Advice on How to Get Help for Depression

Updated on January 07, 2007
A.M. asks from Washington, IL
26 answers

I'm not sure on how to go about talking to my doctor about depression. But I've gotta do something soon. After I had my first daughter almost three years ago, I didn't feel like myself at all after she was born. I know to a degree, that's normal. But it's getting worse. I've had two more daughters since then, and it gets worse after each birth. I'm short tempered, and not optimistic about anything anymore. I'm so tired of having to hide it cuz I don't want my girls to see me upset, or mad all the time. I live up with and have no family and friends anywhere near here. So I feel all alone. And I have a fiance that isn't supportive at all. About two or three times a week, he doesn't even come home from work. He goes out to the bar with his friends, and doesn't usually show up till the next day. Cuz I told him if he does that, not to come home till he's sober. I don't want my kids to see their dad like that, and if we split, I don't want them remembering him with only the smell of alcohol. And when he doesn't come home, he doesn't call or anything. And if I call him, he won't answer the phone. And to make things even worse, he has his two children froma previous relationship (12yrs&8yrs) living with us. And I was okay with it at first, but he's never around to help with our kids, or his kids. His kids are very disobedient. His son is always in trouble at school. I get a call from his principal probably twice a week over something. He says he hates me. And his daughter is starting to act out toward my 3 year old. It's so hard to deal with all this. And I've tried telling him that I'm depressed, but he doesn't listen. I'm not sure how much more of this I can take. I'm only 24 years old, and I'm a mother to a 12 yr old, an 8 year old, and three kids 3 or under. During the day, I'm soooo stressed. And I often wait for everyone to go to sleep, so I can cry without anyone seeing me. Cuz the few times I've cried in front of him, I was told to grow up and stop being a baby. But crying is how I deal with things. I can't keep it all in. And if he doesn't start helping me out, and caring about my emotional well being, I'm gonna leave. I've told him that, but he says I'm just being selfish and I should take my kids away from their dad. Would that make me selfish to leave??

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L.M.

answers from Richmond on

A., You absolutely have to get help for this. I went through the same thing but I also had anxiety along with it. I am on zoloft now and it works wonderfully. This is one of the major problems that women this day are going through. You can also contact Meeka Centimano from Christian Family Services, she counsels women who go through this. She went through it herself. It sounds like you have alot of post partum depression. She can also point you in the right direction if you need talk about your other problems. Please email me personally if you need to talk. THis is extremely important! Take care of yourself!

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J.S.

answers from Springfield on

I wish you were close enough that I could give you a hug!
First off, go to your dr and tell him/her how you are feeling. There are lots of treatments available. I had PPD after the birth of my second child, and I was put on Lexapro and Wellbutrin (not at the same time, yikes!). One of them really helped me; I just can't remember which one, grr. You're not helping yourself or anyone else by just putting up with your symptoms. And once you get some of your emotions in check, you can focus on the other side of your problem: your fiance.
I am the last person to give advice on that situation, but you need to do what is best for you and your kids, and it doesn't sound like he's doing anything but adding to your stress and problems. It's not you that is being selfish, it's him. Perhaps you should leave, temporarily. It might be the wake-up call he needs. Either that, or it will show you that you will be better off without him. It's a very big step to take, tho, so perhaps he would concider counseling. (I'm working on that myself, *sigh*.)
As for his other kids: will their mother be able to take them, at least part of the time, so you two can work on your relationship?
It sounds like you are shouldering too much right now, and getting no help from the person who should be your biggest supporter. You need to be a bit selfish, get to the dr, and get some help. My heart goes out to you!
Good luck!!
J.

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A.B.

answers from St. Louis on

Before you make any life-changing decisions (like leaving your fiance), you need to talk to someone. Go to you doctor and tell him how you feel. Anti-depressents can make a world of difference. They're so common now, your doctor should be able to write you a srip if you tell him how you're feeling. You really will feel so much better if you find a therapist or counselor to talk to. If you have insurance, call the 1-800 number on your card and ask them for someone in your area that's in your network. If you don't, look for the local mental health office. Maybe you can find a local church that does a 'mom's out' day for a small fee, and drop the kids off while you go to your appointment. Living essentially by yourself, away from your friends and family with all those kids will make anyone feel lonely and depressed. Taking the first step to find help and some meds that will regulate your mood might help you feel better to decide what you really want to do with your fiance.
Good luck!

