18 November 2008


If asked to give a visual of my emotional state today, I'd go with festering open sore. Who wants to come hang out with me! Don't I sound like lots of fun? 

We had a good evening followed by a rough night last night.* I'd just drifted off to sleep when I awoke with a start to Maddie screaming. I dashed in to her room; she sounded terrified. She was thrashing around in her crib. I reached in to pick her up.

"NO! NO MAMA TOUCH ME!" she screeched.
"Maddie, I want to help you!" I wailed, hurt, scared, and confused.
"Do what?" I thought, and then figured out that she probably wasn't fully awake. I tried to give her some water, her binky, her duck, her blankie. She just thrashed and wailed.
"What's wrong, Mads? How can I help you? What do you need?"
Thrash. Scream. "NO MAMA!"
"MADDIE! I WANT TO HELP YOU!" I yelled, the guilt for yelling kicking in as the words came out of my mouth.

Of course, my payback is that between Maddie's screaming and my yelling, we woke up Riley. Who began to wail.

So I began to sing "Twinkle, Twinkle." Riley calmed down. Maddie continued to freak out. I finally pulled her out of her crib despite her protests and did the newborn-baby sway with her while I sang "Twinkle" on endless loop. She finally stopped crying, but she never really wanted me to hold her, and eventually demanded that I put her back to bed. Which I did. And I kissed her, and kissed Riley, and sang one more round of our favorite song about a star, and then I went to bed and cried and felt awful. Was she having a night terror? Was she aware of what was going on? Was she actually afraid of me or mad at me? Every time I'd yelled at her flashed through my mind, every time I'd been less than kind.

I finally drifted off to sleep, but woke up to Riley crying at 4:45 a.m. I went and and settled him easily with more singing and a kiss, and left the room hopeful that he'd sleep a bit more. No dice. The kid was up for the day. At 4:45. At least he was happy to chat with himself until 5:30. When he woke up Maddie. They proceeded to antagonize each other while I got my shower and finally got them out of bed, figuring that any more sleep for us was a lost cause.

Needless to say, I was not in the best of moods during our morning time. I tried, I really did. And some of the time, I succeeded. Some of the time, I failed. I raised my voice a few times.  I get so tired of doing the dance of yelling, feeling guilty, apologizing, and repeating it all. It's such a trap.

The incident with Maddie scared me. I keep telling myself she was not really awake. But was she? Is she scared of me? Have I yelled that much? I don't think so, but where did that reaction come from? I carry so much anger around all the time—I'm still working on healthy ways to get that out—and Maddie is so sensitive. Maybe she feels that anger even when it's bottled up inside me? Or maybe I'm just overanalyzing the whole situation. 

I yelled at a lot of cars on the way to work, just to get out some of the negativity that I could feel festering inside me. When I got to work, there was a woman walking into my building holding a baby that looked just like John. I would guess that the boy was around 15 months old. He looked over his mom's shoulder at me with these wise, dark eyes, and I started to cry. I had to go into the first-floor bathroom to pull myself together before I walked up the two flights of stairs to my office. 

Emotions are just oozing out of me today. Any opening they see, they take. I feel edgy, angry, sad. I want to go scoop up Maddie and Riley, bake cookies with them, read them stories, hold them close and keep them warm. I want them to feel the love I have for them, not the anger I have about things in my life that have nothing to do with them. I want to stop beating myself up emotionally and taking things out on my kids. My frustrations about my work and the holidays, not to mention my ongoing grief process, have nothing to do with the kids. I want to work on keeping the parenting issues and those other issues separate, even if to do so is a somewhat artificial construct.

I've written in the past about being resistant to taking an antidepressant. I still am. I hate to ask for any kind of help, and taking medication falls into that category for me. But as I muddle through things and as I read blogs of people who struggle with depression, I sometimes wonder if I've got more than some passing sadness. I know that taking an antidepressant doesn't suddenly make the heavens open and angels sing, but my understanding is that the right medication at the right dose can help make day-to-day difficulties a little easier to manage. Is that right? What am I so afraid of? I've known people who are afraid to be happy. I don't think that's me. But maybe there is a bit of me that's just a little afraid of being really, truly, fully happy without John. It's crazy, I know it is, but it's possible.

Totally unrelated, but on happy note: Riley decided that he wanted to wear underwear today! I offer every morning, and every morning he chooses his beloved "diapey." But today he chose undies. He looked so freakin' cute in his Gymboree football briefs! It was seriously cute overload. And he was dry from when I put them on at 7:30 until I dropped him off at daycare at 9:00. I foresee a lot of accidents and changes of clothes in our future before this job is done, but that's OK. I'm just so proud of him for wanting to try it out. Riley takes a long time to come around to new things, so just being willing to put the underwear on is a huge step for him. Go, Ri-Man!

*My Favorite Anon(tm): Get ready to have a heyday with this story. I can't wait to see what kind of juicy pop-psychoanalysis and idle threats you have after reading this. Bring it on!


Cobblestone said...

Every minute you try to be the best mom that you can be. I believe Maddie was asleep, and I have no doubt that your kids know that on a fundemental level you love them like crazy.

Cari said...

I have a lot of really clear memories of being that age, and sometimes bad dreams were so scary and confusing that I did just want to be left alone to deal. I don't know for sure, but I'd bet that Maddie's reaction wasn't a reflection on you.

