mental health who am I

The Aftermath of Mothers’ Day

Monday, 31 March 2014

blackandwhiteIt’s been long time coming. I exercise like a crazy woman, I eat well, I get more sleep than I did for years but I have to face the fact that this PND is not behind me. Or maybe the PND is, but what’s here to stay is the D.

It doesn’t manifest itself in not being able to get out of bed or crying or feeling lost and lonely. In fact in many situations I feel great, especially when I’m exercising (serotonin, hello!) BUT if I look at my life in general – a lot of things annoy me. Just annoy me so much I don’t recognize myself… Everything my mother does. Even some things my husband does (like breathing louder than silently at night). A lot of things my kids do. Even people on the street annoy me for wearing weird clothes or talking too loud on the phone.

This is not normal. I know that. I have felt it before and I’m feeling it more and more again.

Yesterday was Mothers’ Day here in the UK and I didn’t like it. We don’t really celebrate it anyway (because I get to sleep in and wake up to pancakes every Saturday and Sunday morning) but I felt anxious all day and even had a nap during the day because I just wanted a break from my own head.

I realised that don’t like to be reminded that I am a mother. Becoming a mother for the first time was traumatic because our firstborn screamed non-stop for the first year. Becoming a mother for the second time was traumatic because everything went wrong with his birth and every time I think about it I still want to curl up in a corner and rock back and forth.  I don’t want people to call me mother. I don’t want that label.

And that is not normal. I know that.

My kids are great. They are fun a lot of the times, they are reasonable most of the time. But most nights I go to bed exhausted and thinking “what’s the point?”.

I don’t lose my temper with them (anymore) but I do raise my voice more often than I want to. And I do nag them more often than I want to.

All in all I think my irritability and constantly being annoyed at every little thing is starting to affect my relationship with my children, with my mother and with my husband.

And I remember how great Citalopram makes me feel. Very quickly. And because of that I really don’t know what to do. I have a feeling that if I go back on Citalopram I will be on it forever. And in part I’ll feel like I failed in this whole “mind over matter” thing.

On the other hand I always tell people who are struggling with depression that it’s a disease just like any other and that there is no shame in taking medication for it if that’s what’s needed.

It doesn’t help though that some people who have been in my shoes tell me that life is NOT supposed to be easy or fun all the time and that the way I’m coping is just fine, is just normal. But I’m not sure. I’m really not sure what is normal anymore. Whether it’s normal not to see the cuteness when I look at little babies but only find them annoying… whether it’s normal to find it irritating to the point of wanting to scream when someone slurps their hot tea in audible distance from you.

So right now I’m confused. I think I need to get over my fear of Citalopram. Just how do I do that – I have no idea.

And it looks like “mind over matter” may have been a mistake in blog name (and in the tattoo on my body) if indeed my mind is forever flawed.

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  • kathleen Wednesday, 2 April 2014 at 09:59

    Liina, you are not alone in some of the ways you feel I promise you. We seem to be in a time where women are expected to be all things and the pressure to be perfect is everything. If we dare show any discontent with any part of our lives, especially as mothers, we are judged harshly. You history of depression will amplify all the things that we all find annoying and then you feel bad for ‘not coping’. You are amazing and you do more than most people without mental health issues. I think maybe a trip to the doctor might be worth it just to see if you do need to try meds again until you’re feeling better or maybe for the foreseeable future. It is not a bad thing at all and not a sign that you are weak.
    And the fact that you are sharing how you are feeling shows that you are ready to do something about it. Look after yourself and don’t feel guilty about doing so xx

    • MrsB Thursday, 3 April 2014 at 07:55

      Thanks, Kat :) I was reading your Labour and Love and Running post the other day and I could feel the love you have for your kids radiating from your words. It made me realise I could not write stuff like that about my kids. It just doesn’t feel like it would be coming from my genuine heart to be gushing how much I love them. And that kind of makes me sad. Because I do love them.

  • otilia Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 16:06

    oh my darling i didn’t see this post yesterday but I understand how you feel…although we all feel differently when it comes to depression. there is more than a year since i left citalopram behind and i don’t feel sorry…i have moments when i long for it though when i feel sad, annoyed and angry….and when i am like this i upset the people around me…i am confused about it too most of the time so not sure what advice to give you…just do how you feel like. needing citaloprm is not a flaw. i love your blog and the name of it,
    big hugs and sorry for not making any sense :(((

  • Muriel Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 15:12

    Where to start? I feel for you. To cut a long story short, I need to put YOU first. We are indeed the sum of our experiences, and it is all about finding what works for you, because your experience is unique. It might be meditation, it might be meds, it might be something else. I don’t know. I also think that, as a mother, we feel constantly judged and it really annoys me too. Yes, I am a mother, but I am also, well, me.

    The other factor is environment. I strongly believe that, had I stayed in France, I would have gone completely bonkers. Sometimes, I am convinced that all we need is a change. It might be in your job, in your house. Again, go find out what works for you. Hugs.

