I have diagnosed myself. There seems to be no medical name for what I am going through- my children are too old to be post-natal depression, and plain old depression just doesn’t cut it. Anxiety- well, I struggle with that everyday, so that doesn’t seem right either. So I think I have PTSAD.
Not Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Even though my three births were somewhat traumatic, I don’t think that’s quite appropriate.
No, PTSAD is Post Toddler Stress and Anxiety Disorder.
I am certain there are other mums out there that go “YES! That’s me!”. Those with toddlers and school age children that are just finding no joy in anything at the moment, and treasure those rare days where dad or grandma have taken the kids out of the house (hopefully a day where the house is clean, there is an ample stash of chocolate- or in my case, bacon- and the new episode of Revenge is available on Vodly). Mums that feel so guilty that you are in bed at 10am reading NW while their toddler sits on the couch with a bag of Doritos watching ABC2 for two hours. This is a perfectly ok method of parenting when done occasionally, but when you have a stash of trashy magazines 6 inches high and your child is pooing orange, it might be time to realise there may be something more to your extreme tiredness.
Unfortunately, I missed the telltale signs that my anxiety was starting to become too much. After struggling through post-natal depression after Mr B, and having it again while pregnant with Miss E, I should know the signs of the oncoming cry-fest, shouldn’t i? Silly me decided to push through it. Dumb move.
I think the car registration bill did it. I blame the Dept. of Transport.
For the past few months, an accumulation of.. well, to put it blunty, shit… has been piling up. Psychologists told me that your mind is like a bathtub. Some people have a bucket, others have a bathtub- the size and amount of stress you can handle varies between people. You can keep stuff pouring in, but at some stage that bastard is going to overflow and your mind will just shut off the tap. This is my trigger point for a breakdown. My mind does shut off. I lose concentration, get violent moodswings and lose all emotion, energy and motivation. Most people refer to this as a mental breakdown, but doctors call it a major depressive episode. Both sound horrible.
I think it started in January, where our amazing aupair left to go back to England after filling in for an aupair we had moved on due to various reasons. Now I want to get something straight- we are NOT a rich or well of family. But aupairing is a much better arrangement than alternating between daycare for Miss E and babysitters for the 2 Mr’s after school. We get help around the house, and consistent care of our children. I don’t have to take a day off work if the child is sick and I have someone to drink bad wine and watch crap tv with in the evenings. If you have a spare room in your house, I would recommend an international aupair. Much cheaper than daycare.
So the aupair left, and I cut down to two days a week at work. I had to do all the housework myself (yes, shock horror, I got spoilt having an aupair- kudos to your mums reading this thinking “So what? I do that all myself everyday!” and a huge kiss on the feet of single mums- holy shit I don’t know how you do it!) and with such a huge house I started to get overwhelmed. Thankfully my husband is very helpful and well tamed, and puts up with my shrieking over the doritos on the floor. Otherwise I would be a single mum too.
Then the bills started. Back to school. Ohhhh how I dread this moment. Anyone with kids in private school gets a little lump in the throat and feeling of absolute dread when that envelope with the school insignia arrives. Then the gymnastics fees. Oh joy! Another annual membership fee on top of the quarterly fees. More money handed out. Then the electricity bill (thank the lord for payment extensions!). Credit card annual fees, rent increases and new computer equipment then followed. I was on top of it. We didn’t have much cash left at the end of the week, but everything got paid.
That was until hubbys work said “No more overtime.” Shit. Shit, shit, shit. Goodbye, $350 a week. The breaths started getting shorter and anxiety started building up every time I did the weekly budget. So I picked up extra shifts at work. Then the fights started with the hubby as he didn’t like me working nights. So I stopped working nights. Then we had another bill. So I worked a Sunday, and a Wednesday night. Another guilt trip (from myself, mostly) for not being home to cook dinner and have ‘family time’.
Ever get that feeling that no matter WHAT you do, it is always wrong? Yeah you do.
Hubby changed jobs in April. He is much happier, working from 7:30 till 4 now as opposed to 6 till 6. It was supposed to be more money. A week in, they cut overtime too.
Then the rego bill arrived. Not only did the bathtub overflow, but I flooded the house.