C.R. asks from Everett, WA on April 22, 2010
What Is Wrong with Me? - Everett,WA
Okay Ladies - I feel like I'm losing my mind. I am almost always anxious, nervous, mind racing and often nauseous when thinking about life in general these days. I feel overwhelmed ALL THE TIME - never ever at peace and little things send me completely over the edge. I know there's a certain amount of that that goes along with being a parent, but this is over the top. I find it hard to function like a normal person sometimes.
A little background, I went back to work full-time this year and did not want to. I think that this is the root of most of my problems, but there isn't much I can do about it at this point. Part of the problem is also that I know I'm going to have to work full-time again next year. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my job - I just wasn't ready to leave my baby. My job this year is more challenging than it has every been in all of the six years I've had it. I'm a teacher, I've been out sick for the past three days and I have TONS of emails and voicemails about behavior problems - problems that don't happen if I'm there. So, I feel like I can't be gone for a couple of days without everything falling apart. My husband's in nursing school, I miss my daughter, my mom (who is my childcare) just had surgery and I'm trying to find people to watch my daughter because the person who was supposed to is having pregnancy complications... AAAHHH. I'm just sick worrying about who will watch her and her being upset - childcare is an ongoing stress in our lives. My parents are not well, but insist that she not go to daycare. Her birthday is coming up and I don't have time to plan it... I have lesson plans to write, papers to grade, parents to call, newsletters to write, evaluation meetings to attend... I have two baby showers to plan this month... The list goes on.
Okay, back on topic... The problem is that I'm completely overwhelmed, like millions of other people, but for some reason I've reached my breaking point. Problem is, I have two more months to go before I can break! What do I do? I absolutely do not have time to go to a counselor - there's just not another time in my days! How do I control this without letting it overshadow the precious little time I have with my daughter? I find it hard to enjoy anything - I'm constantly fretting and I feel like my heart is going to pound out of my chest when I start to think about everything that's not done. All I want is to be able to enjoy the time that I spend with my family and not feel anxious and completely hopeless during that time.
So What Happened?™
Thanks everyone! I know, I need to "trim the fat" and cut out anything I possibly can. Just to clear something up, my baby isn't technically a baby anymore... She's 2... I stayed home with her 5 days a week (worked only 2 days) until she was 15 months old. So, I don't have postpartum depression. At least, I don't think I do - is that possible 2 years later? Haha... Sorry for that confusion. I think I will talk to my doctor... My daughter's 2 year and my yearly is coming up anyway (we have the same family practice doctor). I also made an appointment with a naturopath for my daughter and me - she has several health issues - sigh.... Thanks again!
K.C. answers from Portland on April 23, 2010
I'm right there with you! Same job, same situation. You may want to talk to someone, like a professional, but remember it will end soon and then a little time off for you and little one!
P.W. answers from San Francisco on April 22, 2010
I second the thyroid suggestion. That is not to say you don't have good reasons to be overwhelmed -- you do. However, low thyroid can add to the mix.
C.R. answers from Kansas City on April 22, 2010
I'm so sorry that you are going through this. I was going through the same thing pretty much, and I called my doctor. She referred me to a counselor and prescribed Prozac to me. I know you do not have time for the counselor, but maybe the medicine would help.
I hope you feel better soon!
V.B. answers from Houston on April 22, 2010
I think this is most definitely worth a discussion with your doctor as it could be some post partum depression setting in. The other suggestion I have is to shed any responsibilities that you don't HAVE to own. For example....see if you can recruit someone to help you with the baby showers. I know they are probably for close friends of yours, but if they are that close, they will understand that you are overwhelmed and that you can't add another thing to your plate.
I would also suggest getting more reliable childcare. Your parents (and maybe even you) may not want your daughter in a daycare, but if they aren't able to care for her and this is a major source of stress for you, then you need to come up with something more reliable so that you can check that off the list of things to worry about.
I will share that I can somewhat relate to what you're going through with the childcare thing. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December and had major surgery in January. I have a 4 year old (turned 4 two weeks before my surgery) and a 23 month old (who was 19 months at the time). I was not able to care for them by myself for more than 2 months and I am a SAHM. They were not in childcare because it was my job to take care of them, but I couldn't. They were in a preschool a couple of days per week, but I had to have a care calendar where people signed up to help me take care of them after school until my husband could get home. I also couldn't drive for 7 weeks, so I had to have people taking them to and from school and driving them to the people's houses where they were signed up to go after school. Logistically, it was absolutely crazy, but I was thankful for the help and we got through the worst of it. We ended up putting my youngest in daycare because I simply am not able to keep up with him and he is a lot happier there playing with his friends. I am in chemo now and actually, we have settled into a routine, but the bottom line is that you need to do what you need to do to be able to breathe. I didn't want to put my son in daycare and cried every day for the first couple of weeks, but he is so happy there and I know now that it is absolutely the right thing for our family right now. For me, it's temporary. When my chemo is over and life gets back to some sort of new normal, I will be able to keep them home again, but for now, it's what we have to do and he is perfectly fine! Don't think of daycare as the devil. I know I always had a bias against it because I wanted to be the one to raise my kids, but most of them are fantastic and really care about the kiddos. Just make sure you do your research and find one that you are comfortable with. Make random stops in during the day at different times to see how things are run. It gets easier over time, I promise.
