Saturday, April 9, 2011

Going down fighting, but still going down...

I've been feeling bad lately. Sad, overwhelmed, limbs feel heavy, nothing is fun. I feel deeply lonely. It's been three weeks. I'm doing everything I can including asking for help, trying to do things that please me, getting rest, getting exercise. But I'm not feeling any better.

I've only been depressed once in my life before; after my Mom died at an early age. Either its hormonal or this lifestyle is just too much.


  1. I'm so sorry. Big hugs to you. Could it be the long winter we've had and the terrible weather?

    Take care of yourself, I hope you figure it out.

  2. I am so sorry... I understand how you are feeling.
    It may well be that the lifestyle is just too much; too much work/childcare and no fun. It may be time to see a doctor and get some anti-depressants.

  3. You know you have people out here who care about you. Support and prioritize your mental health in any way you can. Obviously, you are doing the things that are in your control, day to day. Which is great. I would definitely suggest seeking medical help of some kind, too. You are shouldering a really large load; you might need some help with it. We are cheering for you.

  4. I find that being a primary caregiver to one child plus academic career (my husband is around but has a partial disability) can be draining and depressing at times. Focusing on my child at those times, playing with her, taking a day off from work, help me. But I only have one child, and a husband around who does help, even if in a limited fashion. When I read your blog, I don't know how you do it.
    Antidepressants may help. A family vacation may help too. Talking to a psichologist/counsellor may help. How about hiring a babysitter one night a week and picking up a new hobby or a class? Have you tried yoga or meditation? Maybe your husband can take some time off to just be around. There is also such a thing as postpartum depression. Talk to your doctor about it, please. Take care of yourself - yes, there are two little lives that depend on you, but you also deserve to be taken care of.

  5. so sorry to hear that.

  6. a) I'm sorry, really I am.
    b) Make a small step towards getting yourself feeling better, if big steps seem too much. I'd recommend seeing what kind of employer assistance program your workplace offers.

  7. PUI prof, I am so sorry that you are feeling this way. I am in a similar situation (two young kids, academic career, academic spouse far away) and it is an incredibly difficult, stressful, and lonely life. I'm thinking about you and sending strength your way. Realize that you are already an incredibly strong woman for shouldering this life for as long as you have.

    So here are my suggestions:

    (1) I has some postpartum depression with both kids, but it was not immediately after the birth -- it was actually when I started weaning, with both kids. I have two other girlfriends who went through the same thing -- the hormone changes with weaning were much worse on them than the pregnancy or birth. After going through this, I read that some women do indeed have this sort of delayed depression when they are weaning or when the kids start to eat a lot of solids. So maybe part of what you are feeling is this. Maybe you are going through this now. Combine that with the happy new baby euphoria that has worn off, the fact that baby #2 may be more mobile and harder to watch, and the stress of adjusting back to work, and it is no wonder you are depressed. Mine passed after my hormones evened out a bit, but it took a couple of months.

    (2) I have a babysitter one night a week. I usually don't even go out on the evenings she comes over, I just putter around, sometimes even take the time to play with the older kid without the interruption of the younger. It is wonderful and the best thing that I could have done for my sanity.

    (3) I have been awfully lonely with this lifestyle. On the weekends is your only family time, so you hate to schedule things then, and it is totally exhausting to schlep the kids and 12 bags of combined work and kid stuff around during the week. I have a few friends who are very low-key and low stress who have kids of the same age as my older one. I have them and their kids over to my place about once a week, and we order pizza. The older kids play together, and the adults collectively watch the baby and catch up. It is not perfect, but at least it is some adult company. One of these couples actually wants more kids and has been trying hard for a while, so the husband of that couple is always extremely happy to hold the little one and play with the little one.

    If it is any help and encouragement, I am much happier now than I was during baby #2's first year. Slowly, slowly, slowly, it gets better. I was recently reading "A Door in the Dream," and one of the female scientists interviewed for that, who is now in the national academy, divorced shortly after the birth of her second son and moved across the country. She also writes about the struggles of raising two kids alone with an academic career. It was inspiring to me.

    My last suggestion is that you email me if you feel comfortable with that. You had asked me before to blog about my experience, and I can't manage that, but I really don't want you to feel like you are the only person going through this. I am going to post another comment right after this one with my "real" email address -- please don't post it publically or share it, but do feel free to write if you would like.

  8. Anonymous 2:04 and everyone, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

  9. so sorry to hear that it's feeling down. I can't imagine what it would be like to care for two, have academic job and love someone who isn't around for everyday. Sounds like a tough situation without the toddler/baby diaper changing age.

    I hope you can find some change and think that most of the comments are excellent in suggestion practical things that might change how you're feeling.

    If I could add something, think about you and that there is nothing more important than you feeling better and enjoying your life. (i.e. it's ok to say need a break and just stop work responsibilties etc for a little while and take some air).

    All the best!!

  10. I'm glad you are not shy about asking for help. I hope you can afford some baby-sitting and your employer will give you a little time off.

    * internet hugs *