The call

Last night after I wrote my blog entry I hadn’t  put my phone down yet and it rang. It was quite late and my phone was on silent but I answered it anyway out of curiosity. It turned out to be somebody from the CATT team. This is an out of hours mental health service. She was calling to see how I was, presumably my case manager had requested a call yesterday evening. I was already in tears from when I wrote my blog, so she had caught me at a perfect time. I continued to cry down the phone to her and tell her that my children deserved better than what they’re getting from me. She listened and tried to advise me, but I was so distraught and so worked up I could only talk about how much I hated myself and how much I have let my children down. H entered  the room, so I asked him to stay in the room and I went out to the lounge. Then the children obviously heard me talking on the phone came out and saw me in tears. I asked them to go back to their rooms and then retreated to the bathroom so I could talk to the woman a bit better. But Harry was having none of it and kept following me around. I could tell that he was concerned about me. I explained this to the woman on the phone, I also explained how tired I was and how tired  I was of fighting.

She agreed that action needed to take place as soon as possible. Obviously I was looking after the children so it wasn’t an option for something to happen right then, but she said she’d arrange my case manager to give me a ring the next morning and talked about going into respite again. She said I sounded absolutely exhausted and obviously needed a break.

Harry slept in bed with me and I finally fell asleep in my tears. Meanwhile S had text me saying that the girls had called him and were worried about me because I was crying down the phone to somebody. I took the tone of his text to be that he was having a go at me for upsetting our children. I don’t know if he was or not, but it felt like it at that time.  I was able to placate the girls quite well because I already had a migraine earlier in the day, so I explained that I was still feeling unwell and a friend had called me. I responded to S and got angry in my text messages, it always feels like he’s criticising me, and his text messages are always so cold. It feels like he has no respect for me not even as the mother of his children. I don’t know why he hates me so much.

This morning it was so difficult to get ready and to get the children out the door. The house felt like a horrible mess and the laundry was piled up. I hadn’t showered so I was equally a mess and I hadn’t  made the girls lunches. So I am a useless mother.  

My case manager called me and asked me to go into his office after school drop off. I really didn’t feel like it because I had woken up again with a migraine and I was feeling very emotional. But I went and we talked through some options which included respite again. He said he’d make some calls and get back to me.

I had a hospital appointment for my hand which I had decided to miss because of my anxiety and because I was feeling such an emotional wreck. But I decided to go because I couldn’t face going back to the house. I’m glad I did, my hand hasn’t improved and I need some more tests done so the physiotherapist is going to arrange that for me.

Driving to the hospital and back I kept imagining driving into a truck or driving into a river; life just suddenly seemed to have no purpose and I wanted to die. I could see no way forward. I got back to the house and I emailed my caseworker and said that I felt suicidal. He arranged to visit me this afternoon and again to discuss options.

It became that even as a miserable tired mother that wasn’t good enough, the children would be better with no mother at all. When my caseworker arrived we did talk about the mental health unit which is notoriously old, dirty, and has awful staff. If the hospital was different I would have voluntarily committed myself. But we agreed that I would give respite a try first. It has 24/7 support staff, and my caseworker said that more staff could be arranged if I needed.

I felt a bit more relaxed about things and agreed that respite was the way to go. I had also been harassing S to get an earlier flight as he wasn’t due back until after 9 PM. It’s unreasonable that he’s getting such late flights after leaving me in charge of the kids in the house for so long. Fortunately he was able to bring his flight forward and will now be arriving at 4:30 PM. I will then go on to respite house. My caseworker has booked five days for me but has told me I can have longer if I need. He’s also reminded me that my medications can be changed, clearly they’re not working and it would be good to have everything reviewed. But that won’t happen until I see my psychiatrist on the 19th, I can’t see her any sooner.

My despair has come about because I am doing everything right. I am taking my medication, I am not self-medicating, I am speaking out when I feel unwell. And yet I continue to feel stuck in this horrible dark hole. I can’t imagine ever feeling any better. But I will surrender to respite house and just hope that eventually the right medication will see me right. My children deserve quality time with their mother.

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5 thoughts on “The call

  1. You need to take your thoughts captive. Do not sell yourself short because you’re not living up to your expectations. Being a mom is difficult, every mom has moments of despair you are not alone you are not the exception. Practice self-talk; meds are only a short term solution, because the body adapts. You are fortunate respite is available to you.

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  2. I dont have children so I cannot relate on that part of your life. But I do have a mother that has recently told me that she feels she was a horrible mother… emotionally not there and checked out and that she did more damage than good. Like you are describing here you feel towards your children.
    BUT I never felt that about my mother…. I never knew she even felt that way until recently. Yes, I saw her struggles, I saw her tears but she was just always…. mom. She was there, always.

    Your view of you as a mother is NOT your children’s view of you as a mother. They are not the same and the two should never get mixed up. You are in a deep and horrible depression which will end. That part in your life I can 100% relate to. I have no idea how I made it out alive… but I did.

    You are continuing to do everything right, just as you have been doing. You are asking for help, you are fighting. You have people there helping you and they will find a way, together with you. I know this seems like a slow process but considering the result that you need, this cannot be rushed. Hang in there Penny, an answer will be found. And keep writing.

    In many years from now, you might tell your children exactly what my mom told me about her struggles, and they will be just as surprised as I was…. and incredible grateful that you are alive and with them.

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    1. That’s one of the most powerful messages I’ve received. I can’t thank you enough for sharing that with me. It’s like my perspective IS reality as happens with this illness, but to hear this, it gives me hope. Thank you so very much. I will be reading this comment a few times over the next few days, there is strength from this xxx

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      1. You are welcome. Depression really screws up our reality, doesn’t it? Keep writing Penny! I will be reading. I think of you often and wonder how you are.

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