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K.W.

answers from St. Louis on

I felt fine after I had my first child. After my second I never felt like myself. I always felt like I was clinching my teeth and walking around with my hands in fists. I thought it was just stress of having children 20 months apart. I went on this way for a year before I talked to my OB about it. I basically just told her I had not been myself since the biorth of my second child(She was also a very difficult baby colic ect...)She said that there was no reason for me to feel that way. We talked for about 30 min she told me stories of what she went through after her children and gave me a perscription for serafem and that has done the trick. I am back to normal it is like it totally took the edge off. You can't take on this feeling alone, just tell the dr. how you are feeling it is very common. You will be happy you did. I sure ws

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L.W.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi A.,
Reading your post makes me angry and sad...you are only 24 years old! He is totally taking advantage of you and unfortunately, from the sounds of it, he will continue to do so until you make him stop.
First things first though, please talk to your family doctor about depression, you may need to take some medication until things even out for you and your fiance. I am glad to hear you have not married him and I hope you will think long and hard and decide if this is how you want to spend your life. I was married to an alcoholic and I finally had it when he started yelling at our child. Crying results in him telling YOU to grow up. Interesting, he is the one acting like an 18 year old here, going out and pretending he has no obligations to the children he created.
I am not sure where you live. There is a wonderful depression group at my church near 270/Telegraph. I think they have free child care there too. If not I can help you with that maybe. I am near the church too.
the other thing you might consider is see if you can get a teenager to come help out even a few hours a week can be a huge help. Do the kids go to their mom's house or can she help out some?? I am online a lot and have been through the single parent, alcohol and divorce thing so if you ever want to talk either online on IM or email or call me that is fine. My email is treefroggy8 at yahoo. Another thing that might help is to get the kids involved in helping around the house more. Make it worth their while, give incentives, trips to the dollar store work even for tight budgets or special family time for games or staying up an hour later, those things get my kids' attention fast. They should be unloading the dishwasher, folding clothes, doing some laundry etc. This will help keep them involved and out of trouble and help them feel like they are contributing while giving you a break of sorts hopefully.
If you don't have a church home and it isn't too far you might consider Faith on Telegraph. It is www.faithlutheranstl.org. I changed churches because they have so many children's programs. Almost any time there is something going on for the parents, there is free child care and free children's activities. My kids love it and it is really my only break most weeks. It is a modern place more christian than anything else but I promise you it will be a welcoming experience and you won't want to leave!
I don't like to suggest leaving but I am also well aware of alcoholism and how even if it goes away
This is a great first step to post here to this group. I am sure you will get other supportive advice as well.
Good luck with it...
L.

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J.T.

answers from Killeen on

I have been were you are. I am 26 have 3 kids 3,4 and 6 and two step-daughters 9 and 12. The 12 year old moved out a year ago, because she acted out all the time. She wouldn't listen to me, I got blamed for everything and couldn't do anything right. Then she started picking on her younger brother and sisters and it got to the point were I was considering divorce. My husband is in the military so alot of the time I'm left dealing with all the kids and it can get to be very stressfull expecially when you don't have support of family and friends near by. I have just recently started seeing a counciler and it makes me feel better, because I can talk to someone with out feeling judged. It took me a while to get help. I had some doctor blow me off when I told them I was depressed and very irriatable. Just hang in there it can get better. I don't know what to say about your husband. My husband is very supportive of me. Maybe ya'll could go to a marriage counceler. I hoped this helped.

J. Traweek

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D.N.

answers from St. Louis on

Dear A.,
For someone so young, you sure have your hands full. No wonder you are depressed. I think you need to go to your obgyn and explain the problem. Then maybe he/she will refer you to either talk to your family doctor or a psychatrist. It also sounds like you could use some services to help with the kids here and there. A good counciler will realize this and be able to offer you options on what to do. In all honesty, I think 5 kids is way to much for one person to handle alone. It is sad that your boyfriend isn't more understanding. If you should need a friend, here is my email address. [email protected]____.com
Good Luck!
D.

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A.

answers from St. Louis on

A.,
I definitely think you should tell your doctor you're depressed (you probably need an antidepressant/antianxiety med), but I also think you should definitely leave your fiance. I know it's hard to call it quits, but he won't get better if you get married, and he'll probably only get worse. That's no good for you, and terrible for your children. You can start over and focus on yourself and your babies for awhile. You don't need another child (who should be a supportive adult partner) to care for. I haven't been in your shoes, but my sister has. She could tell you it only gets worse if you try to stay with him and it will only get worse for your children. There are people out there who will help you in the process (ask your doctor). You and your daughters deserve better, and he doesn't deserve you. Good luck!
-A.