    • MrsB Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 15:44

      I put myself first all.the.time. I often feel like I need to stop with all this running and exercising and put the kids first more (because – gosh, what does it look like when I’m constantly just doing my own thing and not nurturing those little kidlets?)… But – giving up my exercise obsession would definitely drive me bonkers :) As for changing my job or my house – can’t happen :)

  • Reflecting on the good | Mind over Matter Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 14:42

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  • Gweipo Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 11:14

    If it’s any help I’ve been there, not so much the PND as just the big black D. Plus a whole bunch of anxiety around bringing up kids in an unfamiliar culture to the point where the docs didn’t know if I was anxious because I was depressed or viceversa.
    I’ve also been there with the anti depressants, and the (excessive?) running.
    I’m in a neutral space right now. A lot of MBSR / meditation, a10 day silent retreat and my kids growing up a bit so they’re more human and less kid has helped a lot. I’ve also stopped putting so much pressure on myself and I’ve learnt acceptance of my kids and who they are (I have an ADHD kid who I was trying to change … Into what?) and me and who I am. I have terrible rages, but I’m recognising the role of hormones on their timing (duh, that only took 36 years since my first period @ 12)
    Give yourself a break. Take medication if you need it. Explore mindfulness – it takes longer to kick in but it’s more enduring.

    • MrsB Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 15:41

      Yeah. The hormones don’t help. I swear they’re messing with me more and more as the years go by :|

      And about mindfulness – it’s is exactly what I wrote about today.

  • Raina Monday, 31 March 2014 at 18:45

    I don’t know if it helps but these feelings I think are more common as we like to believe. I had PND (with both kids) but luckily I recognised what was going on and after talking with my GP I was ready to take my meds as soon as I felt I really needed them… somehow I muddled through though without any but I would have taken them if I couldn’t really bear without.
    Now as kids are growing up (7 and 11) I don’t think that I have D anymore but I do feel anxious a lot about lots of things, it is hard to settle with just the calm and collected thoughts…. but I think that you already have half won as you recognise your issues and whichever way you deal with them is OK

  • Jenn Monday, 31 March 2014 at 17:13

    If you feel ‘off,’ and there’s a medicine that makes you feel ‘right,’ then I personally would rejoice, and take it. So many of us can’t find a cure, I’m a little jealous!

    • Jenn Monday, 31 March 2014 at 17:13

      That doesn’t sound quite right – I’m not jealous that you’re suffering. Just that you found something that helps.

  • Stephen Cousins Monday, 31 March 2014 at 15:48

    Hi Liina

    Listen, you’re not going to like this but it sounds to me line every other parent and middle-aged, first-world person to me. We all hate babies crying. We are all irritated by little thing and we all secretly judge people in the street for wearing crap clothes, smoking, drinking Coke or talking in an uneducated sounding accent etc, etcetera.

    I won’t say it’s normal because I don’t believe normal exists, but it’s not unusual. You are not unusual. You’re just as lovely and just as much of a bitch as most people! Maybe you don’t like the thought of that. Most of us like to think of ourselves as different and unique, but really were all pretty much the same, and you know, that’s ok.

    See you in Paris on Sunday!

    • MrsB Monday, 31 March 2014 at 15:57

      Thank you for making me almost laugh out loud! You could be totally right. I just really, really hate being a bitch and finding things annoying that are none of my business :)

    • MrsB_LDN Monday, 31 March 2014 at 16:02

      @Azra Zakir Thank you for sharing. I guess we all just have to make the best of the life we’ve got, right? I think reading the comments today has been very good for me… We all have our struggles and life for the most part is not meant to be a fun party every single day so maybe I (we?) just need to take one day at a time and consciously start thinking about (maybe even writing down) all the things I’m grateful on that particular day.

  • kenwoodtri Monday, 31 March 2014 at 14:27

    MrsB, astonished by your bravery at being so honest! Hope you find a way of getting through the dark days.

    • MrsB Monday, 31 March 2014 at 15:43

      I feel I have to be honest, I don’t want this blog to become a false facade of my life… telling people only the good bits… Everyone has their struggles and their battles, there’s no point in trying to look like I don’t :)

  • Laura Monday, 31 March 2014 at 13:54

    I’m on Citalopram too & have been for years. I sometimes worry I might be on it forever; but on the other hand, if it helps then maybe I should learn to accept that? There is research out there which says long-term usage is the way many of us will need to go.

    I don’t think your brain is flawed – what causes depression is not only physical, but also the sum of our experiences. The main reason I had therapy & take Citalopram is to help me cope with the aftermath of difficult relationships with my family. Well, *ongoing* difficult relationships with my family, if I’m honest!

    • MrsB Monday, 31 March 2014 at 15:54

      Thank you for sharing. It’s such a complicated thing indeed — maybe I will endevour to find a good shink before I jump on the medication wagon again. My previous experiences haven’t been that great though – I always run out of things to talk about after about the 2nd session :|