Monday, 26 April 2010

Bringing up boys: The sum of all my fears... simply this, that somehow I will damage my children beyond my capability to repair with mere hugs and kisses.
I live in a world where every time, and I mean every time, I lose my temper and land up shouting I am racked with guilt. Sometimes this means my poor sons have on the one hand a serious bollocking and on the other a sobbing woman who keeps apologising. I don’t know how a normal mother works. That obviously presupposes that I no longer think of myself as normal.
And that I fear is the crux of the matter, for it is only when I am in an episode that I am not normal, so to speak, but the problem is, I don’t necessarily notice when I am going into an episode so I don’t know how long I have not been normal for – are you with me?
During a course of a year I may have one or two major episodes and perhaps several minor episodes, a minor episode lasting a few days while a major one can last a few weeks’ maybe months. At present I am in a major episode, one that is exceedingly deep and I am struggling. In fact, on Friday I called in the BIG guns, something I have not had to do since I had PND four years ago. I stabilised over the weekend and Dad has been stood down and is now on Amber Alert, bags packed ready for my call.
It sounds silly but having Mum and or Dad with me while I go through this gives me the confidence to go about my daily life and more importantly acts as a brake on my temper when I am so tired. I can safely leave my boys in their capable hands while I go to the bottom of the garden or else hide in the Holly by the moat and silently scream.
Imagine always dreading the morning, I do. I dread it because I don’t know how I will feel, will I wake up refreshed enough to cope with the demands my children throw at me from not finding clean pants to helping them put on their socks, from persuading them to wash their teeth to eating their breakfast. It is the smallest of things that can set me off and I cannot control it, or at least feel that I can’t, and all I want to do is run away.
Other days I cope fine, I presume these are normal days but my memory is shot and I forget how many of those I have - the joyful peculiarity of depression being that I tend to focus on the crap days rather than the normal ones and forget that I probably have more normal than not.
Whatever happens in the day I always manage to say goodnight to the boys with a huggie and a kiss to each, hoping that somehow this makes up for it all.
For them to have this mother who one minute is like the sun, the next like a storm must be bewildering in the extreme. I know sometimes it scares them. How will they turn out? How will they deal with it? How do they deal with it? For them, I am told, this is normal, they know no better. My job is to tell them that this is NOT normal and to always always apologise for my bad behavior. It seems to work for my youngest, but his ego rivals the world. For my eldest, I save my biggest fear - what happens if he is like me?

This is in answer to a question posed on British Mummy Bloggers by Deer Baby about how depression can affect children.


TheMadHouse said...

More tears, more empathy and my oh my I feel for you.

deer baby said...

Thank you so much for responding to my post on BMB. I think I said on there that I sometimes feel like a charlatan because I don't suffer from it in the same way as some people do but then again, I've had it diagnosed and been given the pills, and checked off many of the symptoms on that famous list of symptoms so I must have it.

You are so brave and honest to write how you feel and your worries for your children. It sounds like you have a good support network with your parents.

Your words about how you can change from day to day and your children don't know what they're going to get rang so true. That was what it was like growing up for me and I think, to some extent, for my children, although it is 'under control' at the moment. I also feel guilty because my mother had really good reason to have it - it's her story so I can't really go into it, besides grief over losing a child and being abandoned by her mother, whereas I haven't. But I know that's not how it works, is it? It strikes anyone - no matter how outwardly perfect their life is.
I would just like to be on more of an even keel so that my children never have to pussyfoot, never have to look at my face and see it's going to be a bad day and let's stay clear out of the way. Sometimes I think mine is undealt with grief.

I'm glad I've found your blog.

Anonymous said...

My heart really goes out to you. I don't think I suffer from depression but I have a fiery temper and lose control very easily over silly things. I know I'm setting a terrible example to my kids but like you, always apologise and I do try and explain why I got so mad. I don't think there's an easy answer but I think we're all trying to do our best and guilt goes with the territory. I don't think you're alone in the way you feel but you're obviously in a dip at the moment and I'm sending you hugs and strength to get through it xxx

Ladybird World Mother said...

You darling darling girl. My heart goes out to you. I can't tell you how much your post affected me. While my depression sounds nothing like yours, it mirrors it in many ways. My depression went undiagnosed for years, while I struggled to bring up Eldest on my own. His father had buggered off, although was always around to 'help' as he called it. My darling Eldest and I have a really good relationship now. He is 20 years old, and had a mother who was either laid low with sadness and misery, or high as a kite. I didn't seem to have anything in between. The bad days were bleak as hell, and almost impossible to get through. I apologised to my darling son whenever I needed to. Which was often. But listen, Tattie. He loves me, he values his childhood HUGELY and we talk about it now. He is more affected by his dad going than by my crazy sad behaviour. He knew all along that I loved him more than life itself, and that I would keep him safe and happy. He tells me this today. The poor boy has issues of abandonment but is dealing with those. We are dealing with those, as I can and will continue to help him as long as he needs it.
The point I am making, dear Tattie, is that your boys will know you love them. That you keep them safe. And that even in the 'madness' (that is how it used to feel to me) that you will NOT GO AWAY.
And that they are the most precious things in the world to you.
We know that. You know that. They know that.
Blow that guilt away. You are doing your very very best. And it IS enough. Seek all the help you can, and lean on those who love you.
All my love. xxx

Tattie Weasle said...

TheMadhouse - {{{{{HUGS}}}}} and a BIG thank you!
deer baby - It's a nasty pernicious thing deperssion and can hit anyone at anytime. There will always be those in a 'worse situation' so don't feel guilty that you have it. See it as an illness, you have it others don't. It's not about material things or whther someone has a better right to it than others, its about you and how you feel. I can't imagine how it must be to grow up with a mum who had so many difficulties. I think that would make any little girl sad and confused.
I do know that I ALWAYS tell my children how much I love them - I hope and I pray it will counteract the times when I am horrid.
PS I am not always depressed and I try my damndest to make it up then as well not by treats etc but by doing things and being there and reading stories and playing games and tickling adn laughing. No guilt though it is so hard not to show it...
muummmmeeeeee - I am in a dip but I am going to get out of it. Hugs and strength to get me thorugh it welcome indeed. Thank you!
Ladybird World Mother - OK you got me well and truly and my glasses are all covered in splash spots from my tears. Thank you! thnak you! thank you! Inadequate words I I'll just have to blow my nose!

bodran... said...

Thats how normal mothers act isnt it , i mean i'm normal arnt i and i do ..XX

Tattie Weasle said...

Bodran - you and me both; as normal as a box of frogs!!!Getting my plans toegther for our Summer trip to New Quay and North Wales (cousins now ensconced in Llandudno) ther'll be no getting away from us this year!

Go on you know you want to...


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