Mental health, Parenting, Random Ramblings

Depression: I take time to process…

The older I get the more able I am to take a step back and analyse my reactions to the people around me and the situations I find myself in.  I won’t go as far as to say my angry outbursts and moodiness have been conquered but 5 minutes after the meltdown I have the peace of mind to realise what’s just gone down.  Realising you’re a nut job is a step in the right direction, right?

Mood swings aside (if only they didn’t lurk around 3 weeks out of the month) my initial reaction to anything unexpected or stressful is to get angry and flustered.  When the flood of anger passes the depressed over-analysis begins and the guilt begins to settle.

Honestly if there were a pill you could take to relieve guilt I’d pay a small fortune for the release.  I’m sure guilt is just a part of being an adult but sometimes I wonder if I embrace the guilt a little more than is normal.

(Skip my “guilty list” and scroll down if you like, it’s definitely yawn-worthy)

Just off the top of my head right now I am feeling guilty about:

  • Being mean to Master 10 this morning when he spent 20 minutes searching for his reading journal (that ended up being in his back pack already) and we were all waiting at the front door for him so we could leave for school.  I had already growled at him to just leave it several times and when he finally gave up I thought we were going to be late (yet again) for school and growled meanly that it was all his fault his brothers were late and he’d have to deal with his father tonight and explain himself.  We ended up being on time to school anyways and either way…the kid is 10 and I was offloading on him
  • Guilt for offloading on Master 10 so many times over the years
  • Guilt that I didn’t read with Master 5 and Master 7 last night and fill in their reading journals (Master 7 will miss out on play time if his teacher checks it and there isn’t an entry for every day)
  • Guilt that my poor time management meant that Master 10 and I didn’t make it to a Secondary School Open Day in time last night
  • Guilt that I’m a pussy and didn’t want to go into the school at 7:30 last night to ask if we were too late and instead just kept walking and got the bus back home
  • Guilt that I haven’t attended enough Open Days to check out our Secondary school options because I’m lazy and didn’t want to drag all the kids to yet another one (we’ve been to 3)
  • Guilt that the kids have to move house again (our landlord wants to move back into her house in later November)
  • Guilt that I don’t want to talk to my parents or hubby’s parents and don’t keep in contact with them
  • Guilt that I didn’t iron the kid’s school clothes last night or the night before and instead just tumbled dried them and flattened them with my hand
  • Guilt that I haven’t organised any of the play dates I promised the kids because I’m a wimp and don’t want to have to talk to these strange parents
  • Guilt that the house is a mess (albeit mostly clean, just cluttered) and I’m forever losing things
  • Guilt that I couldn’t find hubby’s reflective vest this morning and he’ll be riding home in the dark tonight and if he gets hit by a car it’s all my fault
  • Guilt that we’re eating crappy food this month and next month because we need to save £4000 for our deposit and one month’s rent on another house and I haven’t been putting any money aside each month
  • Guilt that we had to tell the kids they aren’t getting new Halloween costumes this year because every spare penny has to go towards the new rental
  • Guilt that they were very understanding and said that was okay, they’ll just wear their costumes from last year
  • Guilt that Christmas is going to be a last-minute rush when we get our bond back from our current house hopefully in early December and the kids probably aren’t going to get anything they want
  • Guilt that I’m forever growling at the kids.  In the mornings to get them out the door to school on time and in the afternoons berating them trying to get them to do their jobs and homework…
  • Guilt that there’s never any time for anything else but the nagging and shouting
  • Guilt that Master 10’s “stories” bore the living daylights out of me
  • Guilt that his inability to get to the point and think about what he’s going to say and then saying it is probably because I didn’t talk to him enough when he was younger (and even now)
  • Guilt that all his learning difficulties are probably because I didn’t talk to him or read with him enough when he was little
  • Guilt that bedtime stories became non-existent 2 years ago and it was because I stopped wanting to make the time not because the kids didn’t keep asking
  • Guilt that I’ve just realised they don’t even ask for a bedtime story any more…they already know the answer will be “no”
  • Guilt that I’m in the “obese” category for my BMI again and I’m letting the whole family down
  • Guilt that hubby works long hours and still manages to lose weight, talk to the kids without snapping and put in an effort to spend time with me
  • Guilt that I fail at all those things and I don’t work outside the home even though my mother-in-law and hubby both want me to
  • Guilt that I’m so useless that I honestly don’t know how I could fit all the things I do now, plus a proper job into my days.  Every one else can do it, why not me?
  • Guilt that at almost every moment of every day (and night) all I want is to be by myself
  • Guilt that “alone time” is never long enough and that at the end of it I just feel guilty and wish I’d spent more time with my family
  • Guilt that I’ve amounted to nothing and set a bad example to my kids
  • Guilt that I live up to no one’s expectations
  • Guilt that my expectations of myself got lower and lower over the years until I’m just happy if I get the kids out the door in the morning and the kitchen and bathroom are both clean each day
  • Guilt that I have started 3 blog posts in the past week and finished none of them
  • Guilt at all the things I do and all the things I don’t do
  • Guilt that I’m a ridiculously unhappy person and must be such a burden to every one around me

