Here’s why I freak out for a few days every month.

Every month I think I’m pregnant.

There’s no rational reason. The chances are pretty slim. At times it would practically be an immaculate conception if it did happen. It’s really quite ridiculous to even consider it.

But every month, it happens.

Even if I’m not 100% convinced I’m pregnant, I’m still thinking that maybe, I could be.

And it rattles me to my core.

Why am I so afraid of having another kid? Why do I so deeply fear something that so many people long for?

Partly because my girls are not easy and Hubs and I have our hands full as it is.

Partly because Hubs and I are looking forward to the end of the sleepless nights and tantrum-filled days that dominate us right now.

Partly because I really like working, and if we had a third kid I’d have to give up my job.

But mostly? Mostly for a very real, very tough reason.

Mostly because I suffered from postpartum depression after my second daughter, Grace. And three years later, I really haven’t quite bounced back.

And I worry if I had another kid, I wouldn’t ever bounce back.

Depression isn’t new to me. I had my first bout of it when I was a sophomore in college. Then another short bout when I got laid off for the fourth time in four years a while back.

So the postpartum depression with Grace wasn’t a total shocker, though it did seem a bit odd I didn’t have it the first time around with Anne.

But this time, what’s so perplexing to me is this current depression just never seems to go away. It keeps ebbing and flowing into something else.

First the PPD, which seemed to get better after meds and therapy.

Then my dad died suddenly and it turned into grief-based depression.

Now I have what my therapist calls “situational depression.” And you know what my “situation” is, what triggers my anxiety and anger and impatience and sadness?

My kids.

My own kids! That’s not exactly a “trigger” I can change.

So I am trying many different things to improve the situation. I don’t want to be an irritable, impatient, anxiety-ridden mom, feeling under siege by a barrage of unwanted emotions anytime her kids are remotely difficult. (Which, as those of us with small children know, is basically an hourly occurrence.)

So, I am working less. Exercising more. Getting more me-time. Trying a new antidepressant. Going to therapy. Walking away when a situation with the kids gets to be too much. Taking deep breaths and trying to fight off the urge to scream at the little people in my house who are constantly talking at me, pulling at me, complaining at me. Reminding myself of all the lovely qualities that my kids have and trying to focus on those, instead of the downright annoying ones that will eventually fade away with age.

Fighting. Battling. Persisting. Resisting … against myself.

There are many days when I am drained by 4pm from fighting off negative, unwanted emotions. It’s truly exhausting in a way I can’t completely describe.

Sometimes – no, often – I wonder: Is this it? Will it always be this hard? Will there ever be a day that I don’t have to fight against myself? Will I ever just be … truly … happy?

I have faith that I will. It has been a hard three years and I do lose that faith at times. I can see why the phrase is “battling” depression. But I’ll keep battling to get happy, regular me back. It’s a fight I just have to believe I’ll win.

And in the meantime? I guess I’ll start buying stock in EPT pregnancy tests.


March 2013 note to new readers: This post was written one year ago. I am happy to report that I am doing much better today and I am feeling great. I still deal with depression and manage it in the ways I described above. I certainly have my ups and downs, and I never know when I’ll dip back down. But right now? Things are great.

So take heart, fellow depression warriors. With the right treatment, it can get better. Don’t give up.

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69 Replies to “Here’s why I freak out for a few days every month.”

  1. I did. For a while in college. It was brought on by what you called “situational”. I am a little bit of a control freak, so it made me feel so out of control. Like I didn’t know myself. I always would describe it as “I was coming out of my skin”. Once I finally was confronted about it by my best friend, (I thought I was hiding it so well..), I started to be able to work out a plan and regain some control of my life.

    I find admitting you are having to deal with depression is much like when you tell people you have had a miscarriage. People you NEVER would expect come out of the wood work to share their stories. It was a huge relief to hear them. It always made me feel better that I was not the only one who had these feelings I thought would never go away. Alas, they did eventually. That’s not to say I haven’t had bouts since. However, due to the strategies I collected along the way (from multiple sources) and the support system in my life, I can adjust my situation to keep me from slinking under my rock and hiding away.
    Thanks for sharing your story. By the way, I used to worry about the pregnancy thing every month, too. I don’t have to anymore, but see, I thought I was the only one…:)

    1. I’m SO glad you shared your story. Thank you. And you are definitely NOT the only one! 🙂

      “When cancer sufferers fight, recover, and go into remission we laud their bravery. We call them survivors. Because they are. When depression sufferers fight, recover and go into remission we seldom even know, simply because so many suffer in the dark…ashamed to admit something they see as a personal weakness…afraid that people will worry, and more afraid that they won’t.” -The Bloggess

      It always feels better to know we’re not alone and we’re not dealing with a personal weakness.