I'm sorry you are going through this. It sounds like you have a lot on your plate. So, just shed as much as is reasonable, get in to see your doctor to be sure you don't need some meds temporarily and get your baby taken care of so that you don't have to stress about where she is and who is taking care of her and if she is staying on schedule. I can also sympathize with the birthday party thing. As I mentioned, my daughter was turning 4 right before my surgery and about 3 weeks after my diagnosis of cancer. We always have her party in early January because it is 3 days after Christmas and nobody is ever in town to have a party for her. I knew that wouldn't be possible this year because of my surgery and we were in the middle of trying to process that I even had cancer, so I literally sent out an email on a Tuesday to some of her friend's mommies and said we were having a party on Saturday for whoever could come. I ordered a cake and some pizzas and had some chips and a veggie tray. I was able to setup a tour at the local fire station on short notice (which my daughter had been begging to do) and then we came back to the house to eat and play outside. It was perfect! It was the least planning that had ever gone into one of her parties and it was just as much fun. If your daughter is turning one, then you don't need to plan anything big because she will just be overwhelmed. Just plan something with your family and maybe a couple of close friends, order some pizza or ask people to bring food (potluck style) and get her a little cake to smash in her face! Voila...party! If you're anything like me, it's so hard to imagine not planning down to every last detail, but please understand that she won't remember it and it's really all about spending time with her anyway.
If there is one thing I've learned through my ordeal so far, it is that I can't stress about the little things anymore because there are too many big things that truly need my attention, like my recovery! Just let the little things go and enjoy your family. I know it seems easier said than done, but you can do it! Take care of yourself and I wish you and your family many blessings.
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K.M. answers from Boston on April 22, 2010
I find that when the panicky feeling sets in, it's often because I either did not eat enough early in the day, or I haven't exercised. In addition to the many commonsense recommendations below (see doctor, cut out extra activities, set bar lower) make sure you eat breakfast and lunch, and see if you can't work a 20-minute walk into your routine each day. Just 20 minutes. It will help you clear your head, and there is something about exercise that helps us handle stress that much better.
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M.C. answers from Detroit on April 22, 2010
I'm so sorry that this is happening to you. When it rains it pours and you are under too much stress. Just a thought: Have you thought about maybe getting a mother's helper? In regards to these 2 baby showers, do you have a friend, sister, a teen, older lady --anyone that you can delegate some or all of the duties to? It would be nice if you could find someone who has some free time on her hands who could help you out. I know some people love to be asked to help, it makes them feel needed. And, you are not asking for too much time here because school will be out in about 7 weeks. I also think you may have to set some boundaries here too. Prioritize the important things and delegate duties to someone who can help or back out of things (if that's possible). I have to agree with the other posters too. When you need a quick fix, antidepressants due the trick. I would call your doctor and explain your situation and see if you can be prescribed a mild antidepressant. It will take off some of the edge.
I hope things get better--soon:)
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J.S. answers from Seattle on April 23, 2010
I'm so sorry to hear that life is so stressful for you! I haven't read through all the other responses to know if these things have been said already or not...
Are you taking good care of yourself? Getting enough sleep? Eating okay? Drinking enough water? Hopefully you are not like the rest of us surviving on caffine :) This is really important stuff, especially in times of stress. You won't be much good to anyone unless your needs are met first.
Have you talked to your primary care doc? You mentioned your baby, and as new parents we all sometimes feel overwhelmed, but your primary doc could help you decide if what you're feeling is related to post partum hormones. Are you taking any new medications (some can cause anxiety)? What else has changed in your life besides work? A stop off at the docs would cost you a couple of hours in time, but could substanially improve your life. Don't be afraid to go, as everything is confidential!
Hang in there honey! And don't be afraid to ask for help. You're worth it!
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K.G. answers from Boca Raton on April 22, 2010
I'm sorry your going through this.. I TOTALLY understand though...
Different reason but same feelings... I know you said you don't have a lot of time but you should first try and get your hormones checked.... Just to make sure everything's in balance...
