Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Being Married Is Hard

I've tried to start this post, like, eight million times. I got nothing. Okay, not really nothing. There's a lot going on but it feels too personal to share. Or too boring, maybe. Same old shit, different post.

It's hard to write when you're feeling low, especially when so many people you know will read about it. But there it is; I'm feeling bad. And, as usual, the guilt about feeling depressed elbows its way to the front row and starts heckling me, shouting shit like, Get it together, asshole. YOU'RE LUCKY. Some new moms are already back at work and there you are, home with your kids all day. Or, Here you go again with your tired bullshit.

Really, I'm leaving you in the dark here. I'm not giving you the full story. Sometimes I give you everything, sometimes I give you too much ( a lot of the time) and sometimes it just feels wrong to share.

Maybe, like Serge always does, I can blame the full moon. Didn't we have one recently? Or hey! I can blame the end of the world! It's happening tomorrow, you know. What a relief. I was just staring tiredly down the barrel of this huge stretch of living I had left to do, not knowing how I'd make it, before I realized the apocalypse was at hand. See, I shouldn't have persevered in trying to write something because it's just a lot of rambling nonsense.

Here's something. Serge and I have this longstanding argument about anti-depressants. Specifically, he thinks I need them and I disagree. He's made no secret of the fact he takes Zoloft. I took something similar and stopped, cold turkey, when I found out I was pregnant with Violet in 2009. Never started back up again because the side effects of stopping freaked me out. When you have electric shocks zinging around your appendages because of something you AREN'T taking, well that makes you reevaluate what exactly is was you were taking.

I think people are over-medicated. There, I said it. I don't think Serge is one of them, I saw what he was like without Zoloft. He, like many other people, really benefits from the right medicine. I don't think I'm one of them. I think I get a standard case of the blues every now and again and then I snap out of it. Serge thinks I was at my best those few short months I was medicated. I find that offensive and sometimes I think he says it because he's someone who has personally seen the benefit of anti-depressants so hell, anyone who is depressed here and there should start swallowing what the doctor's prescribing, you know?

It's not like I can't get out of bed or moon about the house in my pajamas, crying. It's just this overwhelming sense of numbness. And sadness. Numbness and sadness and an occasional wave of hopelessness. But it always goes away on its own. Does that sound like someone who needs to start popping a pill to get by? Or is that a normal human being experiencing the complex emotions of life? Hell, I dunno. Thing is, I don't think these feelings are inspired by my physiology, but by certain circumstances. Like when Serge and I are going through a rough patch. Add that to the fact I just had a baby and I made a huge life change to quit my job and stay-at-home, which is very isolating and a case of the blues makes perfect sense, right?

Can you do me a favor? Can you give me a couple reasons why your marriage isn't as perfect as you'd like everyone to think it is? Can you tell me something you and your husband overcame that you didn't think you would? What was the worst time in your marriage?

I guess I'm telling you what's wrong without really telling you what's wrong.

Reader Comments (66)

Ah, Monika, we've all been there. No, really, we have, at least those of us with *real* marriages. I've been married to my husband for 10 years. We met on a Friday and took off on tour with a band on Monday. We are opposites. I adore that about us, but I also despise it because after 10 years, sometimes I just don't wanna disagree or argue, I just want him to zip it and nod his head in agreement. That being said, the biggest thing we have overcame in our marriage, is exactly that. To be able to truly appreciate his differences - even though they annoy the complete shit out of me some days - and he, mine, is an accomplishment. It is not easy, but worth it in the end....or at least I hope so : )

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

The thing with men is when you have a problem, any problem, they just tell you what you need to do to fix it and then expect you to immediately implement their suggestion and move on. Sometimes a fix doesn't exist, or the fix is that you need to be sad for a little while and let time, sleep and contemplation heal you. My husband has thoroughly pissed me off at times when I just want to talk, vent, let all my feelings out, even the ones that make zero sense, and he interrupts me over and over again with a solution or some comment insinuating that I'm being ridiculous. Most of the time I know I'm being ridiculous, but just let me get it out and then give me a hug, a beer and let me cry like an idiot so I can feel better. And don't give me advice. I feel you Monica. I'm a SAHM myself. I'm actually starting a full time work from home job this Monday. I have a sitter coming in and I'm so fucking excited to have someone else worry about my kids for 5 hours a day I can barely contain myself. And I don't feel guilty. I'll be home to sneak in hugs and kisses whenever I miss them. Have lunch with them. The pleasant stuff. I am happily handing over the dirty work to the sitter for those 5 hours a day. Because I am so stressed out and burned out from taking care of 3.5 and 1 year old boys. It is a hard, hard, HARD job. Don't feel guilty about not loving it all the time. That is just not reality. This job I'm starting is a 1 year contract and I think when it is over I will be in a better place as a mom. Right now it is just really tough. So tough, that a job is actually a relief. Funny how that works. Although, if it wasn't a work at home job, I probably wouldn't do it. In the end, even though they are burning me out, I love my boys and would cry my eyes out if I had to go to an office and be fully separated from them. I still have the cord connected. Jesus, everything I just said was one big contradiction. That's motherhood I guess.

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

Damn Angela hit nail on the head!!!!

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah


I've only been reading your blog for a couple weeks, so I don't really "know" you, but I feel some definite similarities between us. For instance, when my kids were about 3 months old and just under 2 years old we decided to move to PA, closer to my parents. Hands down the best decision we ever made. But what was already a tense relationship between my husband and I for various reasons went through the ringer with all the chaos and changes in the next couple months- new job, new house, new town, etc. With the infant, breastfeeding, toddler, and "upgrade from one kid to two" stress all added to it. It's a lot to go through in a short period of time, even if it's good changes.

The biggest thing we've overcome is, about a year after the move, us both realizing that we were young and naive when we got married, and in all honestly probably shouldn't have. That was hard to swallow. And yet, even though there are times that we can't stand each other, the realization that we don't want to break up either (and not just for the kids' sakes). Here we are coming up on the 2 year anniversary of the move and we're still here, still married, and we still fight, but not quite as much or as epic-feeling. Realizing that no matter what, we don't want to divorce, kinda helps put everything in perspective.

(I'm just realizing that this answer kinda sucks for you. Here I'm pretty much saying, "Yeah you know depressing your marriage and life are now? Well it's about to get a lot more chaotic and stressful and tested to the limit by your upcoming life changes." I totally don't mean this as a dis-respect, but you know what just came to my head just now? That we need an "It Gets Better" video campaign, only directed toward marriage and the young family years!).

