April 13, 2021 at 2:20 pm #377636
so good to hear you’re doing well and that your cognitive abilities have improved compared to a month ago. I think you have the right attitude to healing, you’re taking it slowly, having lots of compassion for yourself, not judging yourself, and making small but definite steps every day on your journey to healing. And that you’ve regained hope – which is so important!
I am really happy to read about your progress and your healthy attitude, and am rooting that MRI show no physical damage. It’s very promising that you’re experiencing improvement in your cognition, which means there’s probably no physical damage.April 13, 2021 at 3:06 pm #377639
I am glad to read back from you!
During the prep and during teaching, your thoughts were more clear and your ability to speak was greater- this means that it is possible for you to think more clearly and speak better again and again, the ability is there.
The moment you notice a difficulty focusing on what students are saying or otherwise, the moment you notice a cognitive difficulty, do you best t calm down any fear associated with such noticing. Fear accompanies certain sensations and thoughts, and by itself, fear is enough to hijack one’s cognition temporarily.
Good to read that you are hoping and that you had a breakthrough, visualizing giving your “inner birthing mother” what she needs, so to heal her from the trauma she experienced giving birth, excellent breakthrough, I say!
Like you suggested yourself, depression (and anxiety) are enough to explain cognitive decline of the kinds you mentioned. I experienced such myself, because of long-term anxiety, and following my years of dedication to healing, I am improving too.
About quitting smoking- it is very difficult for millions to quit. I know a man with a greatly reduced lung capacity because of smoking, being on oxygen at all times- he no longer smokes but is still addicted to nicotine, he buys what appear to be chewing gum or candy that contains nicotine, and takes one of those from time to time. I don’t know anything about those, but I wonder if these can be helpful to you. If you’d like, I can ask him for details.
April 19, 2021 at 8:55 am #378051
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 6 days ago by anita.
I am really struggling today. My son had a hard day yesterday. He kept saying that life sucks and that he wishes he’d never been born. I feel so responsible for the dark thoughts he has. I know I do not provide a loving, nurturing environment for him. I just don’t know how. We are working with a family therapist, and she has some ideas for how we can improve our connection, so I am hoping that will help.
I am also very worried about my cognition. I think I have seen some improvement, but I don’t trust myself enough to believe that it’s real.
I feel like a terrible person, a terrible mother, a terrible wife, a terrible sister. I feel like if I were gone, no one would miss me and my son and husband would be better off without me. I know these are dark depressed thoughts, and I am trying to notice them and allow them to pass through my head without grabbing hold of them and ruminating on them all day. But I feel so sad, and the thoughts are so compelling. I’m not having suicidal thoughts, but I am having thoughts about wishing I would just die. I feel like I’ve ruined myself, like I’m broken and can’t be fixed. It feels like it’s my fault that I suffer, that if I had been stronger and shown some resilience I would have been able to overcome my traumas and my challenges.
Most of all, I feel completely impotent. I can see a long list of changes that I could make to be happier and healthier. I could spend more time with my son, I could stop using substances, I could exercise, eat better, meditate… But everything is so overwhelming. I can’t even keep my house from looking like a chaotic, cluttered mess.
I know I have taken steps, and that I have to have patience and compassion for myself. But those things feel so out of reach right now.
Thank you for reading this.
IlyanaApril 19, 2021 at 10:55 am #378060
Yesterday, your son said that life sucks and that he wished he was never born. Within two days, a downpour of the following negative thoughts flooded your brain: (1) that you are not providing him with a loving home, (2) that you don’t know how, (3) that maybe your cognition is not improving after all, (3) that you are a terrible mother, wife, sister, and person, (4) that you ruined yourself, being irreparably broken and completely impotent, (5) that it is all your fault, that your son and husband would be better of if you were gone.
There is anxiety and distress connected to each one of these thoughts. all together, it’s a downpour of anxiety and distress, and you’ve been drowning in it, unable to think rationally. Somehow, you need to come up from under and take in the fresh, clean air of spring, let the air calm you, quiet down your distress and suffering. It is then that you will be able to think rationally and to have the patience to tackle one task at a time.
anitaApril 19, 2021 at 11:01 am #378061
I am sorry it’s tough for you again, but what you’re experiencing is completely normal. As Anita said previously, progress is not linear, we experience ups and downs, and sometimes it feels it’s just so hard and we’re never going to get better. But just the fact that you’ve started walking the path, that you’re aware of yourself, and that you’re attending therapy, is already a huge step.