On another note, I've been taking an antidepressant for about 18 months now and it's helped a LOT. I can get through my day and not feel so much desperation. I had to try a few different ones before I found one without side effects but everyone is different. I suffered for SO LONG before taking something and I regret all that time I suffered, that I can't get back.

s_ivan said...

ughhh - sounds rough.

first, yes - I think it was a night terror and has absolutely nothing to do with your parenting or firmness. I've heard a lot of stories about night terrors from Marnie and others and this sounds just like what it is. The reading I've done indicates Maddie's at a common age for experiencing them. I'm happy to talk to you further about what I know.

second - you're exhausted! of course you're feeling overwhelmed and second guessing yourself and wondering what you can do to be a better parent. I suggest you think about these weighty issues when you are well rested (when's THAT? right?). Big decisions and reasoning are not ideal activities on so little sleep.

Good luck - I'm feeling for you today!

Lisa said...

Deciding to go ahead and take an anti-depressant can be difficult, but it was one of the best decisions I ever made for myself. It brought me around to feeling like myself again, nothing more, nothing less. And that was a very good thing. You might try it just to see--you don't have to do it forever.

Cair said...

Wow Snick, not a fun night.

Your description of Maddie's screaming sounds a lot like a night terror. My daughter had them a lot when she was younger and they were terrible for me - and terrible for her while they were happening, but she didn't seem to remember them later on. Especially your description of her not wanting you, even though to your eyes she definitely needed comforting. I used to worry that the neighbors would here her screaming "NO MOM" in the middle of the night and call DCFS.

You might want to look in your baby care book because there is sure to be info there. There is not much you can do for a night terror except to keep the child safe. Cuddling, taking them outside in the cold, putting them in the shower, NOTHING works, trust me, I tried them all. Fortunately nothing makes them worse either. There is no medical issue with them, just "some kids get them." Or at least that was the story 10 years ago. There are usually triggers that precipitate them, for my dau they were being over tired, her schedule was messed u, or she had been put in a stressful situation (places or people - even if very nice, differed was the stressor).

I hope you can find some way to treat yourself to some calming thing for you today. I'm sending peaceful thoughts your way.

Watercolor said...

Hugs hun.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for a long time and am amazed by your strength and i see myself in you in that we both tend to beat on ourselves for letting our emotions out on our kids - I too was very resistant to medication for a LONG TIME because I thought i should be able to take care of my issues on my own, naturally - but I started a very low dose antidepressant about 9 months ago and while it is not a miracle cure, it does help take the edge off; i find that i yell less, explode less, beat on myself less... it's worth a try

What A Card said...

Oh, that's a hard night. Big hugs to you :(

Not that it's one lick of a cheer up, but I left you an award on my blog...even better, I don't even want you to feel like you need to post it on your blog...just want you to know how much I enjoy your blog!

And I agree it sounds like a night terror. One of my kids had one, just once, and it was so frightening--for me!

moo said...

It really does sound like a night terror ... she appeared awake but wasn't and probably has no memory of the episode at all.

we all do the best that we can as parents, whether we are alone or not. We all make mistakes and feel guilt for slights real and imagined.

And things are always worse at 4 am.

You're doing great.

Denise said...

Regarding your depression - you're only, what, a year and a half into your life without John? It takes SO LONG for that depression to go away. At least it did for me when I lost my Mom. I was in the same cycle you're in now, and didn't fully come out of it for a good 3 years. Seriously, I didn't even realize what my problem was until it had been 2 1/2 years. But once I finally hit the acceptance stage of the grief cycle, I started having less and less depressed days.

All of which to say, give yourself some time. It may feel like it's been long enough for the grief to be over, but obviously you're still going through it. It will turn around eventually.

amber said...

ugh. what a night.

i'm gonna go with the consensus and say that it was probably a night terror. i'd really doubt it has anything to do with the range of emotions you're carrying around and still trying to sort out.

hope tonight is a little less crazy. {{hugs}}

Anastasia L said...

Please do at least consider antidepressents. What you describe sounds a lot like what my mom went through when my sister and I were young children, and I know she wishes dearly she'd started treatment sooner in our lives. I'm medicated myself, and it doesn't fix everything or make you happy-happy all the time - it just corrects a mucked-up basline. You may only need it for a little while until your brain gets back to normal by itself; everyone's different. And you know, it just doesn't hurt to try!

MCM Mama said...

Please don't blame yourself. My 7 year old still sometimes has night terrors where he yells and screams and hits me. It has nothing to do with my parenting (and trust me, I definitely have my bad moments!)

Exhaustion makes it all seem worse. When my oldest was a baby, he didn't sleep. Ever. I was so sleep deprived, I probably wasn't safe to drive a car. I spent a lot of time crying, even after I got the worst of my depression issues under control. I just couldn't cope with anything. I lost my temper ALL THE TIME! I'll hope everything looks a little brighter for you after a good night's sleep!

Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

Sounds like a rough night all around. I have a feeling that Maddie probably doesn't remember a thing since it really does seem like a night terror. I hope they are few and far between for all of you.

