond that every
concern/anxiety is valid and should not be measured for validity by the
the child's health.
Please be fair and don't let your emotions about your own situation make
dismiss other people's - yes, less serious - issues.
Yes, having been through depression/anxiety for many of my
years since my 30's, I'd say you are depressed. It is nothing
to be embarrassed or ashamed of, though the feelings of failure
can be overwhelming. I had a major episode of depression
beginning when Lexapro stopped working in Nov.2008, and I had a
Lexapro seizure. I hunted for a psychiatrist with experience
dealing with fine tuning medications because the MD who had put
me on Lexapro meant well, but was giving me about 10 times what
Dr. Donald Stanford at 2232 Carleton St. Berkeley.
510-848-5330, was the first of the 5 psychiatrists that I
called for help who actually called me back. The other 4
DIDN'T RETURN MY CALLS.....EVER!!! I'd love to post their names
here with a ''don't bother'' recommendation. By that point I was
thinking very dark thoughts and it was an emergency.
I've realized through Dr. Stanford's gifts in listening, and
his attunement to balancing medications and his taking a
minimalist approach to meds. that I'm glad the other 4 didn't
call back!!! He's Yale trained and quite brilliant as well as
I'd most highly recommend him for talk therapy and for
carefully balancing any medication that's needed. I've also
realized through seeing him (MD Psychiatrist)that in the way
one wouldn't go to a general practitioner if one was having a
heart attack, that the same applies for psychiatry and
psychotropic medical balancing. I'm sure there are some MD's
and psychologists who are gifted at it, but you don't want to
spend time hunting in the wading pool when you are floundering
in the ocean.
Hello, I am extremely embarrassed about asking for advice on
this, but here it goes. I am a SAHM to 2 wonderful children, a
girl 8 years and a boy almost 4 years. Quite often, I experience
crying jags--or, right now, I feel like I am in a fog and barely
functioning. At least a few times a week I just feel downright
blue. My husband tried to give me a pep talk the other day and
told me that I needed to be strong. The worst is that I
absolutely hate feeling sorry for myself, which makes me even
feel more guilty. I feel like I should be enjoying staying home
with my children and not wasting my time feeling so down. I
also hate to admit this, but although I love my husband
tremendously, sometimes his temper and bad moods rub me the wrong
way. On the weekends I am scared that he will all of sudden snap
at me. A few times he has thrown things (he didn't hurt anyone
though) and one time he punched a hole in the wall. He has never
hit a person though and is normally a very loving husband and
father. So, I am curious. How does one determine if one is
actually depressed. I read that you need to feel consistently
depressed? I guess I am just so scared of taking any
medications. Thank you
What you've described is pretty much the textbook definition of
depression. Guilt, hopelessness, lack of energy, lack of
interest. It doesn't have to be constantly happening 24/7, but it
does have to be chronic, and in your case it sounds like it is.
Find a therapist you feel comfortable with. Talk to you doctor
about your options. You don't have to feel this way, but most
importantly, it's not your fault
Hi Potentially Depressed,
I am a woman who has experienced depression for extended lengths of time
life. Through a combination of counseling, and lifestyle adjustments I
am happy to
report that I have not been depressed in years, and I am now able to
grief, anger, without getting stuck in the emotion. Therapy is a good
provided you find the right person to facilitate the healing. Also,
can make a profound difference in one's life - I learned to eat better,
activities that brought me pleasure, nurture my spirit. And I let go of
relationships, including toxic friends.
I am concerned about your partner's anger, and that you may be defending
behavior. It is unacceptable to punch walls, throw things, etc.,
particularly in front of
your children. Your partner could use some help in coping with his anger
finding positive outlets for it, so perhaps he would be willing to see a
As a new SAH mom, it seems easy to slip into isolation and depression,
encourage you to get out of the house, connect with other moms, and take
time each day to nurture yourself, whether that be 15 minutes or one
hour. Are you
depressed? You may be. You may not. Either way it's good to reach out to
community for support and begin to put your needs in the forefront.
Being a healthy individual is one of the greatest gifts you can give
Best wishes to you!
Dear, you sound depressed. You don't have to feel sad, confused,
foggy, weighed down, etc. every waking moment to be having
depression. Nor will a pep talk about ''being strong'' fix these
feelings. Counseling and/or meds would be more to the point.
And things don't sound good with your husband--worrying that he's
going to snap at you or punch holes in the wall sounds very
stressful and could certainly be a factor in your depression. I
have to wonder what's going on with him that he's sometimes
loving and sometimes so angry. Counseling could help you figure
out what's going on here, as it sounds complicated.
Guilt, crying jags, not enjoying life, feeling guilty because you
don't enjoy life--yep, sounds like all the symptoms of My
Also sounds as if your husband has a serious anger management
issue. That may be making your depression even worse. I also
read hints that you have unacknowledged fears that at some point
he might hit something other than the wall. Talk therapy may
give you a more insight into coping with his behavior.
My experience: 1) Untreated depression is terrible and interferes
with everything in your life; 2) it can be very frightening to a
child to have a mother who has untreated depression.
Studies show that a combination of talk therapy and medication
are most effective in treating depression. Find someone to talk
with, and/or a support group, A.A.--whatever you can arrange and
I worked with a great psychiatrist (not local) who said to me:
each medication works on 80% of the people who try it, but no one
can predict how you personally will react. So what worked for me
may not work for you. What that caveat, I'll share my own
experience. I too was afraid of medication but I find I do much
better with it. It took quite a while to find a drug that worked
well for me. Some people only take the medication for a short
period of time, in combination with talk therapy, and are able to
stop taking it once their depression lifts and they have
developed some better coping skills.
Other things I have found to be extremely helpful: regular
exercise, especially in daylight (1/2 hour to 1 hour walks with
the kids?); eating well; fish oil capsules, Centrum with ginseng
and gingko biloba, and B vitamins. I also talk frequently with
friends and try to find time to do things that are just for me,
although that can be hard to do when you are a mother.
Find what support you can and start to take care of yourself, it
is one of the best things you could do for your children. I wish
you the best.
I am sorry you are feeling that way. I am not sure that you are
depressed but maybe more stressed out or drained. My husband
used to be like yours. Because of his upbringing certain things
would trigger him and he would blow up. He was also pretty
moody and that hasn't changed. So when he was around i would
find myself obsessing about wether or not he was going to get
uspet about something and it would drain me. So i would try to
avoid ''creating'' issues but in fact this really made it ok for
him to continue letting his issues control him, and by
exstension us. It was before we were married and had a child.
So i left him and told him to work on his issues. He went to
see a therapist and it improved immensely. What also changed
was my attitude towards this which is now that blowing up is
not acceptable, especailly in front of a child. He has words,
he has knowledge so he can use both instead of getting mad. f
he does i simply leave until he calms down. This now happens
maybe once a year. But right now you are stuck in a situation
where you are basically afraid and expecting him to blow up and
you are therefore tense, stressed out and this is taking the
life out of you. My adivce to you is to try to focus on happy
things. When he does blow up, don't get mad, just kind of walk
to another room. If he has no one to argue with it will die
down. Refuse to engage him when he is like that. When it dies
down, tell him you would prefer to talk and that reaction like
that scare your kids and are not teaching them proper
communication skills. tell him you are dispointed. walk to yet
so bottom line i am not sure you are depressed. I think his bad
mood/attitude is boggin you down
You and your husband BOTH need to be in couples counseling. His
weekend behavior while it hasn't hurt anyone physically is
emotionally abusive and needs to stop. Both of you need to be in
individual counseling as well, him with his therapist and you
with yours. It doesn't sound like you need to see a psychiatrist
so you don't need to worry about medications since therapists
can't prescribe them. Yes, alot of psychiatrists over prescribe
them when they are not necessary, but only you can decide if you
want to be on medication and you can always say no. No one can
force you to take them. Normally depression doesn't require
medication anyway unless it is severely debilitating i.e. you
spend the entire day in bed for days at a time. It doesn't sound
like you are doing that so you probably only need therapy.
You are to be complimented for taking the first steps to getting
help. It sounds like you love him and your children and want
things to get better. Once you are all in therapy, things should
You've confirmed it in your own words:
''Quite often, I experience crying jags''
''I feel like I am in a fog and barely functioning.''
''I just feel downright blue.''
These are classic symptoms. You don't need to feel them every
minute to be clinically depressed. Here's what's paralyzing:
''I absolutely hate feeling sorry for myself, which makes me even
feel more guilty.''
''...wasting my time feeling so down''
''I am just so scared of taking any medications''
Your stiff-upper-lip attitude, reinforced by your husband, is
admirable but harmful. Depression is NOT a character flaw to
feel guilty about. If you need help, get it or it can worsen.
Do it for your children if not for yourself. They're no doubt
confused and frightened by your moods.
Medication, if you need it, does not change you into a
different person. It helps return you to the whole, strong,
happy person you can and deserve to be. Don't let ignorance and
fear keep you from taking this path if that's what's needed.
You have another, very big problem that's also making you
depressed: Your husband has an anger problem that could
possibly escalate to physical abuse. Even though ''He has never
hit a person though and is normally a very loving husband and
father,'' that's obviously not enough to keep you from being
alarmed. Again, your own words:
''his temper and bad moods..''
''On the weekends I am scared that he will all of sudden snap''
''he has thrown things''
''he punched a hole in the wall''
Even if he is only hitting objects right now --- and even if it
never progresses beyond that --- that climate of fear is
emotional abuse. Do you really want your young children, who
can't protect themselves, to have to live as you do, wondering
when the moment will come when he really snaps and punches THEM?
Yes, you are depressed, and so is your husband, and you both
need to be undergoing treatment. Even if he refuses, GO
YOURSELF. Do it for your sweet children; they need their mom to
be happy and strong, and not to be afraid of rages of their
father, not matter how loving he can be at other times.
Get help NOW
It sounds like you are depressed. You don't have to feel that
way constantly to be depressed. There are also many ways to
treat depression besides medication, and if medication is used,
good psychiatrists try to use medication for only short term use
(1 to 1.5 years) if possible. They don't want you on the drugs
permanently (only severely depressed individuals need to do
this). During a really rough time when I was in grad school, I
became very depressed and had counseling and went on Prozac even
though I was terrified of Prozac. Well, Prozac saved me (and my
dissertation) and helped me to function again. I think I was
scared of it because I thought I would become dependent (not so)
and because I thought it would change me (not so either). I was
completley myself on Prozac, just out of the fog and able to
function and enjoy life again. I also only needed it
temporarily. Once I finished my degree, I weaned off the
prozac. That was four years ago and I've been fine ever since.