      And I love how you “adjust your situation to keep from slinking under” your rock – that’s key. That’s what I’m doing now to put myself in a better place.

  2. I suffer from situational depression, too — have for a long time now. I’m right there with you when you say:

    “Sometimes – no, often – I wonder: Is this it? Will it always be this hard? Will there ever be a day that I don’t have to fight against myself? Will I ever just be … truly … happy?”

    I have faith that, someday, I’ll be able to speak freely about it, without fear of repercussions.

  3. After my first I had PPD/PTSD that morphed into situational, dysthimic depression. Lovely. My ‘situation’ was my ex, that was an easy fix. And it worked… for a while. My littlest will be one next week and while I staved off the demons for the first few months rather successfully, some ‘situations’ brought me to a place of chronic overwhelm and the anxiety and depression found an inroad hold again. I guess technically it’s PPD/PPA, but really, it just feels like crap, lol. I’ve only been on meds/in therapy for a couple months but they are helping. Knowing the beast makes it a little easier in some ways this time, but the disappointment is profound.

    When my littlest was born I too was terrified of getting pregnant again, but more because my physical recovery was so challenging. Lately I’ve been terrified of getting pregnant specifically because of the depression/anxiety. My math was not that great this month so I’m going to be a little more freaked out than usual in a couple weeks I suspect. Sigh.

    Thanks for sharing your story. I’m finding great solace in other mother’s sharing their stories of depression/anxiety. It’s good to not be alone in this misery, yk?

    1. It is GREAT to know we are not alone! I have one friend who goes through the same stuff I do and we check in on each other a lot. But the rest of my close friends are fortunate that they do not deal with this. It can be very isolating. So I thought I’d reach out via my blog and see if others felt like me…

      “The disappointment is profound” – that’s a great way of putting it. Exactly how I feel when depression sneaks up on me again.

      1. Interesting…don’t know why I was the only person in the world who felt horrible for feeling so angry at my kids for being “difficult.” Yes, I love them, yes my life would never be the same without them but they are more work than I think I was ever prepared for. My littlest one turned one year old last week. She was a complete surprise and miracle since I was told by two doctors I could NOT get pregnant (I was fine with that given I felt so overwhelmed by the 2 I already had). So glad I’m not the only one out there who feels this way.

  4. It’s funny (and, by that, I don’t actually mean ‘funny’ at all) that you just wrote this post. At the same time that I offered a little peek into my own ‘No Wire Hangers!’ world. (I really hope you get that reference.) Yes, it’s true. I’ve had a few obvious triggers lately to bring out my dark side, but it’s always there. Lurking. And threatening to take over … while the my June Cleaver side does every to hide her deep down inside of me. My biggest problem is that I do NOT have a private blog. My parents read it, my other relatives, my friends, the parents of my kids’ friends, even some of my kids’ teachers, etc. It’s tricky … to walk the line between raw honesty and still wanting everyone to believe I’m a stable, suitable-for-holding-a-steak-knife human being. So, I took a small step yesterday in letting a little of my ‘crazy’ leak out. Please tell a look when you can. The link is below. And know that I am always here as an anonymous but sympathetic friend.

    1. Yeah, I got the wire hangers reference. I hate the lurking, waiting to come out dance that depression can do.
      I so know what you mean about the non-private blog thing. That’s such a big reason I abandoned my old one for this one. You can always talk about those feelings here – and if you want to use a different name to keep your ODNT persona out of it, go for it. 🙂

  5. And now for my anal side … the phone rang & I got distracted during my response … “while MY June Cleaver side does everyTHING to hide her deep down inside of me” and “Please TAKE a look when you can.”

