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When life knocks you down, stay there, be unhappy...or (trigger)


angelica
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Since becoming a mom life has been crazy but these last couple months have been the worst! I started seeing a therapist because my son revealed that step grandpa touched his penis years ago. Having him talk to the doctor and then a psychiatrist made my heart break but he was so brave. After a couple sessions he was released but I continued going and had my last appointment yesterday. I should continue going but it's $$ and making me increasingly unhappy. 

 

In talking I've come to feel totally hopeless and confused about life. I did not plan on getting married and having a child so young (22). We got tons of pressure to marry but we didn't feel that was necessary.  A decade later we have two kids and we are still not married.  He formally proposed in 2010 but we had a baby in 2011 instead. If we were married we'd be contemplating a divorce, instead we're talking about separating, because I am unhappy.

 

We started dating at age 16 and moved away for our last 2 years of college together. Before I knew it I was walking the aisle to get my degree 6 months pregnant. After a year of working ft and sending my son to daycare, I quit and it's now been 8 years since my last paycheck. I sell on ebay sometimes but with life and kids it's been too hard. 

 

Is it okay to be unhappy? The therapist basically told me no, there's no point, just choose to be happy, and take a pill. I

 

I should be happy that I created a family with my hs sweetie and that I have been able to be home with them.

 

I should be happy that last night he bought a pop up trailer so we can go on a week long road trip before school starts.

 

I should be happy that I can run for 40 minutes, then go to yoga class and be one of the few that can do a headstand.

 

I should be happy because my 5 year old who was diagnosed with a speech delay at 2 qualified for free preschool and now talks non stop.

 

I should be happy that I got a $500 check from school district because I chose to drive son to prek instead of sending him on the bus.

 

I should be happy that I totaled my car last Oct by rear ending someone on the freeway exit and nobody was hurt.

 

I should be happy that I can still drive that car, despite it now having a salvage title, because my dh was able to fix it, leaving us with a nice chunk of money to deposit in the bank.

 

I should be happy that when school starts I will only have 1 drop off and pick up and 25 hours during the week to do what I need/want to do where nobody says mommy every other word.

 

I should be happy that my mil now knows what her husband did to my son and that we will never have to see him again. 

 

I should be happy that my children are alive and happy when so many people struggle to have kids or have kids with many heath problems. 

 

I should be happy about so many things, but I am not. I am grateful for most, but not "happy".

 

I need to find a way to simply be happy. I'm feeling like I'm stuck in a zone of negativity and apathy. My man is away from the home from 630-630 and when he comes home I am burned out from the boys and he's exhausted from work. Please shed some light ladise!

Edited by angelica
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This may not help but I am aiming for contentment, not necessarily happiness. I'm not even sure what happiness is. Of course I wouldn't mind being happy, just not sure it is achievable for me right now. My personal beliefs are that this life is not all there is, so I have hopes for happiness in eternity. I am really trying to focus on the simple things that can bring simple joys, even moments of joy, and not necessarily expecting to feel 'up' for most of the day. It may be my age that is making me feel this way, I'm 52. I did have higher expectations of happiness when I was younger.

 

I'm sorry life is difficult for you right now. I hope you can find your way to feeling better. I don't always find counselors helpful either, although I have found some help from them. I tend to go for a while, and then when I feel like I am going round and round the same thing without getting anywhere new I quit for a while, and maybe start up again when I feel I have moved on somewhat and can approach things from a slightly different place.

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:

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I think it's huge that you were able to make the list you just did. You are not a dysfunctional jerk who thinks life owes you happiness every second, you see a bigger picture.

 

But guess what??? You have emotions. You are a human being and you deserve emotions. There are hard seasons of life and you deserve to feel sad for things you didn't have. Grieve a little, but try to enjoy the kiddos while they are little. Try to love your guy who wants to take you camping.

 

Try to find joy in the little things, but don't feel bad if you don't for a while. You had a really big paradigm shift. That was hard. If this goes on so long that your feel desperate, fine get some medication. But there is no crime in feeling a sad about not having the life you wanted. The crime would be if it steals the life you have now. I don't see that in your post. You do see plenty of good things about now, you are just sad right now.