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R.K.

answers from Rockford on

I can't imagine what you are going through. I have three kids 3 and under of my own and it's so hard on me now. I think you should talk to your doctor. I wouldn't be scared...they see it all the time. I haven't personally had an issue with it, however I am a VERY stressed out person. Sometimes I wonder if I could get something just for the feelings of being stressed out and overwhelmed. I really hope your husband wakes up and sees you need help with the kids. He needs to be responsible. I agree with what one of the other ladies said. Get some support and good help before making any big changes.

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S.R.

answers from Columbia on

Well first I would suggestr that you speak with your Dr. about post partum depression. There are some wonderful meds that can help you with this. Where is the Mom to the 12 & 8 year old? She needs to step in and take care of her kids when you need the help. As for the boyfriend if he isnt willing to help you and just won't understand that you need help then you need to leave him. Even if it is just till you can get the help to stop you from spending so much time crying alone. There are counselors that can help you and your kids. Good luck I know how stressful it can be when nobody will help. Once my Dr. and I talked and things got better I'm more able to handle things on a daily basis.

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B.B.

answers from St. Louis on

Healing you is the key here. I know that being under the amount of stress and emotion you feel it is not fair at all to make a judgement on changing your family situation. You know you currently have a problem and likely it is hormonal. It may sound crazy, but if you have a chiropractor locally that does acupuncture and understands chinese medicine/and herbs, then you should consider seeing them for your problem. You would be amazed at what they can do to turn this sort of thing around. When mom feels good, everyone feels good. Men are way different. God made them very very different. They are not emotional and most of them don't have a clue about emotions and why we feel the way we do. They haven't experienced themselves. Men barely notice when women get their hair fixed different unless it is so drastic that it is equivalent to smacking them across the head with a 2x4. It is stressful to be a mother and deal with the hormonal shift. Seriously, you would be amazed at the difference acupuncture can make. I just clicked your name and saw you were from central IL. American Acupuncture Medical Assn has 2 listings in central IL, not sure if these are close to you. However they may know someone who is closer to you.

Shrikant Mehta , MD, DABMA
Specialty: General Practice
1800 23rd Ave
Avon, IL 61415
Phone: ###-###-####
Fax: --
Website:

Harsha Mehta , MD, DABMA
Specialty: General Practice
575 N Kellog #2
Galesburg, IL 61401
Phone: ###-###-####
Fax: ###-###-####

Good luck, God Bless and hang in there!

B. :)

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A.L.

answers from Kansas City on

A.:

You have a lot on your plate!! Not only are you solely taking care of your own kids, you are also taking care of a child that is half your age (without dad's help!), while you fiance goes out and gets drunk! My first question is, why are you putting up with all of this nonsense?? Second, if you are depressed, get to a Doctor! It sounds like your "fiance" should not cross over to becoming your "husband" unless things majorly change! Take control of your life, and do what you need to do to keep yourself sane, and your children safe. Crying is a natural release, and there is nothing wrong with it. IT is time to make some real changes in your life, and take charge! Good luck.
A. L

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A.L.

answers from Oklahoma City on

I know how you feel, to a point. I don't have step-children, but I am "engaged" to an "unsupporter". I've learned to find happiness with my two kids. I have set rules for them, and make sure Dad knows they're non-negotionable. If he isn't around to see how they are acting or what makes them "tick", he has no right to judge how I do things.
My advice to you is find something that makes you happy. Whether it be with your kids, or not. Lay it straight to your fiance. Tell him BLUNTLY...I WILL have time for myself. He can go out and relax after work...SO CAN YOU! You're a full-time mom, that's the most challenge job ever taken on and certainly not a selfish one.
But also realize, when you do confront him, make sure you have a consequence if he isn't accepting. Explain to him you depressed and need an outlet. If he doesn't understand, tell him you don't feel like spending the rest of your life with someone who doesn't understand you or take you seriously.
I have talked with my kids' dad about this before and things are getting better. I had considered some kind of medication, but discovered I just needed some "me" time. Time to not be a mom. Mind you- not time to go crazy, but time to have an adult conversation or a hot bath, BY MYSELF! It's little things that add up to the big ones, and that works both ways. I've realized I have a lot more patience with myself, him, and both kids. When we go back on it...everyone's unhappy.
Overall, it seems like Dad needs to step up and be Daddy, not just a father.