About the anti-depressants, I was resistant to taking them for a very long time post-Peace Corps even though my therapist thought I was a "good candidate." I ultimately tried four or so different drugs but I never felt like my true self on any of them. I lasted a couple of months on one but that was it. Talk therapy and homeopathy are the things I have found to be the most helpful for me.

Good luck with whatever you decide!

Anonymous said...

So sorry that things are not going well for you.

Haven't had to deal with the night terrors yet, but have taken an antidepressant. I resisted for a long time, figuring I should just be able to suck it up and handle things, but always felt like I was drowning, and the littlest things would throw me off.

My OB put me on a low dose prescription for a few months and it was like a cloud lifted. None of my responsibilities went away, but I was better equipped to handle things and not get so overwhelmed as easily.

The hardest part was accepting the fact that sometimes I can't do everyone on my own and might need a little help. I was embarassed when I first went to fill the prescription but now realize that asking for help doesn't make me weak, just human.

Good luck! Michelle H.

Karen said...

I agree, night terror. My younger daughter had them and they are freaky. I too would hold her and sing and sway, and although it didn't make a difference to her, it helped me feel better to think I was doing something.

On anti-depressants....when I was in the midst of our IVF struggles I was seeing a therapist. I felt very sad and distracted and asked her if she thought an SSRI was warranted. She did not. She thought that I was appropriately sad.

Looking back, I believe that I was clinically depressed, and that I caused damage to my brain (thought process, ability to concentrate) that lasted a loooooong time. SSRIs can abbreviate or prevent that kind of damage, and to me, that is the most important reason to take them. Talk to your therapist about it.

I wonder if your emotional issues the past few days have to do with the thrill of Mr. Coffee being somewhat tempered by the time you've had together? Is that distraction gone?

Anonymous said...

I've never commented before, but the anti-depressants dilemma is something I would like to possibly help you with.

I too was very resistant to taking anti-depressants. I felt like I was a huge failure if I had to take a pill to make me happy. I was in a vicious cycle of being depressed and then being depressed about possibly taking a pill that might help me. People have so many misconceptions about anti-depressants. They feel you will become a zombie, living in a coma-like state, with absolutely no emotions what-so-ever. I admit, I thought these things too. It got to the point where I was crying every day. I would leave work and cry all the way home in the car. I would cry while I made dinner, I would cry when I brushed my teeth. I had no idea who I was anymore and nothing that I used to enjoy got me excited.

I finally went to my PCP and he asked me 10 questions. I answered yes to 8 of the 10 and he said that I was going through a depressive episode. He asked me what I knew about anti-depressants and I told him all of the things I'd heard. He said that the new meds have changed significantly since the days of people behaving like zombies. There are different types of meds and they affect people differently. Some people respond immediately, some people gain weight, some people don't see any changes in their mood, etc. He started me out on Lexapro because it had a good success rate, fewer side effects, and was one of the newer drugs. I responded immediately. I made it through the day without crying. I was able to talk to my boss without crying. People noticed an obvious change in my mood. I was happier and more like my old self. I went to the doctor a month later and he was amazed at how much better I looked. I didn't burst into tears when he walked into the examination room.

My advice is talk to your doctor. Talk to him about how you feel. Think about the commercials that you see on tv regarding depression. Do you relate to any of those people? Your dr can start you out on a small dose and you can monitor how you feel. Believe me, you will notice if there is a difference. Your doctor will probably recommend taking the drug for 6 months (that's what mine did) before you try and go it alone. Unfortunately I didn't make it very long without the meds and noticed that my moods were slipping so I started taking them again. To me, my happiness is more important than the incorrect stigma associated with having to take a "happy" pill every day.

I ended up changing to Cymbalta because of the weight gain associated with Lexapro, but it's working just as well. My doctor let me pick the drug and he started me at the lowest dose. I chose Cymbalta because I related to the commercials and I didn't want to go on any of the older drugs that have been in the news (Prozac, etc.). Some people respond well to the older drugs and it's not worth messing with their success, but I choose to take the newer drugs.

Whatever decision you choose to make is no ones business. You deserve to be happy. Good luck. -Suzy

Anonymous said...

Asking for help is, in my view, usually a good thing. Antidepressants, to me, fall into a slightly different category. Antidepressants can help, or hurt, depending on a lot of factors. No harm in talking to your doctor!

Thanks for the brave blog.

twangy said...

That sounds horrendous. You poor thing. Honestly, I am no expert, but surely if Maddie was frightened of you, you'd see it all the time, during the day?
I agree with s_ivan that you are exhausted and that makes it impossible to be rational or objective.
Better days are coming, I promise.

lbm said...

antidepressants/antianxiety meds, although i didn't consider or even actively resisted for a while, have made a difference for me. definitely no miracle drug--and wouldn't really want that, anyway--but it has definitely helped with coping, and being able to then talk through issues with therapists.

Becky said...

My brother used to have night terrors. He'd appear to be awake because his eyes were open, but he wouldn't be making any sense. Terror is irrational, so don't take Maddie's screaming personally (easier said than done, of course). I think that most people are reluctant to start using antidepressants, but it's a life-saver for millions and millions of people out there. It's probably worth asking your therapist whether she thinks you are a good candidate.

Anonymous said...

My daughter has had the same kind of episodes - usually around an illness, just like your house has been dealing with.