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It sounds like taking care of the children and all the demands that come with family are draining you. Do you have no breaks at all from kids right now? Do you ever get away with your boyfriend so you can reconnect and relax together?

I am personally not in favor of "just taking a pill" unless your serotonin levels are seriously depleted but sometimes you have to start there so can pull yourself up far enough to see some light and respond to some of the therapist's suggestions. Have issues of resentment and anger been explored? If you think the therapist is not that helpful, would you consider seeing someone else?

 

PS: I don't expect you to answer any of my probing questions here; I just threw them out there so you can think about it.  :grouphug:

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You can be happy about all those things and still sad/exhausted about other things. That's normal.  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

If you're needing permission to be tetchy as blazes about stuff, you have mine. Positive thinking comes via tetchiness for some of us. (Like me. Heh.)

 

Do you have any decent, fenced playgrounds nearby? Then the kids can go run around while you sit on a park bench and possibly read junky novels.

 

I also vote you buy some ice cream for you and dh to share once the kids have gone to bed. You could have a giggle over that at least.

 

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Honestly. You are probably depressed. Not because of your situation, but because of brain chemistry. I was also depressed, and not happy, even though I have tons of reasons to be happy, and no reason to be depressed.

 

But depression runs in my family, it's genetic. My brain chemistry was screwed up. I got a pill and I feel way better now.

This and wow do I regret not doing it earlier. I would have enjoyed my older ones younger days so much more instead of finding it such s huge struggle.
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You might try giving The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius a look. While his ideas have their drawbacks, they served people well in the era before psychiatry, and used to be a core part of a classical education. The book is a little disjointed -- it was basically his diary during a stressful period of his life. I think it gives the writing a nice human touch.

Edited by Anacharsis
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You might see if you can find a copy of The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale.  I just came across it again after reading it as a teenager and young adult, and I'm glad to have gone through it again last week.  It helped change my negative thinking patterns.  That led to me working out in the yard and taking my dog out for walks.  That led to me sleeping better at night, which led to me feeling more alert and cheerful during the day. 

 

Of course, the sun may be helping me produce more vitamin D, too.  FYI, supplemental Vitamin D can be very helpful for depression.  As others have mentioned, there are also prescriptions that treat it, but Vit. D helps many people.  I've read that D3 is supposed to be absorbed more easily than D2.

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Liz CA, on 17 Jun 2016 - 6:55 PM, said:

It sounds like taking care of the children and all the demands that come with family are draining you. Do you have no breaks at all from kids right now? Do you ever get away with your boyfriend so you can reconnect and relax together?

I am personally not in favor of "just taking a pill" unless your serotonin levels are seriously depleted but sometimes you have to start there so can pull yourself up far enough to see some light and respond to some of the therapist's suggestions. Have issues of resentment and anger been explored? If you think the therapist is not that helpful, would you consider seeing someone else?

 

PS: I don't expect you to answer any of my probing questions here; I just threw them out there so you can think about it.    :grouphug:

 

My grandma warned me about cohabitation and said boys buy the cow if you give them free milk. I laughed back then but it makes more sense now. By time he proposed, our son was 2 and we knew that we wanted another boy asap so they'd be close in age. So he's technically my fiancé, not boyfriend. A part of me feels like what I need to feel happy is to be married. I know I'm wrong though, I don't need his last name and a trip down to the court house to be happy. It's just one of those things I think would make me happy, but before any of that could happen I would first actually have to be and feel happy.

 

I really should be grateful but it's not easy to just snap out of it and put on a happy face. I'm going to work on myself by myself until I get medical insurance again. He was going to try adding me when he got this new job but I told him not to because that's illegal. I haven't even been for a womans check up since 2012. The fact that they all have insurance now but not me makes me feel unworthy too. 

 

I'll make getting insurance a priority because I am important too. Time to swallow pride and apply for government medical insurance. The fact that I haven't eaten since yesterday morning and that I am not even hungry makes me realize that I am not okay. 

Edited by angelica
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Medication would probably help. I was on Zoloft at one point. It is an inexpensive Rx.