Other depression treatments: therapy and regular exercise!!
Exercise grows brain cells and that decreases depression. I
would make an appointment with your physician or a psychologist
for an evaluation (don't be scared, it will be OK!) and/or check
out a book like this one: ''The Depression Workbook: A Guide for
Living with Depression and Manic Depression, Second Edition by
Mary Ellen Copeland and Matthew McKay''. By the way, once you are
out of the fog, you can then be objective and better able to
evaluate your feelings about your husband. And being a stay-at-
home mom is no walk in the park and is not as fullfilling for
most of us as the media and others make us think it should be.
It's hard work! And boring and frustrating, even when
splattered with joyful moments.
Your husband sounds like he needs anger management counseling but
you would know better if he would go. Couples counseling would be
good too. I don't know what insurance you have but go see a
psychiatrist and get on Paxil or something to help you. Don't
tell him if you think he might not like you taking it. He sounds
like he has control issues. There is no shame in taking these
medications. I was depressed for a year after my father died and
it really helped me. I went back on it when my husband got
diagnosed with cancer because I couldn't stop crying. Do you have
friends you can talk to? That really helped me too.
This is not a normal, healthy situation, and living with this
type of abuse from your spouse can really wear you down. Please
take steps to get some counseling for the both of you, but you
should be aware of how to protect yourself in case things get out
of control. Taking those first steps to finding counseling and
protecting yourself will make you feel a lot better and give you
confidence to get you both to counseling or to get yourself out
of the relationship.
dealt with it
Yes, you are depressed. The symptoms you listed will confirm to
your doctor that you have clinical depression. In addition to
treatment prescribed by your doctor, exercise has been shown to
be helpful if you want to try a natural treatment right away.
I'm not a mental health professional, but have been depressed myself and
description sounds enough like depression that I would have it checked
out. I don't
know why you're scared of taking medication. For one thing, having it
doesn't mean you have to take medication. For another, medication will
the depression and make you feel more like you. Which is good for you,
children. Moreover, I'm not a couples counselor either, but your husband
abusive, and I would have that looked into. Also for your own good and
for the good
of your children. I would not let someone who is throwing things and
holes in to the wall to be around my children. It sounds like he needs
Although there may be more to the marital issues, affecting
your mood, my sense is that you have a hormonal imbalance that
a homeopath or naturopath could help you straighten out without
anti-depressants. This happened to me. I went on anti-
depressants to no avail when I was 20. Then I saw a homeopath
for a medical issue, and he fixed my depression too! Many
things I was experiencing were a result of things just being a
little off inside me. I'm now (and for the last 14 years)
pretty stable, with the apropriate spectrum of emotions.
As for your husband's impulse control problems (which may be
triggered with pressure and stress), it would be in your best
interest to secretly talk with a counselor to see if he's got a
large pattern of abuse (hard to tell for sure from your post),
and then get some skills or ideas to learn how you can deal
with it or what to do next. You might think it's silly, but I
suggest call a domestic abuse hotline anonymously and just
explain what he does occasionally. See what they have to say
about it. Maybe they'l say that's not too bad, or maybe they'll
say he's out of line. They should, either way, have some great
resources or ideas for how you can handle it.
I have been thinking about you. You have a difficult situation. I think
depressed, but I think it is the right way to feel in your situation. We
negatively when we are in a negative situation. Your feelings are
are not going to fix your relationship with your husband. Your husband
behaving normally, this isn't your fault or responsibility to take care
of. Is he willing
to go to counseling (on his own, or with you if it will make him feel
If not, you need to find a way to support yourself emotionally and keep
your children safe. Do what you need to do. Look to friends and family.
some tough decisions ahead of you. It is hard to accept the worst parts
relationships, our parts in contributing to them and that our spouses
perfect. If you are not safe, you need to make your safety and the
safety of your
children your top priority. If things are not as bad as that you still
need to take steps
to take care of yourself that don't involve your spouse. Look into
training books to find ways to effectively express yourself with your
are not alone.
I notice a couple of things off the bat. If you are scared of
your husband and he has a temper and regular bad moods, throws
things, and hit a hole in a wall even once, he has an anger
problem. You mentioned being embarrassed and apologetic about
your own feelings or downplayed them all through the post,
which tells me your self-esteem or confidence is down - that
also fits with the dynamics of an abusive relationship, not
that I'm saying that's your relationship for sure. Crying jags
are a sign too... I'm not a therapist but you seem depressed
and the deeper issue is why?
Your feelings are important, it's OK to ''feel sorry for
yourself'' (what other ways do you minimize yourself in your
speech), don't be embarrassed about any of this, being self-
critical will make it that much harder to move through
feelings. It's hard being a mother especially with a possibly
unsupportive or even emotionally abusive husband.
I'd say browse the self-help section of the bookstore for
titles on how to tell whether you're in an abusive
relationship, AND get therapy.
P.S. I've been there, that's how I know.
Depression comes in many forms. I never considered myself a
depressed person at all and then after my second, I found myself
worried about dying, not sleeping. I was still upbeat and all but
at night anxiety would hit me out of the blue. If I fell asleep
feeling fine, i could wake up in the middle of the night and not
go back to sleep and just worry and worry. The scary thing is I
figured I'd snap out of it and I felt that all that worrying and
anxiety was rational. After saying no a bunch of times, I finally
took my doctor's advice and got on meds (celexa) and started
therapy. The results have been amazing.
I think if you're feeling like you might be depressed, then you
probably are. While I dont' wnat to jump to conclusions about
your husband, I'd say he has his own anger issues and is afraid
for you to get help.
You can't just ''snap out of it.'' Babies do things to some of us
and we need to seek help now that we have it. I happen to have a
friend whose ex wife recently murdered her children and tried to
commit suicice. She survived. While I was never that extreme, I
hate to say it, but I could understand how if it's severe enough
you could rationalize anything.
Several years ago I had an episode of depression with a lot of
the same symptoms you describe -- crying easily, feeling
''underwater'', and just feeling like I wasn't enjoying things the
way I should. In my case, a lot of it turned out to be traceable
to tensions in my marriage that I wasn't acknowledging. I wasn't
acknowledging how hard it was for me to stay home with kids,
either, because of this myth that moms are supposed to enjoy
every minute of every day with their kids.
Your post reminded me of that time. Please do not assume that
this is your fault, or feel guilty. It sounds to me like there is
something going on in your marriage -- supportive partners don't
throw things, and if your husband's anger is making you scared
then something needs to change. The issues are real. Medication
might help you get to a frame of mind where you can deal with
them productively and make the changes you need to make, but it
does sound like changes are called for.
Seeing the right counselor can make a big difference. Anne
Marshall was a very good fit for me. She helped me realize that
although my (now ex-) husband was a decent person and a loving
father, I wasn't getting treated like an equal partner in the
relationship, and my needs weren't being treated as legitimate.
She also helped me understand longstanding family patters that
fed into that. My depression turned out to be situational-my
brain chemistry was kicking me when I was down, but once I dealt
with the causes, the depression lifted. Anne Marshall's number is
220-0808, and she has offices in Albany and North Oakland.
Treat yourself gently, and I wish you the best of luck.
The last sentence of your post was the most important. Be
extremely cautious about medications. Many psychiatrists will
be quick to put you on Prozac or some other depression
medication as a ''trial'' and your problems will get worse from
then on. There are many online and written sources for doing a
self diagnostic questionaire for depression. Questions like:
Have you lost interest in things you used to enjoy doing? Are
you always tired and lack motivation? Do you cry easily? While
many will call those signs of depression, many things can cause
those same symptoms. Sounds like you have some great things in
your life and your post indicates a good mental attitude. I
don't know the perfect answer but just wanted to caution you
about taking anybody's advice about medication-you are right to
be very hesitant to do that. For the few people that claim to
be helped by psychiatric medications there are many that are
hurt due to taking them or when trying to stop taking them. A
great book on the dangers is ''Prozac: Panacea or Pandora'' by
Ann Tracy PhD if you need more convincing. I hope somebody can
offer you some advice that is not psychiatric drug related.
Maybe more time away from home, a walk with friends, join a
gym, get some help with the children a few days a week, do
volunteer work, change your routine, take the kids to the
Lafayette reservoir for a hike or fishing. It can be stressful
to raise children without help and not getting out from the
same routine can be trying. Maybe a visit to your family doctor
for a general physical and a talk about how you are feeling. If
need be, a psychologist for another talk. Hope you find answers.
Hello.I am a single mom who is suffering with major depression.
I can hardly get up in the mornings. I am everyday trying to
hold it together, but I feel it slipping away. I am always moody
and just disconnected. I love my daughter and I want to show her
and I don't want her to see me this way. I'm unorganized in my
thinking and my everyday activities.I want to take some time off
work and try to deal with this, but I'm afraid of what people
might say. Do you think I can work on this without taking time
off? I have tried anti-depressants, but they make me so drowsy I
can't work. Any adivce would be appreciated.
have your doctor refer you to a psychopharmacologist. there are many
kinds of antidepressants and I'm sure you can find one that won't make
drowsy. I had the same problem at the beginning and then got it fixed by
Please, get treatment. I know it's hard to ask for help when you are in
it, but you
owe it to yourself and your kids. If your doc doesn't help go to your
OB, find a
therapist, etc. Keep asking for help until you get it. Trust me, I know
energy this takes--but you will get there.
If you think there is any chance you may harm your self (or your kids)
your doc or 911.
If you can't get out of bed in the morning trust me, they are being
There's nothing better that you can do for your kids than to teach them
mommy knows how to help herself.
If you need to take time off work do it! You and your kids come first,
opinions. But please, if you are going to be in the house all day get
help along with
taking time off-- otherwise you will just sink further into depression.
Please, please get help! Here are a couple places a place to start:
Bay Area: UCSF - Women's Mood and Hormone Clinic www.ucsf.edu/brizlab/
State of California: Postpartum Health Alliance
Don't Give Up!!!!!!!!!!!
Dear Dealing with Depression,
I have been where you are. Anti-depressants are critical for me,
and because of the drowsiness I take them at night. They help
me sleep and the anti-depressant effects last into the day.