There were days in the recent times when you felt better, e.g. when you experienced improved cognition, or when you met a woman in the FB group who like you experienced traumatic birth. You were also happy when you connected to your son, and he shared his problems with you:
My son seems depressed to me. He keeps saying that life sucks and that more bad things happen than good things. I am worried about him. But he is talking to me about it, and last night he said I helped him, which made us both feel good.
Your son told you you helped him, which means you’re not a terrible mother. You’re doing what you can, but the childhood wounding is still there, so you aren’t always at the top of your game. But you’re trying. Give yourself some credit for that. There will be better days again…
And also, it’s hard to suddenly let go of the old coping mechanisms. Those “trails” and neural paths are already engraved in our brain, they’re a part of our automatic responses, and it’s so easy to just slip into them when we feel a slightly bigger obstacle, when things don’t go smoothly. Perhaps it’d help to know that there’s another trail, yet uncharted, but it’s there as a possibility for you. You just need to keep putting one foot before the other, sometimes doing one step forward and two steps back, but eventually you’ll get there, you’ll switch to that other trail, you’ll have enough of the positive experience to not slip back into the old coping mechanisms and depression. There will be enough blue skies that you’ll know that the storm is just temporary and will go away…
Well, this may be too much metaphor 🙂 But I hope you can see that you should just give yourself time (and patience and compassion), and things will slowly start changing…April 19, 2021 at 1:44 pm #378090
Hi Teak and Anita,
Thanks for getting back to me.
I know I can’t expect progress to be linear, but it’s just so frustrating when I get bogged down like this. It’s like I’m moving through mud.
But I did some good things for myself today. I went for a walk and got some work out of the way that had been dragging me down. I am trying to have faith that things will get better over time, but it’s just been such a long time that I’ve been feeling down. It’s hard to believe I could ever be happy.
Anyway, thanks again.
IlyanaApril 19, 2021 at 2:52 pm #378104
You are welcome. I will get back to you anytime you post. Good to read that you did some good things for yourself today, going for a walk and getting some work out of the way- well done, I say!
anitaMay 2, 2021 at 10:04 am #379065
I am not doing well. I spent a few days feeling acutely suicidal. I think that has passed, at least I don’t feel that way right now, but I am so down.
My sister has been a great support, and she has even offered to put me in a residential treatment program. The program looks amazing and I think it would help me. I’m scared though. It’s a 5 hour plane ride from where I live to the centre, and I won’t have much access to my technology while I’m there. I’m scared that intensive therapy is going to be incredibly painful, and worried that it won”t even help.
I don’t see that I have any other option though. I had to take a leave of absence from work because I couldn’t do my job anymore. I am almost unable to parent my son at all. I am so, so depressed. I feel guilty and ashamed and miserable all the time. All I can do is lie in bed and watch TV. We got out for a walk in a nice park yesterday, though.
My husband is being really helpful. He’s not good with emotional support, but he tries. And practical support he is great at. He dug up my garden yesterday so I can plant stuff, and he’s been taking care of our son. And he has joined forces with my sister because he knows she can give me the emotional support I need. I have realized that I’ve been so focused on what he can’t give me that I’ve been ignoring all he does for me. It is nice to feel loved by him, even if he expresses love in a way that is harder for me to recognize.
Just writing this out I can see that not everything is bad right now. I am reaching out for help a lot. I’ve called mental health hotlines, my psychiatrist, my sister, my husband, friends from work, and now you. I can see that I am trying to help myself, and although there’s a lot I can’t do for myself right now, I have people beside me who can carry some of that load.
I just wish I didn’t feel so dark all of the time.
Thank you for reading this.
IlyanaMay 2, 2021 at 10:54 am #379069
I am glad you reached out to us as well.
It is a very good thing that you truly appreciate your husband’s efforts to emotionally support you, and his hard work to help you in practical ways.