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCC

my husband and i went through a lot of rough times while he was in the navy. deployments weren't so fun, and it was really hard to adjust when he got back. we would fight over stupid things, and my crazy ass would say something stupid like, "maybe we just shouldn't be together right now." i didn't mean it, but my mind wasn't in the right place. i've dealt with the blues (and different meds) for most of my life. like you, i now think that my ups and downs are just normal and something i just need to deal with on my own. i realized that saying things to him about time apart or anything like that was just out of pure craziness. we have learned to talk about the little stuff way before it builds to the bad place. i'm worried about the whole baby blues thing now that i'm going to be a stay at home mom. hang in there!

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjendy

What I'm about to say is not focused on the subject of marriage but is on the subject of depression and mental health. Given your history of depression, have you had yourself checked out for post-partum depression?

On the subject of depression and anti-depressants: for milder types of depression, talk therapy is as effective as drugs. Have you tried finding a good therapist who might be able to work with you through your depression? Not a psychiatrist per se, but a clinical psychologist? It does take some time to find a therapist and method that are good fits to you, but it is worth it. If talk therapy doesn't help, there is NO shame in finding a psychiatrist who can work with you to find an anti-depressant that works. I agree with you that there is a lot of overmedication in this country; nevertheless, there are a lot of people who actually NEED drugs. Depression is a result of biochemistry; there is no shame in treating it with biochemicals. It may take time to find a drug that works, but it is perhaps an avenue worth reinvestigating again in the future.

In terms of depression and marriage: probably the hardest times we've had (aside from occasional dealings with a subset of the family) is when my husband has been going through depressed periods (I've had them, too, but his are far more frequent and scarier). He, like you, absolutely does not want to go the drug route and suffers from occasional bouts of depression. During the last major depressed episode, I was finally able to get him into talk therapy. He didn't want to go alone, so we see a therapist together. It has been really helpful in terms of helping him maintain a good equilibrium, and for us to communicate better when he is starting to feel bad. Since we started therapy almost a year ago, he hasn't had a bout of depression. There are still some issues we need to work through, but I think the therapy has been helping those, too. Some issues just take a lot longer than others to unravel.

I have you in my thoughts, and hope that you can get some help. Again, I would strongly recommend finding a therapist you like and think you can work with.

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnnika

I am not married any more. Well I wasn't married, but i lived with my ex for ten years. Anyway I agree with you with people who are medicated. They do tend to want everyone to be medicated, as if it was the final solution. But as for someone who has benefited from being medicated (short term) I understand. I guess that's not what you are asking.
Counseling. Yup. Actual couple's counseling.

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMiss A

Okay, my husband and I have come through some rough times, but I don't want to explain it all here.

I do want to offer a perspective on antidepressants, if I can. I'm on them because of post-partum depression. I was not anxiety and depression free for my whole life before, but after my second baby it got really, really bad. And this I've already shared about on my blog, so there's no reason not to be frank about it now.

I used to think of taking medication as popping a pill to get by, and now I don't. I've seen it take me from low functioning to having at least the possibility of thriving. That doesn't feel like getting by to me, it feels more like correcting a persistent and unhealthy problem that I was not able to correct on my own. Also, at this point it is something I do for my kids. Because I am pretty joyless in those bad bouts. And I really, really want to give my kids a mom who consistently enjoys life.

I'm not saying what you should do at all; I just wanted to chime in as someone who used to dislike the idea of taking antidepressants.

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErin

I can't tell you any of those things about my current marriage because I have one of the oh so rare relationships that isn't hard. I have no idea how we managed it - my husband and I are so different - but we really have no sub-surface issues. If I'm pissed that he put his dirty socks next to my toothbrush, that's really it. Nothing else. And really, STOP PUTTING YOUR SOCKS NEXT TO MY TOOTHBRUSH.

I can say though that with my ex-husband one of our main issues was that he was - as you describe it - sad and numb. And wouldn't do anything about it. Like Serge, I've been on anti-depressants for years. I'm truly, TRULY psychotic without them. Not all the time, but I have the type of depression that 90% of the time I'm fine and the other 10% I'm literally wailing in a heap on the floor. I've learned that I need my anti-depressants as much as I need my anti-convulsants to treat my epilepsy.

Even with this background - and having many, many friends on anti-depressants - my husband refused to take them. He believed that as a writer, he wouldn't be able to write if he was medicated. (As an artist, I was a little insulted by this!) And it ate at our relationship. He was very often mired in his own moods. He suffered from insomnia. He would take everything personally. But really, it was the numbness that you describe that was hardest to live with. It's so hard to live with someone who is suffering - even subliminally. I know Serge loves you and I'm sure it's very difficult for him to see you struggling.

Major life events aren't a reason NOT to seek help. Post-partum depression is a very real thing and it isn't just hard on you - it's hard on Serge and Violet and Henry for you to be trying to hold your mental and emotional head above water while trying to also care for them. You owe it not just to yourself but to them to take care of *yourself.* I'm not the type of person who does particularly well with this - everyone else's needs feel more important to me than my own - but my husband constantly reminds me that if I don't take care of myself, I'm of no use whatsoever to our infant son.

I'm not saying take anti-depressants. That's up to you and your doctor. Maybe you really DON'T need them. But if you feel that kind of numbness all the time, you should at least *talk* to your doctor about it. There's no shame whatsoever in this. If anything "major life changes" are a true reason to seek a little extra help rather than trying to slog through it all on your own.

I wish you the best of luck, and again, I'm not advocating that you specifically go and get on the good train Zoloft - but that you really do your best to take care of yourself, whatever that means for you - from the perspective of someone who's been on Serge's side of the equation.

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

Monica, the year after our second baby was born was soooooo hard on my marriage, and from what I can tell, that's totally normal. But when it's happening to you it feels terrifying and shitty and it seems like everyone else has wonderful relationships even though you've lived long enough to know that's not true. I think we had sex four times in the year after our second. Having two or more young children is *unbelievably* stressful and hard. I've heard that things feel less chaotic after the first 18 months, start to feel a tiny bit sane at two years, then get remarkably easier when the youngest is three. My babe is 19 months now and so far this timeline is proving to be true, though of course it's not so cut and dry.

I could write a book about this subject . . . man, it's tough.

What ended up helping us was seeing a really great therapist. And honestly? We only went once, which I'm sure wasn't enough. But that coupled with the baby finally starting to sleep at fifteen months gave our marriage new life. We were like freaking newlyweds. It was insane. And it carried over into all parts of our relationship, even the endless, mind-numbing routines and chores, which suddenly felt less isolating and soul-crushing. It started with learning to hear and understand and respect how the other person was feeling. We couldn't do that anymore because we were just so ticked off at each other and had set up all these bad patterns. There was a gulf between us. There was resentment. It felt like too big of a hill to climb to get back to each other. I couldn't even say for sure whether we were attracted to each other anymore. What a giant relief and surprise to discover that we still DO have huge amounts of respect and love and attraction for each other. Huge amounts. There was also a pivotal moment in our sex life but it feels too weird to talk about that here.