This may not work for everyone, but it is worth a try.
much better now
Oh, if you can afford it, absolutely take some time off! I've had
overwhelm and depression at different points, and getting some
time to regroup really helped. But that doesn't mean you should
reveal every last detail to people - especially details that
would cause others to judge you. Just breezily say you're taking
a little hiatus to spend more time with your daughter while
exploring some of your other interests. These things will be true
statements. You might actually pursue something creative that
really appeals to you, because you'll have the time. Who knows?
Other than the money part, it's always been positive for me to
take a break. I've even successfully had job interviews after
taking a year off, where the interviewers were a little jealous
of my taking free time, rather than holding it against me.
Get out of your typical routine/rut. Stay away from the TV as
much as possible. Cover it with a blanket so it isn't staring at
you, begging to be turned on. I encourage you to make good use of
your break and really explore (yourself, your world, your
interests). This is the time where you can reinvent yourself and
recreate your life to be more joyful and healthy (in whatever
manner appeals). I know the weather is cold, but you can bundle
up and go on some easy hikes. You can find lots of free events to
go to. You can take long drives in the country, which will still
give you the time to think through whatever is up for you right
now. One thing that is easy to do when not working, is to become
a hermit. Make a realistic plan for each day, that includes
leaving the house for at least part of the time. Don't just sit
around, because it makes depression worse.
I just started a mini-hiatus: I cut my hours in half. I'm so
excited that I can do all the things I never have time or energy for.
Please try other anti-depressants. Having been raised by a
depressed mother and dealt with depression myself, I know both
how damaging it is to have your only parent be depressed and
how much of a HUGE difference the right anti-depressant can
make. there are plenty that don't make you sleepy. You owe it
to yourself and your child to feel better!!
As simplistic as it sounds - at the end of the day it is a choice
to take control of where you place your thoughts and energy. It
is your life - own it - own your time, energy and thoughts. The
more positive you are able to gather the more it you will be
energized in the directions you need to go. Sounds simple but it
is very hard work - I have had to do it through a difficult
divorce etc for several years - sometimes I make it and sometimes
it is rough but I remind myself as much as possible that I will
not allow someone else to have that power and control over me and
my life. Lots of work and a good therapist helps.
thinking of you
Forgot to add - please do not waste what little energy you have
on worrying about what other people think. Everyone has their
problems whether you see it or not. Take that energy and take
time off to take care of you so you can take care of your child.
There is nothing more important than you and your child's
well-being. I think most people would admire you for knowing
what you need to do and if someone doesn't, not worth your time.
The only thing worth your time and energy is getting better and
taking care of the gift you have been blessed with, your child.
thinking of you
Hello single mom dealing w/depression.
I was there a few years ago and did take time off. It seemed as if
there was no other
choice, and in fact there really wasn't. I was not able to sleep, tried
depressants and then became suicidal. I could not function and it was
so scary. I
felt so embarassed and ashamed that I wasn't able to use my time as well
should have. Now I know that there is nothing wrong with hitting rock
making a plan to pull yourself up and doing it. I'd have healed a lot
faster if I might
have seen things that way. The time off was critical for me, though I
returned to work after the first four weeks. There is a fine line
between taking time
for yourself and being clear that you are doing what you need to do for
healing, it's important to have a plan, and taking more time and not
being clear or
not having a good plan for your healing, which can be devastating and
down further. Work is part of our identity and our routine, and having
a routine in
place can keep you above water. Unless of course it is overwhelming.
Pulling together a support system for yourself is crucial. As a single
mom there are
things we deal with that people can't even imagine. We have to be so
strong, but we
can't do it ourselves. Exercise is also crucial, maybe a gym where you
can go with
your child and keep your face in the public eye as well as do something
yourself? Also, if you can afford it, get a massage. As a human being,
touch is so
essential. While you don't have a partner at least do yourself the
favor of waking
up your cells, you'll be amazed.
I worried about my daughter during that horrible year and she is doing
Probably more sensitive than others to people's emotions and feelings.
Not such a
Best of luck to you!
single mom struggling less now
I am very sorry to hear about your depression and would encourage
you to consider trying a different anti-depressant. Sometimes it
takes trying a few different ones or different doses to find the
right combination (amount and medicine.) I tried something at
first that made me a complete zombie and I almost gave up but
switched to Zoloft and it has made a world of difference. Truly
life-saving. Best of luck.
I'm so sorry about your depression! I've been there, and it's so
hard to be that depressed, especially when you have so many
responsibilities. But the main thing is that you still have it
in you to try to figure out what to do about it, which makes me
sure that you'll be able to deal with it. You'll probably get a
lot of great responses. I wanted to say that in the time of my
life when I was deeply depressed, I tried Prozac and Zoloft and
they totally knocked me out so I couldn't function. I could have
slept 20 hours a day. Then I went on Wellbutrin, and that gave
me the get-up-and-go I needed to get through the day and
eventually to get through the depression, which I'm happy and
lucky to say is now gone. I was on Wellbutrin for about 2 years,
and if I ever get that depressed again, would definitely go that
route. This isn't a commercial for that drug, though--it's just
to say that it's possible that the antidepressants you tried
weren't the ones for you. Good luck--sending lots of warm wishes
I'm sorry you're going thru this. Depression is painful and
dibilitating. Fortunately, therapy and medication do help - and
they work best together. If you're not already in therapy, find
yourself a therapist right away and stick with it. Sometimes,
when we're depressed, everything and everybody seems
inadequate, but that's the voice of depression talking. Also,
find a good psychiatrist. Finding the right medication for you
is part science and part art. Also, you've got to give the
meds a realistic try. Some antidepressants are taken in the AM
to help with energy; others are taken at night to help with
sleep. Despends on your symptoms and just trying different ones
to see what's best for you. Don't give up. You can feel better.
I just wanted to pipe in. I spent many years with severe depression
disorders that stemmed from it. I have also been institutionalized
against my will
because of this. I see a lot of advice to change anti-depressents.
depressents can help you get through a hard time, unless you have
manic-depressive disorder, they are simply bandaids. They are not
They can get you through times, and help you while you try to work on
depression and get treatment, but simply taking anti-depressents will
your depression and then when you stop, your issues are still there. I
had to find
the right therapist. I also found that therapists that do not advocate
unless absolutely needed are the best therapists, as they believe in
transformation and healing. Medication treats the symptoms, not the
Also, many therapists only work to get you to be ''a functioning member
rather than truely being set free and transcending your issues. My
problem in the
end had to do with what society expected of me (or what i viewed those
expectations to be), thus simply trying to get me productive part of it
address the problem...maybe I am rambling about me... but just trying
experience. After 11 years of on again off again therapy and meds and
of depression, I have been 6 years with no depression and no meds.
If you can afford it, I would work part-time while seeking treatment.
different therapists. Look for therapists that are into natural
Unfortunately I lived in Washington when I found the right therapist,
i have no
advice on that...
I'm so sorry to read your message and I completely understand
where you are at. Email me if you want to talk or just email
back and forth- i want to reach out to you because I have been
there and am dealing with some issues currently right now as
well. Maybe we could be support for each other.
I'm thinking of taking St John's Wort and wanted to find out if it has worked for
In specific I'd be interested in knowing how long you've taken it, what brand you
use, have you experienced any side affects or interactions and anything else that
would be useful.
My situation is that I feel overwhelmed and depressed right now. I took Paxil for 1
year about 8 years ago and really liked it but didn't like some of the side affects
and also had withdrawal symptoms I didn't like so I thought maybe St John's Wort
might be a alternative.
My husband had great success with St. John's Wort for depression. I forget
what brand it is, but it comes with a yellow label with dark green lettering.
HerbPharm maybe? I recall he took one or two dropperfuls straight and chased
it with water. What also helped him significantly, which he still takes (not
taking St. Johns anymore) is Fish Oils. The Omega-3s are very powerful brain
food and hence emotional regulators. I believe there are some drug
interaction with St. John's Wort, but I think if you do an internet search
for St. John's wort drug interactions you will find out easily what these
are. My sister has also had success with St. Johns' Wort and also with
essential oils like lemon and grapefruit which can elevate mood. We get our
ST. John's wort at the health fodd store, but there is also a great company
that has fish oils and essential oils. Their website is
www.essentialoilpharmacy.com. We use the ''Omega Blue'' product daily. good
St. John's Wort is a drug, a serious drug, & shouldn't be taken without the
guidance of a health professional. Self- diagnosis & self-dosing are never a
good idea with any drug- just because it's available without an RX doesn't
mean that it's innocuous!
If you really don't want to try another prescription anti-depressant, there
are psychiatrists & general physicians around the Bay Area who will work with
herbal remedies. You may be able to find one through the BPN archives or a
reply to your post, but if not, try looking in the yellow pages or inquire at
Lhasa Karnak Herb Co. (are two in Berkeley, don't know if they give
referrals, but they might be able to start you off in the right direction to
But- I would suggest, based on my own experience, that you consider trying
another prescription anti-depressant first. There are many, many more than
Paxil, & many that aren't SSRI's (which is the group that's notorious for
sexual side effects, don't know if you had that problem).
SSRI's are handed out like candy these days, especially by general physicians
who just don't have enough experience with the variety of ADs available to
know what would make sense for you to try next.
St. John's Work has a similar method of action as tri-cyclic ADs, & can have
similar side effects. I take a TCAD, tried several SSRIs first, also briefly
tried St. John's Wort, & like the TCAD much better both in terms of its
effectiveness for me & I don't get the awful inorgasmia that I got with
SSRIs. I did get more early side effects from it- dry mouth, felt a bit
overall yucky- than from SSRIs but they went away after a couple of weeks, &
I got the same kind of side effects from St Johns Wort!
You didn't say if you went off Paxil with the guidance of a physician, but
you will get ''withdrawal'' symptoms if you go off any anti-depressant
without slowly tapering down- including St. John's Wort. Working your dose up
slowly when you begin one is also a very good idea- many people actually get
good AD effects at a sub-clinical dose, & the lower the dose the fewer side
effects you're likely to get.
I did use St. John's wort about 10 years ago for moderate anxiety. It
apparently worked nicely; I say apparently, for I never felt any direct
effect (euphoria, other feeling) but just had less severe anxiety, which made
it manageable to the point I could deal with the rest by reasoning with
myself. I took it for maybe a month before being sure I was feeling better,
took it regularly for 'a few more months' (sorry I can't remember how long),
and stopped (with no ill effects) because I didn't think I needed it any
All this is not to say it's 100% safe; there are drug interactions possible,
and one has to be cautious with any remedy.