I find it best to just sit in a chair in the dark room, and talk softly to her the whole time. No touching, no lights, etc. Eventually I think my rambling whispers act like white noise, and she just passes back out.

No advice on the meds - still trying to work through that one myself...

Sarah said...

Just a thought, but I feel it's worth mentioning. The way you feel sounds exactly like how I felt on YAZ when I tried it out: angry, weepy, and out of control. I know you just started a new bc, so it might be related...? For me, going off the YAZ improved things 100%

Anonymous said...

I could have written this entry today, word for word. Except for the part about the grieving process. I am in a very similar place right now.

Victoria said...

Snick, this post touched me. I think as widowed parents we have all had our terrible moments. Moments that make us cringe and question whether or not we should have been left here to do this job on our own. The thing is--we shouldn't have been. You're still very much trying to deal with life in your 'new normal', and adding the stressful situation with Mr. Coffee, an illness for the twins, and everything else you have going on--of course you (and the kids) are going to suffer for that. Kids are like little sponges, they pick up on everything that you feel. This isn't totally a bad thing, because this means that they also pick up on the good emotions too. The thing with Maddie sounds like a classic night terror-but you've had a bunch of other people already tell you that.

I can't tell you whether or not you should take AD's. I've asked myself the same question, and I know for me that the sadness I feel is totally related to missing Ammon, and wouldn't go away if I took a pill every morning. Think about it--you finally started to get a handle on missing John, and doing things without him--and now you're trying to wrap your head around dating somebody else. It's going to take adjustments, not as extreme as losing John-but similiar. Give yourself some time to make these adjustments slowly (or quickly-whatever works for you).

My (long-winded) point is this--cut yourself some slack. Don't stress out about your poor daughter, she sounds fine and probably has NO recollection today about what happened last night. Take a deep breath, and when the going gets tough-look down at your sidewalk of life, and concentrate on the square you're standing on. Scenery (and all those other endless squares ahead) can come later. For now, maybe you need to just put your head down, your shoulders forward, and push on through. ((hugs)) to you, sweetie. I'll be thinking about you and wishing you stronger days ahead.

Keen said...

Aw, Snick, it made me so sad to read that you wondered if Maddie was afraid or angry at you. There's just no way.

My boys have both had similar nighttime incidents, on and off, and they both push me away violently, irrationally. Those episodes are always scary and emotionally exhausting, and in my experience, they finally just fizzle out no thanks to me or anything I do.

And I would LOVE to go hang out with you, even with the comparison to the festering open sore.

Lots of love to you.


Susan said...

Snick - the advice here sounds wonderful. Your too hard on yourself. Your kids know you love them.

Mijk said...

Mre and my daughter a year ago she was almost three then and wehad lots of this episodes. It hurts so much.. Here it started around the year mark of our dog dying. They were the best buddies in the world and one night after a screaming fit she got calm woke up and said to me: He didn't die I think he jsut left me alone. I'm still not sure wether she was grieving or it was just random..

Melissa said...

Hi Snick,
I've never commented here before, but I love your blog, and your story today just broke my heart a little.

First of all, I don't have kids, but I am sure that what everyone else is saying about Maddie having a night terror is true.

As for the anti-depressants, I want second everyone else who said to talk to your doctor, etc. But I also want to say that I suffer from bouts of depression, and I went through a period of my life where I was "raw", too. I was grieving and I couldn't get through a day without crying or being a bitch to someone. I started taking Wellbutrin, and it was the absolute best thing I could have done. It took away that raw feeling, but it didn't take away the grief. I still had to deal with that on my own, but I was able to do it because of the pills. They gave me some emotional space in which I could process my feelings, if that makes any sense.

Finally, don't think of asking for ADs as asking for help, think of it as helping yourself. I am so sorry that you have had to do so much for yourself, but you have done it beautifully, and this is one more thing that you can take care of. We all believe in you.

Single Parent Dad said...

Can't comment on happy pills, well I can, but it would be like a virgin talking about sex.

I think talking these through with a professional, and maybe not even a health professional, may be the best thing to do.

If you think it might help, and to coin a well know UK Bob Hoskins saying, it's good to talk.

Plus go Riley! Max was a reluctant knickers wearer too, but he now hates having dry night things on. Just not as much as he hates getting out of bed, and walking the 6 feet to his toilet.

LauraC said...

Maybe asking why you are afraid of taking anti-depressants is something you can talk about in therapy. I see medication as one more option in a vast toolbox of help options. You already ask and receive for help - through your friends, through your therapist, through your blog. I think it all comes down to what you are willing to try and what works for you.

But never doubt that you are an amazing parent.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry you had such a rough night in so many ways.

As a person who had situational depression, and was treated with medication, I have to say it's the best thing that I ever could have done. I was on Effexor XR for two years, then decided that I was ready to wean off the meds and be ok. I haven't had trouble since. I started on Zoloft and felt like I was detached and walking on clouds all day. When I switched to Effexor, it was like all of a sudden I could see colors again and things literally were brighter. After two weeks on Effexor, I remember walking outside and marveling that the leaves on the trees were so GREEN. It was marvelous to feel that way again.

If you decide to give it a try, please let yourself be willing to try a couple of different meds if the first one doesn't work. And remember that it will take at least a month on the right med to feel a difference.