We realized that we'd spent five years either trying to get pregnant, pregnant, or nursing/caring for an infant. It turned out that when we weren't doing those things anymore, it felt really different. In a good way.

This turning point for us was five months ago, when the baby was fifteen months old.

I have to admit that I started taking Zoloft a month ago. I'd been on it once before, eight years ago, and was reluctant to go back on. But I was having ridiculous amounts of anxiety and while I wasn't crying in bed every day (or ever), I just walked around feeling kinda blue and lonely, even (in a hard-to-explain way) when I was happy, even when I thought I might die from the joy and love I felt for my kids. There was a melancholy tinge to everything.

Raising these beautiful, needy little people is awesome, but it's depleting in a unique way, especially (I would argue) for the mama. Anyway, I finally decided to try the meds and just see how I felt. I reminded myself that it's temporary, and I *will* go off of them (slowly!) in the next couple of years.

I don't know. It's a personal choice. I think you'll know when and if you're ready to try them again. Just don't be a hero. What you're doing right now is hard work. You're in the trenches. And you deserve to not feel like shit. Maybe before trying the meds you could try exercising (when, right?) or talking to someone. You should probably get your thyroid levels checked, since that can impact your mood. It would be good to rule that out.

Sorry this is so long. Hope some of it helps. xoxo

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeather M.

I just love you guys.

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Who...

I agree with Sonja. The decision to take meds isn't just about you but everyone in your household. It's really obvious that Serge loves you. You're his wife, the mother of his kids and a stone-cold fox. But planning a move with two kids, two dogs and a spouse who is feeling numb and sad and sometimes hopeless is probably really hard on a guy, ya know?

Even if people in this country are overmedicated, is that really a good reason to deny yourself happiness? Who cares about those people anyway? What do they have to do with what's going on in your house and your head?

Especially since you're embarking on a summer that is bound to have some unexpected rough patches, I really can't see one downside behind having that extra layer of support behind you. One caveat, though: If you do go on meds, and down the road you decide to quit, tapering off (and not going cold-turkey) is important!

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKate

I don't have any experience with anti-depressants, but I do have experience with stress, and you have a lot of it right now! You have two small children, you just quit your job and are about to make another major life change and move across the country. Those are huge things!
I agree with the other commentor who mentioned post partum depression; beyond that, you went from going to work every day to being sleep deprived and at home by yourself with two little people who may be wonderful but who are endlessly needy and can't hold an adult conversation. For myself, I'm the type of person who could never feel right not working and being a stay at home mom and I marvel at the patience it takes and take my hat off to those who do stay home; I love the time I spend with my daughter, but I still need time for me, which includes everything from a pedicure and a haircut to a stimulating intellectual conversation about something other than Swiper. So if you are exhausted and alone wth two little kids all day and not seeing other adults...well, that will do it to you.
Also, you mentioned ambivalence about breastfeeding- nursing does crazy stuff to your hormones. I never got that blissful high that people go on about that you're supposed to get when your milk lest down; in fact, breastfeeding was hard and painful and I never enjoyed it. It was stressful and I was always over engorged, leaking, couldn't fit in my bras, nipples hurt, etc. I did it for a year because i felt it was the right thing, it was working and because I could because I freelance at home so I had flexibility, but I can't say I ever reached any comfort level with it.
And you're moving! That is SOOO stressful. I could never pull off your plan to drive the kids the way you are going to. And let me say I totally understand why you would want to wean Henry before a giant drive to PA.
I dont have two kids, but the year after our daughter was born was incredibly difficult for my husband and me. We decided that we wouldn't have childcare for the first year to save money, and the bulk of the responsibilty fell on my husband because my freelance schedule was too demanding. We are very, very glad we got to keep our daughter home with us that first year and my husband has an extraordinary relationship with our girl because he was with her during the day so much- but- like most men, he had no idea what having a baby would actually be like. It was a hard transition and we went from bring two people who had great communication to two exhausted unreasonable overwrought parents who couldn't reason anything out. We bickered about nonsense, and it was hard, really hard. The fights we had in that first year of parenthood were different and more intense and scarier than any other fight we'd ever had in our marriage, and when our daughter was born we had already been together 15 years! But we got through it and we are now thinking about a second baby. In fact, when i brought up the way we fought recently, i discovered my husband doesnt even remember them! That shows where sleep deprivation will get you. What it comes down to, I believe, is constant talking and communication, and agreement to always talk things through, and remember more is at stake than a petty squabble, it's the happiness of the family you are building. Of course when you're stressed and exhausted, it's hard to have that kind of level headed perspective. But just keep talking things through.
By the way, I love your blog and read it every day. :)

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChantal

The worst time in our marriage was when I was struggling with then undiagnosed bipolar disorder and I was self medicating with alcohol. Lots of alcohol. I was either manic or partying or sleeping 16 hours a day and nearly catatonic. I was in the middle of PhD program and I had moved us across the country (Montana to Louisiana) and we'd just bought our first house. It was an awful time full of fights and drama and scariness. No abuse, no cheating, just a lot of drama.

Long story short, I freaked out, was hospitalized and once I stabilized we started to seeing a marriage counselor and we worked through it.

Funny thing, throughout our relationship, he swore I needed medication because my swings were so exaggerated and I never took him serious.

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjeneria

Oh man, this is tough. I feel somewhat similar. We just moved across the country for my hubby's job, and while I was super supportive and all for it, I left my friends and family behind. Not to mention my job.
Now I'm feeling a bit lost with no job, and being home all day with the kid. And while I LOVE my child with all my heart and soul, I feel like a bit of my own income and some time for my girl away from me would benefit all of us.
So I'm a bit mopey and depressed about the whole situation (and obviously trying to get a job), but I do try to keep it in perspective. I know a million moms would love to stay home with their baby all day, and we're all happy and healthy and together. But my hubby just doesn't get it sometimes, he doesn't understand.
ugh. Anyhow, what I'm saying is that despite all that, I think like you, its a "situational" thing. I'm feeling blue because of all these changes and frustrating setbacks when I want nothing more than to just move forward. I don't think its a feeling that will last once I get a job and a playdate for my kid.

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

I have had more on than off depression for 5 or so years now, sometimes getting extremely severe. Instead of getting down on yourself and blaming yourself, there is one thing i do that helps me probably 50% of the days (drugs didn't work for me) what i do is i say to myself "choose to be happy" it especially helps if something particularly stressful has just happened, i take a deep breath, and say well i could let this ruin my day (also ruining everyone around me's day) or i can take a moment and choose to be happy. I know this sounds kind of stupid but it does help me sometimes and i'm the queen of meloncholy. The biggest reason why people try to push you onto the drugs (i've found) is because they want to see an improvement in you, for a while i didn't realize how much of an effect my depression had on my live-in boyfriend. But the times when I make an effort to try to choose to be happy he says he notices a difference and it makes him happier. Maybe is Serge saw you consistently happier he wouldn't be so adament about the drug regime. Everyone's situation is different but this works for me (some of the time, there are other days where i tell my happiness to go f itself and the whole world is ending and thats that) however i am consistently just a little bit happier. idk if that made any sense but i hope it helps a little at least.