    Damn it! Stupid doctor’s office HAD to call during this exact two minutes. Okay, corrections made. I feel better. (And I think I just leaked a little more ‘crazy’ on your floor. Sorry!

  6. Love your (obvious) honesty about this. There is so much going on in a mom’s life, not to mention our fluctuating female hormones, that it’s hard to feel balanced. I always felt a little ‘unbalanced’ in life, then my five year old son was diagnosed with terminal cancer. It was then I finally gave in to the idea of taking medication. Now I realize it’s another tool in my arsenal to keeping healthy.

    1. Oh Kathy, I’m so sorry to hear about your son. Just so, so sorry.
      I love how you describe meds: “a tool in my arsenal.” That’s perfect. I hate some of the side effects, but I need them right now, sooooo…there it is.

  7. Hey, I think I’m pregnant every month too. I want it and dread it at the same time, I really want another child but the timing is not right. I am the sole income earner and my hubby is suffering from anxiety and trying to finish his Phd (yes the Phd is the reason for the anxiety).

    1. You know, even though I am terrified of getting pregnant and getting PPD again, and I really would have a hard time with having a third child, there’s always a teeny part of me that’s a little itty bit disappointed that I’m not preggers. But it goes away pretty quickly.

      I hope the timing is right for you soon…

  8. Yeah, I had pretty heavy depression thanks to my kid. It got better once I found out he was autistic and I could realize that I wasn’t just the worst parent ever… but it’s not like it went away. And it took a long time to be able to enjoy my own kid. I still feel awfully guilty about that.

    I stayed on my antidepressant after talking to my shrink when I got pregnant. I was just starting to feel better and weaning off at that point felt dangerous. Especially since I can’t tell now in retrospect how much of my depression with my son was PPD and how much was the autism. And that is a touchy topic, I really don’t discuss it with people.

    1. I think it’s especially hard when your child or children are the source of the depression. It brings a whole other level of guilt. I hear you on that. My girls’ high-maintenance, high-strung, attention-craving personalities are certainly not the same as what you deal with, but I feel so much guilt that they are the source of my symptoms. Yuck.

  9. I had PPD. It took me a while to realize that’s what it was, since it was mostly out-of-control anxiety (at least at first), but it got pretty bad, and thankfully I reached out to get some help. I wish I hadn’t waited over 3 months, since once I started some cognitive behavioral therapy (and eventually an antidepressant), it didn’t take very long for me to feel much better. It was like a veil had been lifted and I could actually enjoy my baby instead of stressing out over every little thing! It’s a weird place to be in, since you think you’re a bad parent for not being over-the-moon happy and enjoying every moment with your new bundle of joy. But really, I don’t think any parent is like that.

    I’ve also had so-called situational depression before, triggered by extreme stress at my job. It was bad. At least I could remove myself from that situation, though, which I eventually did. Having the trigger be your children must come with a very confusing mix of emotions.

    1. My PPD experience was very similar. I had the massive anxiety too, along with the sad, helpless feeling. Just awful.

      Yeah, my kids being my trigger is very, very confusing. And guilt-inducing. But therapy is really helping me understand the “why” behind it (childhood experiences play in, as do my kids’ not being easy plus constant lack of sleep) and how to better deal.

  10. I so hear you on this one! Depression can have so many causes and facets. I felt depressed most of my adolescent and early adult life, but it wasn’t until my five year old was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer that I started taking meds. Now I see them as just another tool in my arsenal to stay happy and level.

  11. I have been battling depression for so many years now that I have lost count. I’ve tried a number of medication: Celexa, Wellbutrin and Effexor. Effexor worked for a while but then eventually my body seem to grow accustom to it. Finally, my family dr. sent me to see a psychiatrist and it was decided that I switch to Cymbalta. It works but I cant help and wonder for how long… Luckily I have a hubby that understands and supports me, not everyone is so fortunate. I wish I could tell you with absolute that eventually it goes away… it does for some people but unfortunately it hasnt for me. It probably never will. So what do I? I accept what I can not change, enjoy the moments in which I am “truly happy” and survive the days where everything seems dark and hopeless.

