Depression and Doing the Right Thing?

Updated on February 04, 2013
E.S. asks from Austin, TX
18 answers

Hi mommas,
This week I chose to finally treat my depression. After years of denial, it is time as my entire family was starting to feel it with me. During this time, I chose for my darling 5 year old son to go live with his dad full time. I chose this because mine and my sons relationship started to suffer and I feel that I will be the mother he needs once I am well. Meanwhile he will live with his dad in a stable and loving environment. His dad and I communicate on a regular basis and I will see my son several times a week. My son is in play therapy and I am in my own therapy at this time. In my heart I know this is what's best for my son, but I am struggling with guilt. Looking for advice, kind words, encouragement, and your opinions. Thank you for listening!

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answers from Beaumont on

It'll be okay. You're getting the help you need which will make you better able to parent. You did the right thing and I applaud you.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Rockford on

You are so courageous! While this had to be the hardest decision you have ever made, it is also the best one! Your son will love you more for taking care of yourself and then being able to be the mom he deserves to have and the person you want to be!

Don't feel guilty! This is temporary, and like you said, you see him regularly!!!! You're going to be ok! Stay strong!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

ES - you are showing a level of awesome self awareness, and of love for your kiddo that is amazing. Your love for your boy and putting his well being first, and your ability to SEE what the depression was doing and DO what you need to do to get better is very deserving of hugs and kudos. It's great that his dad is working with you to make this work for all of you, and though your son is young, he will know that you loved him so much that you took care of both of you. HUGE hugs to you!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i am so sorry you are struggling with that awful monster.
and so, so glad you're putting your son first, even though it's got to be heartbreaking for you.
what strong person you are, even with depression chewing you ragged.
i think you're amazing.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Charleston on

I just want to hug you! You are doing THE most important thing by taking care of you first! You are so powerful to be able to verbalize that you realize you cannot be the mother your son needs when you are in this stage of depression. You are showing your son, and his father that you are STRONG, by choosing to seek help. That is not a sign of weakness. I admire your strength, and pray that you will be on the upswing very soon! Please try not to feel guilty. It's such a woman, mother thing to have constant guilt, but you are making the right decision for you, your son, and your relationship!

My sister in law is in a very similar situation, however she has not realized that she cannot be a good mom, wife or nurse right now and continues to "pretend" all is ok. I pray for her daily to realize that she is human, weak, and needs more help than she is currently getting. She is hurting her girls in this process, and it is killing me to see this happen. Any insight you could give me on how to talk to her about this without hurting her, please let me know! Please keep us mamas posted about how you are doing. Hugs and prayers to you!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Try and look at it this way.. by getting help for yourself, you are learning to become what I say to say, "A more "apparent parent"... Consider this, your son could still be living with you, but don't think for a moment that kids don't pick up on their parents/caregivers having the blues. In turn, I think at some point, kids may internalize this and blame themselves. You , however took action and removed your child from the environment, not because you do not love him but rather because you do... When those feelings of guilt slip in, try and remind yourself of the bigger picture.. Does your getting better mean your son will eventually come back and live with you, does it mean that he'll be happier in the long run.. Consider what the big picture is for you and your son... then try and replace that guilt with the positivity of the bigger picture..
Also, some might believe (including yourself) that if you don't feel guilty about the situation, then you do not care..... not true... it's because you care that you are trying to do what is best..
When you do feel guilty, allow that guilt to propel you into something positive... but don't linger in the guilt.. if anything, guilt is not good for you or your son. Also, there is a big difference between someone who committed a crime and who should feel guilty versus someone who is doing something out of love for their child... if you can see the difference where guilt is concerned, you ll understand better that you are no criminal and it's not criminal to want the best for your son..

good luck

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

E.S. I can't tell you how much I admire you for taking this step! I'm going to share a success story with the hope that it shows you how good things can get for you. A good friend of mine has a history of anxiety and depression going back back many, many years that she was able to keep under control until she got pregnant. Once she was pregnant, things started to feel off for her and she had severe, severe, PPD that started about 6 months after her son was born. Her life spiraled out of control - her presecription meds were triggering suicide attempts and she was self-medicating with alcohol, pills, street drugs. She had a failed marriage, lost her job, damaged her career, and most of all, her relationship with her son was at tremendous risk.