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterashley

The hardest time so far in my marriage has been right now - after the birth of my second child last August. My kids were born close together (like yours) - now 2+ years and 9 months. The addition of our second so close to the first has added an entirely new dimension of responsibility, work and utter exhaustedness (is that even a word??) and our 2 year old is, well.. a two year old, and a handful. I work full time, so though I don't know what it's like to stay home with the kids all day - I'm sure it's equal to if not more exhausting to stay at home with the kids. Exhaustion can do a number on you...

Regarding the depression thing... I can really relate to what you're saying in that I have also felt what you have described off and on - probably since I was a kid, but like you, I also often get over it eventually. With my first child, I definitely had post-partum depression, but it lifted after the magical 6 weeks. I was scared to death that with my second I would experience the same, so I prepared by seeing a psychologist and psychiatrist and got myself a prescription for anti-depressants (which I had never taken before) just in case. It turned out that aside from being a little emotional, I was fine after the birth of my second and didn't feel like I needed the medication.

However, more recently, I have been feeling exactly as you describe: sadness, numbness, hopelessness - and more so than usual - or maybe just sick of feeling that way. So, I went back to that psychiatrist, described my symptoms and started anti-depressants 2 weeks ago for the first time. This was after trying other things to help improve my mood including exercising (which I still do regularly), making "dates' with my husband, getting out of the house more without the kids, etc. I had been scared to try the medication for the reasons you describe: don't think I really need it, think too many people are overmedicated, afraid of side effects/what it's actually doing to me, and afraid of the withdrawal symptoms which I have read about. But I finally felt like I had to try everything -for my husband and my kids. (my husband did not want me to even go on them)

So far the medication seems to be working somewhat, though at this point it's overshadowed by the side effects of being exhausted (even more so if that's possible!) and dry mouth. I'm hoping that the these effects eventually go away and from what I have read and talked with others that they most likely will.

I'm not suggesting that you go back on anti-depressants - especially if you don't want to - because I think it absolutely has to be your choice (and not your husband's). However, I will say with 2 young children and a large amount of change going on in your life, you are probably in the hardest part of your life which can definitely affect your marriage and your outlook on life. From my experience - take one day at at time, consider what is best for you and your children, and then determine the best course of action for yourself.

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElissa

All marriages have ups and downs and disagreements. Reasonable, rational, considerate people can be diametrically opposed on issues, which can lead to tension, frustration, and hard-core anger (even rage!).

But here's another thing: you said you were thinking of stopping nursing. If you are in the process of weaning...that shit can mess you up badly. The pill made me batshit crazy early in our marriage and when I got a stomach bug and was in bed for days and days and couldn't keep anything down (including the pill) yet was in a better mood than I'd been in for a long was pretty clear to us what was going on. Getting the pill out of my system made me my true self again. Years later, when I was weaning my first daughter and felt blue and moody and paranoid and PISSED AS HELL at my husband, he snapped at me one day, saying, "This reminds me of when you were on the pill!" I didn't say it aloud, but my response in my head was, "FUCK YOU!" Then I calmed down. Then I thought, "Hmmm...I may have overreacted just a smidge." Then I Googled "weaning." Wow. So many unpleasant symptoms (including ITCHINESS, of all things!). Anyway, even cutting back by one feeding each day can affect hormones and therefore mood. So even if you were feeling kind of down and blue before starting to ease up on nursing, that process could be making everything worse.

Good luck figuring it all out, Monica. And you do not need to share with the blogosphere anything that you don't want to share. Hang in there!

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

Monica, my comment isn't about marriage since I'm a singleton--- here goes. The tone that I hear from your, 'I shouldn't be depressed. So many people have it harder... etc.' reminds me of when Serge wanted to give you the diamond ring. Let yourself get some help, be it therapy or medicine, if that's the route to go! Don't convince yourself that you don't need it, or deserve it... you do.

The ring, too!

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I think it's really brave of you to open up like this, but I'd be wary of advice you get via the internet! Trust your intuition Monica. You are the expert in your own life and it sounds like you actually have a very good grasp of what's going on. You are going through some MAJOR changes. What you are feeling is normal. You don't need to justify your feelings to anyone, let alone your readers. You also don't need to apologize for how your feeling and try to numb them up with anti-depressants. While I agree with you that medication is great, for some people, hell maybe it's even a necessity. BUT, men are different than women. Haven't you ever noticed that men always want to "fix" everything and not just hear you out? Maybe that's Serge's "fix" for you because it works for him. I admire the fact that you don't want to be numbed up by drugs. You have a lot to be cautious of...a lot of research shows that antidepressants don't even work. PLACEBO!!! I don't mean to rant, I really don't. Just trust yourself...and maybe find a good therapist!

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrachelgab

Looks like you're in good company,Monica. Depression seems to be normal, coming like the tides, often with various preciptating factors, many in combination. I will never forget when I moved to the Rockies...I was 27, two miles up where the air was thin, another raging PMS, during the full moon, freezing cold with the wrong clothes, no car, no job,no money, in an apt with another couple, a neglectful H, and a bottle of Brandy. I thought.. I was gonna...die
( Roseanne Roseannadanna) but it was the Layered effect. Not good. So I guess you explained how when you are down, it comes and goes and you just go with it. I do the same thing. Let myself alone, and then take myself out to the diner or just drive somewhere. Shop. Try not to spend too much. Other times I write epic poems or missives on people's blogs. I guess at whatever age you get used to your patterns, and along the way learn what works for you etc. Sometimes we just need a shoulder to lean on, a safe place to be, music, comfort food, a tub, a walk or whatever, prayer, and trust that it will not last and that days are going to come. Girlfriends are the best therapy. Commonality is a good thing and you have this great outlet here with people who genuinely care about you because you are so wonderfully transparent and funny etc. and those kids!

We can relate and you can see that you are not alone. As for the meds, I don't know. You'd have to talk to a psychologist who can help you sort out what's going on and can give you some feedback. I learned techniques to deal with my anxiety, however recently I had a doctor prescribe Paxil. I did not take it since I had a good reason to be depressed at the time and got over it on my own. While meds can reduce emotional peaks and valleys, you have to commit to them and take them before you go to bed like clockwork. That's fine if it works for you. My sisters on Zoloft and says it should be in the water, with all the chemicals we take in our bodies.