    I was terrified of having children, I think I asked like a million professionals : “Should I become a mother? Even when I have chronic depression?” I didnt want to screw them up (my parents are certainly part of the reason I have such emotional problems…). But everyone of them said that I was so aware of my issues that in the long run it shouldn’t really affect them. You seem to be very aware and doing everything in your power to not impose your condition on them. They are very lucky to have such a wonderful mom who’s willing to work on herself in order to be a better mother, wife and ultimately person.


    1. I have had the same experience with meds. I am on my third kind. They work for about a year for me and then stop working. I guess it’s pretty common. Blech.

      Thank you so much for the kind words. I think you’re right – you won’t “screw your kids up” if you are aware of your challenges and how it can affect them. I have learned in the past year that I need to do exactly what you said – take care of myself and put myself in a better place so my issues won’t become my kids’ issues.

      I am also very aware of depression symptoms in my kids. My 5yo often says she feels sad and doesn’t know why. So Hubs and I are tracking when she says it and what the circumstances are. It could be that she is still learning to connect the right emotions to the right words. My therapist says if she is dealing with unusual sadness there are lots of ways to course-correct with young kids through therapy. So we’re watching…

  12. I consider myself really lucky not to know what it’s like to be depressed — anxious, freaked out, sad, exhausted, terrified, etc, but not real depression. But what I do know very well is what it’s like to have a mom with depression.

    I don’t write about it because my mom reads my blog and I love her and she beats herself up enough about it already. But what I can tell you from the daughter’s perspective is thank you a million times over for trying to battle it. Thank you for seeking help, taking medication, going to therapy, exercising more, taking breaks — whatever you need.

    As a kid I didn’t know what was going on — just that sometimes my mom was wonderful and fine and other times she was sad and absent. As an adult, I’ve watched her ride the roller coaster in and out of depression so many times I’ve lost track. There are two parts about that that are the hardest: 1) wanting her to be happy and not being able to fix it and 2) knowing that everytime she’d ignore her doctor and wean herself off the latest medication, she was about to get worse again. She hates being on medicine and I think she considers it a failure when she needs to take it.

    I’m rambling, but just want you to know that it’s wonderful that you’re doing things to try to help yourself. Because when my mother stops doing things that help her and tries to just muddle through alone, it never works — and I end up resenting her for not doing the things that made a difference.

    Sending hugs…

    1. Cyndi, thanks so much. What a great perspective. Every time I want to just give up on trying I will read your comment and it’ll inspire me. Thank you.

  13. Brave post, momma.

    I’m a depressed person. A medicated depressed person, which, is a lovely thing. Thank you drugs!

    When I had my last kiddo, Roo, the OB asked me at my 6-week, post partum appointment, “How are you feeling?”

    “Great, doc. Really good, actually.”

    She told me, “If that changes, call me. I can help you. Watch yourself, if you’re feeling depressed, don’t hesitate.”

    I was floored, because in that moment I realized someone should have asked me how I was doing, in terms of my mental health, when I’d had my twins 20 months earlier. As I look back, I can see that I had been depressed then, and could have benefited from some professional help.

    Fast forward about a year after that conversation. I’m standing in front of my dishwasher, unloading it, sobbing. I’m thinking about stabbing myself in the thigh with a steak knife. I don’t but I’m thinking about it. Or, I’m driving and thinking about pulling over into oncoming traffic. I don’t, but I’m thinking about it.

    I tell my husband “I’m so sad so often.” I make an appointment to see a therapist. She asks me if I think I’m depressed. I tell her, “No, I don’t feel sad every day. Even on the days I am sad, it’s not always the whole day. And I still laugh, and read, and enjoy the stuff I’ve always enjoyed. I go out. I socialize. I’m not depressed.”

    That was over 18 months ago, I am depressed. I still laugh, and I read, and I enjoy the stuff I’ve always enjoyed. And sometimes I want to die, and I tell myself I’m failing at life, and I cry very, very ugly tears. Sometimes I still want to stab myself in the thigh.

    But I don’t, because now I’m depressed and I know it. And so I take my meds, and remind myself that sometimes the sound of failure is really just the yapping, foolish voice of depression, trying to tell me a joke only it finds funny.

    There is absolutely nothing more laughable than the soundtrack of depression. When my fog clears and I look back at the lies I was telling myself in the middle of a bad spell, I can’t help but smile. Depression is a lot like a playground bully whose best line is “Oh, yeah!? Well you’re an ugly dork face, dog poo head!” Once you’re off the playground, he’s a bit lame.