I wish for you a good night's sleep, the clarity that comes with it, and bright green leaves.

Have a wonderful day,

Catherine said...

Thanks for your brave post. I'm so sorry you had such a tough night. You and the kiddos are in my thoughts today! I'm sending my wishes for a peaceful night's sleep for the whole family.

A said...

I wouldn't be afraid to try an antidepressant. The right one, can just help to take the "edge" off. I was on one for years and only weaned off of it when we decided to get pregnant. Honestly, for some people I think it can be a huge help and shouldn't be looked down upon when it eases us through the hard times.

kate said...

eh, that sounds like an awful night. I know a lot of people have commented about how antidepressants worked for them, which is great! I'm a firm believer that time heals. I'm not big on medicating myself in general(I only take ibuprofen, and an occasional antibiotic). If I was in your shoes, I'd be hesitant. I'd want to really experience the grieving cycle. I know that sounds awful and it definitely sucks to actually be experiencing it. What would happen if you did take them when you stopped? Would you suddenly feel like you were going through the grieving process again? I know some people say they don't feel like themselves when they're on them. That could easily be a case of the wrong prescription or dosage. I really don't know much about antidepressants, I just wanted you to see another perspective. I agree with others, its not something to decide when you're sleep deprived. Hoping you get some rest tonight!

Anonymous said...

My mom struggles with depression. She tried several different anti-depressants but couldn't deal with the side effects that made her feel ill or otherwise not like herself. What eventually worked for her was SAMe, a supplement which does not require a prescription. Obviously you need to talk to your doc, but might be something to consider.

Thinking of you and the kiddos.

Happy4u said...

Snick, you rock! You have so much on your plate, I admire you. I love that you share your humaness with us. As parents, we all deal with these emotions. I work and I am not a single parent but I feel overloaded too. I appreciate all of the complex things you are feeling, it is the same things I imagine I would feel if I were a widow with young children. Be open to help (I know I too hate meds and hate to ask for help.) I must say I saw alot of myself in your post about the holidays. My family is a bunch of Kris Kringles and while I appreciate making it a fun time for the children I just don't get all hyped up about one day of the year. My family thinks I am strange - oh well! I can tell you are a good parent, keep up the good work Snick and give yourself some clask :-)

Anonymous said...

when my little one had night terrors, i used to play a lullaby cd and just talk in whispers to her, without touching her, until she calmed and then we cuddled until she fell asleep. she has no memory of such terrors, which, as spmeone else said, usually followed a stress of some sort - change, illness, tired etc.

you are an ace mum, dealing with twins as a single parent and working too. WOW! i can't even imagine the stress and exhuastion, never mind adding in the emotional grief mixture too.

i'm so glad you can write as therapy, that you have mr coffee and that you have two adorable children who love you to pieces and that they have a supermum!

hugs! hugs! and more hugs!

ri-man go! lots of dry days and nights to you - brill! x

mads go! lots of peaceful nights to you - brill! x

snick go! lots of love and hugs to you - brill! x

Anne said...

I'm a "night talker," and I do the same thing to my husband! E.g., sitting straight up in bed and shouting, "No, don't DO that!" or "Get away from me!" I'm still asleep when I say these things, but I usually wake myself up in the process, get really embarrassed, and mutter myself back to sleep.

My guess is that Maddie was still in the midst of a dream when she said those things. But, I know it's still hard to hear--us poor moms!

Keep taking care of yourself--you deserve it! :-)

Anonymous said...

sounds exactly like a night terror. i too mistake my toddler's first two or three night terrors with some sort of tantrum and alternated between trying to comfort her to be being, well, less than comforting. once i figured it out, it was a lot less stressful, except for the sleep interuption. here's to hoping she doesn't have them too often.

tropicalg77 said...

My Emma has night terrors, has had them since she was around 2, and can go months without one.

She has no clue that she has them, sometimes she makes absolutely no sense at all, and most of the time it scares the hell out of me.

What have doctors said about them? She will outgrow it, try to have a routine at bed time (yeah right in whos perfect world?)

There are many time when I just lay with her and hug her, I am long past the urgency to try and wake her, it only frustrates me.

I hope that maddie has better dream days ahead!!

Melissa said...

Snick, it seems like you're getting a lot of support and good advice from your cyberfriends out here... ask, and ye shall receive! Nothing new to add, just hoping your day has improved...

Aimee said...

I don't have time to read through all the comments, but it does sound like a night terror. Perhaps call her pediatrician?

RE: meds, I understand how you feel. If I remember correctly, you see a therapist, right? I'd check with him/her. Every now and again, I have asked my T if I need meds. Trust the professionals. :-)

Sorry it's so rough for you. I'm not a widower, and I have a lot of anger, too. I appreciate your honesty and openness. This will pass. And, when you can, do bake those cookies and hang out with the kids, even if it means straying off schedule or something.

Melissia said...