With my ex, we would fight like banshees, getting nowhere, over stupid stuff, and I would wake up miserable and wiped out mentally, physically and emotionally, and it would take days to shake the aftermath. We never developed understanding of each other and what could have been great had we communicated about our issues, never happened. I recommend " 7 things he'll never tell you- but you need to know" by Kevin Lehman. It's a good one. I am happy to say that it's all true, and works wonders when you get the way they are. same thing when men understand what women really want and need. It's in the book...
Chin up! :) You are funny and I love ya.

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergina

If you want something to be depressed about why not think about what it would be like to not have a husband or two beautiful children and to want that desperately. What it would be like to genuinely have absolutely no reason to get out of bed in the morning.

That might put your shit into perspective.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Other Side

The cold-turkey stop thing is never a good idea, with any medication that is supposed to help your brain. If you feel like you may need help, why not go talk to a counselor, a doctor and if you try the meds.... and they are not helping you...wean yourself off. All that matters is that you are okay, and more happy than not? That being said, you have soooo much going on, even if it is good change, change is always stressful- and maybe you need something to get you through- whatever that may be. Good luck, we are all "here" for ya!

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCasey in Boise

I think this post, and these comments, are as much for the rest of us as they are for you. I haven't read the comments yet, and I want to, but if I do, I'll lose my train of thought and not be able to comment.

Here's me. A perfect marriage is bullshit. Frankly, I don't believe it. Personally, we've had one year that I call our "bad time" The times before and after weren't peaches either though. Our hard time happened a couple of years into our marriage. For us, it happened when our "earning potential" became uneven. See, when we met, we were earning about the same (peanuts). But I had a college degree and some savings. Five years into it, husband got a REALLY amazing job offer. We took it, but I was first unemployed, then lowly employed. It didn't break us, but is certainly did shift the balance of financial security in our household. And that was a rough year.

Opinion: Your hormones are shit crazy right now. At 3, 5, and 9 months I was so all over the place hormone wise. This is not to say you don't need meds, but I don't know how the hell anyone would have been able to tell with me, I was so different every day. (And while men don't have the same hormones we do, they can also get some mood changes with baby....)
And rough patches happen. And marriage is hard as all get out. At least real marriages are. And there is no power in this world comparable to post partum feelings and hormones. It is outstanding. Back to marriages--when you think about it, it is nuts to think that two people, raised in such different circumstances, could live in sync. But fairy tales are a myth. Happily doesn't mean fairy-tale. But I do think that marriages are worth the time and effort it takes to fix. But Thank you for saying out loud that being married is hard. Because it is. Hard work.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphancy

Oh yeah, the zaps from getting off the drugs are crazy disorienting,I still have them, from time to time) 2+ years later. And I am going through a giant, though sort of subtle most of the time, battle with PPD. I seem to think it can be worse with kid #2, but I only have one 19 month old. My husband has suggested meds many times and I am just not into it. I do want to get into see a therapist for the PPD but have yet to make it happen.
Marriage is really hard. Change is really hard. I guess I just have a feeling once you get tucked into PA and the dust settles, you will have a different perspective. Totally not trying to minimize the chemical/physiological thing to depression but I bet you're really anxious about the move and that would strain any marriage. Also, having a 3 month old baby is intense. Right now most of your life (well, my life and I imagine your life) is about taking care of others and sacrifice. Yes, its a giant blessing but its still a ton of work and HARD. Doing a shitty job is hard, doing it well is HARD. I think its kind of supposed to be like this right now and it will likely get a whole lot better-- when everything isn't new and unknown and there's more of a rhythm to your day. The unpredictability of a new born-- totally challenging. You're so not alone.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterurbangoddessmamma

cc, just read your post. And I adored the "It gets better" campaign for many reasons. But one was certainly that when my one year old threw a tantrum, or my partner and I were exhausted and grumpy, I just repeated, over and over "It gets better"

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphancy

Just came across this in a book about breastfeeding and thought I'd chime back in to mention that studies have shown that PPD is more common with second babies than with first ones. Kinda makes sense when you factor in how much more work it is to have two kiddos than one!

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

Monica, my husband and I met 11 years ago and we had 5 really good years. We were students and had a bunch of time. Moving to a different town when my husband found his first fulltime job, buying an apartment, working fulltime myself, getting married and having two miscarriages... changed things. So four years ago I started feeling bad. Sad, numb, hopeless. I worked too much, because work was a perfect distraction. Two years ago I decided to leave my husband, after I met another man, who in some way helped me feel alive again. I had two or three relatively good months back then and then my world collapsed. I was unable to go on. I wasn't able to work, I couldn't sleep, I didn't want to live. Anti-depressants and therapy as well as a regular workout at the gym helped after some time. And after a year of seperation, my husband, who had moved to his hometown after I had left him, and I decided to give our relationship a second chance. In the meantime I had lost my job due to my depression and so I moved to a new place in my husband's hometown. We started all over again. He was willing to forgive and forget the other man. We focused on the love we had once felt. And the feelings did come back. It's almost a year ago, now. I don't regret having started all over with him again. I found a new job, still work too much. I quit the medication 3 months ago. I feel okay on most days. Sometimes I am happy. I love my husband and I know he loves me, too.
- Please excuse any mistakes. I am from Germany.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGabi

Monica, let's look at your life in the last few months:

you had a baby (huge!)
you quit your job (huge!)
you decided to move across the country, with two small kids in tow and nothing really settled as to jobs, insurance, etc (HUGE!)

Um, I'd say these things were enough to strain even the best marriage - not to mention that your hormones are still settling in (you're still nursing, too! Extra hormones).

Give yourself a break. I think you're one of the lucky ones in that you have a husband who does understand depression.

I'm like you - I've been on meds and off and I try to just power through. What you do have to do is talk. Write (privately, I mean, in a journal) Get your fears and worries and whatnot out. Then, if it persists, let modern medicine help you through the rough patch.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCetta

Great post Monica and this is really how I feel most of the time.

When things are good they are good, but when things are not so good I always struggle with well maybe if I was on some kind of medications things would not be so bad. But the fact is kids/marriage it's all work and hard work!

I was on medications (on and off again for 10 years) and one day I said enough is enough and stopped cold turkey too. While I do have bad days I know that these too shall pass and look forward to the good days.

One of the hardest things we (well I) struggle with is the fact I have this abandoment issues and always feel that one day Dominic will up and walk out because this is to much for him....I mean really taking on me and three kids would be hard for any guy let alone a guy who has never really setled down before. But we struggle through it and I am sure it only makes us stronger in the end.

I will tell you that you are not alone in this....there are so many woman that are out here having ALL the same issues as you and all the same feelings. I do love when you share yours because it not only make me feel better about things in my life (and I am sure so many others think that too) but that we are all human and we all have the same struggles!

Hang in there Monica!