I tried St. John's wort several times and didn't notice anything significant
(also for overwhelm & Depression). I did feel a marked improvement in my
functioning and overall mood with Sam-E, however. I took 400 mg morning and
night and it made a huge difference for me. I think these kinds of things
work differently on different body chemistries--my sister does really well
with St. John's wort. It's all worth a try--i too, tried wellbutrin (a
pharmaceutical) and felt terrible on it. If St. John's wort doesn't help you
out--try Sam-E. Jarrow is a good brand and available at whole foods.
Does anyone have experience with or advice for dealing with
cyclical, short-term acute depression? I have struggled with
general depression for many years and have controlled it
through ''talk'' therapy rather than medication (which I prefer
to avoid if at all possible). However, over the past year, I
have noticed a new phenomenon. I will suddenly and
inexplicably suffer, for lack of a better expression,
a ''depression attack'' which lasts for a week and then, just as
suddenly and inexplicably, lessens or disappears completely.
It is like coming down with the flu and then recovering, except
that it is a mental, not physical, episode. These attacks are
upsetting, not least because they are so debilitating, but also
because they are so unpredictable and random. They are very
intense--it is all I can do to manage the day-to-day details of
parenting and living when they occur. I also never know how
long they will last.
Anyone with a similar experience out there? Any ideas on how
to handle this kind of depression? Thank you so very much.
You have described my experience with depression almost exactly! Brief,
but terrible bouts of depression/anxiety in which I experience profound
panic, tearfulness, suicidality, obsessive thinking, weight loss, guilt,
fear, etc. My episodes have lasted about 2 weeks, on average, but last
year were lasting about a month. Sometimes I would go months without an
episode; sometimes they were spaced only a few weeks apart.
For 10 years, I worked with antidepressants, talk therapy, cognitive
behavioral therapy, meditation, yoga, diet, and herbal remedies to try
and control the cycles. I got tested for a variety of medical conditions
(thyroid, adrenal dysfunction).
Finally, a psychiatrist said he thought I might have bipolar disorder
rather than unipolar depression. I added lithium to my antidepressant
and have not had an episode since (it has been nearly 12 months, which
is a pretty long time for me to go without having an episode).
I still believe diet, exercise, and stress management are key to my
health. But I also feel that the lithium and antidepressant together are
(so far) critical, too.
I know you said you don't want meds, but I did want to share that what's
going on might not be depression.
A great website for information about bipolar II and "soft"
bipolar disorders is by Dr. Jim Phelps: www.psycheducation.org.
Please take a look at it and see if you find your experience described
---Finally feeling hopeful that the cycle will end---
Have you researched a condition called ''Bipolar, Type II''? My
psychiatrist prefers to call it ''depression with anxiety'' since
Bipolar has such strong connotations for most people. Bipolar, II is
cyclical like regular Bipolar -- within a range that includes depression
and anxiety instead of depression and mania.
One of the quirky things about Bipolar, II is that your reaction to
(SSRIs) is not as expected. My husband was diagnosed when he finally
went to see an expert psychopharmacologist because a third variety of
antidepressant let him down (two did nothing much, the third created a
sense of rage that he lived with for months, waiting for the meds to
''start working''). He was taken off the SSRIs and put on a mood
stabilizer, and then later -- once he was stablized, the Dr reintroduced
an SSRI which improved his baseline.
Before we got into this adventure I'd never heard of the disorder or the
My husband is a brilliant and loving guy who makes big contributions to
society... I don't know what his life would have been like without this
intervention. He still has the occasional bad day (don't we all?) and
seems to react to changing seasons and shorter days... but he is
functional and happy and here for me and for his kids.
I'd urge you to see the best doctor you can, and to follow the advice
that doctor gives you, even if it includes trying a medication... You'll
never know how much better you can feel, unless you start feeling
I'm only Depressed and Distracted.
Cyclical as in; starting a week or so before your period and ending as
your period start? If so, it's probably PMS or PMDD.
I know I suffer from one and/or the other and what you describe sounds
very familiar. I suggest you read up on those; there are many great
sites on the Internet. Talk to your therapist about this too; mine gave
me great references.
Of course, if you don't need medication that's great BUT if you need it
don't hesitate to take it. Whatever you do though get professional help.
I struggled with depression for 25 years before I decided to go for a
I've been taking meds for a little over a year which is by far the
longest stretch ever. There were some side effects to manage but I have
never felt this free. Finally, I'm not controlled by my moods, emotions,
and hormones anymore.
do you think you might have PMS? You might try charting your mood
swings vs your cycles. If it looks like it is the week before your
period, try exercise, Vitamin B6, St.
John's Wort or even Prozac during the last two weeks of each cycle. Or
talk to your Gyn about it.
it happens to the best of us
Could this be pms or pmdd?
Yup, I had a similar kind of experience, for about 25 years of my life,
but since I've been taking a combination of a mood stabilizer and an
anti-depressant (for the last 10 years) I don't get hit by those moods
that come out of left field with no warning.
I know exactly what you mean by ''depression attack'', and it's one of
those things that is difficult for someone who hasn't experienced it
themselves to really understand. It's vastly different than the normal
ups and downs of life.
What you're describing is a mood disorder, they are biological
disorders, and susceptibility to them is now known to be genetic.
There are many kinds of mood disorders involving depression, and it
takes a skilled and experienced psychiatrist to correctly evaluate a
patient and make a well-considered diagnosis.
In my long years of chronic depression, peppered with clinical
depressive spells and less frequent hypomanic spells, I did years of
therapy. I believe in therapy, it gave me a lot, but I always knew
instinctively that something physical was driving my depression and
instability, and that therapy couldn't remedy that underlying problem.
I'm not going to push medications given what you said, but I want to
share some of my experience with you, and to suggest that you keep an
open mind about meds. I think that you'll be selling yourself short if
you dismiss them out of hand without getting some real education about
them. They've restored thousands of people to a place where life is in
proportion and can be enjoyed, and they've (literally) saved the lives
of many people.
Even if you remain firm in not wanting to take any medication, please
make an appointment with an experienced psychiatrist, get a diagnosis,
and get a medical understanding of what's going on with you. Like you've
said, it's very scary to be attacked by a debilitating mood and have no
idea what's happening or why.
What you decide to do with the info you get is entirely up to you.
Knowledge is power. Simply having some info, having a name for your
condition, and understanding what's happening with your body chemicals
will allow you to do some research on your own, and to seek out support
Good resources to know about in our area are Langley-Porter Institute,
(the psych part of UCSF medical school), and Stanford medical center.
Both have mood disorder clinics, are cutting edge in terms of being up
on the latest research, and offer very thorough evaluations.
If you have Kaiser, I can highly recommend Dr. Jeanne Leventhal in the
Oakland Psych Dept. I found her through a post on this list, and she has
been the one who has most successfully addressed the depressive aspect
of my disorder. She is also a specialist in women's hormonal issues, and
includes looking at their influence in her diagnosis and her treatment
Hang in there, and take care of yourself!
I know you do not want to take medication, but you may want to consider
it. You have been in talk therapy for years and your depression is
recurring more frequently making it harder for you to get through each
day. Unless there is a new factor in your life like job, relationship,
or financial stress that might explain these episodes, I think you
should see a psychiatrist. I am not a proponent of medication, but when
talk therapy is not working, it may be necessary.
I am struggling with mild-moderate depression/anxiety. I was on
Prozac for 2 years, then recently got off (under MD supervision)
to try to get pregnant. Things are going well in my life now
(as opposed to when I first got on the drugs). Yet I'm still
feeling the depression and anxiety coming back (worse also in
these short, winter days), unrelated to any particular external
circumstances. I'm funcioning o.k., but hate feeling this way. I
know that going back on meds is an option, even while trying to
get pregnant, but I want to exhaust all other non-drug options
Does anyone have advice on alternative ways to manage mild-
moderate depression and anxiety? I have already taken some
measures such as getting more sleep, cutting out caffeine,
exercising more, and trying to cut down on unnecessary work
responsibilities. But I still feel bad.
Also, I was thinking of seeing a professional to help me in
this. My MD will only prescribe drugs. I would like someone
who can give practical advice and support, rather than drawn out
psychotherapy. Ideally, it would be an expert in these issues
who could help coach me in using nutrition, light, stress-
reduction techniques and other practical techniques to deal with
Any advice or recommendations of professional help would be
have you tried acupressure? i wasn't that sympathetic to trying it, but
anasuya batliner (www.mybodywisdom.net) showed me a lot of ways to feel
a lot better. the huge curtain of depression choking me (and the
feeling of being drawn downwards into complete sorrow if i let my guard
down) lifted amazingly with her help. maybe try a session? it isn't
psychotherapy but it does help your body calm down.
good luck, it will get better!
Here are some ideas about what is supposed to work with
Strenuous aerobic exercise where you are breathing hard for at least 1/2
an hour at least 3x a week. (More is better.) Short term cognitive
therapy where you identify the thoughts that are making you feel
depressed and learn new thought patterns.
Fish oil pills with high concentration of DHA.
It might be easier to implement these habits while you are on
medication and then wean off them.
been there too
Your situation is more common than you think. I have to agree with you
not taking antidepressent. It is only a temporary solution. What I can
recommend is put in a conscious effort changing how you feel. How we
feel is always our choice.
Depression begins inside of you, in your mind, in your consciousness.
You can start changing by making an agreement with yourself every
morning: ''I will let go of depression and negative feelings. I will
feel and be happy today.'' When you start feeling bad, just stop
yourself. Step back, detach from those feelings and observe them. Do
not judge them, do not attach to them. Just sit back and let them pass
by peacefully. You are not those feelings.
I empathize with you. Here's some things that have helped me:
meditation (there is a good class with James Baraz on Monday nights at
the Northbrae church-look at www.spiritrock.org. Also there are
mindfulness classes at kaiser, and I think alta bates, which are very
helpful in dealing with anxiety and depression, finding another way to
be with your thoughts and feelings. Rosen method bodywork has also been
helpful. The Center for Cognitive Therapy is good-has very specific
techniques to deal with negative thinking. Acupuncture also.
I recommend Carla Dalton, who is in Berkeley. There is a lot of help out
there, it just may take a little time. Good luck a
My situation is very similar to yours -- having been on Prozac for two
years and recently making the decision to not be on medications.