I am happy to say that she found an intensive program that literally saved her life. It was a month-long day program (all day at the clinic with nights at home) followed by intensive therapy and support groups that she attended daily, sometimes several times a day. To do this, she had to give up custody of her son and go on disability. She filed for bankruptcy and basically said "I have nothing and I'm starting over." During this time, she was able to get the intensive mental health treatment that she needed and she also used this time to focus on everything else - diet, exercise, spirituality, re-building relationships, dealing with her ex, being a better parent etc.

At the end of a year, she was a new woman. She got back shared custody of her son, got her own apartment, and took baby steps back into work, dating, etc. It's been 6 years since she hit her bottom and to see her now, you'd never know that there was a problem. She has the right medication and a good therapist, a great career that is focused on health and wellness, is in phenomenal shape, is involved in her church and leads the homeless ministry there, is in a solid relationship, has a healthy relationship with her ex and most importantly, is a wonderful mother to her son and has the energy, time, and good health to be the best mom she can be and enjoy every minute with him.

My friend would never have been able to get herself well if she tried to do it AND care for her son. What she did was the best thing for her and for her son. There is a good chance that my friend wouldn't be alive without taking that dramatic step. Hopefully your illness is not as severe and that your road back to wellness won't be as steep or as long. It takes an awful lot of courage to and sacrifice to take the step that you did. I truly, truly, wish you the best as you move forward with getting yourself well.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Great job, Mom! You made a very unselfish decision.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Life Coach Martha Beck once said: "We don't teach our children how to love themselves by how we love them. We teach them to love themselves by how we love ourselves." Good job mama in showing your son what self-love, as well as parent-love, really looks like.\

I also want to let you know that you can cure depression. I did. I spent a good deal of my life severely, clinically depressed. I no longer am. You can do this. I send you support and love in your journey.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Good for you for getting treatment for your illness. You may have to fight through this, but you are on the right path. It is very hard, but you can do it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

As a mother of young children (ages 4 and 6) who has suffered (suffers) from depression ... I totally understand where you are coming from. I applaud your decision to do what is best for you and your son. Of course you feel some guilt, that's normal. But in the long run you are doing what's best for everyone. I am so glad that you can work this with your son's dad, and that you and and your son are getting counseling. Dealing with depression is really difficult ... I am so proud of you! Sending you much much love!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I am so happy for your son that he has such a loving mother. It can't be easy sending him to live with his dad full-time but please get rid of the guilt as you are doing a selfless act by doing so. Like you said, you will see him several times/week so it's not like you are abandoning him. I grew up with a mentally ill mother and i wish that she had taken teh steps that you are taking now. I truly applaud you for your bravery. With the proper treatment, you WILL get better and you and your family will be better off b/c of this time you took. Best of luck in your recovery.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Good for you and the decisions you have made. You have accomplished a lot and for the benefit of both you and your child.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Naples on

I think you made an awesome decision and it is so brave and selfless of you. As I read your post I thought immediatly of my stepson. He is the same situation and I have watched him go from a happy go lucky kid to an angry depressed child himself. His mother has come to the same realizations as you. She is still in the phase of blaming everyone else around her.

So congratulations on making a selfless decision to better your son's life and yours.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hugs to you! You should be commended for doing the right thing for your child and looking past your own needs and wants to do what is best for him. Good for you! Hang in there and give yourself time to breath and grieve this loss. Time and therapy will get better and God willing, you will be living together again when the time is right. Don't beat yourself up about it~

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Yes! What Patricia said!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Odessa on

Taking care of you is one of the most loving things that you can do. It would have been very easy to pretend all was well and let your son's wellbeing and your relationship with him be a casualty of the masquerade. Feel better soon and know that you are not alone. I believe you're quite courageous.



answers from San Francisco on

Oh..I wish I could reach out and give you a hug..M. to M.. My heart aches for you. Only a M. could understand the pain you must feel letting your son go..well..I can't fully understand but I am imagining it and it would be utter torture. I have a 6 year old son...I can't fully imagine the pain..and guilt.

It is wonderful that your son's father has created a stable and loving environment. Your son should thrive well there..and with play therapy.

Now focus on yourself getting healthy so you can be the mother your son needs and deserves.

Don't let this decision spiral you into a deeper depression. You will feel guilt..that is a normal. We need guilt to turn our hearts to make better choices. But don't focus on the guilt and dwell in it. This is a temporary are going to get better..and going to spend healthier days ahead with your beautiful boy. Focus on the future and what a healthy relationship would look like with your son...and make it happen.

Good luck and best wishes! I pray that find the strength within yourself to make this happen...many are rooting for you!!

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