We have had the same experience with night terrors and were so concerned that we took our child to a therapist. We were quite relieved to learn that this was a fairly normal part of childhood development. He usually had them during times of illness or increased stress in his life, starting a new school, but they only lasted for about 6 months and then wwere gone forever. he never remembered them in the morning and never seemed to wake up at all during these really scary episodes, even though he was talking and could interact somewhat.
So my vote is also for night terrors and as a person who has takes a antidepressant I offer this assvice. I once had a psychiatrist (and coworker) explain that something like situational depression can change the brain chemistry so that the brain needs a chemical boost in order to self correct, it has used all of the stored endorphins and cannot produce any more in a timely enough manner to prevent depression. That is where antidepressants come in. They allow the brain to recover and heal while the spirit does. And the brain heals slowly, so the need is usually for several months if not a year of so. It is just to allow the brain some time to restore the balance. I know that I feel more myself.

me said...

On anti depressants... I struggle with "I don't need any help, I can do it!!" or "if I take an antidepressant I am admitting I am inherently flawed, unable to maintain my own bio chemistry."
I have been on and off, and there are goods and bads to both sides. It's a difficult decision to make.
THe main thing I notice is that the "little" things are now much more managable. the big ticket items are still sittin gon the shelf, but the regular everyday things seem to solve themselves without nearly as much desperation.

OneTiredEma said...

It sounds like a night terror to me; it would even more if Maddie did not remember the incident in the morning.

My brother had night terrors from ages 2-11, manifesting as him running around the house desperately searching for something and never being able to find it and getting SO upset. It was awful to watch--after I left for college when he was six my mom had to prep every babysitter for what might happen. When he was around four my parents figured out it was a precursor to his getting ill (something with a fever--strep, ear infection, etc.).

Richard Ferber's book "Solve Your Child Sleep Problems" has an excellent section on nighttime disturbances, how to tell nightmares from night terrors, what to do, etc. I never used the book for "sleep training," but found it invaluable as my daughter was going through some night terrors of her own as a preverbal toddler.

Can't comment on the ADs, but for the immediate I hope you have a peaceful day and night ahead.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, totally Night Terrors.
Poor you. And I stayed longer last night and kept you up. Sorry!
As for the anti-depressants, let me say the obvious, speak to your doctor and do what you think is best. And if that doesn't work, Amaretto shots work wonders.
Hugs missy!

kabbage said...

No kids, but I do have depression. I've done meds before, and they helped. I struggle with the dilemna of which is the "real me" -- the depressed one without drugs or the one on drugs who is a bit lighter in being.

Right now I'm on St Johns Wort tincture with the blessing of my ND/MD. Personally, the stuff works fast. Supposedly one won't notice an effect until it builds up in one's system, but I feel better after a dose. Psychosomatic maybe, but it works for me!

More things to consider: are you sensitive to the lack of light we have at this time of year? A light box (and you can get small, even portable ones) might be a good investment. Vitamin D and/or B supplements can also be useful.

Anonymous said...

If you have taken larium, you can def take antidepressents. I had postnatal depression and the only thing that help was the medication which I was on for a year and I only had one baby!!!. I tried therepy first as i was resistant to medication too. The medication DOESNT make everything better, it just helps you cope with things better and take the edge off!

anon in Cape Town

Erin said...

Pardon me while I momentarily delurk. It really sounds like Maddie had a night terror. Both my kids had them, but with my son we could not touch him at all or even talk to him when they were going on. All we could do is take him out of his crib (he would thrash and we were afraid he would hurt himself) and sit him on the floor and wait with him till it was over. They used to break my heart.

I also understand a bit about the anti-depressant. I had post-partum with my daughter and when it was diagnosed and meds were prescibed, I clearly recall saying to my husband that somehow that didn't make me feel any better. I felt that I had failed at coping somehow (lots happened around her birth). I did start the meds and they made a tremendous difference. They didn't solve all my problems, they didn't make things magically disappear, but they gave me back a more level head and the ability to think things through more clearly.

Georgie B said...

Firstly one of my two daughters did the screaming in the middle of the night thing and just wouldn't be touched. She was usually getting sick when it happened but it was awful and really, really hard. She would just scream and scream, wouldn't say what was wrong with her and couldn't be settled. It happened intermittently for a couple of years.

The other thing is although I haven't lost my husband to cancer, in the last two years my business partner had a nervous breakdown and I ended up having to work up to 70 hours a week for 18 months, I left my husband due to the awful way he treated me, my youngest daughter was hospitalised twice with really bad asthma the last time she was critical. My father was diagnosed and died quickly from Motor Neuron Disease and I was forced to move three times. That's just the big stuff, as you know life gives you a million small tough things to deal with as well.

5 months ago I went to my Dr and said I'm not depressed but I'm not 'right' I went on a anti-depressant. 2 months later I was able to sit back and go gee I was angry and not really coping. This was the best thing I ever did. I am going to stay on them till after Christmas and then very slowly wean myself off them.

Sorry this is a ramble but I need to go to work.

Please feel free to email me. Hang in there old girl

Amnesia said...

Cymbalta made a difference for me. If you are thinking that taking something to help is an option, then it is. Your instinct is telling you to get a little extra help - it is a good thing. Listen to that.

As for frustration, we all feel that with our kids. You feel it double because you don't have another parent to help ease the load or to share with. Totally understandable.

As for the nightmares, or whatever that was, I am not sure. Cole has done something similar in the past, and I don't think he was awake at all. I just tucked him in a little, whispered that I loved him and left the room. He didn't carry on long.