Besides doing the things you are already doing (nutrition, exercise,
etc.) -- I have been getting acupuncture with Marti Lee Kennedy
(martileekennedy.com) -- and have found
each session to be helpful in combatting my blues. Hope that
helps some. Good luck!
Going through the same thing...
Hello, I have some things to recommend for mild depression and anxiety.
I've been taking GABA, a neurotransmtter in powder form for help through
what is an extremely difficult time. I researched it thoroughly and my
acupuncturist recommended it, as I'm very sensitive to meds and was
scared to take anti-depressants. It is a brain balancer and studies show
there's no side effects as long as you take the recommended dosage. I'm
one of those people who normally NEVER takes anything, but I was
desperate. It worked immediately for me and I have no side effects. It
simply calms the anxiety, for me, in the most powerful yet gentle way.
In addition, same-said acupuncturist, Elizabeth Padron Vos, has me on
some herbal and homeopathic formulations that are really working. You
might want to check her out at 510.308.2155
There are two books I'm reading and following the exercises that have
also helped me immensely. They are by the late Australian doctor Claire
Weekes. Don't be misled by the fact they were written in the '50s and
have some dated language, or by the simplicity of the approach. The
approach works, and started working for me right away. One book is
called ''Hope and Help for Your Nerves,'' and the other ''Essential Help
for your Nerves.''
I wish you the best in getting through your challenge and completely
believe you can.
Help is out there
I found about 1/2 hour a day in front of a light box very useful for
seasonal depression. They are not cheap, however (not the kind that
work, anyway). I think it was around $200 -- I got mine from a company
called Alaskan Northern Lights.
Some therapists will loan them out to try. Might be worth looking into.
On the topic of light and melatonin, don't ever sleep in during the fall
and winter months. Get up early and go outside even if you had a late
night. You don't want to miss what light there is.
I was also helped by very intense aerobic exercise even though previous
regimens of more limited exercise had only modest effect. This may or
may not be a practical suggestion for two reasons. First, it takes a
lot of time and energy to exercise that seriously. Second, I don't
think it's conducive to getting and staying pregnant, at least it wasn't
for me. Still, something is better than nothing, so I'd stick with what
you're doing. Also, I think outdoor is better than the gym. And
massages are great.
Finally, I think the people who tell you to regularize your day (eat,
sleep, exercise, etc. at the same times) are right, though this can be
hard to do in real life. But try moving in that direction to the extent
you can. And good luck. (BTW, I did not have to do much of anything to
stay happy the winter I was pregnant, so know that it's possible for the
hormonal changes to work in your favor.) Anon
I have suffered from depression most of my life going on and off drugs
any number of times. The last time I went off my doctor suggested I
start taking Omega 3 fish oil. I was skeptical but went along with the
idea ordering three boxes of Omega Brite. I dutifully took three a day
until I ran out, then I stopped.
About 10 days later I noticed I was anxious and unhappy. I went back on
the pills and haven't missed a day since. I am a real believer in their
power. I have also noticed I am happier when I cut out sugars in my
diet and have regular aerobic exercise. Good luck Been there
I have greatly benefited from doing Solution work, as can be seen at
www.thepathway.org. It is a developmental skills program, where I am
learning to nurture myself and set limits from within. I don't believe
it is a treatment for depression per se, but many of the skills I am
learning are tremendously beneficial for my mood. The program began at
UCSF and seems credible. Without investing in the program, perhaps you
could read one of the books by Laurel Mellin, and perhaps you could seek
counseling from someone with this orientation (check out the website),
and get some of the benefits that way.
The Women's Therapy Center in El Cerrito is an excellent resource for
professional help. The therapists there are interns, but are highly
skilled and well-supervised. I've been getting therapy there for over a
year and I started out very skeptical that an MFT intern would be able
to help me. Fees are sliding scale--very affordable.
I have always found exercise to be an effective tool for managing mood
and lifting depression. I did my masters thesis in exercise science on
depression and exercise and all the recent scientific literature says
that intense aerobic exercise is NOT the best type of exercise in terms
of mood enhancement. In fact, intense exercise is more likely to enhance
your anxiety. Moderate and light intensity exercise: ie, walking, yoga,
etc., are extremely effective methods for treating depression. Good
get out and walk!
I just had to respond. 10+ years ago I had terrible depression and tried
Paxil and Zoloft. They weren't working and I had horrible side effects.
The psychiatrist wanted to put me on Lithium, which would have included
weekly blood checks to monitor my levels. That freaked me out.
At the same time, during a very long sinusitis that wouldn't get better
with drugs, I tried a homeopath as a last hope. He was pricy and it was
out of pocket.
Homeopaths treat the whole person, not just one symptom. He discovered
that I had a hormone imbalance, which was caused by birth control pills
in my case. Homeopathic remedies can take longer for healing (sometimes
a few months), BUT... they actually work. He gave me some stuff, which
made my chronic, months-long sinusitis as well as depression evaporate
and brought me back to balance - I haven't needed depression drugs
I'm so glad I was open to trying it
I would totally say ugh if someone said this to me... eating a wide
variety of healthy foods is more likely to keep you from nutritional
deficiencies, which contribute to depression. If my eating isn't
balanced, I don't feel as well. Buy the best quality food you can
afford. Keep the skins on the root veggies (beets, potatoes etc.)
because that's where all the minerals are. Eat whole grains (and mix in
unusual healthier grains like quinoa, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, &
teff if you are able).
Make sure you are rotating through every vegetable the store offers, not
just sticking to what you know and like the best.
Finally, too much time spent with the TV and computer leaves me less
joyful. It's usually mindless entertainment where I zone out. It dulls
my creativity, and stops me from thinking, feeling, enjoying, playing,
etc. Why not detach somewhat and try gentle walks enjoying the beauty of
nature, breathing the fresh air? Also, take up a craft/hobby that you
can really get into and do with your hands.
We all need to pursue our creativity, in ways that fill us with joy.
Otherwise, it's easier for hopelessness and depression to sneak in.
Good health and mood to you!
When the sun is out, I'm happy and optimistic, for the most
part. But when it's foggy (most of the summer here) I get more
and more depressed as the days go on. Besides moving away
(can't do right now), medication (tried it), and physical
activity (which I'm working on increasing), does anyone know of
anything specifically to combat SAD? Sunlamps? Yoga?
SAD at the sight of fog
I'm the same. What has worked for me is to use a dawn simulator alarm
Somehow it tricks my brain into thinking that the sun is rising. When I
actually wake up, it is of course disappointing to find fog outside, but
by then I am not as depressed anymore. Bright lights also help a lot.
Keep your work area as bright as possible (e.g.
add a desk lamp, if you work at a desk, or brighter ceiling lights).
Yoga and exercise can of course make you feel better as well, but I
thinks bright lights are the key. There are special lamps made for SAD,
but I haven't tried them foggy but not depressed
I know exactly how you feel. I too suffer from depression when there is
not enough sun. I was born and raised in sunny southern California. I
never had this problem when I was living in L.A. until I got married and
moved up here 10 years ago. When we bought our house in El Cerrito, one
of the things that was never mentioned to us was just how foggy it gets
here (I think the seller should have disclosed this fact). I had no idea
that the fog would effect me in this way.
And with the long rainy springs we've been getting lately, it makes
dealing with the fog all the more difficult. I have never tried lights
to combat Seasonal Effect Disorder, but I've heard they are very
helpful. Another thing that helps is to get outside as much as possible
on those foggy days. Just bundle up and go for walks out in the open
where there is mostly sky above you. You will get more light that way.
Don't wear a hat or sunglasses. Avoid dark woodsy walks through redwood
tree groves, they can be very dark and very wet on cold foggy days.
Avoid spending too much time indoors. Keep all your curtains and blinds
open as much as possible when you are inside. Always sit by a window. If
you just can't take another day of fog, then try to visit other areas of
the Bay Area that are sunny and warm. Go for your walks and run your
errands in the sunnier locations. Your mental health is worth the extra
Another thing that might help is to try to wear more cheerful, sunny
colors. I find that most people in the Bay Area, especially in Berkeley,
tend to wear dark, drab colors, and are very casually dressed. This just
adds to the foggy depression. Around here it's hard to dress warmly and
also stay in touch with the season with the sunny colors. Try to find
light and bright colored sweaters.
Mail order might be your best bet. I find that I usually feel much
better if I ''spruce-up'' a bit, put something a little nicer and
brighter on, and wear lipstick. I may not fit in with the look around
here, but at least I feel better.
What you have is Seasonal Affective Disorder. Lack of sunlight makes
You can get a ''sun box'' that has full-spectrum lighting, and sit in
front of it for a prescribed period of time each day. You can also find
full-spectrum lightbulbs to install in the house as well Stephanie
get outdoors, exercise more, get a warm jacket and sit in the fog. Even
on foggy days you can get plenty of sunlight, if that's truly the issue.
And if you're taking hikes or otherwise getting exercise, you'll warm up
more quickly, be more inclined to get out AND feel better, both from the
exercise and the sunlight. I have heard of sunlamps, but I bet you'll
still do better just focusing on getting out, and it seems easier too
Well, where do you live? If you live in North Berkeley, you should know
that only minutes away, there are microclimates that are not as foggy.
Oakland, for example. I live in West Oakland and it is not foggy
everyday in the summer, and when it is, it burns off by noon. Otherwise,
you could try Orinda and points east. If you go out to Walnut Creek, you
will never have summer fog.
If you don't want to move, maybe you could just go to these places on
foggy days, if you are a stay at home parent. If you have to go to work,
I guess you have to go no matter what. I would also recommend going to
a gym. Exercise will improve your mood and you will be inside, so the
weather won't really matter. Coffee also helps.
SAD is a recognized disorder affecting many people. The National
Institute of Mental Health recommends using a light box of at least
10,000 lux of light for at least 20 minutes daily. You can get deals on
line or at Costco. The one at Costco is called GOLITE and is portable
but not as effective as a bigger ''sunbox'' but it is half the price.
Even some people in Hawaii can get SAD when it is overcast.
been there SAD
Do try a light box. You'll have to research how to use it ( duration,
times of day, how close to sit, etc)but it's worth a try. Get one that
is designed for depression, they have a lot higher lumens that a regular
light. THey can be pricey. You might Google ''Northern Lights'' as they
are one manufacturer JM
Sunlamps do work and the anti-depressant, Wellbutrin, was recently
approved for SAD.