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShelly

I work in the field of psychology and you sound like a very good candidate for some cognitive behavioural therapy or deep therapy. You're right, many people are overmedicated and a lot of people get the 'blues' when they are experiencing change in their life and just need some perspective, someone to listen to them, an outlet, etc. Sounds like you've been through a lot, not just lately but in your life in general. The side effects of being abused by a family member (your brother) or an abusive relationship do not just fade away alone. It's very hard for people to deal with these things without some input and guidance. Only you can decide if you would benefit from therapy, but I encourage it to most people I know and the ones who go are always surprised how helpful it is.
Good luck to you.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterevanderz

Dear The Other Side... fuck you and the internet troll you rode in on. Now go away.

Monica, I'm sorry that things feel so difficult right now. As many of your other commenters have said, much more eloquently than I can, there is a lot going on for you that introduces some hormonal or emotional obstacles that can feel quite difficult to overcome. This too shall pass, and you should do only what YOU are comfortable with as you try to tackle them. My husband and I have struggled mightily because marriage is hard and he faces depression too, but we are still here working through it. And honestly, the stuff you have shared about what you and Serge have been through over the years makes me feel much less alone in that. So thank you. I hope we, your readers, can return the favor now and then.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKeenie Beanie

Damn Monica - get out of my head! I could have posted this almost word for word. I am with you on the no-meds things as well and just like you I question my choice when the dark times get really dark. My husband and I struggle - how do you find time to work on a relationship when you have a preschooler and a baby? I just keep hoping that the positive times keep outweighing the negative ones and that we always find a way to remember how we felt when we fell in love in the first place. The fact we are still together gives me tremendous hope - we've been through 4 miscarriages, his company taking a huge hit in the recession, and my leaving a job I LOVED to be a SAHM primarily to deal with our severely speech delayed son. I know I love him and as much as we struggle and when I am feeling absolute darkness, I focus on that love and the love I have for my sons and remember there is hope and light and that "this too shall pass." And now I must go because said husband is out golfing and the boys are trying to kill each other.....this too shall pass!

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAM

Monica, you are so brave to write this post. I really, really, REALLY agree with Cetta's post above on how the crazy changes in your life could be affecting you and your stress level. It's ok to be down and stressed during this period. I felt stressed just reading about all your changes! Please give yourself permission to feel those feelings.

I also happen to agree that most people are over-medicated. I second the cognitive behavioral therapy suggestion. i went for some serious CBT for my anger management issues and I'm doing so much better now. The worst time in my marriage was when my anger was dominating my interactions with my husband and I actually had violent outbursts. It was really bad. I thought he wouldn't love me anymore but he did and I got help. Seriously, CBT teaches you that you aren't broken or bad. You just lack coping skills. I learned how to deal with stress, recognized my behavior patters and changed them. I still get angry but I can actually cope like a functional adult! Yay!

Also, perfect marriages are TOTAL FUCKING LIE. Marriage is a work in progress......filled with hard work. I'm not even sure I could have understood how much work went into it until I actually got into it. You guys sound like you are doing the hard work. I hope it pays off and you move into a better space. Thinking of you.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterK

Monica- my husband and I had our second child last July. Our older child was 2.5 when the second was born. Our 2.5 year old was sweet and fun, but still required alot of attention from us- at exactly the same time the baby needed attention. From August through this past April (mixed in some difficult work circumstances along with little sleep and endless responsibilities to others) I have felt like a shell of myself. I was rarely tearful- but often times irritable and pissed off. Now that my baby is almost 10 months old and sleeping through the night, and my work life is calming down, oh and it is springtime...I feel alot better. He and I are reconnecting slowly- getting intimate a bit more, helping each other more, and basically just seeing each other for who we are more.
I did see a counselor in the beginning of the baby phase to make sure I wasn't descending into PPD. I stopped going because it was too difficult to schedule the appts. and arrange for childcare and etc. But I am glad I went for the appts. I had.
With your upcoming move, a relationship with a counselor may be difficult to establish, but it may make all of the difference in getting through yet another heavy life change.
I am glad you reach out for help in your blog- normalizing life's difficulties for yourself and the rest of us.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAli

Gurrrrrrrl, being married IS hard - and I don't even have kids. But I did start graduate school this year, and it has been the hardest thing ever. My anxiety has skyrocketed, leaving my husband wondering who he married. And I know it must be hard on him, but it doesn't exactly make it easier to know that, if you know what I mean. Because then I'm anxious about all my work PLUS knowing that he wishes I was different. And sometimes I just want to scream, I wish I was different, too!!! There are moments where I just feel so isolated - where I feel like he just doesn't get it. Like I am not getting the support I need to be sane. But then there are moments like right now, where I am typing on your blog (instead of doing homework!!) and he's vacuuming the bedroom, unasked and stepping it up.
From my VERY limited experience, I think it just takes HEAPS of communication. And good communication, too. I was really relieved to learn this year that in all the psychological marriage research that's been done, they've found that "happy" couples and "unhappy" couples fight the exact same amount! It's not the fighting that will damn a relationship, but HOW we fight, and how we can come back together.
I think I really agree with your sentiments about brain drugs - for some people they save lives. For some people they are absolutely necessary to get your brain to the place where you can think straight to then get off them and figure out what you need. But so little is known about how they really affect the brain, and obviously so many people have such crazy side effects or withdrawal issues. Scares the shit out of me. But please, take care of yourself. If you don't want to be medicated, make sure you are taking care of yourself. I know this is a crazy time in your life, with the job transition and impending move, but make sure you have the support you need to get you through. None of us can do this alone, and I guess that's what you're doing now - reaching out to us. Please know there are other things you can do to feel a little better - not to get all hippy dippy on you, but there are some really good herbal remedies that have really helped me not feel quite so at the end of my rope, and they're so much more gentle than Rx madness.... Let me know if you're interested and I can get you more info, but I don't want to be spouting unsolicited advice :) I hope you know you're loved, and not alone!

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

Marriage can be complicated, but I think LIFE in general is sometimes just plain hard.

You'll get through this tough time. And don't forget, sometimes its OK just to feel shitty or down or whatever. You've got a full plate. Even though you're not working outside the home, you're still working; writing every day. That's work. Plus you're getting ready for a cross country move -- a new, or different lifestyle. You're also operating on less sleep.

About medication? Only you can decide if you need to be medicated or not. I get the impression tho that this is just a ruff patch and it's probably not just about your marriage, but a lot of change going on right now in your life.

You're a smart woman and a good Mom. Try not to over think things and be too hard on yourself.

Good luck.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDona

I already commented but here's a little more info on what I meant about abuse sticking around.