    1. Thank you, thank you for sharing. I’m so sorry your lows are so scary. My lows are a different kind of low – a sad, desperate, angry, lonely low. A very lonely and isolating place.

      I can identify with that feeling of “I’m not depressed. I’m fine a lot of the time, how can I be depressed?” And the lies depression tells – that’s exactly it. Well put. I too, after coming out of a bad spell, look back and think – holy crap, how could I have thought everything was so incredibly awful and bad and horrible? That my life is so awful I should just run away because my kids would be better off without me? Depression tells you lies. That’s exactly it.

  14. I had a little PPD after my 3rd was born. Thankfully it didn’t last and I didn’t need meds. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have it on a daily basis.

    I do, however, know about the fear of wondering about being pregnant when not ready. We were actually trying to avoid pregnancy for a while when my youngest showed up. I had a tubal with my last delivery so I know it can’t happen, but every so often I do wonder…and then I feel so happy when it is confirmed that i’m not. Three is enough for me, and when I am in PMS, I think they know it and know how to set me off. I will also be so happy when the days of tantrums, fights, screaming, diapers, potty training, never-ending messes, and everything else will be over. I guess I have at least 20 years to go for that. 🙁 (My youngest is 14 months.) I do not look forward to the teen years.

    1. You know, I used to think I was afraid of the teen years. But lately I am wondering if I will handle them better. When I was a babysitter, camp counselor, etc. I really preferred working with the older kids. I felt I was better at helping them with their angst than I was at helping a preschooler understand she had to put clothes on to go outside. I am hoping I will be able to connect with my tweens/teens in that way. I know it’ll be different because I’ll be their mom, but I’m hoping…

  15. I’ve struggled with this too. The first few bouts of depression I had I didn’t realize what was happening. It started for me before high school and I kept it secret. In college I got help and went on meds for the first time. Then I was fine for several years. After my second baby was born I had PPD. I had never felt anything like it before. I got help after I found myself screaming at the baby in the middle of the night to “just shut up already!” I had to walk away and have my husband take over because I didn’t trust myself with my own infant. That was the lowest.

    Since then it’s been up and down. My depression is a lot like you describe yours. I am mostly sad, down, angry, irritable. I find myself constantly annoyed and taking it out on my family. Then I feel awful. I feel terrible that my kids have me for a mother instead of someone who can deal with them calmly, lovingly. I haven’t found the right mix yet. I’m exercising and trying to take me time and am on meds but it’s still not right. I’m so tired of the battle and wish I could just be a “normal” person who doesn’t have to fight every day.

    Thanks for posting this. For some reason depression is a shameful secret and no one talks about it, myself included.

    1. Thanks so much for commenting, Allison. We sound very similar in what we’re dealing with.

      PLEASE don’t feel terrible that your kids have you as their mom. I feel that way too sometimes. But realize that a lot of – actually, probably most – moms don’t have great patience levels all the time and yell at their kids. And the kids turn out fine.

      You know, I think it’s important to remember that just because we’re moms doesn’t mean we’re going to be awesome at every life stage our kids go through. I think I am going to do better when my kids are older. I have always had a knack for helping older kids with their pre-teen/teen angst. I hope I remember how when my kids hit that stage, though!

  16. I am you. Each month I get excited that I might be pg (SO unlikely) and I am terrified it might be true. My struggle w depression and OCD got better for a while but has been back with a vengeance. I cannot emotionally handle a fourth child but I suppose my desire to be “ok” and be ok with more children is almost as strong. I do buy pg tests regularly! Good luck my friend.

    1. Hey Wendy. Email me sometime if you want to trade medication notes. I am on a new one (new to me and to the market) that is helping much more than others did. Good luck to you, too!

  17. Three years! Thank you for this post. My youngest is nearly 2, and I am still having a hard time with PPD (actually, it had improved and recently flared up again). My husband wants a third child but we both know it would push me over the edge. I was SOOOOO happy when I got an IUD, because I could finally relax. Until then, I hadn’t quite realized how much fear and anxiety I had about getting pregnant again.