When this happened to me (unfortunately my end result was insomnia which is HORRIBLEEEEEEEEE), I first tried acupuncture (didn't do anything), then went and talked to a psychologist, and after none of that worked I got onto Zoloft... NEVVVVERRRRRRRR in my life have I taken pills for these types of things.. I was always "that" person that thought " somethings REALLY wrong with someone if they have to take those kind of meds to deal with life"..... But you know what, it's life... As we get older, more problems occur and more things come on our plates... I had to try out a couple different antidepressants to find the right one for "me".. and then it took about 3 weeks to start making a change with my mood, but you know what "it saved me"!!!!!! I feel SO much better now.... I am in NO WAY promoting this, I'm just telling you my story... I think you should definitely try other approaches first... I've read it's VERY common for women especially to go through depressed phases sometimes in our lives...
Good luck and know your not alone~
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S.S. answers from Chicago on April 22, 2010
First of all, take a deep breath and start chopping additional unnecessary things out of your life. Why do you have to have a birthday party for your daughter. How old is she? Will she know if you do not do something amazing for her. Why are you planning two baby showers? Can someone else do that?
Next, as far as teaching goes and behavior problems, that is part of having subs and being absent. And I know this because I am a sub (over twelve years), a teaching assistant and it shows what a good teacher you are that you are able to control the class while you are there. Your parents will have to understand that even though they are well intentioned you need someone available, healthy and reliable for the next two months. The fact that your mom had surgery should permit them to understand that. You are overwhelmed because you are not superwoman, perhaps a super human, a kind very smart wonderful mom, and teacher, but you are not a movie star who has millions of people available and the funds to go with it. You are human and it doesn't sound like you have anything wrong with you other than a lot of stress-some which can be eliminated. Like the shower stuff. Divvy it out to friends, relatives, etc. Babysitting,...line up names from church, neighbors, the community hall and daycares that are close. Find out who has drop ins. I know it is difficult to call and talk from school, so you will have to take an hour or so afterwards. What grade are you teaching? Have the students grade the papers themselves under your direction. Have them switch during class and correct their neighbors papers. Permit them to color or draw or something they like to do (why on earth are children not allowed to draw in classes anymore when they love it?) and correct them there right in the classroom. I got tired reading all that you do. You are a wonderful person who wants to do so much, but recognize that others can do some of this for you. Finding childcare is scarey...ask other teachers in your school who they use. I know it is hard, so try to get rid of some of these things in your life and DO NOT FEEL GUILTY FOR IT. BEST WISHES TO YOU~!
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J.W. answers from Seattle on April 23, 2010
First of all, find a friend or two to take over the baby showers. No way can you do all of this, work and enjoy your daughter. So priorities are a must. Family, the one that lives under your roof, is first. Grandparents watching your daughter is great, but they are just that, grandparents. You don't say how old she is, but I'm assuming she not yet a year old. As long as they are willing and capable of keeping up with her, let them do so. It's the best bonding experience for all of them. If they are ill, you betcha that's going to be a problem, relying upon pregnant friends to care for your kids is not a good idea. Pregnancy can wonderful and wonder filled... I like wonder where I'm going to find the energy to get out bed this morning or I wonder if I can make it through the day without tossing my cookies, and there are many unexpected events in every pregnancy.. have two or three back-ups. It may be you'll have to find a family daycare that can accept drop-ins for those rare occasions. Many EAP's have lists of available family daycare providers. Check them out.
When it comes to your daughter's birthday, keep it simple. This is more about the adults this first birthday than the child, so a themed party with lots of kids is not necessary. She is the star of the show. Have a nice buffet brunch, lunch or dinner... make it potluck even... bake cupcakes and have a small cake for her to grab onto and play with. Kodak moment here. Don't overwhelm her or yourself. No more than a coupld of hours, she still needs her nap and you need your rest or class planning time.
Parenthood isn't for sissies. It's like a rose garden, beautiful, fragrant, delightful, but then there are some thorns and black mold to deal with, not to mention the pruning and feeding... but oh how beautful the garden!!!
This is the best time of your life. Take a deep breath. Ask your husband to pitch in an extra hour or two. I know nursing school is hard work, but this is a shared responsibility, it took 2 of you to create her, it takes two of you to raise and nurture her. And if you can, see if your parents will watch one weekend night a month so you and your husband can have a 3 hr break to go see a movie, go to dinner, but take time for one another. It'll work. Parents have been doing it for centuries. Before you know it, she'll be 18 and going off to college.
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W.C. answers from Seattle on April 23, 2010
Slow down and be in each moment. That sounds contrary to what you are feeling and wanting to do. But if you are truely alive in each moment then you will feel much more alive. Don't worry about the next moment or the next hour. It will always come when it comes. Be alive in the moment that you are living in. Especially when you are with your daughter and husband. That will be the easiest to do.
As a former grade school teacher, I know you can do it in the school room too, but you will have to use the timer to remind yourself when math or reading time is over. You will find that you will enjoy the actual act of teaching the children much more fun. Paper work will always be a chore. (sigh)
I wish you the best of parenting. Good luck.
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