…so…suffice to say, guilt plays a huge role in my day-to-day life.

Back to the processing bit (apologies if you actually read my “guilt list” consider it a cleansing process and let’s move on).  Whenever hubby suggests I do something or wants to change the plans my initial reaction is to get on the defensive like a kitty cat in a fight.

I hiss (I grumble under my breath), I raise my hackles (my back stiffens and I don’t want to be touched), I sharpen my nails (I thrown a few jabs out there) and then I strike (“I’m so sick of this crap”, “You’re the unreasonable one”, “…and what if I say NO!”, “I hate you!”).

I’m not a pleasant person to talk to, nope…not one bit.  Then he walks away.  The guilt begins…

…and then I start to process.  Depending on how dramatic this change or suggestion is this processing and coming around to sanity can take a few minutes or a few days.

Eventually I see the light and concede its a good idea and/or “yes I should be doing that”.

If only I could process like a normal person.  Without the anger and/or passive aggressive crap life would be so much smoother and simpler.

How do I qualm the crazy and speed up the processing time?

Moving out of our current house sent me into a spin of sadness, anger and disappointment.  If you could have been inside my head you’d have thought I’d received news of World War III erupting.  I was a bit of a basket case.

Packing seemed like it was going to ruin me (more packing? noooo!).  Not being the perfect distance from school any more (far enough away to give me a bit of exercise each day but close enough that the kids can run to school in 5 minutes if pressed for time).  Not being in a house that backs onto the woodland.  I envisaged the snow-covered trees and fields behind our house that we explored last winter and it seemed like a cruel injustice that it’s just been ripped out of my grasp for all the future winter’s we spend in London.  I complained of how we’re never going to get another house like this one.  It’s all useless, we might as well accept we’re going to be moving somewhere even smaller with crappier furniture, a tiny worthless kitchen, horrible central heating and even worse I’m going to lose the first home I’ve ever had with a dishwasher.

In my mind we were moving to a slum.  A dirty, smelly, dilapidated hell hole with no garden and probably criminals lurking outside our front door.

Ever the optimist, hey?

…but eventually…I processed it.

Over a week later and I can almost get myself excited at the prospect of a new location.  All the possibilities:  Maybe a flat overlooking the Thames or one of the royal docks?  Maybe a house with a bigger garden and somewhere to store the bikes.  Maybe a bigger kitchen or just a better designed one?  Maybe we’ll have kids on our street the kids can play with?  Maybe we’ll have two bathrooms (almost as sought after as a dishwasher)?  Maybe we’ll have nice neighbours again (who don’t come knocking on our door when the kids climb the staircase too loudly)?

I wish I was an optimist.  I wish change didn’t throw me into fits of tears, anger and depression that keeps me in bed for 12 hours a day, but what can I do?  At least I acknowledge that it’s not okay and I have a desire to change.  At least I can be grateful that at least one adult in this household doesn’t behave like an oversized 2-year-old throwing a tantrum when things don’t go her way.

So dear readers, how are your processing skills?  Do you take it all in your stride?  Are you an optimist that can see the bright side BEFORE or in line with the negative?  Did you learn to stop throwing tantrums when you were a kid like most people or did you have to learn to over come them as an adult?

How’s your guilt quota today?

7 thoughts on “Depression: I take time to process…”

  1. You know what I think your biggest problem is Jen? And it isn’t something you have listed on your guilty list. It is that you are being WAAAAAYY too hard on yourself.

