Thursday, March 31, 2011

The beast strikes again.

I am going back to therapy. 

It's been gnawing at me for a while now and I am fully aware that depression has its nasty black claws around my neck again. 

And then I saw this:

Well, I know that I have a history of depression, and in fact am postivie that I am slipping as you read this.  But the question remains: do I have a "negative parenting style? Lets see...Do I say NO more than I say YES? Check. Do I yell at her more than I think is normal? Probably. Am I critical and easily frustrated? Not so much critical, but certainly easily frustrated. So overall, yeah. That might describe me. So I am an asshole sometimes. But my kid is too!
"Preschoolers whose parents are depressed get stressed out more easily than kids with healthy parents, but only if their mothers have a negative parenting style, according to a new study.

The research, set to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science, measured the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in kids' saliva after mildly stressful experiences, such as interacting with a stranger. The researchers found that cortisol spikes were more extreme in kids whose parents had a history of depression and also exhibited a critical, easily frustrated parenting style."

I have a shitload of stupid things every day that push me to the edge and I am not always capable of handling them in a way that is even remotely helpful or constructive. And I sleep a lot more than I should be allowed to considering that I have a small child. I cry a lot and I have no motivation to do...well...anything most of the time. And this is WITH medication.   I want to be functional as a mother and I want to start now.  But as I kept reading I found out it may not even matter.

"Earlier studies have found that people with depression often have abnormal cortisol spikes in response to stress, suggesting that problems with the body's stress-regulation system are a risk factor for — or at least a hallmark of — depression. Several studies have found these abnormal reactions in very young babies of depressed mothers, which could mean the system is disrupted either in utero or very early in life.

But it's difficult to tease out the early influences on the body's stress hormone system. Genetics are likely partially to blame, Dougherty and her colleagues wrote. The changes could come about because of biochemical influences in the womb or because of the way depressed moms interact with their babies. Most likely, it's a combination of all of these factors."

This is my normal kid I am apparently destorying her life.

My depression is something that has followed me throughout my life. I was diagnosed first at 14. I went through my twenties in and out of therapy. My postpartum depression is the stuff of legend. And the fact that I still struggle with it makes me want to scream. But to realize that I am totally ruining my kid's life as well (and not just because I am blogging about her and this shit will still be on the interwebs when she is a teenager) is really upsetting.

"Just having a depressed parent didn't make kids more prone to cortisol spikes, but having a depressed mother with a hostile parenting style did. The study was just a one-time snapshot of stress response, so researchers can't say for sure that hostile parenting by depressed parents causes the spikes, just that there is a correlation.

...If parenting style interacts with genetic and other environmental influences to send kids' stress sky-high, early treatment may help, Dougherty said. Helping parents interact positively with their kids might be especially important early in life, the researchers wrote, because the stress regulatory system is still developing."
Yeah, so according to this article, no matter what I do my kid is fucked. Or not. I mean, I always just assumed that having me as a mother would ensure at least a decade of therapy even before I ever considered having children. But perhaps I am still in the window where I can try to prevent her from succumbing to my miserable fate. 

I wouldn't wish this on anyone, let alone my own flesh and blood.  And I am terrified that one day she will turn on me.  One day she'll be my regular kid who is a pain in the ass, and the next moment she'll be the douchy goth child who writes bad poetry and slits her wrists for attention. 

And this is my kid in 5 years after my depression ruins her life.  Obviously.

In truth though, the motivation for therapy isn't strictly because of her.  I am tired of feeling this way all the time.  I am tired of not wanting to do anything.  I am tired of having to battle my negativity to FORCE myself to type up a new blog post.  I am just tired of being tired.

So I made an appointment with a grad student at the University's counseling program.  I dont have insurance so this seems like a decent option financially.  I dread the idea that this girl will be all of 16 and not know anything about life but we'll see.  Wish me luck.
Here's the full article.
Great! So then the damage is already done. FANTASTIC! I knew it. I ruined my kid before she was even out of the oven. No need to put on the frosting and the sprinkles if the cake comes out burnt.


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  2. 1)Depressed parents of preschoolers are more likely to get stressed than healthy parents.
    2)It is lighter outside in the day than it is at night.
    Having clarified that, don't beat yourself up. None of us choose depression, and some of us haven't even chosen our motherhood. (I am 1 for 3 for planned pregnancies: my belligerent middle child is sandwiched between 2 "oh shit"s). I, too, have a lifelong history of depression and anxiety. I realized when said planned child was a newborn that I really was stuck in something and needed some help. I melted into the couch for the better part of 2 months, frequently requiring Robert to come home from school and take care of us. Antidepressants worked wonders, right up to the surprise condom baby we had 3 years later. I worried about that a lot. They say that you should talk to your doctor about going off your meds if you want to have another baby, but I more than anything did not want to have another baby. Capiche? So I was on Prozac through the entire pregnancy and coincidentally have a really peculiar 6 year old child now. It's really fun to process all of that. As it turns out, 5 years after the birth of this chid, I was actually diagnosed as bipolar, and the addition of a mood stabilizer has helped tremendously. I no longer go to therapy, unless you count my handblown Sherlock Holmes moustache pipe, which we will not continue discussing. The point is, we're human. Sometimes we need some help. It's clear that we love our kids; sometimes we forget to love ourselves too.
    I think you're pretty rad, for the record.

  3. selena, the fact that you are open to trying out counseling already shows how much you care about your child! you know, the more parents i meet, the more i realize something... EVERYBODY would benefit from counseling. we are all messing up our children some way or another, and believe me, many people are struggling with parenting issues irregardless of depression. some just hide it better than others. that said, depression definitely makes it only that much harder on you. you do need support and it's not a sign of weakness or bad mothering. i hope you'll be able to find someone that you can really connect with -- that makes all the difference. are there any support groups in the area for mothers dealing with depression?


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