Sometimes SAD is a type of bipolar disorder and these 2 treatments could
trigger hypomania, (an up mood that can interfer with functioning). Try
getting up the same time each day, take walks and be outdoors even
though it is foggy. The exercise and be quite helpful even though it
can be challenging to get started Judy
I too have felt the foggy depression and I cannot tell you how much
light therapy has helped me. After putting off investing in a good
sunlamp for years since I had little $, I finally was able to buy a
Sunbox light (the Sunbox Company is a high- quality, reputable brand)
for about $225. In the past, I was denied coverage by my Healthnet
insurance company for that expenditure, despite having a letter from my
psychiatrist recommending the lamp as an alternative to drugs. (go to
sunbox.com for info. on prices - it's a great site with lots of info.
and occasional sales.) I sat in front of my lamp for 30-60 minutes
every day in the morning (I sat about 14 inches away from the bulb)
while reading the paper, eating breakfast, etc. It was tough to do
that, but it did help. You may want to investigate taking Omega-3's too,
(I like Nordic Naturals) and visit a health food place with a helpful
person on staff to find out more about that.
Also check out Dr. Norman Rosenthal's landmark book on SAD ''Winter
Blues'', which is an inspiring and informative read. You can get it
from the library. Good luck and feel free to email me Dyane
I had this for a while but seemed to kind of grow out of it towards my
mid- to late-twenties. Maybe you will too?
The thing that worked somewhat well for me was 1) having a regular
sleeping schedule (yes, random!) and 2) turning on every light in the
house IMMEDIATELY when I got up. Getting the light right away when I
woke up seemed to help switch ''on'' something.
It is annoying!
-send me to san diego
I am not sure if Iím looking for advice, a recommendation or
just an outlet for what Iím going through. I have, what would
appear on the outside, such a great life. I have a loving
husband, a wonderful house and an absolutely adorable son whom I
adore with all my heart. Why am I so unhappy? I feel so trapped
in a life that is not what I want. And, part of the problem, is
I donít really know what I want. I guess I thought that I would
have accomplished so much more with my life than I have. I am
depressed almost all the time. I want to sleep all the time.
I feel like Iím sleepwalking through every day. The only thing
that makes me happy is being with my son - I want to be with him
all the time. But, Iím starting to feel like I am unworthy of
my son who is so full of life and energy. I have no energy for
him. We are strapped for money, mortgaged to the hilt and I have
to work full time when Iíd rather be with him. But, I almost
feel he is better off in preschool without me because even if I
was home with him, would it be any better for him? Would I be
any better or would I just continue to be depressed and have a
negative impact on him? Now Iím looking for work again and I
cannot muster even the slightest desire to find it, even though
I know we absolutely need me to work in order for us to just pay
the bills. I would love to see a therapist, but we have no
extra money to spend on one and I hate taking any time away from
my time with my son. I feel completely selfish and childish for
feeling this way when I know so many people are much worse off.
I feel like there is something terribly wrong with me that I can
be so completely unhappy when I really shouldnít be. I donít
know what kind of advise anyone can offer. I just didnít know
where else to turn. I have great friends, but have a hard time
talking about this with them (and my husband) because my
unhappiness seems so unreasonable. I feel so overwhelmed with it
First, you should know that what you are going through is
definitely depression AND that many, many women (and men) go
through bouts of depression for weeks, months, or years. So,
please don't feel alone.
Secondly, there are some excellent free or sliding scale
services in Alameda County. Check the following website:
for specific information, phone numbers, and contacts. Another
place to check would be your local church, synagogue, or
mosque. Even if you are not a current member, if you go into a
rabbi, priest, or imam, they would be unlikely to turn you
away. Generally, there are peer support groups in religious
communities that are free and confidential.
As for taking time away from your son by seeking therapy - try
to think of therapy as a way for you to be a better parent. It
will increase your sense of self and therefore, your confidence
in raising your son the way you want to. Think of the time you
are unhappy now, while you are with him. Wouldn't you rather
take an hour a week to turn this time into time you feel is
I'm sure your son loves you just the way you are. It sounds
like you are a very caring and loving mother. But you need to
take care of yourself and work through the important issues
that are causing you confusion, sadness, and lack of energy.
Also, you may have a chemical imbalance that can be treated
through a variety of methods (not necessarily pharmaceuticals)
and this could very well turn things around for you.
You have the right idea - talking about this to other people is
a great start. Don't stop now!
You sound clinically depressed, but I am not a doctor, and I
encourage you to at least talk to your GP about this. Many
health plans include mental health benefits, and will pay for a
therapist, at least for a few sessions. You may need meds, and
that is not an inherently bad thing. You may need more exercise,
a different diet, something, but until you talk to a professional
about it, things may only get worse. I think it's OK to be
selfish in this, you want to be there completely and contentedly
for your family, and might need help to get there.
You really need to find a therapist. As much as you want to be
with your son every free moment, you have to take care of yourself
before you can take care of anyone else. Your son will be happy
with a happier mommy. There are plenty of therapists who will
negotiate a sliding scale with you.
I would also suggest trying Bach Flower Essences. You can read
about them at Whole Foods or at Vitamin Express (Shattuck and
Rose). They might help your state of mind.
Please, please see a therapist or a doctor. If you have a limited
there are many places where fees are determined on a sliding scale,
and are very reasonable for lower-income families. If you have good
health insurance, it might pay for some therapy and/or antidepressants.
But what you describe sounds like absolutely classic depression (which
is a physical illness, not a case of your being ''unworthy''), and you
help. If nothing else, talk to your primary care physician and get a
doctor's advice about the problem.
It sounds like you have a lot weighing you down. I have been
reading a lot about depression lately and it sounds like you
may be suffering from that. Maybe you should see a counsellor
to help you figure it out.
Besides that, be completely honest with your husband about how
you feel. Perhaps there is a way that you can ease your
financial burden and give yourself some more options. It
sounds to me as if you have built a lifestyle that you are not
that happy about.
As far as being at home with your child full time, until you
feel better about yourself it won't make you happier. In fact,
I think that being at home can be very isolating if you don't
put a lot of effort into getting out and joining activities.
First -- I think most of what you feel is very normal.
But this is my advice: you say you have a huge mortgage
and that you want to spend time with your son. You should
sell your house - take advantage of the market and cash
out! Then buy someplace much cheaper, or rent. And you
should quit your job and do what you want: be with your child!
I bet everyone would be happier. Your child deserves you!
And you deserve to be happy!
Do you think you may want to stay home full time and raise your
son? If so, and if your husband is wonderful, don't worry
about sitting down and talking to him about it - he'll probably
understand and be open to doing what you guys need to do to
make that happen, even if it means moving. I'm sure HE wants
you to be happy, and probably senses you're not.
I was working part time from home and had a nanny come in to
help out when I had to work. It wasn't my ideal, but
we ''needed'' the money. I always wanted to stay home. She was
wonderful and like a grandmother to our son, but I still felt
bad. 3 months after she started, my company shut down their
West Coast operation and though I looked for an interviewed in
other jobs for which I was qualified, none of them panned out
which I believe (due to my religious faith) was no accident.
We had no idea how we would live on only my husband's income,
since it was less than half of what we were taking in, but we
managed. We did even talk about moving, but in the end, due to
the lovely refinancing rates, didn't have to. We re-organized
our lives, and though are very tight on money, have never been
Just to ice my cake, in a weird way, 2 months after I became a
full time mother, my son got the flu and had a seizure from the
dehydration. We were at the hospital most of the day having
tests run on him, and he wanted nothing but mommy all day. He
loves his dad and his dad is VERY involved, but he just wanted
his mom. As we sat there throughout the day, we talked about
how it just really cemented that what we were doing was right,
and how we would have felt getting a call from a nanny or a day
care to tell us our son had gone into the ER. (He seemed to
have been on the mend for a day the morning it happened, but
the docs said this sometimes happens)
So perhaps this is what is bothering you? How you feel is
totally OK, what you do about it next is up to you.
I really feel for you, all the more so because I do not think
you are alone in your feelings. I think many women experience
these feelings off and on but feel so guilty about having them
that they are unable to express them or to know how to begin to
First of all, you sound like you are a very caring and good
parent, so you deserve tremendous credit for that. It also
sounds like you could use an outlet for yourself--a realm in
which you can feel good about yourself apart from being a
wife/mother. Although you say that you do not wish to burden
your friends and husband with your feelings, they are the
cheapest (and best!) form of therapy. It seems very important
that you open up with them to get some support. Do you fear
rejection? Do you think you will be thought less of because of
these feelings? Perhaps you have a standard for yourself that
is perfectionistic and not reasonable. You also sound very
torn--that on one hand you should be advancing your career for
financial reasons, but on the other hand you really enjoy being
I can understand how looking for work sounds depressing when
perhaps it is not what you really want. Is there anyway for you
1) to accept that perhaps you are not interested in advancing
your career as you think you should be and 2) can work part-
time so you can spend more time with your child? If you really
need to work full-time, perhaps some career counseling could be
useful. Could you be having a bit of a mid-life crisis? It
really seems that you are judging yourself very harshly, that
you think that you should want other than what you have and yet
what you have actually might be what you want. It might be
helpful to find a way to explore what you think you should have
accomplished by now as well as where that might be coming
from. Perhaps you could find a support group through a church
or other organization that would not cost you any money. In
order to find some joy in your l! ife, and to help you address
the question of ''what DO I want?'', think back to what you have
enjoyed doing in the past (pre-child--perhaps even pre-
marriage). What were your hobbies/interests? Is there some
way for you to get plugged into something you enjoy doing? To
help you with the depression, if you are not doing so already,
I would also suggest some kind of do-able exercise--maybe you
can incorporate walking with a friend with talking about how
you are feeling right now. It is a known fact that endorphins
help combat depression.
I have gone through feelings very simlar to yours--especially
around the time when I turned 40 and realized that my life was
sort of ''set'' in place. I had to accept that it was okay that
I had not written a novel or published a scholarly paper or sat
on a board or made a 6-digit income. Our culture puts terrible
pressures on us all. Sometimes I think we have all the
ingredients to be happy, but we don't know it because it does
not fit the American ideal of what we think it should be, and
that is sad. I hope you can find the answers to your
questions. You certainly are not alone.
I remember feeling that way after I had my son. Consider
reading a book that's helped me called ''The Purpose-Filled
Life''. It gave me a lot of direction. Try networking with
other moms, you'd be surprised that they can be a great
resource and release.