Good luck to you.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterevanderz

Good responses ! I was just like you. Two kiddies (14 mos apart) and I too, quit my job to be a SAHM. For the most part, I loved it, but my husband drove me c-r-a-z-y! Not sure if it was hormones or resentment that I had to do everything and he only had to work (!). At least he got to leave for an hour a day and have lunch with real people, right??? I was miserable and I'm sure he was too. I became a control freak and he couldn't do anything right. Then when he did step up to do things, I'd feel guilty because I'm the mom, I should be doing those things. No win situation.

I want you to know it gets SO much better the older the kids get. Truly. School changes everything. I can just bet you will meet other moms and YOU will make new friends as Violet and Henry choose their friends.

and keep doing your exercise! One summer, I was training for a breast cancer walk w/ a group of women and I was never healthier, emotionally or physically. We'd walk and talk, it was life changing free therapy for all of us. All I want you to know is, you can do this, it gets soooo much better. Hang in there, it is worth it.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCMW

Monica, You are so talented, introspective, witty, candid, adventurous and strong. You said it, "I get a standard case of the blues every now and again and then I snap out of it"' You know yourself best. I don't think you need medication or therapy. You just need some balance. Right now motherhood is extremely demanding with two young children and one nursing. You just quit your job and you are moving across the country....that's enough to freak anyone out. You need to get back into your car and time-travel through that small hole in the universe and take yourself back to an earlier day when it was just about you. What is that song you like? Give yourself a big break. Get your best girl-friend. Have a tequilla. Fall off a bar-stool. Have a good giggle. You need some "me" time. And as for marriage, they all have rough patches. I am older than you. My children are older than yours. I have been married longer than you. Some days I can't stand to look at my husband. But most days, I can't imagine my life without him. Marriage is not easy. It's challenging and complex and rewarding and fulfilling. It doesn't come easy. You and Serge are some of the really lucky ones....not all of us have a story like yours. You knew what you wanted and needed then. And you do now, too. You will make the right decision for you. And you will be just fine. I live in Philly. You will love it here in PA. And think, your in-laws can keep the kids while you and Serge escape to NYC for a long weekend. That's really what you both need.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen

hardest time in our marriage was definitely first year post-baby. depressed (me), sleep-deprived (both of us). i would lash out and cry at the drop of a hat. my husband is quiet and gentle, and would shut down in the most wounded way. it was hell. i went for therapy and considered meds, but decided with therapist to focus on getting sleep. that and talk therapy helped.

the hardest parts of our relationship have been all the milestones: moving in together, planning our wedding, buying our first home, the baby. funny how that which cements the relationship feels like it threatens to tear it apart.

i feel for you knowing you're going through it all...the move, quitting the job, toddler & new baby, whatever is making you feel down in your marriage and in general. so much.

i remember one girlfriend said once about her marriage "we really were hating each other for a little bit there", and in my judgemental pre-child glory days, thinking HOW TERRIBLE to say that and feel that about your marriage. and then after having my baby thinking, oh. I totally get it.

another girlfriend who had her first at the same time as me, and was going through those hard marriage times along with me said, "my goal is to get through this time with my marriage intact." i would think about that when i could feel the frustration just rising up inside me. it would help me watch my mouth.

we had such a rough ride that we have agreed we're done with one. we love love love our kid, but do not want to go through it again. especially when it feels like we're just reconnecting again now.

that's part of marriage i think...drifting apart, not liking each other very much now and then, coming back together, feeling so grateful to be in each others' lives, and every feeling in between. and sticking with it.

my mantra now is: it's just a phase! this helps me with any crazy-making situation or behaviour - kid, husband, life, whatever. it's a phase. a new one is on the way.

you have a wild ride ahead with the move, changing family dynamics etc. but it's a phase. BEST WISHES for all of it.

p.s. I miss hearing from Serge on Thunder Pie.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteralexandra

The last commenter reminded me of something- SLEEP. After our first kid, and the sleep deprived fog and constant arguments over everything and nothing, my husband and I vowed it would be different after the second. So in the evenings we would eat dinner, do baths, and then EVERYBODY (even Mommy and Daddy) in bed by 8pm. That way we'd get a couple hours of sleep before we were up and down with the toddler and for nursing/diaper changing with the infant. My husband remarked that it felt like all he did was wake up, go to work, come home, sleep, and repeat. We felt like we had no life, but at least we felt calm, cool, and collected during the waking hours. It really got us through that first 9 months or so. Heck I think maybe we should try it again now!!!
My husband says that he now understand why they use sleep deprivation as a torture tactic.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCC

hi monica,
i don't have many comments about the marriage thing because my husband and i have only been married for 3 years and thus far things have been relatively easy and mostly we just fly by the seat of our pants so yeah, not much to say there.
regarding the antidepressants: my brother had a really terrible bout of depression almost 3 years ago, which he covered up really well and noone really notices, until he attempted suicide and was miraculously saved by a friend who went by the house. after that episode, he started seeing a shrink and was put on medication for about a year and a half. he tried different things, not everything seemed to work and for a while, it was a bit of a rollercoaster but, eventually, things started working out. he stayed on therapy and medication for about a year and a half, and then slowly weaned himself off the meds. he's been fine ever since, met a wonderful girl and is a happy man today.
what i wanted to say is that medication doesn't have to be forever. you don't have to be medicated for the rest of your life, and become one of those "overmedicated people". it can be a pick me up for when the blues hit a bit too hard. depression comes with a sort of tunnel vision and this idea that things never will be well again, and it doesn't have to be that way. you can try medication for a few months and see how it goes. it's not all or nothing, is what i mean. it doesn't have to be a matter or principle. it can be a bit more relaxed than that.
i wish you the best.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteranother monica

sorry, that was meant to be "almost 10 years ago", not 3

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteranother monica

I can't add to any of the advice above. But wanted to say "hang in there", it will get better. I always love reading your posts on babble and want to say that you are such a gifted communicator. Because of that skill, I am sure you will work your way out of this.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHelen Palmer

Girl, we need to hang out and drink wine.

I'm taking Zoloft right now. Well, not this very minute,....I started it 2 years ago for PPD. It was very bad. I had given birth to twins and ended up in the hospital for 8 days for a major complication that led to not being able to breast feed and arriving home with the babies the same day as my evil mil and her NEW PUPPY. Yes, she brought her new puppy to my house to meet the twins. And she let it piss in my guest room.

But I digress....

So, it took me 7 months to see a doctor because I wanted to be medicine free. I had been on meds before, and like you said, it is hard to stop. I hate that. So, I instead chose not to enjoy the first 7 months of my kids' lives. Um, not my favorite story.

So, I would go see a psychologist. You can always say no to meds if they suggest it. Maybe just talking about it will clear your head. But you do sound like you need to work on it. I also agree with exercise--which for a new mom might just mean getting around the block at least once a day. Being home all day was part of my trouble too. It ain't easy sister.