Jen said...

wow.. we both have had a wonderful morning. i hope your day has gotten a little better.

re: antideps.. just wanted to let you know that i'm totally ok with questions on the subject. i have very strong feelings both for and against taking them.. and i've got more experience than most jo-schmo's that have been on a very low dose of zoloft and think they know it all. if a chemical issue is tacking onto your challenges, then the meds will be like the clouds parting and angels singing.. if you don't feel improvement, you can always go off of them. anywho.. if you want to ask questions (maybe questions not as pointed as gio's questions about my sex life..*laff*.. feel free)

jenn said...

DEFINITELY a night terror! We went through those with my youngest. She'd scream, cry in a strange, rhythmic way, and push away any attempt to soothe her. She never remembered a thing afterward. I was the one who was emotionally scarred. They seemed to come and go in waves. We'd have one every night for two weeks, then none for several months.

Jen @ Rolling Through Looneyville said...

Oh man, I could have written some of this myself.

I yelled at my oldest from about two inches from her face and watched her look up at me, terrified.

And then I promptly burst into tears and apologized.

And still felt like crap.

And night terrors scare the bejeezus out of me. Thank goodness, they remember NOTHING about them though.

((hugs)) you're doing amazingly. We all screw up. A lot.

But you know? Our kids know we love to bits and that's going to be enough.

Anonymous said...

I know of many people who have taken an antidepressant over the short term to help them through a tough time and related depression, and are glad they did it. I personally know many more people who have gone on antidepressants when deeply depressed, and stayed on them long term only to find that they want to come off of them but it is HARD, the emptiness is still there on or off the meds, and if it is possible to deeply heal and find happiness, they have spent years not doing so. I know a few who have gone on, apparently, the wrong drug or dose with disasterous results.

My own experience, trying meds for a couple of months after a death ten years ago, was mixed. I was clearly depressed about life, not simply greving this person. My doctor casually gave me a typical speil about how I wouldn't feel drugged, the pill wasn't a happy pill and it wasn't addictive. I felt reassured by her and took the drug. I felt drugged. I started sleeping all the time. I had one freak out that might be described as manic -- something that has never happened before or since. I changed doctors and eventually tried a new drug. It helped. I went off of it on my own, easily, a short time later when I felt ready. Since that time, I have been depressed a couple of times, and chosen not to take meds. i don't regret that decision.

elburro said...

I haven't read any of the other comments so I may be repeating, but as a physician, I just wanted to tell you that your description of M's behavior sounds like she was experiencing a night terror. She was likely completely unaware of your presence, and does not remember what happened. I can understand how awful it must have been to hear those words coming out of her mouth, but keep in mind that defiance, and wanting to do things herself are markers of her developmental stage and have little to do with your parenting. Her night terror reflected those completely normal (and healthy!) developmental issues.

Night terrors are truly terrifying to witness, but they're harmless and usually outgrown after early childhood.

I feel for you, and I hope the medical advice helps.I've got four kids and I know how easy it is to feel like an awful parent. I've done my share of lying in bed at night agonizing over something I've said or done....

Arwen said...

I was very reluctant to taking A/Ds. I HATE being on drugs. However, there are times in my past that therapy wasn't enough. I was SO depressed and sad that I gave in so I could function. I usually stay on A/Ds no more than six months (if that) to get me "over the hump". If you continue to see your therapist, there really is no reason not to see if you can reap the benefit. Remember they do take time to "kick in" (at least the old ones do... I haven't taken anything for over 10 years so I don't know about the new ones) so don't give up too fast. Once you think you can deal with things on your own again, you lower your doses so you can try.

Aunt Becky said...

Alex gets night terrors, too. I'm certain that's what Maddie had going on. Sounds just the same.

Jennifer said...

Delurking to offer yet more advice about antidepressants. My situation is a little different from yours because though my first episode was probably triggered by a major traumatic life event (divorce of my parents), I continued to have cycles of depression into my mid-20s until I finally admitted I needed help and that my brain chemistry is just off. I've been on several different anti-depressants over the last 5 years. Unfortunately right now brain chemistry is not very well understood and there is no test for what chemical is "off" in your brain, so finding which drug will work is always trial-and-error.

I have two pieces of advice/input: 1) there is a difference between sadness and depression. People who haven't gone through it often don't understand that. If you can find the right drug, it will let you feel the sadness without the debilitating depression. And 2) find a good psychiatrist. Don't go to your GP (unless for a referral). You'd go to a specialist for other major illnesses, right? It's worth it for the expertise that a specialist will bring.

I wish you the best!

Kim said...

I'm guessing she had a night terror. My son had them around 2.5 years old for a few months then stopped and the stress of moving to a new school for 1st grade has brought them back. The bummer now is he adds jumping out of the bunk bed and running down the hall while screaming and thrashing.

If it happens within an hour or so of bedtime and she can't remember it in the morning chances are it's a night terror. Harder on us than them but still really scary the first few times. When it started happening again for us I thought my son was having a seizure.

I hope she outgrows them quickly.

Kim said...

I think the general concensus is right about it being a night terror. She is at quite a normal age to experience them. Cut yourself some slack. Feeling extra guilt on top of everything else certainly won't help you. Even the best parent's snap and event the best parents need help. Don't be afraid to ask. Go Riley!!!

Jen said...

I can't offer you advice about anything really. I just wanted to post to say you are very brave in your honesty, not everyone is so self-aware. I think you will be fine. You love your kids, if we can tell, THEY can tell.