“I am so, so depressed… I just wish I didn’t feel so dark all of the time”- your depression, this so-dark feeling is a result of the neuro-chemical activity in your brain, a chemical habit your brain is maintaining. Did we talk about psychiatric medications, I don’t remember…?
anitaMay 3, 2021 at 1:36 am #379103
I am sorry you’re feeling worse and unable to attend to your everyday tasks. At the same time, you’re noticing that important people in your life are there for you: your husband and your sister, and they’re doing everything in their power to make you feel better.
That’s very different from the experience you had as a child, when you were left alone with your pain and fears, and didn’t get any emotional support from your mother. You thought your father had abandoned you and that it was your fault and that you were unlovable. Your mother was consumed by her own hatred and anger at your father, so you were surrounded by only dark feelings, by her hatred, anger, bitterness, disappointment. There was nothing positive that she gave you, instead she sucked you in into her own vortex of negativity. No wonder you grew up severely hurt and depressed.
But now, it’s good you’re noticing that not everyone is like your mother, that people genuinely care about you, and that there’s love and understanding for you. That itself can be healing and I hope it helps you bridge that pool of depression that you’ve found yourself in. Whether you decide to go to a residential treatment program, or work it out locally, with your therapists, try to focus on the fact that things are different now and that there’s help, that your loved ones are sincerely trying to help you because they care about you. Try to find comfort in that…
Let us know what you’ve decided about treatment options and how you’re doing… Take care <3
May 5, 2021 at 9:08 am #379232
- This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by TeaK.
Hi Teak and Anita,
I am feeling a little better. I have been reaching out for help a lot, and you are right. There are people who love and care about me and want to help me get better. I have spent a lot of time talking to friends the last few days, and it has helped immensly. I kind of forgot that I had such good friends because I have been isolating myself so much. But they are out there, and they have been nothing but supportive.
I am on a number of psychiatric medications, have been for many years now. I have tried many different medications, and maybe I would be in a much worse position now if I hadn’t. But the medication is clearly not enough to make me feel less depressed. I am lucky to have excellent psychiatric care though.
I had an intake interview yesterday with the residential care program I want to go to. It looks like it would be hard, but very helpful. And it is in an absolutely beautiful setting by the ocean with hiking trails and yoga and art therapy. It sounds just perfect for what I need right now. A break from my responsibilities and lots of qualified care. I am not sure if they are going to take me though. They are concerned about my bipolar disorder because they couldn’t handle a manic phase were I to have one. I haven’t had one in years though, so I’m hoping it will work out. If not, there’s another program in a different city that might also be good. My sister is committed to helping me financially to find some kind of solution. I have a small glimmer of hope again.
I am still feeling very down and not able to do very much, but my suicidal ideas have gone away for the moment. I was talking to someone last night who pointed out all the things I did to protect myself even when I was at my lowest. I called a suicide hotline, talked to my doctor, came up with a plan with my sister, reached out to friends and other sources of support (like the both of you). I even stopped drinking completely because it didn’t feel safe to increase my impulsivity. So I can see that even when I thought I wanted to die, I took actions to help myself, and that’s a very reassuring sign.
Thank you again,
IlyanaMay 5, 2021 at 9:53 am #379233
I’m very happy to hear you’re feeling a little better, and have a possibility to go to a high-quality residential treatment, if not the one you’ve been interviewing with, then something similar. What’s also great is that you’ve reached out to many people and asked for help, and ensured that you wouldn’t spiral out of control. That’s self-care, and it’s wonderful that you afforded yourself self-care, as well as allowed others to help you. As part of self-care, you’ve also stopped drinking, to lower your impulsivity.
I’d say that given the circumstances, you’re doing the best you can to help yourself. You’re reaching out and aren’t isolating yourself from people and the help they’re willing to provide. That’s an enormous step and as you say, a reassuring sign. I hope you’ll enter into your desired treatment program and continue to take care of yourself, and also to rely on others to help you. I wish you all the best, and let us know how you’re doing!May 5, 2021 at 9:55 am #379234
I too was on a number of psychiatric medications for many years (1995 – 2013). Looking back, none of it helped me long-term. I experienced a relief from obsessive thinking when I first took an SSRI anti-depressant (Sertraline), and there were initial reliefs of anxiety and a wonderful feeling of calm during the first times that I took a benzodiazepine (Clonazepam), but my healing started and continued not in 1995, but in 2011 because I experienced my first quality psychotherapy that year.