    You have a big guilty list and a lot of it is comprised of what a lot of mothers feel – and its a way you don’t deserve to feel. You’ve gotta remember that you can’t be every-one to every-body ALL the time. And expecting that of yourself is only going to make you feel worse.

    I don’t know how you go about changing those feelings…. I sure wish I did, so I could actually say something more helpful. But somehow you’ve got to try and change your way of thinking and realise that in actual fact you are a pretty darn good mum and human being for that matter.

    And some of the other things you feel guilty about:

    * Guilt that I couldn’t find hubby’s reflective vest this morning and he’ll be riding home in the dark tonight and if he gets hit by a car it’s all my fault – So you couldn’t find Mitch’s reflective vest… it happens, things get lost and aren’t always easy to find. Put it down to bad luck, you’ll find it soon enough. Don’t beat yourself up over it girlfriend!

    * Guilt that the kids have to move house again (our landlord wants to move back into her house in later November) [And all the other guilts that relate to this] – It’s hardly your fault that the landlord is a prat at timing. It’s simply not your fault and therefore not your guilt to bear.

    I don’t know if you can ever change to not be so hard on yourself, but I find it very hard to be hard on you when you are putting in the effort (AND DON’T TELL ME YOU AREN’T). If I was to choose one thing you should be guilty of its that you’ve locked yourself up and thrown away the key when you haven’t done anything wrong.

    I wish I was there to be your friend and help you 😦


  2. Have you seen a doctor? You are depressed and the mood swings can be stablized with the right meds. Motherhood isn’t easy, but it shouldn’t be this hard. I don believe moving to England has alot to do with it. And now you’re moving again. You shouldn’t feel guilty about that. Nothing you can do about it. We all want the best for our kids, but when the money isn’t there, what can you do? Talking calmly about it with the children is good. They will adjust and understand.

    You’re not super mom. DO NOT TRY TO BE! You are only human. The vest is your husband’s responsibility, not yours.

    Kids will be kids. Losing or misplacing school supplies is their job. They will learn from their actions. It’s only school. It will not impede their life or careers if a book is lost.

    I hear you on the reading bedtime stories. It’s tedious. It’s boring. I’ve actually fallen asleep as so my husband. “MOM, DAD FELL ASLEEP AGAIN!” I’d get from his bedroom sometimes. But don’t feel guilty that you don’t do it every night. Pick maybe two nights a week to read a short story or just sit and talk about the school day or what’s on their minds for about 5 minutes.

    But I think you might want to see a doctor about the mood swings. That can’t be healthy for your marriage.

    I’m with Nick, you’re too hard on yourself. I, too, wish I could be there to get your through some of this. I was there once also, but as the kids got older, it got easier. It’s called “getting an attitude”.


  3. Thanks for the feedback guys.

    I totally agree the mood swings are a problem Irene.

    The guilt thing guys, I don’t know? Every one else seems to fit so much more into their day than me so I must be falling short, right? Only logical.

    No I haven’t seen a doctor. The doctors nearby are not particularly personal…I had one doctor tell me off for calling my allergies “hayfever” because (and I quote) “It can’t be hayfever at this time of year. I mean when was the last time you saw hay?”. Needless to say I left that doctors office without a prescription for antihistamine’s and still have a constant “drip”, itchy eyes and dopey bags under my eyes. My point is, if I can’t even sort out my allergies then how the heck can I describe and get help for something that’s not physical?

    I should also mention I went on anti depressants in 2007/2008 and they did nothing but make me gain more weight 😦 So I’m fearful of going that route again.

    Anywho! I’ll stew it over for a bit.

    Thanks guys 🙂


  4. Doctors always think they know you better than you know yourself. After all, they’re the ones that went to university, got the doctorate, went on to get a masters and then interned. They know it all. That’s why they get paid the big bucks by the government. You may just have to keep trying to find the right one. Or just keep trying the stuff over the counter. Claritin is a big allergy medicine now over here. I’m not sure if it’s OTC yet, but people swear by it. No, you’re allergies are real, not your imagination. Doctors are the ones that aren’t real.

    That’s the problem with anti depressants-always some sort of side effect. If you’re not tired all the time, you’re gaining weight. There are SO many different ones out there it could take several months to find the right one with the right dosage. And feeding yourself with meds like that isn’t good for the body. So I hear ya on not wanting to go down that route again.