 

You said you think you would be happy if you got married, but I disagree. You just gave a long list of things that "should" make you happy but don't. What makes you think, if married, it wouldn't be one more list item that "should" make you happy but didn't?

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Many hugs. Parenting young children is just plain draining. Especially so if you are an introvert and get inadequate down time, or are an extrovert and get inadequate social time.

 

May I suggest something? Replace each "I should be happy that" with "I am grateful that" and try it on for size.

 

While you are checking out books, consider reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

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You said you think you would be happy if you got married, but I disagree. You just gave a long list of things that "should" make you happy but don't. What makes you think, if married, it wouldn't be one more list item that "should" make you happy but didn't?

 

That wish sounds like a request for validation, no?

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In one of my psychology courses during my 1st undergrad, we read research on whether unhappily married people are happier if they divorce vs. stay together. As a group, the overwhelming majority of the ones who divorced still were unhappy 5 years later while the overwhelming majority of the ones who worked through their issues reported now being happily married 5 years later. I think the same would apply for LT cohabiting couples & splitting up vs. staying together.

 

While there are certainly "dealbreakers" in a marriage/LT relationship (abuse, abandonment, adultery/cheating, substance abuse, etc,) you haven't mentioned any of them. So my vote is to dump your current therapist and seek out couple's counseling with someone who sees divorce/breaking up as a no-go except in the event of serious "dealbreakers".

 

I've been married 18 years and while we are happy now, we've gone through some rough patches over the years. I am very glad that we stayed committed to each other and to working through our differences. Love is an action, not just a feeling.

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Many hugs. Parenting young children is just plain draining. Especially so if you are an introvert and get inadequate down time, or are an extrovert and get inadequate social time.

 

May I suggest something? Replace each "I should be happy that" with "I am grateful that" and try it on for size.

 

While you are checking out books, consider reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

 

I read that book during the earliest of parenting years and enjoyed it. I will try gratitude on for size.

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In one of my psychology courses during my 1st undergrad, we read research on whether unhappily married people are happier if they divorce vs. stay together. As a group, the overwhelming majority of the ones who divorced still were unhappy 5 years later while the overwhelming majority of the ones who worked through their issues reported now being happily married 5 years later. I think the same would apply for LT cohabiting couples & splitting up vs. staying together.

 

While there are certainly "dealbreakers" in a marriage/LT relationship (abuse, abandonment, adultery/cheating, substance abuse, etc,) you haven't mentioned any of them. So my vote is to dump your current therapist and seek out couple's counseling with someone who sees divorce/breaking up as a no-go except in the event of serious "dealbreakers".

 

I've been married 18 years and while we are happy now, we've gone through some rough patches over the years. I am very glad that we stayed committed to each other and to working through our differences. Love is an action, not just a feeling.

 

Interesting study. I wish I knew what life would be like in 5 years for us. I can't talk to him without crying or raising my voice and getting upset that he doesn't seem to understand how hard life is for me. Couples counseling would probably help tame that. He thinks just because I don't have a paying job that I don't have any problems to deal with like he does at work.

 

He can spend a day with the kids, like he is today but they will not act the same for him and he's not burned out from being around them because he works 60 hours a week so his role is different. My job is my kids and I can't go find a new one every 2 years like he has. Each year things have gotten easier, but harder, and more complex. Meanwhile, each year as they are growing and changing, so am I, so are we, individually and as a family, it's a trip. 

 

I've been through a lot in my life and he's been the only one who knows it all. Pain lives in me daily and manifests in crying spells and try as I might I can't get some stuff out of my head. I'm the deal breaker in this relationship despite none of the above happening. I'm just negative I'm told and never happy with anything. 

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I really should be grateful but it's not easy to just snap out of it and put on a happy face. I'm going to work on myself by myself until I get medical insurance again. He was going to try adding me when he got this new job but I told him not to because that's illegal. I haven't even been for a womans check up since 2012. The fact that they all have insurance now but not me makes me feel unworthy too. 

 

Why is it illegal? I thought most states fully recognize common law relationships? In my country you're effectively married & entitled to all benefits. 