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C.D.

answers from Peoria on

A.,
I know you are probably tired of reading all the responses by now but I just thought I'd chime in. I do think you should see a pyschologist and they can decide whether or not to send you to a psychiatrist for medicine. It sounds like a lot of it is situational but it will have some lasting effect in your mind. When you see a psychologist it gives you a chance to vent and let some one know how you are feeling.. they can also give you tips on how to deal with stressors. I'm on medicine for depression but I still have to work on dealing with outside stressors... right now I'm having some difficulty because I'm 23 months pregnant with twins and can't exercise like I like to. Exercise is my way to alleviate stress and to get some time to myself. My husband usually is okay with me going to go work out or run because... well first of all it gets and keeps me in shape, and he realizes I'm a lot happier when I have gone then when I haven't. (Sometimes he would say... "you didn't go work out did you?" just cause of the stressed look on my face). Maybe eventually with some help (not necessarily from you fiance (because hon he doesn't sound like he has grown up and is very self centered)but there are programs that can help with child care costs for just part days or what not so that you can do something for yourself. Please find something that makes you feel good about yourself and take the time to do it. If you don't take care of yourself, you can't take good care of your children. One last thought... do you want your kids to grow up learning that is okay to be treated by loved ones the way your fiance is treating you? If you think about it that way... (nec. to take of yourself and the future of your kids) you are not being selfish at all...actually quite selfless. Good luck... and I hope my babbling helps some.
C. D

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P.B.

answers from Peoria on

Hi A.,
It's called post-parnom depression which is normal after birth, but you need to consult your OBGYN for help. They have things for that

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J.L.

answers from Wichita on

You are in my prayers. Talk with a dr. and try to get on anti-depressant medication. My real mother and my step mom are both on medication due to the loss of my biological sister in an accident when she was only 19 1/2. It has worked wonders for them. I personally started a journal and if i find myself too stressed out then i take a piece of paper put everyone's name on it that i am angry at and then i take a baseball bat and beat the tar oout of the pillow. If ya need to talk to someone my e-mail address is [email protected]____.com

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M.R.

answers from Biloxi on

A.,
You have recieved some really great advice here, and I haven't even read it all. So first things first, yes you should see a doctor, because without professional help, the depression with get worse. I have been dealing with it for, well actually I guess it started about 9 or 10 years ago. I never showed it and my mom never took time to find out what was going on. Even if you hide it, some one will see it. It got much worse after I had my son. Tell your doctor everything that you have poured out here and if you left anything out, tell them that too. If you are having difficulty leaving because of courage, think of this, it will never get any better. Your fiance will never support you, he will never be there to help you with anything. He is using you and manipulating you into thinking it would be wrong to leave him. You don't want him talking to your little girls the way he talks to you. I know it's tough, but you need to work up the courage and leave him. If you ever need help or just an understanding ear that will listen feel free to email me. You will get through this and it will be okay.

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M.

answers from Wichita on

Hi A.,

From the information you've provided, it sounds as though you are in a very unhealthy relationship that could jeapordize not only your well-being but your children's. Based on what you've said, I would advise you to leave the situation or at least take a break from the current environment. Do you have family or close friends that you could go to? Please take care and let us know what you decide to do.

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K.H.

answers from Kansas City on

you explain what is going on very well in your question. you could edit it down a little bit (just talk about your feelings)and show it to your dr. or find a councler to read it. it might be easier to just let someone read about you feelings than to have to say them out loud.

Keep you head up! your not the first mom to feel this way and there is help out there! raising kids (expecialy step kids) can lead to hard and long days. You need to get help before things get more out of hand. feel free to write me if you need someone to talk to.

I was a step-kid and have a step-child of my own.I might be able to give you some advice.
-ber

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J.S.

answers from Springfield on

Start by making the situation more easy to deal with for you. You can't make everyone happy all the time, and you need some relief. Just be straight with your doctor, let him or her know how much stress you have to deal with, and ask for advice on how to deal, with or without medication. Don't let anyone talk you down from what you know you need. It's not the end of the worldif you are too overwhelmed to deal by yourself. At 24, you have a lot on your plate. Once you have a little help on your side, tell your fiancee that you want family counselling. This needs to include the 12 year old also. There is no way that you can keep up at this rate and not recieve cooperation back. You are in no way being selfish. I had an alcoholic father, and you are doing the very best thing for your kids by protecting them from that. Don't feel pressured to stay in a relationship like that if he won't change. He has 5 kids, he needs to realize that he has passed the frat-boy stage a long time ago. Don't let him control you, because if he is adamant aboutnot changing, and allowing you to raise all the kids in his absense with no fault to himself, he is going to quickly realize that he can control you way too much. By asking him to be a good parent and partner, you are not asking too much of him. Think of your kids and yourself first. Be strong for them and for yourself, or you won't have much sanity left to run off of. I hope things work out for the best for you and your kids, and please let us know how things go for you.