  18. I’ve dealt with depression off and on my whole life as well as PPD. I can identify with a lot of what you said, and it waxes and wanes. Sending you endurance and optimism *HUG*

  19. Thank you for linking this up with Blog Bash, it’s such an honest brave post!

    I don’t suffer from depression or PPD and already, I’m finding it hard to be all sunshiney with this motherhood gig, 24/7. It’s hard, that’s the reality. So thank you for putting it out there and saying so.

  20. I think that fear of relapsing, of not recovering has something to do with that fear!?

    Take care of yourself! Once you feel whole again I think that fear may fade.

  21. Thank you for writing “totally naked while fully clothed.” I come from a pretty heavy-duty dysfunctional family of origin myself and have over the decades (since I was a teen) benefitted greatly from therapy. I never had PPD but I have have general situational depression & grief, antidepressants only made me totally psycho so they never worked for me and I always had to pull myself up by my bootstraps along w. the help of a therapist.
    Having kids is very hard on moms who have depression. They are draining and never-ending in their demands – and most moms who suffer like you have described aren’t really brave enough to talk about it or write about it like you have. Just wanted to say thanks for that honesty.
    And thanks for linking up with our blog bash too. (-; – Ado

  22. I totally understand.

    I have battled depression for basically my whole life. When I was about eight, I stopped sleeping. Just… stopped. Nobody has ever seemed really clear if the depression caused the insomnia, or vice versa, but in either case I found myself contemplating suicide before I was nine. I attempted once, when I was fifteen. It was a genuine attempt, and a miracle that it didn’t succeed. I kept fighting both the depression and the insomnia until I was in my twenties, when after a sexual assault I DID start sleeping, but had chronic and uncontrollable night terrors.

    The only thing that helped was meeting my husband, who’s presence in the bed keeps he night terrors away. When he gets up in the night, or wakes up early in the morning, they come back. Still.

    That said, I’m doing a lot better. Miraculously, I didn’t have any problems with PPD… or at least, I don’t think I did. I think I had waves of depression that continued from the other waves of depression in my life.

    But I can say this, after almost twenty years of fighting depression… it gets easier. It really, truly does.
    I can’t tell you how long it takes for it to get easier. In my case, it took about nine years. It never truly went away, but it became… easier.

    Dealing with depression is like dealing with losing a limb. You have to relearn to function, and the more vital the limb or more profound the depression, the harder that is. But it does get easier. And then, one day, you realize that you’re actually sort of kind of *happy*. Inexplicably. And that realization ruins it. But then you have another one. And another.

    And then one day you catch yourself worrying about what would happen if you fell in front of that oncoming bus and died, and you think to yourself, “My god was THAT morbid,” and it hits you that you’ve actually been pretty much happy for a long time.

    So yes, I still battle my depression. And sometimes, my insomnia. I’ve been on and off a million meds (not one worked for me, and I flat out refused drugs that would be hard to quit if they didn’t work (much to the chagrin of my shrinks)), and I’ve tried a million things to make it go away.

    But there are only two things that I know make it go away even a little bit, and I can’t vouch that they’d ever work for another person. And those things are sleeping well, and finding a couple of diversions that actually get you out of your head a little. Hard with kids, I know, but there are some. With kids, one of my new ones is photography (not that I’m any good), and one of my old ones that sticks with me is reading comic books.

    I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to learn to live with depression while you’re learning to live as a mom. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to believe that the thing that is making you depressed is something that you love and absolutely cannot quit.

    I recommend that you stop thinking about “what is making you depressed,” ever. Because it doesn’t matter what is MAKING you depressed, what matters is how you DEAL with it. And it seems to me, having only just discovered that you exist, that you’re doing a pretty good job.

    Sorry to write you a whole novel over here… I just understand how hard this must be, and I really truly sympathize and wish you only the best.

    Good luck. And again, I promise… it sucks in the meantime, but it DOES get better.

    It really does.

    And you’re going to be okay.

  23. LOVE your honesty here. I struggled with postpartum with a couple of my kids and WOW does it ever kick you in the butt. I’m pretty sure I suffer now from situational depression as your therapist would describe it. I love it when people hear about the things going on in my life and they say”I don’t know how you do it” and I can answer…I don’t I just take it one step at a time. I’m being honest. I’m finally finding ways though to take me time throughout this crazy season of my life and reminding myself it is just a season.