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Interesting study. I wish I knew what life would be like in 5 years for us. I can't talk to him without crying or raising my voice and getting upset that he doesn't seem to understand how hard life is for me. Couples counseling would probably help tame that. He thinks just because I don't have a paying job that I don't have any problems to deal with like he does at work.

 

He can spend a day with the kids, like he is today but they will not act the same for him and he's not burned out from being around them because he works 60 hours a week so his role is different. My job is my kids and I can't go find a new one every 2 years like he has. Each year things have gotten easier, but harder, and more complex. Meanwhile, each year as they are growing and changing, so am I, so are we, individually and as a family, it's a trip. 

 

I've been through a lot in my life and he's been the only one who knows it all. Pain lives in me daily and manifests in crying spells and try as I might I can't get some stuff out of my head. I'm the deal breaker in this relationship despite none of the above happening. I'm just negative I'm told and never happy with anything. 

 

The things you said here are very, very demoralizing, and are things that would make many people not only unhappy but resentful.

 

This is where I was just a couple of years ago--demoralized, unappreciated (in ways that mean something TO ME), and un-validated. Some of the reasons you listed were happening here (though my DH didn't comprehend at all that the kids were different with him, and that in our case, it was not a good dynamic), and almost all the things you listed are similar to something that was going on here. It's coming together better, but I had to be able to be brutally honest and get it all out once I saw what was causing it--I had the feelings first, and then I could see later where they were coming from (we had a lot of disaster-scenario situations that had to be dealt with fogging up the windows on that insight). Then the therapist could help us (family counseling). It still took some time for the counselor to see all the nooks and crannies and let all the big issues emerge as a pattern from the little things going on, but we're getting there. 

 

I am very glad I didn't split a few years ago, BUT if things hadn't changed, I would have. I got married for better or for worse, and divorce is not a universally okay option in my belief system (and community of like-minded folks), but I just couldn't take much more. We had a lot of big things going on, and I needed a partner, not someone who did his thing while I did my thing. That left too many things not getting done well or not getting done at all. I was ready to leave but didn't feel like I had a better option, which was really difficult.

 

SN kids and the ferocity with which ADHD has consumed our family made the dynamic negative enough that normal things people go through became untenable. Getting that worked on has helped dramatically as well. We had to be able to figure out how my DH could shoulder some of the load when he doesn't come with a typical set of skills for planning, etc. Both of us had to be honest about (and actually identify) strengths and weaknesses before we could make a realistic plan.

 

It sounds to me like you've been told you are the weakest link--your fiance is minimizing your problems even when you tell him they exist (for example, "The kids behave differently for you, and your role is different with them" apparently gets dismissed). That's a huge problem--even if you don't both agree about how that reality should play out, it should be accepted as valid because you are the one with the kids. It sounds like a convenient thing to say when the real problem has not been identified and defined as a family thing vs. just being you. You should both feel valued and important, and if he is making your role seem unimportant, then that doesn't lead to teamwork or a sense of being in this thing together.

 

Little things often make me happy that seem insignificant. Other things that *should* make me happy are nice, but they don't necessarily give me that boost I need to go from "hey, I am glad I don't have to worry about that" to "that's awesome." It's kind of a hierarchy of happiness vs. ingratitude. I can be really, really grateful for something big and significant without it making me happy. I can be totally happy about something someone else would thing is stupid, and it carries me for a good long time. It's okay to simply be grateful for good things while acknowledging that the gratitude list just isn't doing it for you because you need something different to feel happy (not necessarily more, just different).

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I think the brain can get in a rut and not know how to get out.

I would have blood work done, checking all the hormones, D3, etc.

I would make sure my diet is optimal since brain health is linked to gut flora.

If all blood work came back normal, I would take an antidepressant to get my brain out of the rut.

It's a tool.

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I guess it kind of depends on what you want.  If you want to be happy, I think you can, but it will take some work and changes, and most of that is inside you, not in the circumstances.  If you don't want to be happy (some people don't) or to do the work, then I don't think you can.  

