My Happy Pills

Dealing with my depressive fog and open mental wound

I┬áhad spent the last 5 months or so contracting in my new job and just been made permanent in the role when my uncle was taken ill from his nursing home. Unfortunately he had been bed bound with illnesses and falls throughout my pregnancy, I did get some opportunity to talk to him in a lucid state while I was pregnant with my son. However, towards the end of my last trimester his health was not getting any better despite my uncle trying to regain his independence, but he just couldn’t and never returned home. He had to be relocated to a nursing home after my son was born, I had a lot of my own health issues with my baby and myself going on too, and didn’t get to see that much of my uncle until my son was almost a year old. My mum took my son up to see my uncle when I was at work sometimes, but it was a long old trip for them both, but glad that my son may have brought some smiles to my uncle and distracted him from his pain. The first month into my new permanent role, my family had to make the decision to turn my uncle’s life support machine off and say their goodbyes. My father had already passed away as well 8 months previously.

One of the managers at the time caught me coming out of the toilets at work looking distressed, I just had enough of bad things happening in my life. I reluctantly accepted counselling, I knew I couldn’t go on as I was. I went once a week to see a counsellor, I always dreaded that I would remain silent and not have anything to say to the counsellor. However, that was far from the reality I had envisioned, the hour went quickly and I was always surprised how much I said and how on earth I got on to some subjects. I think in some ways it felt like that old saying ‘a weight had been lifted to get things off my chest’, but then sometimes I felt like I was going round in circles. I opened up about the repetitive molestation events I suffered with at the hands of a family member (somebody who fortunately passed away when I was 10 and is no longer in my life) when I was too young to know any boundaries, and ignorant to the fact that this responsible adult was taking advantage of me, that was the darkest and most difficult things for me to recall or even explain. I tried to talk about it objectively and distance myself to not get upset. To recall it is like being an observer or narrator in a film of my early life. I think the counsellor maybe saw a link with my treatment at work, all the life changes I have been through recently, new baby, new mum, family deaths, pushed out of work whether directly or indirectly and being made to sign a gagging order had reset a trauma trigger off within me. The new company I worked at had only signed me up for 6 sessions, the counsellor said I needed more and that I should see someone with more specialist training. My line manager offered that I could have more sessions, but I said I would get the specialist sessions that I needed from the NHS. I didn’t realise how bad I would feel after the counselling had ended, I just had dark thoughts, felt on edge and didn’t want to be alone near railways, especially difficult seeing as my commute to work involves that form of travel.

I couldn’t go on any longer like this and saw my own GP, who immediately prescribed me anti depressants. I was apprehensive about going on them, worried that I would become some zapped out zombie, but I just gradually became calmer and felt I was getting back to being me again. Of course, I am far from a perfect human being, and have relapses from time to time, underground lines and certain stations still make feel nervous at times and I can feel my heart racing, and I had to rely on coping mechanisms to get through it. Sometimes I probably feel stressed out by situations that others may find trivial. I should go back to talking therapy to develop better coping mechanisms, but at the moment it’s just not something I wish to do or have time for, and one day I will, especially if I feel as bad as I did when I first went to see the doctor on the day I was prescribed anti-depressants.

The doctor has talked about weaning me off my meds this summer as I have been feeling good for a while, but don’t think it will happen. Too much stress going on with my son’s behaviour, well nursery reports, starting school and now with a person I never met going too far with personal animosity. Still will try to stay strong, anti-depressants are not a sign of weakness, but taking good care of your well being like you would for any other part of your body.

Resentment

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This blog was inspired by an anonymous plead on a mummy social forum asking if it is normal to feel resentment towards your OH after having a baby?

My answer is yes, it is completely normal, but maybe something we don’t like to talk about or avoid admitting to in baby playgroups or even just to a friend as everyone likes to pretend everything is just perfect, and there is pressure to be happy at a seemingly joyous time.

I think sometimes the resentment is misguided and sometimes it is not, depends on the kind of person your OH is (I am avoiding the use of man here, as there are all kinds of relationships and families).

In my case, my resentment built up by a number of things. However, the major thing I think that is common with most women that feel this way is your life has changed so much, but your OH’s hasn’t. My partner’s work didn’t take out their frustrations on him, or made to feel excessively uncomfortable that he had a break from work, well no more than usual as he only took 2 weeks off. I viewed his opportunity to go back to work as a escape, I felt I had no escape and it takes time to adjust to a big life change. In some ways you feel that you have lost your identity, I found that difficult to adjust to, and some days I was just so tired, I wanted to run away and escape. God forbid that work seemed like a pleasant escape route (I am not living the dream or have a ultra amazing or glamorous job). Although there was no way I could have worked during those early days.

My OH didn’t really spend the first week with our lo as we were in hospital, and the hospital wouldn’t allow overnight stays with us, he missed out on critical bonding time. I had hoped my OH would be a bit more hands on, but well it never happened. I knew nothing about babies before my son came along and took no interest in them, but had to learn quickly and I resented that my OH couldn’t do the same. He was useless at changing nappies, clothes, holding my lo sometimes as I think he had a big fear of how fragile he was, he never looked comfortable holding a baby, even when he was getting fairly robust. However, I will admit I am a harsh critic and perfectionist, hormones and severe sleep deprivation probably didn’t help my patience with this either.

My OH wasn’t going out drinking every night, and he did his best to help in other ways, preparing feeds for the day because I couldn’t breastfeed, cleaning and taking out the trash. He helped to try to rock my lo to sleep at night when he was very unsettled, as I couldn’t as my back and sciatica caused me too much pain to do that. So yes, some of my resentment was unfounded, it wasn’t his fault my colleagues were jerks, and his legal rights was to only take two weeks off of work at that time (and was badly paid for him), and in hindsight he should have saved his leave instead of going to all the antenatal appointments with me or that my lo was unsettled and only catnapped, but the resentment was still there. I think shared maternity/paternity leave is a step in the right direction, if you can afford it, although sadly the case is most of the time men are still the breadwinners, but I had my lo before this came about, in regards to shared leave.

I think what helped is I finally admitted there was a problem, I went for counselling, although I found the counselling opened a raw wound for me, not really just to do with this, but other past issues. I then got help from my own doctor and was prescribed a low dose of anti-depressants, and these have really helped in my case, so much so that I have been using them for the last year and half, may finally be weaned off them this summer. We also try to find more time to do things as a couple only to talk and go on date nights, this helps us to catch up and talk through any feelings. We also regularly text each other as there are moments when you just can’t be in the same place, even if you are both in the house, e.g. bad nights with my son or I am just trapped by him. However, date nights are really important, and it is good to do this at least every 2 months if not more if you can get a babysitter.

I mean some guys are jerks, and resentment is just, but sometimes you need to give a guy a break and reconnect, and talk through what your OH needs to do to help you more, and they should be willing to do that.

https://www.thebump.com/a/why-you-hate-your-husband-after-baby-arrives

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/relationships-after-a-baby.aspx