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M.

answers from St. Louis on

A.,
This might sound mean, but I don't want you to take it that way. Everyone else told you to definately see a doctor. I think you are depressed because of the situation you are in. Get out! I am advising you to take your 3 girls and get out of that situation while they are still young and before you make the mistake and get married to that nonsupportive fiance who doesn't care about your emotions and doesn't even come home 2-3 nights out of the week because he is partying. Who knows what else he does besides just getting drunk. I am very sorry I have to sound mean, I care about how you feel, that is why I responded.
M.

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S.T.

answers from Springfield on

A.,
Sounds like you need some help all the way around. A nanny perhaps.....just kidding. You have so much on your plate, you could put any name on it, depression, stress, anger, you name it but you need help for it. I was in this same situation once with only one child and it was too much so you are awesome to try it with 5. Anyway my ex-husband was a drinker too, so i found alanon (AA for the friends and family). Find a group start going and you will learn so much. No one deserves to deal with all this, especially at 24. He is selfish, and you need to be selfish also when it comes to your kids. Take in to real consideration what you want them to see and eventually learn. Is this it? If not, get help and honestly get out! In my opinion the kids are always better off with one awesome parent instead of one that's stressed and unhappy and one that just plain sucks. As for the 12 and 8 year old......not to sound bad, but really MAKE THEM HIS PROBLEM. They are not your kids and he will either deal with them or not. I know all these things can be hard so all i can say is good luck and it will get better you just have to start making choices.

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J.G.

answers from Champaign on

A.,

I'm probably going to sound like a broken record, but please go see your doctor. You're not a failure. You're not a bad mom. As a matter of fact, it will make you a better mom. I promise, I'm going through something very similar. I have a three year old, one year old, and we're having another one in three months. I've been on Zoloft since my son was born three years ago and it has changed my life. That is your first priority because you need to take care of your kids mom. Especially if the "man" in their life is failing to do so.

Deal with this part first, then you can have a better perspective on what is actually going on with your fiance. However, I would absolutely not get married until you get this taken care of. Because when you get married, it is not going to get any better. You can't change him and you have to look out for yourself and your children. Definitely take care of yourself and I'll keep you in my prayers, I know it's hard. But you can do it.

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R.P.

answers from Peoria on

A., I remember oh so well what it feels like to be depressed. It got so bad that my anxiety kept me from leaving the house. It was a very scarry time for me. My kids were in school sports and I was scared to death to leave the house to go support them. I did make it to a few games, cried my eyes out the whole time in the bleachers, which worried my kids and they didn't play so well cause they were worried about me. It was then I realized that I had to go see a doctor if not for myself, for my kids. My kids were my rock at that time in my life. I wanted to be better for them. Funny thing is, once I went on my medication, I slowly felt I had more control over my life, my emotions, and my thoughts. I gradually got better over the course of 6 months that I was able to then change my situation that put me in the depression in the first place. So I guess what I am trying to say, seeing a doctor is a good place to start. Then, you need to change the situation you are in once you have the strength. I think he is using you and has no respect for you and it is showing through his kids too. God didn't put us on this earth to be misserable. He wants us to be joyful in all we do. I will pray for you A. M, and know this, you do have friends, you just haven't met them yet. Smile, this too will pass and you will have grown from it into a stronger woman and mother. God Bless you and your children. [email protected]____.com

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R.U.

answers from Oklahoma City on

You can go to the ER and get treatment and/or referrals.

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J.N.

answers from Kansas City on

Oh Honey,
Of course you're feeling stressed! Your 24 and taking care of 5 kids-two of whom don't like you. Plus it sounds like you think you're about to spend the rest of your life with someone who doesn't give two flying F's how you feel. I think that if you want to go to a Dr., fine, but why don't you try to change your situation, which is causing you to feel the way you do, before medicating yourself just so you can deal with it, though I don't know if medicating yourself would be considered "dealing" with it. Myadvice to you: Get out of that house, tell your fiance to "grow up and stop being selfish" and to find someone else to take care of his two kids while he goes out and gets tanked and does whatever else he does, then get your own job and start making some freinds. I bet after you eliminate those negative aspects in your life and add some positive ones you won't have so many negative feelings!
I've been through depression before and I was on medication. The medication just made me comatose so I really didn't have enough energy to care one way or another what was going on around me. Once I took myself off of it. I took an objective look at my life and realized my feelings were for a reason, and it wasn't because I needed to grow up and stop being selfish! I needed to make some changes. So I did, and I won't say that I don't go through phases but I'm not living an unhappy life either. Good luck girl. You can email if you need someone to talk to. [email protected]____.com

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