 

This sounds pretty abrupt; I don't intend to be mean, but I don't think more words would make it more true.  

 

One of the most interesting parables in the New Testament is one where a man has been ill for decades, lying by a pool where there is healing.  Jesus asks him, "Do you want to be well?"  THAT is kind of interesting, isn't it?  I mean, one would *assume* that the man wants to be well...but his answer is interesting.  It's not direct.  He says, "There's no one to put me in the pool."  That is not an answer to the question.  It's deflection.  

 

Well, Jesus tells him what to do, and the man has to DO IT.  Not wait for someone else to do it or blame others for not doing it.  

 

I became pretty acquainted with this parable a number of years ago as I had to face myself and wonder whether I was answering with truth, or deflecting.  So I'm not just picking at you or preaching.  It's my experience.

 

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Depression is an illness. Even people who aren't depressed have ups and downs. You will never be happy all the time, not matter what happens (see celebrities with huge emotional problems). But if you've been to therapy and still meet the criteria for depression, perhaps you should consider meds. Depression is an illness just like pneumonia, strep throat, whatever else. And blessings to you for looking at the positives instead of wallowing in the negatives.

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When were you happy? Does something excite you or do you look forward to something - no matter how trivial. Sometimes it is hard to find your joy.  Seek a different doctor. And lots of hugs - you are not alone. 

 

I've always been a little sad. I was happy when I went to hawaii with my sister at 18 and I was happy when we moved out at 20 and lived in a mountain town for school. Happiness has come and gone in waves since becoming a mom two years after that. Some people say becoming a mom makes them happy but my first birth experience was traumatizing and I slipped into a depression afterwards. I was also dealing with insurance claim because a car backed into me while I was 4 months pregnant on campus and although I only had some scratches, it jacked up my lower back and pt only made things worse.

 

I went out on fmla and ended up never returning. The week I gave notice to go back we found out we had to move because the house we were renting from his boss was being sold. Hours later his mom called and said she was moving out of state so we took that as gods sign that we were not where we needed to be. It was half the cost of what we were currently paying so moved back to hometown 30 days later. We still live here, and it is a blessing but also now a curse in my eyes.

 

I feel I have lost all sense of who I am. When we moved I dropped off the face of earth, and deleted fb because it annoyed me to see friends out being young and traveling the world while I was stuck in an alien world and a new body that was extra plump and painful to move around in. I don't talk to any of my old friends anymore and honestly do not care to reform them. 

 

Then I started going to yoga regularly at the end of 2014, and I was happy when I finally mastered a headstand, which I accomplished in part because my man encouraged me to try it away from the wall despite being scared of falling. That's probably the last time I feel he really helped me push through something for the sake of challenge and accomplishment. Now I can do it easy peasy. I am trying to find outlets for myself that do not involve exercise. Watercolor painting makes me happy too. 

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I'm not sure you can reason yourself into feeling better. Even your reasons are on the side of "It could be so much worse" rather than recognizing moments of joy.

 

One of the things my sister did in this situation was to begin a gratitude/thankfulness journal. Everyday she wrote at least one thing that she could just be thankful for -- not glad it wasn't worse, but thankful, content, comforted, etc. Sometimes it was something funny the kids said or did or a milestone they made but, often, it wasn't because she has very challenging kids. Sometimes it was the blossom on her peony or an answer to prayer or an hour of sunshine in her gloomy home state. It was a beginning.

 

The marriage seems to be an issue for *you.* Perhaps being married would really make you feel more settled and stable, that your man was really fully committed to you and the kids and willing to make that a legal fact. I don't think you should automatically discount that. If it bothers you so much that you're arguing against yourself about it, it seems to me that's something worth looking at even tho' you think you should be satisfied with the status quo.

 

So many "should" statements in your post....I find they don't really help me. It's helpful to realize where I am -- sad, lonely, frustrated, bored, overwhelmed, or whatever. And then it's helpful to me (just my suggestion) to find ONE thing I can change each day to make progress toward a different outcome. And probably I am just repeating stuff you've already heard, but I know that stuck feeling very well, and I hope I've expressed sympathy even if none of my other comments are helpful.