  24. Seventeen months after the birth of my son I find myself still battling PPD – or something related to it. I can completely sympathize and I think you sound like an awesome mom!

  25. Just spent another day trying to nap while my three kids yelled and screamed at each other and me. I seem to be OK when it’s a school day and everybody (me included) has some kind of routine, but whenever they have holidays I seem to lose my mind. Reading your blog has made me realize I have fallen into the depression hole again…it’s been quite a few years since I felt so down. Guess it’s time to make some changes…I’m a SAHM with kids 5, 9 and 11. The five year old always wants to play with me and I’m becoming completely unable to do it without feeling like I’m gonna scream…

  26. Yes it is a constant battle. Even if I am feeling relatively “normal” like I do at the moment I know it is only temporary so I try as hard as I can to enjoy everything while I have the ability.

  27. Just discovered your blog today while reading the MotherhoodWTF Facebook page. Thank you for this great post. I can relate to so much if it. I have three children, two boys who are 7 and 5 and a 2 year old girl. I believe I had postpartum depression after my daughter’s birth and have never really gone completely back to normal, though there was some improvement after I stopped nursing at 13 months. Anxiety has always been an issue for me but has gone into overdrive since having children. I have some OCD tendencies as far as germs go, which I think came about when my first child was born with Down syndrome and I was so afraid of him not being able to recover from illnesses. It continued as I had two more newborns and wanted to keep everyone healthy all the time. (impossible!) Anyway, I can remember a more care free me and I often wonder if the battle with anxiety will ever end and if I will ever feel happy again. There is nothing specific making me feel anxious or sad (besides the overwhelming task of caring for three insane children), but I find myself anxious, sad and irritable too often. There is definitely a hormone factor and my cycles have not been the same since having my daughter. I love my life, but I feel like too often I am not getting all I can out of it because I am consumed by anxiety. Thanks for making me feel I am not alone.

    1. Rose, I totally hear you. You describe everything I feel so frequently. Have you talked to your doctor about it? You may be amazed about how much talking to a therapist and/or trying some meds could help you. So glad I helped you feel not alone in all this. It’s amazing how many women feel the way we do – but so few talk about it… Hugs!

  28. I have been seeing a counselor for the anxiety for the last few months and that has helped. I honestly believe I should be on medication (and I think my counselor does too), but I actually have anxiety over the side effects and have never tried anything. I see those awful commercials that basically say, “This can help your anxiety, but you might keel over from it,” and I have never been able to get past that!

    1. I totally understand the fear of the side effects of antidepressants. I felt the same way. I resisted meds in college because of that fear. It took me hitting a real low to know I had to try something, anything, to feel better.

      I am not a doctor, and you need to obviously talk to your own doctor and therapist about how meds will interact with you and any other meds you may be on. But I can say, from my experience, that everyone’s experience is different. I have one friend who didn’t feel any relief from her antidepressant for weeks. Me? I felt better within hours. HOURS. With a minuscule dose (10 mg – I had to split the 20mg pills in half).

      I think if you’re interested in, but fearful about, taking medication you should keep talking to your doctor and therapist about it. Maybe eventually you’ll feel ready. Maybe a lot of education about the potential benefits and low, but potential, risks, and very careful supervision by your doc, would help you feel more at ease. Whatever you decide, I wish you all the best. 🙂

  29. I had PPD after having my 1st baby, but I never knew that till she was about 2.5 years old.
    I thought it was just the normal stress, lack of sleep, the new responsibilities because of marriage and the baby and I thought it was because i had to quit my job few days…

    The doctor told me I had major depression, and it’s most probably a PPD and I started taking anti-depression medications + therapy…
    things started to get better, and I went back to work again for a few years… then I got pregnant with my 2nd child (after 2 miscarriages) …
    I had to stop the medications of course during pregnancy and after having my baby, things started getting so much worse, but I couldn’t take the meds again because of breastfeeding…
    and just when I stopped breastfeeding my baby, she was 9 months old, i found out i was pregnant again…