I'm so sorry to hear that you're having such a tough time. I
don't have children (yet - due soon), but have also struggled
over the last 5 years or so with ''my life is so great - why am I
not happy?'' and ''what do I really want in my life''. I believe I
have a lot to be grateful for, yet am really missing some
direction and fulfillment...which sounds so pop-psychology it
makes me queasy, but its true.
I read a book recently that helped me think through a lot of my
issues with what I want from life -- wish I could say it was a
magic bullet, but I don't think there are any. Its called ''I
Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was'' by Barbara Sher.
She works from the premise that you have a lot to offer and are
inherently talented at something (even if you don't think so)
and are totally capable of having any kind of life you want; the
only trick is to find what you really want (she helps with that)
and how to go about achieving it. Idea is that if you apply
yourself and find the help you need, you can get there. Its
pretty concrete too - not just touchy-feely stuff. I found the
book really enlightening, and enjoyed the website/bulletin
boards the author set up for discussion. I'm taking a detour
right now - got pregnant before I could really focus on finding
the career I reall! y want - but still think this book helped me a
lot, and the site is FILLED with supportive people who've been
(or are) where you are, no matter what your goal or present
I wish you luck!
It sounds like you have several symptoms of serious depression. I
would seek out a psychiatrist (who can prescribe drugs) at once. I have
struggled with this disease for two decades and was terrified about its
effect on my now 1 year old baby. A combination of medication and talk
therapy has helped me enormously, and i'm sure it willhelp you too -
specifically about feeling not good enough for your baby. You are the
best thing that's ever happened to him, and a good doctor and the right
meds can help you realize that. I took an SSRI through my pregnancy
and continue to use it while breastfeeding with no ill effects for the
so please don't let that be a deterrent.
As for the cost, if you have health insurance, there's probably a way
you to be covered. I have had a great deal of experience getting
paid for by a variety of insurance plans who clai! med it wasn't covered.
you would like me to help you out with this, just let me know.
Please don't give up.
It definitely sounds like you are depressed and should treat
this as the medical condition that it is. That being said, it
might help for you to believe and remember the following:
1) you have plenty more time to accomplish things in your
life; while your kids are very young is not necessarily the
best time to be ''accomplishing'' a lot of other stuff. So cut
yourself some slack on this.
2) It is not selfish or childish to have the feelings you do.
You didn't choose to have those feelings. And the poorest
and most unfortunate in the world are not the only ones who
have the right to be legitimately unhappy. Judging yourself
for having your feelings is only adding to your unhappiness.
3) It is clear that however wonderful your situation is in many
ways, you are not getting certain fundamental needs met.
Somehow through your job, fr! iends, husband, family, other
activities you are not getting the enjoyment, validation,
sense of purpose/accomplishment that we all need. I'm not
sure what the answer is for you. For me, when I found
myself in a similar situation after about 9 months of
unemployment I decided to get involved in a cause or
organization that I believed in. For me, volunteering helped
a lot. So did eventually finding a good job with a very
supportive boss who makes me feel valued and
appreciated. Other things might be finding an activity that
brings you joy (extra bonus points if it is active and helps
you get some exercise) and making time for the people in
your life that help you feel valued and special.
Oh my dear, you do sound very unhappy. In fact, depressed. My
partner has suffered from depression for years, and you should
know that it is NOT a ''character flaw'', but an illness. I
think most research shows that a combination of medication
(carefully selected for yuor own needs) and talk therapy are
most helpful for people with depression. This has helped my
partner immensely. Do you have any insurance? Even if you can't
see a specialist (psychiatrist), at least talk to your doctor.
Even if it means taking some time off from work, or from your
time with your child, it is worth it to be yourself again. If
you don't have a personal doctor, there must be social service
agencies that can help you find low-cost care (though
unfortunately, that often means a long wait). I'm afraid I
don't know the specifics of that; maybe another poster will.
You won't necessarily needs medicine forever (though many
people do), but even a while on it can help you see past the
never-ending unhappiness and address whatever ''life issues''
might be adding to your depression. Remember you are not
alone. Wishing you the best.
your email brought tears to my eyes. i don't have any real
concrete advice (hopefully others will) but i just wanted to
write with support for what you are going through. you aren't
alone-- i know there are a lot of people in the same boat-- i'm
in and out of it myself-- and you are doing A LOT. just being a
mom is huge, and working full-time on top of that is double and
triple huge. regardless of who else you know who pulls it off
seemingly effortlessly, i know it is super hard. you do not have
enough time to nourish your own self and spirit, let alone
cultivate friendships and spend the time you deserve with your
son. so just know that you are in a hard place, and give yourself
a big hug just for coming this far and for reaching out for
support. i don't know what to suggest besides therapy-- i do
think there are some group therapies that may be free or lower
cost, maybe even t! hrough kaiser? or maybe someone here or on
another website knows.... also i find browsing the self-help or
spiritual sections in bookstores sometimes is helpful for me. as
for taking a little time away from your son for these things-- it
is tough but may help you be a better mom in the long run. try
doing things that lift your spirit with him-- go on a picnic at
the marina. or if
there is something you can do after his bedtime or take an hour
off of work instead.... i know it is hard to reach out to others
when you are depressed, but i do know that if there's any way to
do that, it can be a salvation. also praying, however to whatever
or whoever, for guidance on your path.... mostly i just wanted to
send you much strength (which you clearly already have) and good
loving thoughts. you can do it. good luck.
I'm really replying to three posts: Feeling Trapped/Unhappy,
Isolated Single mom, and Getting Over Having Baby. They really
are all part of the same problem as I see it. Having spent so
many years wanting a child then finally adopting. Now realizing
that my life before the kid was really good, if I'd only been
able to see that then. Feeling priced out of the Bay Area Housing
Market and frustrated with living in a small apartment. All and
all: it's difficult being a parent, all the more so in our modern
disconnected society, yet that's what we all somehow dream will
make us finally feel fulfilled. I don't think many of us really
can have it all, at least not in the Bay Area.
I don't know what to tell you to make you happy, but I do know
that you shouldn't be ashamed of feeling the way you do, or
discount your needs because you think others may have it worse.
You sound to me like a caring and considerate person who loves
her family very much. You deserve to explore all the reasons for
your unhappiness and all the options at your disposal until you
find a way to be happier.
I also used to feel very trapped and pretty unhappy in similar
circumstances. I wanted to quit my job to be home with my new
baby; my husband had a lot of anxiety about what it would mean
for our finances, but finally I made the break and we are
spending some of our savings for a while, which might not be the
smartest thing but I'm so much happier. In the end, when my
husband saw how unhappy I was becoming, he was supportive. I'm
getting some part-time consulting work! to help out a little, and
we've reduced our expenses. If need be, we have agreed we will
move to a smaller house to reduce our mortgage. Some of these
things may not be options for you, but the specifics aside, you
need to be able to see that there are options available to you.
One thing I did when I was feeling really trapped is I wrote
down every option I could think of, even ones that were
undesirable or seemingly outlandish, like sell our house, or
borrow money from parents. At first, not working at all seemed
outlandish and unrealistic, but then as I kept making the list
and asking myself ''how bad would it really be if we...(sold the
house, had only one car, etc)?'' I realized that the most
important thing was that I we were happy as a family and
provided a healthy emotional environment for our daughter, and
the rest of it would just have to work itself out. And I
persisted in talking to my husband about it even thou! gh he was
uncomfortable and anxious. Not working may not be your answer,
but committing to understanding and pursuing your highest
priorities should show the way to some change. Ultimately, I
guess all I'm saying is you deserve to be happy and the guilt
you feel about being unhappy is wasted energy. Spend that energy
instead finding solutions, large and small, and talking to your
husband about what you're feeling and asking for his emotional
support. I'm so glad I did. You will find your way through this.
PS, there was an article in the NY Times magazine a couple of
weeks ago called The Opt-Out Revolution which might interest you.
Been there, wishing for better for you
My heart goes out to you and I can't say this strongly enough....you
MUST make the time and find a way to get some counseling at this time.
All the feelings you have are what most of us mothers have or are
struggling with so much of the time. You are so not alone. But you
sound, as you wrote, depressed and the best of us need help
sometimes. This is your time. With help and support you can climb
of the overwhelmed pit you're in.
You didn't mention the age of your son, but it may be postpartum
depression. I struggled with it for a while and abslutely needed
Now life gets overwhelming sometimes, but I have the tools to pull back
into myself and recover and the strength to find peace again.
If you have health insurance, then counseling services are probably
available to you through that. My husband and I are getting marraige
counseling right now through our insurance. If you don't, then
I don't know them off hand, I'm sure there are some low cost resources
Go to your doctor or clinic and talk to them about how you feel.
One of the most important lessons I've learned in motherhood is that we
absolutely have to stop the world sometimes to take care of ourselves.
It's not selfish in the slightest. It's truly what we have to do.
Hang in there. Life can look much brighter. Good luck in you
I wish that I had some great advice for you. Mainly I can just tell you that
you are not alone. I feel like a hampster on a wheel, mainly because we have
to work so hard to stay afloat in this crazy expensive area. What about
looking into some low cost therapy or finding some free/low cost activities?
This site is great for finding both. It sounds like you are not working so I
was wondering if you could set aside some time every week where you keep your
son out of preschool and the two of you do something together. Getting out
and enjoying time with him may lift your spirits enough that you can have more
energy for your job search and other stuff. I started taking off work early
on Fridays to take my son to a free music class with a girlfriend and her kids
and just that little outing lifts my spirits for the weekend. For me, when I
feel super trapped and depressed, setting one small, manageable goal per week
helps to break the cycle--rather than setting up a long, unrealistic list
(''exercise regularly, join a club, meet two new friends, etc). When you meet
that one goal hopefully you will get enough strength to add a second one and
build on success. Also frequently trapped
My heart goes out to you. It sounds like you need some help but might
not know where or how to find it. Start with your doctor. Your
M.D. Tell him or her what you are feeling, and listen to the advice.
doctors will be very understanding and assist you in getting the help
need to feel better. It sounds, too, like you need to talk with your
husband. if you are that strapped for cash because of a mortgage,
perhaps you need to reevaluate things. Or perhaps you could take a
short time off to help yourself through the difficult waters, then get
to work refreshed. Don't disregard therapy. It may really help you get
some perspective on your life and what you have accomplished so far
and how you can achieve what you want to do next. ! But most important,
don't ever think your son would be better off without you. He needs
And he needs you to get the help you need so that you can be there for
him. I send my prayers to you.