Like you, I used to think that if I didn’t take the medications, I would be in a worse situation than I was. But looking back, outside a temporary relief here and there (sometimes the relief was just in the thought that I am taking a pill, aka the placebo effect), my situation did get worse during the years of taking psychiatric medications.
When I finally had my first quality therapy experience in 2011, I learned that the medications I took, could have helped me back in 1995 for the relief affect they provided (from obsessive thinking and anxiety) if I embarked on quality therapy at the time, and for a short time, a few months to a year, I am guessing.
Regarding your bi-polar diagnosis and not having had a panic attack for years- maybe you no longer fit this diagnosis. Maybe you fit the diagnosis of a major depressive disorder (MDD). I received a serious psychiatric diagnosis that was correct at the time, but I no longer fit the criteria of that diagnosis. A psychiatric diagnosis does not have to be a forever diagnosis.
If you get re-evaluated and receive a different diagnosis, an MDD perhaps, the wonderful sounding residential care program staff will not be more concerned about you experiencing a manic episode while there than any other patient.
anitaMay 7, 2021 at 6:35 am #379332
I talked to the person who did my intake interview yesterday. They’re not saying no, but they need to see my medical records to make sure I’m not at risk of mania. The request has been sent to the records department at the hospital where my doctor works, but I have no idea how long it’s going to take for them to get them over. The person I talked to said that if she doesn’t have the records early next week, she’ll start making phone calls, which I take to be a good sign. There is another program I’m looking into, which would be good, but not as good as my first choice. The second program is in a covid hot spot and has much stricter protocols which sound like they would get in the way (plexiglass partitions in the dining room, closed gym, individual therapy done virtually). They also allow smoking, and I am hoping for a non-smoking facility to help me quit. If I have to I’ll go there, but I’m really hoping for my first choice.
I felt really pessimistic yesterday, and it got me down. But I’m feeling a bit better today. I’m going to have a picnic with one of my best friends this afternoon, and I’m sure that will help.
I’m just so damn tired of this. I want to feel better. I feel like this is a life and death situation after my experience with suicidal thoughts last week. I’m not having those thoughts now, but the idea that they could come back, especially if I don’t get into the program I want to go to, is terrifying. I also know that my lifestyle, with lots of smoking and little exercise or nutritious food, will kill me one day if I don’t make changes. I just have to get better.
The other reason I have to get better is my son. He is really struggling right now. He hates his life and wishes he were never born. He sometimes asks me to kill him. We have him in therapy, and I love his therapist. But I know that as long as I’m this depressed, I can’t really do much to help him feel better. I don’t want him to feel the way that I did as a kid, as if his distress doesn’t matter to anyone. I am there for him as much as I can be right now, but I need to get better, and especially to deal with the trauma around his birth so that I can truly support him and help him have a happier life.
Thank you for reading this.
IlyanaMay 7, 2021 at 7:34 am #379333
Your nine year old is in so much pain, so much distress, that he sometimes asks you to kill him. It occurred to me this morning, for the first time in the context of your thread, that it may be better for your son’s mental health, and for your own, that you move out of your home and live away from your husband and son.
In your original post you wrote: “I have been depressed since my son was born though, and my relationships with him and my husband are strained. I had a very traumatic birth during which I almost died, and it profoundly affected my ability to bond with my son”- in the current living arrangement, throughout each day, your son gets repeatedly reminded that him being alive is making you depressed. Maybe he asks you to kill him so that you will no longer be depressed, trying to take care of you in this way.
I suggest that you first bring up my suggestion to your husband and to your son’s therapist without your son’s presence, and if the suggestion makes sense to you all, plan how to make it happen, what to tell your son, etc. I think that it will be best for your son if he thinks that his mother is happy somewhere. He needs to believe that you are okay more than anything else. It will be way better for him to know that you are happy somewhere else than to see you depressed at home.
Even if you are accepted to an excellent residential care program, and the program works for you during your stay there, it could be because you will be staying/ living away from your husband and son, but once you are back home, the depression is likely to return. In any case, your healing will take a long time and your son is hurting badly and needs help ASAP. Moving out and living away from your husband and son sounds like a good idea to me.