    I try all the time to look fine, normal, be brave, fight all those thoughts I had , the panic I felt whenever i send my kid to school or whenever i go out, i knew most of the time the fear is not logic, but i couldn’t resist it. i even stopped going out alone with my kids, i always had that thought that someone will kidnap them… even at home, I insist we all be at the same room all the time… that’s crazy i know…

    by the time I had my 3rd baby, my family and I moved to another country…
    So, I found myself alone with my 3 kids in a new country, no family , no friends, my husband is at work most of the time…. I used t be a very social person who can make friends easily and can never be alone… now I almost contact no one, and don’t want to try making new friends…
    I only go out to the supermarket, and if it’s possible, I send a grocery list to my husband to avoid going out …
    I used to be a very organized person, a control freak actually, who cares so much about everything being just right …
    now i simply don’t care about anything, I barely have the will to do anything…
    Sometimes I explode as a reaction to a simple mistake by one of my kids, sometimes i scream and i can see them frightened from the way i act, and i feel so bad, I’m a terrible mom, and that’s make me more depressed

    no one seems to understand what i feel, they think I’m over reacting… 🙁

    1. Hi there. I am so sorry you are having such a hard time. It sounds to me like you really need to see a doctor and get meds and/or therapy. You sound like you are truly battling depression. You are NOT overreacting – you are dealing with a chemical imbalance in your head, a chronic condition that needs medical attention so you can feel better and like yourself again. Do you have health care available to you in whatever country you are in?

      1. Thanks for your reply…
        Unfortunately, I moved few months ago, and don’t know any doctors here yet … I’m still looking for someone… Actually I don’t trust doctors here that much…
        If I can’t find anyone, I’ll have to wait till the summer vacation, I’ll spend it at my country and I’ll go to my doctor…

  30. I know this is an old post, but I just found it and it helps to know that there are other people out there that deal with some of the same stuff. I am not crazy in feeling this way, I am just battling with depression. It is not talked about much, so I felt like I was the only one out there adrift on this sea of overwhelming feelings and sadness. This has helped me see that depression is something that I will struggle with everyday sometimes, and even though I could be feeling great for months, it can strike again, but I can get through it. I just wish people would be more open to talking about it.

    1. I wish people could be more open about it, too. That's why I write about it – so other moms know they are NOT alone and that so, so many of us deal with this. I have written a few posts lately that you might find helpful – and I think it's important to read all the comments and see just how many people go through this. Last week I posted on Scary Mommy about PPD and got almost 200 comments from moms who were so relieved to know they weren't alone. It was stunning. I hope you are feeling better! Be well!

  31. It is definitely time for me to go back for a medication change/update/addition… My boy goes to daycare, but sometimes I can only “handle” his barrage of “mommy” and “why” for a few minutes after work and then I’m DONE!

  32. saw you on katie. I have alwas had problems with depression and mood swings. I am a mom of three. my oldest was diasnog with add. she was 10 at the time and her and I would fight and fight. she is on meds for her add and I'm taking zoloth for my mood swings.

  33. Hi,
    I just wanted to say thank you. Although your post is over a year old and I only came across it today. It made me feel as if I was reading about myself. Like you I had struggled with depression in my twenties, but it was only after the birth and difficulties post birth that I really hit rock bottom and was diagnosed with Post Natal depression. It has and is some days a real struggle. I know what you mean about the negative thoughts. The thing about feeling this way is, once you realise how much you have going on in your mind. It can overwhelm you and contribute to you feeling even more helpless that you did before. I have a four year old son, whom I love very much. I am also currently separated from my husband. When it comes to my depression I feel very alone. Like you I think most if not all the people I know would assume I am fairly together. But somedays it feels like my mind is a whirlwind of shit thoughts. This weekend was very difficult and today i lost it on several occasions with my son. I seem to always be in this pattern of behaviour and then manage to stop for some weeks and then for a few days will be back to it again. Although I have successfully gone back to work and my mood swings are reduced it feels like this depression just will not stop resurfacing. I just wanted to share with someone I know can understand and I feel a bit better because of it.

    Thank you

  34. Thank you for this blog. Every blog about parenting, it seems, is about how rewarding and wonderful and great it is. No one talks about the hard stuff. About being a parent and fighting depression. About how being a parent makes your depression worse. Thanks for speaking up!

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