I was there once too
Dear Trapped & Unhappy:
So ... You're tired, broke & would rather frolic in the park
with your beautiful little boy than slave away in a cubicle
somewhere? You work 24/7 for the most high-energy, demanding,
unreasonable, temperamental & unpredictable ''boss'' EVER, with
no vacations or breaks & feel dissatisfied? You spend all
your ''free time'' engaged in a perpetual & futile war against
the evil forces of chaos & entropy (also known as housework) &
at the end of the day feel you haven't accomplished anything?
And you think there's something WRONG with you for not loving
this life, when you could be earning a paycheck like a real
Heh. Sounds pretty normal to me! :^)
Alas, ''normal'' for first-time, stay-at-home-moms with young
children these days can often mean ''depressed.'' We're often
alone all day because our partners work long hours, our
families live far away, & our friends all have jobs & we can't
talk with them anyway because they think we have no right to
complain when their biological clocks keep ticking & they
haven't even found a partner yet & will never be able to afford
a house around here. Oh, & by the way, you don't just ''feel
like'' you're ''sleepwalking,'' you ARE sleepwalking! Sleep
deprivation does that to you. Why else do you think human
rights organizations define it as a form of torture?
There's nothing ''wrong'' with you as a person or as a mother.
The reason your son is so ''adorable'' & so ''full of life &
energy'' is because you're a loving mom who basically enjoys
mothering. But you do sound awfully depressed & really do need
to take care of yourself. Depression isn't some fake, trendy
disease for wimpy whiners & folks who watch Oprah. It's a
serious but entirely treatable illness & people who feel for
whatever reason that they should be able to deal with it
themselves without resorting to therapy suffer needlessly.
For what it's worth, here are my scattered thoughts:
(1) PUT THE JOB SEARCH ON HOLD FOR NOW: To hell with money.
Sure, it sucks being broke, but some things, like you & your
family's well-being, are way more important. Financial worries
can really distort things, especially when you're feeling
depressed. If you've managed to survive on one income until
now, maybe you can squeak by a little longer so you can sort
things out. A job might not even help your financial situation
much, since working outside of the home can prove quite
expensive in terms of commuting costs, daycare, tax liability,
added stress, etc.
(2) DO TALK TO A THERAPIST: A therapist can help you talk
things out, see things more clearly & help you find ways to
cope. They can also prescribe medications, & although it's not
for everyone, I must admit that Prozac has helped me a LOT. I
haven't undergone a magical transformation from a sloppy,
moody, hyperactive art chick with a bad attitude to a cheerful,
orderly Stepford wife. But it sure does take the edge off
things so I have a little mental space for keeping things in
perspective & deflecting those corrosive, negative thoughts.
And my ability to communicate my feelings in a constructive
way, know my limits & solve problems has improved greatly as a
result of seeing a therapist.
Most health insurance plans offer mental health benefits. If
you don't have insurance, there are sliding scale programs &
teaching hospitals that offer affordable options. Since finding
a therapist & navigating the health system can prove
overwhelming, I also recommend having your partner or a trusted
friend sit down with you for moral support & to help you stay
on task with your researching & phone calls, etc.
The logistics of keeping appointments are challenging, but do-
able. I try to schedule appointments for when my husband can
stay with my daughter or after school when I can hire a
reasonably-priced teenaged sitter (who can either stay at my
house with my daughter or come along & play with my daughter in
a nearby park). I also often wind up taking my daughter with me
for appointments & my psychiatrist, therapist & the office
staff are really cool about that. Although this isn't ideal,
it's better than not going at all.
(3) GET OUT OF THE HOUSE & MEET OTHER MOMS IN YOUR
NEIGHBORHOOD: No matter what kind of social circles you moved
in before, you ABSOLUTELY NEED mommy friends with kids who are
about your child's age. One cool mommy friend with whom you can
visit, plan outings, trade favors, laugh with & talk about
pretty much *any*thing can make a world of difference. Even
more casual friendships with other moms with kids of similar
ages can make your life much more fun. Eventually, you & the
mom you keep seeing at the park will take turns watching the
little ones while the other one sneaks off to grab a couple
cups of coffee or actually use the restroom ALONE. Finally, the
day will come when one of your mommy friends drops by during
one of those dreaded late afternoons that drag on & on & the
two of you enjoy adult conversation & a nice glass of wine or
cup of tea while the little monsters trash the living ! room.
From that point on, everything somehow gets much better.
It's hard to drag your sorry a** out of the house, take your
child to the park or library or wherever stay-at-home parents
hang out, strike up conversations, exchange phone numbers &
call people up for outings & play dates when you feel so
horrible you want to crawl under a rock & die. It was even hard
for me, & I'm an extremely extraverted person. But the effort
is well worth it. I've made some wonderful new friends & I
didn't know a single one of them when I first moved here a
couple of years ago. And now I can enjoy hanging out with
friends from my previous life without wishing they understood
what I'm going through.
If you're scared of rejection, try to remember that most new
moms feel isolated & enjoy being invited to do things (even if
they can't go or have trouble getting out of the house) & also
feel shy about reaching out.
(4) LIVE CHEAP, LIVE WELL (SORT OF): Some moms really need to
work outside of the home for personal as well as financial
reasons. But going back to work often feels conflicted &
wrenching even for women who totally love their jobs, have
strong career ambitions, AND really need the money in order to
pay the rent & put food on the table. In your situation, I
think going back to work would stress you out & make you more
unhappy. I would sit down with your husband to work out a
budget & cut as many corners as possible so you can afford to
stay home. Do you really need Cable TV? Or to buy books instead
of borrowing from the library? Or new clothes, toys,
housewares, etc. when you can buy them from a thrift store or
yard sale? Can you lower your monthly bills by conserving
energy, changing your calling plans, switching insurance
providers, etc.? Can your husband brown bag his lunch instead
of grabbing! a sandwich from the deli next door? Can you save
more on groceries by buying in bulk, taking advantage of sales,
etc. Can you buy memberships to museums & facilities you
frequent (like SF MOMA, Habitot or Lawrence Hall of Science) so
you don't have to pay every time? You'll be amazed at what you
can cut back on or do without & still live well. Although rents
& mortgages are insanely expensive around here, we're blessed
with lots of beautiful parks, good public libraries with fun
programs for kids, free or inexpensive events, etc. for
grownups as well as kids.
(5) FIND SOME AFFORDABLE PART-TIME DAYCARE: It's good for
toddlers & preschoolers to socialize & enjoy activities &
learning opportunities within a structured & regular settings.
And it's good for you to have some free time that you can count
on each week. Options include trading off with another mom, a
good home daycare provider in a less expensive neighborhood, a
daycare coop, or a coop playgroup are all good options.
(6) SLEEP IN ONCE A WEEK: On Saturday mornings, have Daddy take
your son out for a couple hours so they can bond while you
catch up on some sleep or burrow under the covers & read.
(7) DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF ON A REGULAR BASIS: You need to
re-energize & have something to look forward to every week. It
can be something simple but luxurious, like a massage or
manicure, or hanging out with the girls, sipping coffee in a
cafe while scribbling in your notebook. Or you can take a class.
Your local YMCA has lots of exercise & yoga & dance classes & a
Child Watch program where you can drop off your son & where
he'll have a good time. I've also heard about a Yoga school
with Child Watch services. Or you can take inexpensive courses
in things that interest you through your local community
college or adult education program in the evenings when your
husband will (hopefully) be home.
(8) CUT BACK ON HOUSEWORK AND/OR OTHER TASKS YOU HATE OR THAT
TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR TIME WITH YOUR CHILD: Your floor doesn't
need to be clean enough to eat from -- after all, our kids do
need to build up their immunity systems ;^). It's okay to serve
macaroni & cheese, peanut butter sandwiches, frozen pizza or
pre-prepared skillet meals for dinner sometimes instead of
making everything from scratch with fresh, organic ingredients
all the time. Try using an online bill-paying service (usually
available free or cheap from your bank) to automate some of
Have your son help you with some tasks. Of course this makes
tasks take 10 times as long than doing them yourself, but it'll
make household chores way more fun & will pay off down the
road. I've been pleasantly surprised to find that a toddler (my
daughter is 22 months old) can cut soft fruits & vegetables
with a blunt plastic knife, put some types of dishes & utensils
in the dishwasher, sweep stuff into your dustpan with a tot-
sized broom, pick things up from the floor & toss them into a
wastebasket or other container, stir things, transfer spoon or
cup fulls of ingredients into a bowl, weed the garden (though
they may also pull up plants you want along with the weeds), &
wipe off a small spill or stain with a sponge. Our house
usually looks like a bomb hit it, but at least my daughter & I
have fun & I'm (usually) cheerful but exhausted when my husband
I think that since many of us moms had successful careers
before having kids that we put a lot of pressure on ourselves
to achieve an unattainable level of perfection & that we set
goals for ourselves in our new roles as homemakers even though
we lack the years of housekeeping, cooking, & childcare
experience required to set realistic goals. The fact is that
10, 20 & 30 years from now, you & your family will fondly
remember good times spent together & meals & experiences
shared, not the sparkling cleanliness of your house or the
timely handling of your bills & paperwork.
I hope this helps! Believe me, I've been there & have (mostly)
made it through. And please feel free to email me.
if you want or need to chat.
Been There, Done That!
Although you've already received many responses to your post, I
had to chime in. You describe exactly how I felt when I
suffered from clinical depression. I have taken anti-
depressants twice (for 6 mo.- 1 yr.) in the last 10 years to
combat feelings like the ones you described. I went to talk
therapy at the same time. The first time I took medication, I
felt very ashamed -- like I had failed or should be able to make
myself feel better. All I can say is: I wish I'd done it
sooner. I had to lose a job and feel almost physically
incapacitated before I took medication. I can't imagine feeling
how I felt then and having a child, as I do now. The change
with medication was practically instantaneous and seemed
miraculous to me at the time. I haven't been on medication for
years, and I still have ''issues'' and go to the! rapy, but my
outlook is generally positive. I feel hopeful and happy and
love my life, even though it's not exactly the way I want it to
be. When I was depressed, it wasn't so much that I was sad, as
I felt hopeless, disinterested, exhausted and like there was
really no point in living. I didn't feel suicidal, but started
to understand why someone would want to check out. More than
anything, I felt absolutely powerless to change the way I felt.
This is not a character issue; it's a mental health issue.
Please consider being evaluated for depression!
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