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Interesting study. I wish I knew what life would be like in 5 years for us. I can't talk to him without crying or raising my voice and getting upset that he doesn't seem to understand how hard life is for me. Couples counseling would probably help tame that. He thinks just because I don't have a paying job that I don't have any problems to deal with like he does at work.

 

He can spend a day with the kids, like he is today but they will not act the same for him and he's not burned out from being around them because he works 60 hours a week so his role is different. My job is my kids and I can't go find a new one every 2 years like he has. Each year things have gotten easier, but harder, and more complex. Meanwhile, each year as they are growing and changing, so am I, so are we, individually and as a family, it's a trip. 

 

I've been through a lot in my life and he's been the only one who knows it all. Pain lives in me daily and manifests in crying spells and try as I might I can't get some stuff out of my head. I'm the deal breaker in this relationship despite none of the above happening. I'm just negative I'm told and never happy with anything. 

 

It sounds like there is a lot brewing under the surface. I would definitely see a counselor - either by yourself or together. Perhaps look for counseling centers or ministries who offer sliding scale but have counseling interns who are clinically supervised.

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I would also caution you, gently, to not expect a level of happiness you might have felt at 18 or 20 living in Hawaii, now, in your daily life of supper on the table and fussy children and lack of freedom. I still struggle with this myself. I've learned that there is a difference between excitement of traveling and living in Hawaii and etc and the contentment and satisfaction of doing what you need to be doing to take care of kids and your life. And although your friends may be living an exciting life now, later try will have kids and responsibilities and you may have passed that stage of life. I'm now 41, and I have an infant and two older kids. People I know who had kids young weren't partying when they were 25 like I was, but now they are. It's all a trade off.

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I am not a medical expert by any means, I only have a bachelor's in psychology, but I agree with others who have said that you are clinically depressed.  Depression is a disease usually caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.  No amount of thinking good thoughts is going to correct that.  When you said that you haven't eaten since yesterday and don't feel hungry was a red flag for me.  That is beyond feeling a little down and just not too hungry, that is a drastic change and the fact that you don't even feel hungry is pointing to a chemical imbalance.  

 

You've done nothing wrong to cause this to happen.  No more than someone with any other illness has done something wrong to get it.  I think you are at the point of needing medication as well as therapy.  For mild cases, exercise has been shown to ease if not relieve symptoms but from what you describe you are already active but its not helping much.  There is no shame in taking medication when you are ill.  You are not weak because you can't use will power to change your brain chemistry, no one can do that.  I think your therapist was right in his/her suggestion.  Maybe he/she was pointing out the all the reasons you should be happy as a way to illustrate that there is nothing happing in your life that would seem to cause depression and that the cause maybe physiological.  

 

I urge you to co back and seek out medical help.  This is not something you should let linger and hope it will resole on its on.  My mother battled with depression and it wasn't until the suicidal thoughts came that she went for help.  She did get help and it saved her life, please, don't let it get that far.

Edited by happymom4
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I think I remember your post from a while ago. If you are the same poster. Firstly well done on caring for your kids needs! You've done well, but what you've been through is the kind of huge fight and struggle that can seriously deplete our joy of life and ability to deal with stress. Also it can make it hard to let someone else care for your kids when you've dealt with this stuff. Because we lose our trust. If you can find a way to find someone or some situation you 100pc feel safe with it would be ideal if you get a break.

 

If you don't feel like eating I think it may be worth looking into medication at least for the short term. I know for me that is usually the sign that I am really going to struggle.

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I have never put much thought into life. For me, there are some basic principles taught to me by a very wise Southern grandmother. Here are a few of her gems:

 

1. Love is who you call when you are in trouble. If you suddenly find yourself in the back of an ambulance, who do you want called first. If it is your high school sweetie, then stay with him. If it is your mother, then leave.

 

2. Do not confuse unhappiness with boredom.

 

3. Do not try to fix something that ain't broke.

 

4. Happiness comes from service to God. There is no other way.

 

While many would disagree with my grandmother, following her life lessons has made my life very livable. I would have made some really stupid choices had I listened to myself.

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