    But don’t try so hard. Let some of it go. You won’t be a bad mom for not doing something that you think you should do because the mommy book said so. I’m sure your husband won’t hold it against you. You’re a good mom, you dote on the kids, which is important! As long as you give them love and understanding, they’ll be fine!

    As for the mood swings, I’m wondering if it’s your diet or if there’s something you can add to your diet. Natural foods can be quite beneficial to the body when it comes to mood swings. Check it on line or if there’s a place in town that sells vitamins or teas or something (we have a GNC-General Nutrition Center-they sell all sorts of vitamins and natural food suppliments for any aliment you have-I’m sure they have a website).

    You have my email if you feel like talking. I’m a good listener.


  5. Irene is right. Most doctors do think they know it all. It can take a while to find one who realises what I was taught in nursing school – the patient knows the body better than any doctor – it is the doctors job to interpret the symptoms the patient is flagging. So you might just have to keep trying to find the right one – maybe when you move you’ll just happen on a doctor who isn’t a tool. That’s what happened to me and I couldn’t be happier with the one I’m seeing right now. She has fought tooth and nail to get me to the right specialists for the nerve damage in my brain and whilst all the physical (surgical) interventions have failed she is happy to prescribe me the medication which is right for me. Don’t give up hope that you’ll find a doctor who listens and knows what they are doing.

    The doctor who had a go at you over your hayfever doesn’t know jack shit. They don’t sell hayfever medication for nothing. Nor do they take it off the shelf at certain times of the year. He’s probably a pretty big conspiracy theorist too.

    I purposely didn’t bring up the anti-depressant issue because I know from last time why you don’t like them. And I remember last time going through literally a hundred different ones checking for whether they listed weight gain as a side-effect and found that yep they pretty much all did. You’d think in this day and age they would have worked that out of the system by now but I guess its because most of them ultimately work on enzymes that affect your weight in one way or another. With me it wasn’t and isn’t an issue. I’m fat and I don’t care. Problem solved, pick the anti-depressant of your choice. But I know it’s not that easy for you because part of your depression is over your weight. Personally I don’t think you’ve got anything to worry about, I think you look great… but me saying so isn’t going to change your thinking I know. DARN IT!

    Can you get free counselling in the UK? If you can it might be worth a shot. And it may not be the complete solution, but it could be some help. I know with me it helped with some of my issues but not with others… but having half the solution is better than having none.

    Take it easy Jen. Nobody expects you to be SUPERmum, and if they do they have issues too.


  6. Irene – I know sugar increases my mood swings, when I cut it out all together I’m a little more mellowed but its a hard one to tackle! We eat a pretty healthy diet (much healthier in the UK then back in Australia). Lots of fresh salads, lean meats and only wholemeal pastas, breads etc. I think sugar could be the only real culprit if I were looking at my diet. I eat chocolate less regularly then I used to but even when I do its normally good quality stuff with high cocoa content (75%+). The diet thing annoys the heck out of me if I’m honest. All the lovely “tips” that hit my inbox listing small lifestyle changes that can aid weight loss…good in theory…BUT I’ve already changed all those things and still gain weight! You can get fat from wholemeal pastas and bread even if you eat plenty of fruit and veggies with it!

    Nick – I’m not sure if there’s any free counselling in the UK. Worth a look though 🙂 I remember you scouring the anti depressants for me back then, sucks that its a permanent feature of that kind of med!

    I appreciate your comments guys but I’m so not trying to put myself in the running to be a super mum! So far from it it’s not funny. If I could just tick off a few boxes I’d be happy but I don’t. The kids are fed, bathed and wear clean clothes (not always ironed mind you) and that’s pretty much where it ends. The house is hygienic I guess…but a mess! I’m a constant grump and don’t talk to them much at all. I guess my saving grace is that we do a lot of activities (holidays abroad, exploring new places on the weekends) and hopefully they’ll remember those things when they’re grown up and not my short fallings.

    Anywho! That’s probably enough self deprecating for one week 🙂

    Thanks again for your feedback.


  7. Iron? What’s that?

    Oh, one more thing, get out and walk! Just for 20 minutes, 10 minutes one way and then 10 minutes on the way back. Might help boost the spirits! Doesn’t help either that you live in a country with more rainy/cloudy days than sunny. They do have lamps that imitate sunlight for this purpose.


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