Many parents struggle with mental illness. She wonders if she should’ve had kids at all.
This is her story:
For as long as I can remember, I have been a touch crazy. I have suffered from anxiety and depression most of my life.
I was five years old when I had my first panic attack. Only five! I also worry about absurd things; I know they are absurd but I can’t stop worrying.
But now, it’s worse. I don’t remember it ever being this bad. In the last month alone, I have suffered six nervous breakdowns and I wonder what is wrong with me?
WHY am I SO FREAKING CRAZY!?
But what makes it worse is my children. I don’t want them to suffer with me. I don’t want them to know I am this way. I don’t want to mark them or make them afraid for me or themselves. I try to keep it all bottled up and away from them so they don’t really know I am suffering. The only people who know are my husband and my mother, and they aren’t always a huge help. My husband thinks that I should just suck it up and deal. That’s not easy to do. My mother tries very hard to understand what I am going through and help me because I know she watched my grandma suffer at times quietly just like me.
My grandma’s suffering hurt my mom, and that’s what scares me. What if I think I am suffering quietly but my children know? But how could they not? Sometimes a shower is more than I can bear and getting out of the same pajamas I have worn the last three days just doesn’t seem possible.
So they have to know right? Hell, they are 8,7, and 5; not exactly babies. My eldest has Asperger Syndrome and this ridiculously genius IQ; if any of them could figure it out would probably be her. I am so scared of them knowing. I don’t want to be crazy mommy who has meltdowns. I want my children to know me as happy and loving. I know I am loving, but I’m not always happy. And I don’t EVER want them to think it’s because of them. So do I talk to them? Do I explain to them, this is what is going on with mommy?
It’s not you it’s me? God I hate that.
Are they old enough to know?
Or should I leave them in their little children bubbles? Am I hurting them being this way?
Do you think they know?
My next biggest worry and fear is this: in my children I see some of my crazy. My eccentricities, if you will. My eldest, who has Asperger Syndrome, has her own eccentricities. But my son (whom I did not birth) also has these eccentricities, a touch of my OCD, and the anxiety (who could blame him with a mother like his; heck, thinking about me probably makes him sick and nervous). But my youngest daughter scares me the most. She is a very nervous child who worries just like I did. She is scared of so much. She has OCD already at five. No panic attacks yet, but I fear it may only be a matter of time. This bothers me more than I can say. I feel like I did this to her. I feel responsible and God help me I don’t want her to grow up like this. I don’t want her to suffer like I have. I want her to be well and happy and not have fears of irrational things. Therapy is an option.
It didn’t always do me much good, but at times it really does help.
But what kind of mother, who knows she has these illnesses, brings children into the world when they may end up just like her?!
This is my struggle.
Am I bad parent for bringing them into my crazy existence?
How do I handle my crazy so I don’t mark my children? How do I handle my mental health without scaring them?
I am also a severe anxiety and panic sufferer. For me talking about it and calling myself out on my irrational thoughts helps. At times I’m able to laugh with loved ones about myself. I’m so sorry your going thru this alone that makes it hard! Your kids love you I’m sure and just the fact that you worry about these things. Also take the time to blog about it just shows how great of a mother you truly are. I hope things get better for you soon just look ahead to the better days to come. Hugs to you
Have you tried any medications for your panic attacks? There is absolutely no shame in getting help to correct a chemical imbalance (and that is what this is). You are not a bad mom. You are just a mom with a unique set of challenges. Hell, we are all mom’s with unique challenges…’cause no one is exactly like anyone else. I haven’t been through this exact situation but I’m always available to talk. Good luck.
Just the fact that you worry about how this affects your children already puts you in the good parent category, not the bad. Please know that though you won’t be perfect, your children will be all the better for having your love.
Therapy is probably a good idea, as is the possibility of medication to help. Not to mention, that would provide you with some good ideas on how to talk to your children about all this, because it probably would be better in the end if they know, but not too much. Make sense?
Big hugs to you and your family.
I passed out daily and couldn’t hide it from the kids. I enlisted their cooperation. Talked about some of my limitations and found my strongest supporters. I didn’t expect them to understand; I didn’t understand. I was fortunate to find an excellent counselor that has worked with me for a long time. Talking, blogging, admitting I needed help all helped me towards acceptance and improvement in my behavior. If medication can work for you, that can make a difference. I was diagnosed with PTSD and took years trying to grasp what this means to me and my family. Some of my children do have some of my problems but I am willing to share some of my solutions. They have also shared ideas with me now that they are adults. I wonder sometimes if I did the right thing by having them. They are amazing adults. To me, they are the best thing I have done in my life. I guess this isn’t really an answer to your question other than I survived and my kids survived me. I know how tough it is to see my craziness show up in my children. One perspective is if only perfect people had children there would be no children.
Thanks everyone, it really does make me feel better to know I am not alone.
I have been taking medicines, sadly they don’t always work. I am taking 90Mg of Cymbalta, and have been through all of the Anxiety meds, right now I am on Buspar. What caused the biggest breakdown was sadly caused by Valium, I had what is called a Paradoxical reaction to it, which basically means instead of making things better it made them so much worse. But my Psychiatrist is a great man, I truly do love him. He is very dedicated to helping me get better and always makes me feel better. So we’re working on finding the right combo of meds.
And thanks everyone who suggested talking to a counselor, I am considering a family counselor who can help the kids deal with crazy mommy. As well as help my husband understand a little better as well. And help me deal with my guilt.
Again Thank You all for your support, and kind words. I really needed it.
I wholeheartedly agree with Ruth. No one can answer your question, unfortunately. Who can say who should have children and who shouldn’t? Sometimes it’s obvious. Other times it’s not.
But I think the fact that you’re even asking that question is a testament to your love and care for your children. If you hadn’t given birth to them, they, and you, wouldn’t have a chance to see if it’ll work out.
I have that same question, though. I don’t have kids. Yet. Or maybe I never will. I have lost 6 chances (miscarriages).
All any parent can give their child is love and an attempt at normalcy. You’re doing fine. I think talking to your kids in a way that makes sense to them, age-wise, is smart. Even a two year old could benefit from an explanation for something they can’t figure out. But maybe a therapist can help you build a discussion plan with them. *shrug* I’ll shut up now, but I think you’re a better parent than a lot out there simply for thinking about and caring for your children so much. Keep on keeping on and it will work itself out. *hugs*
Oh good! I just read your comment and saw that you’re trying a med change. That may help the situation tremendously. Sometimes, that’s all you need to make your body feel like a billion bucks.
And you? You’re a great mom. Don’t doubt that. Ever. Family counseling is a wonderful idea. I think every family could benefit from it.
Cymbalta was a lifesaver to me over the last year. I’m so with you, girlfriend. I’ve been an anxiety sufferer since 12, and my son (also on the spectrum) already shows signs of anxiety.
Effexor was another one that was good for me. And please don’t beat yourself up. You’re getting help and you’re very aware of your disease. That’s a big step in learning to help your family