For the marriage stuff, I feel that too. Just about to go try and have a grown-up talk with my husband to clear the air. Communication is our toughest thing. I'm a right now! kind of fighter, and he's very passive. Did I mention my mil is crazy? She made him a little tense around feelings.

Anyway, glad you are here to write and share. Glad to know I'm not alone. Hope you know you aren't either.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRosstwinmom

I lost my mother in February, 2011. Found out I was pregnant with TWINS a couple weeks later. Unplanned. Complicated and 9 weeks early. 9 days before 9/11. One day we were driving to the NICU and I was really sad and crying about something and he said, "It's time to get over your mother dying."

He's really not a total asshole. But that was a total asshole thing to say. That year that followed was the hardest, most ridiculous time I could ever imagine for myself... I was dying inside and I was left with two screaming babies and it was awful. Our marriage was so strained and every day was like a marathon. I pulled through it without medication and I probably could have used it, but damn... I was stubborn and didn't want to be among the medicated masses. One day, things were better. My husband denies ever saying that, btw. *sigh*

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDayna

This sounds familiar....

Often when I get a spell of depression I blame my relationship. It's a crazy expectation we have of love that we expect it to stay seeming wonderful and perfect when we're looking at absolutely everything else with negative eyes. Or the way we expect love to 'fix' everything. It's only when I get better that I realise I was projecting and looking for somewhere to lay the blame for the way I felt. I agree that people are medicated too often and too easily, but what you're describing sounds like postpartum depression to me, made even more likely by the fact that you are prone to the blues. I know you're wary of Serge-the-potential-Zoloft-evangelist, but isn't it possible that he was right when he noticed your improvement on medication? Maybe your experience has been tainted by the ensuing withdrawal. Well, let me tell you, nobody should ever, ever go off meds cold turkey. It's a terrible idea. I know the thought is scary, but the body will always react when it's suddenly deprived of something it's not used to. For example, if I don't have my daily morning coffee I get a terrible headache in the afternoon. I weaned off depression medication slowly and it was a wonderful experience. It can be a temporary measure to get you out of the worst of the slump, from which you can start to manage better. You don't have to be medicated for life. I was severely depressed, went on meds for less than a year to enable me to climb out of the worst of it, and then I weaned off, got my food intolerances tested, changed my diet a bit, and started taking various supplements. I feel so much better now. There can be a period of denial before getting help where you feel weak, or ungrateful, or even subconsciously want to stay miserable because somehow you think you deserve it. It's only when you start getting help and feel better that you realise how skewed that thinking was, and how abnormal it was to feel so bad. It sounds awfully trite - but you deserve to feel happy. I'd be inclined to consider external factors once I'd sorted out my negative thoughts and begun to feel better. It's not normal to feel 'numb' all the time. Best of luck Monica. x

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRose

Wow, how terrifyingly I identify with this post and with so many of the comments--and my big soul-killing transition hasn't even happened yet. In the next 2 months I have to: finish my thesis, come up with $7000 we don't have to pay vampire university to get degree; pack up our crammed to ceiling apartment and pay movers ($ we don't have) to move our stuff from our big-city home for 7 years where we met to a dinky small frozen city synonymous with depression and decay--because my husband got a job there, at which he will be working 1/3 the hours I am and making 3x the money, no joke. We're moving to this godforsaken place for *his* job, and yet he doesn't even actually have to go in every day till January. Creeping resentment warning, much?!!

Before we get there I also have to quit the ADD meds I've been on for almost 10 years (FUN); plan and execute a 3 week trip to the developing world for a bunch of people for my work; go on the trip and come back - homeless! - and defend my thesis! in a city where I will no longer live!; move in to new place; and fly to my hometown and then to NYC for 2 required weddings in different cities the same weekend--which we both have to go to, together, because it'll be the weekend I'm ovulating and that's when we're supposed to start trying to conceive our 1st child. And if I'm not pregnant in 3 cycles we have to stop trying until the year after next, because my ad hoc job doesn't have any leave.

So everything after that, I'm thinking with happen either in a fog of nausea and discomfort, or in a depressive rage that I'm stuck in this shitty place without being able to have a baby: while getting pregnant, I'll be working 3x more hours than ever before, in an area that is NOT MY SPECIALIZATION.

I have to teach a 9 am class - am I going to puke every morning in front of my students? I've never even known anyone who was from, or lived in, the city we're moving to, except for the people who rejected me for a job there.

I'm so furious at gender and at the sick priorities of this country (if I get pregnant, we're gonna be without any health coverage for most of my first trimester because there's a 42 day waiting period before the plans kick in at our new jobs--wtf??). If HE could have the baby, we'd be golden; he gets 6 months' leave in his first 2 years! But he's in a mostly male field and I'm in a mostly female field -- sometimes I swear it feels like the job situation for people in my field is tailor-made to send the message that YOUR WORK IS NOT WORTH DOING, YOU DON'T DESERVE TO HAVE A JOB, AND WE WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE SO HARD THAT YOU WILL DECIDE THIS, TOO.

Being married IS hard, and earning a living is hard. Having a kid -- how hard that is (let alone with 2) I know I actually can't comprehend. I do know I'm in for the coldest, loneliest, scariest, most uncomfortable time of my life, staggering around puking in the snow. Reading all that End of the World stuff, HELL YEAH I was like, "what a relief." I am so exhausted thinking of the future, you bet there's a little part of me that's like wow, yeah, DYING might be worth it not to have to do all that. But then I get really worried about myself--cause the only times I've been really badly depressed in the past, like don't-remember-whole-years depressed, tended to start with that feeling, that it would just be so much easier if it would all end. It's not a suicide ideation at all--it's a wish for exactly what these nutjobs were expecting, an involuntary end to everything. I guess I just have to watch it, and not hesitate to get my butt to a counselor--couples and solo--in the new city. If our insurance covers it.

Thinking of all the strong women and smart, grown-up marriages and steadfast, caring men on this comment thread who've made it through a LOT worse will definitely be some small comfort in the months to come.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermsmsg

Monica I have what I consider an amazing marriage. That's now. We've been separated and planning one divorcing once, and other time he moved out for a few months. Main reason? His bipolar. Hands down hardest thing our marriage has had to weather, and there were absolutely times I thought we wouldn't make it. But we kept fighting for each other and our shared history and our children, and through the right doctors, medications, therapy, and small daily miracles (i looked for the best of him when it was so much easier to talk about the worst, he forgave me for things he could have ripped me a new one for) and our insistence on the connection of sex, we stayed the course, and today have an incredible and happy marriage. Howz that for honesty? Plus I have Ever, five months old, and we have three other kids, and I TOTALLY hear you on the after baby blues. Hang in there. You are not alone.

I've done many a blog post on the raw gut truths of my marriage. If it makes you feel better you can read them. Reading others stories always helps me, almost more than anything else.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermaggie may

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