Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Confronting Question

Do you want to go on anti-depressants or would you like to see a counsellor?

December was a really tough month for me.  There have been times in the past 10 months or so that I've really felt like i haven't been able to cope, but December found me faced with severe anxiety, moodiness and anger.  This was not normal for me, I needed some help.

But this question?  I wasn't prepared for this question.  I'm just a frazzled mother with three children four and under.  I've got a lot on my plate and I need a few coping mechanisms.  Tell me to take 10 breaths, walk away, have a massage, whatever, but this question??  What the??

Six weeks and three counselling sessions later, the layers are peeling and I've come to many realisations.  Just a frazzled mother I am not.  A frazzled mother with internal pressures and whose ideals were so far from reality is closer to the mark.

You see, since the beginning of my adult life, I've had a clear picture of how I want my life to look.  With the exception of a career focus, (which has been put on hold as I have my children at home with me) mostly everything else is just how I pictured it.  My marriage, three children, even the house and our new town.  But what is missing from this picture (deluded picture I may add) is that being at home would be blissfully happy all of the time and that I could always be a calm and in control mother.  SNORT!!  The reality is so far from that.  It's like I entered this new world of parenthood with a map that I knew inside out and back to front.  But hold on, this place doesn't look like my map.  They don't even speak the same language here!

As parents we try to do what is right for our own families, we create our own family values, and to me it's important to live by them.  All I'm doing is trying live by my own family values, not anyone else's.  What I do for my family is purely so I can live by and up to my own values.  I'm not doing things for my family to make out that I am better than anyone else, or to prove something.  I'm doing these things because this is how I want my children to be raised, and this is the family life I want for us. 

Subconsciously, I was putting so much pressure on myself to be the happy, controlled mother that I had pictured myself being.  I was failing at living up to this ideal and I wasn't coping with the reality.  I was moody, angry, anxious, and worst of all, these negative emotions and energies were rippling out to the rest of my family.  Behaviours were being mirrored, and I was looking at a fast moving downward spiral.  Right now, I'm so grateful that I had the strength to ask for help.

All this pressure.  On myself!  And now that I realise where this is coming from I can let go a little.  I now know that I am responsible for the way I've been feeling, and therefore I can change it.  I've acknowledged that reality is not how I imagined it to be, and that's OK.  I'm learning to embrace this life of being a mother to three young children; the day to day mundane, but more importantly the small snippets of pure joy that make it worthwhile.

These are the moments of joy that I live for:

I've got a long way to go, the layers are still peeling and there is more to work through, but these realisations, in their very simplest form, have already had such a powerful impact.  I'll continue to strive to live by my family values, but know that it's OK to not love every single moment.  The pressure, the weight, has been lifted, and that makes me feel good.

So, what's been making you feel good lately?


  1. It makes me so angry that a GP just offered antidepressants! My belief is that only psychologists and psychiatrists should be able to offer these..not someone who has seen you for 5 minutes in a busy Drs surgery.

    I'm so proud of you for having the courage to ask for help. It's certainly a hard thing to do for anyone, and it's most definitely a move in the right direction.

    From what I saw last week, I hope I can be half the mother to Isla that you are to your 3 children. What an amazing person you are! Don't beat yourself're doing a fantastic job.

    Lots of love,
    Your Mel xoxoxoxoxo

    1. Thanks Mel! Isla has THE BEST Mummy and Daddy!! xoxo

  2. mils, i know most people think drugs are a last resort - i was one of them, but in fact even the littlest dose can lift the fog from your eyes. all i'm saying is you can hear and think better to make the most of all the therapy if you have a bit of pharma help. it can be amazing the difference. then you can come off. no biggy.

    the thing about children is it makes you slow down - even if you feel like you are speeding. because you are never again on your own timetable, you dont get to choose what you do and when to avoid all the stuff in our heads. having children makes us engage in activities that confront. i am tipping there are several mums who have had to consciously embrace the 'this is it, as good as it gets' rather than fighting it. and maybe it is just me.

    don't play down the frazzled sleep deprivation. that part is real. i was told i had a brain tumour with my symptoms and went to specialist for differential diagnosis (yes peeps think House) and concluded i am severely sleep deprived (7 years straight of uninterrupted breastfeeding will do it). but when asked to identify what i would give up, there was nothing. each bit i take on supports me doing well in the other spheres. give up PhD - no way! the only thing i find easy and me time. give up the children...well...before you call 1300DOCS thats off the table too. gym. well yeah can give that up! cleaning. ok thats on the delete list too. but really they are important too. and all of these things together make me a better happier mama, interesting partner to bf, and feel like i have a place in the world. self-absorbed, maybe a little.

    muz (3yo) rang me today at work crying because i had left the house before she woke up and i had said i would put nail polish on her nails with her. i'll do it tonight but am staying at work guilt though, i'll do my very best. it is ok for my children to experience disappointment and loss. isn't it mills? ask at therapy....


  3. Just a thought.... you are exactly where you are supposed to be, with pleasure comes pain and your spiritual being is growing from this human experience. You're perfect.

    By the way, Ruby looks so much like you in the picture with her hair all flying out.

    Love you dearly xx

  4. Mili.. You're a brave and wonderful person and Mum. You never really believe people when they say being a parent is the hardest job in the world.... But it sure is!
    Good on you for asking for help my dear friend.
    love ya loads, hugs coming your way xxxx V

  5. Gosh.

    These were my first 6 months with my son.

    Actually, I could have written this post.

    The anger. The anxiety.

    The realisation that ideals didn't match up to realities

    But you're amazing ... I hope you know that. And I hope your husband tells you that every day!

    Lots of love xx

  6. I think its awesome that you reconised something was amiss, asking for help is always confronting, are they going to tell me Im unfit to be a mother?
    When I was pregnant with the twin monsters I was having painic attacks everytime I went to the hosptial because of what happened when I was pregnant with Helena (she was still born). I logically I knew this was not the same pregnancy but your mind is a strange place. I knew that I had to ask for help and Im so grateful that the queensland gov has such awesome mental health stuff for people, through that I have met an amazing bunch of mums who have all had some sort of 'issues'. We chat all the time about ourselves, the children sometimes, but its so reassuring to know that all the crazy stuff we think is quite normal.
    Its such a shame we put so much pressure on ourselves, its a hard lesson to learn this enjoying the moments and slowing down.
    I think the best thing I can give my children is my time. So when the house looks like a bomb has hit, dishes a packed up, washing needs folding and Dad will be home soon, I lay on the ground and let them crawl, jump, squeal and enjoy this time.
    Im so grateful for them (not so much when they dont sleep but thats another story) they'll be teenagers soon and wont want a bar of us.

    So great that we can talk about everything that is happening, makes us stronger Mums.

    Love love, Mel

  7. Big hugs to you Milina for being so very honest and sharing all of this with us. With our kids very similar ages, I totally understand the pressure. There is so little time for YOU and sometimes it feels like you are on a rollercoaster than just won't stop, allowing the pressure to mount. I am happy that you have been given the helping hand you need, and you should be so proud of yourself for asking for help. So many women are too proud to ask and the result can be so very different. I have no doubt you are a wonderful mother to your three beautiful little ones. x

  8. great post! I love your honesty and the beautiful reminders of why we do this. I can understand your feelings of pressure, and I am glad that you have taken the counselling route, I hope this helps you to find greater satisfaction in the wonderful job you are doing x


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I really do love hearing from you. x