Jan said...

Other people who know more about it than I do have reassured you about the night terror thing, but I wanted to say something a little different.

There is good evidence that ALWAYS keeping your cool and doing everything exactly the way you plan is not even the best thing for kids. The best thing is for them to see you struggle, see how you handle it, recognize that life takes work. When you lose it and yell, let them see your getting control process, then apologize and tell them why you're sorry.

This post of Hedra's explains it better, and has a link to the actual research, I think:


I've been on an antidepressant for about a year and a half, for depression and anxiety (the latter is what really bothers me). I didn't want to do it, and I totally understand your reluctance. I do know that what it's done for me is take away one of the things weighing me down. I've made a lot of progress in my overall health as a person in the last year, and I don't think I'd have had the energy and ability to be hopeful about the future to do the work if I hadn't been able to use the medication to jump start myself.

Whatever your decision, please remember that it doesn't necessarily have to be a permanent decision. You could decide now that you don't want to take it, but change your mind in a few months. Or you could decide you do and only take it a year (I think less than a year is discouraged, because of a rebound effect, but that may only be my particular medication?)

Good luck. The days where I feel like a bad parent are the worst, no matter what else is going on in my world.

Kathryn said...

((Snick)) ((Maddie)) ((Riley))
I'm sorry it was such a rotten night.Am sending prayers and peaceful thoughts across the Atlantic, in the hope that tonight will allow you all the rest you need. Night Terrors are the pits. I remember my beloved Hattie Gandhi screaming that she didn't want me, she wanted her Mummy for what felt like several centuries but was probably 10 minutes one night between her second and third birthdays.
She, of course, remembers nothing!
Take care. You are a star and your children know and respond to the huge love that you have for them.

Angela said...

It sounds like it could be night terrors...poor you and Maddie. I hope you have a much better night tonight. You are an amazing Mom, please ask for help from your friends, you need to take some time for yourself, to just sit and drink some coffee and do nothing.
And Go Riley, that's great that he wanted to wear underwear.

Michelle said...

I'll add my $0.02, for what it's worth: I am 38 years old, and I remember night terrors pretty vividly (started about 3.5 years of age, and went until about age 7--when I started sleepwalking, but that's another story altogether). they tended to happen when I was sick, or had a fever-- I was pretty inconsolable, too. don't beat yourself up about it, or think that it's in any way a reflection on you or what maddie thinks about you. ((from what I can tell from this blog, you are doing the best you can, and the best you can is pretty damned great, even if you don't always feel like it.))
also: I hear you regarding the antidepressants. I've been on some form, on and off, for-- goodness--nine years, mostly for anxiety. c*elexa worked really well for me... I had some pretty awful side effects on the others and the sexual side effects (all ssris that I've ever taken had these, and no one wants to talk about this) abated after about four weeks. as all your readers have mentioned, you should talk to your doctor, but taking a low dose of something for a few months to see if you feel less angry (or can start to resolve some of the anger), sounds like it might be beneficial. the last bit of assvice: do NOT take st. john's wort tincture, etc... it is extremely difficult to know the amount of active ingredient you're taking (herbal stuff isn't regulated by the FDA), and when I tried it (told you, I've tried lots of stuff), it made me very ill.

be kind to yourself, snick.

Anonymous said...

I have considered the anti depressant road too after spending too much time yelling and feeling guilty in raising my teenagers after the death of my husband in March. He just wasn't the screamer I am and was the moderator in our home.

I have not taken the pill road and after discussing it with my doctor realised that a likely scenario would be me shoving handfuls of the damn things in my mouth when I am down.

You provide me with a lot of insight into my own behavours with you open and frank blogging snick...thanks for that.

Caroline said...

From a mom who was anti-antidepressant with two kids 15 months apart and the second cries ALL THE TIME ...it made all the difference in the world..you will not believe it...it was like a black cloud lifted from over my head. Before kids I was such a happy person. After I started taking an antidepressant ( which everyone takes and does not tell you....trust me... ) I could giggle again..I swear it was the best. And you know..IT IS NOT FOREVER....very important to remember...things will get easier...

OTRgirl said...

I admire the ingenuity of your peer pressure solution.

I'm sorry you're having a bad day/season. No advice, just a sympathetic ear.

Christi-Anne said...

Hey Snick,

I wanted to say that I resisted taking antidepressants for a long time, for many reasons. But finally I was so miserable, and was making others so miserable, and was so at risk for totally alienating those I loved, that I went on Prozac. Like you, I had real, actual reasons to be upset and/or depressed, so I didn't know if an antidepressant would actually help. The reasons for being upset wouldn't magically go away, after all. But OMG. It changed my life. My whole, entire life. I didn't realize how much pain I was in until it went away. I stayed on for about 3 years until I made *sure* I felt good, and until my brain "reset" itself from always being miserable, and I have been great ever since - normal highs and lows, but rarely that feeling of barely being able to make it through another day, which I used to feel constantly.

I've been "hearing" you through your journal for some time now, and I'd really encourage you to try it. One of the things it really helped me with is my *patience*, and I really think it would help you with the kids.

If you decide to try it, make sure you stay on any given one long enough to really give it a shot. They take awhile to kick in, and then another little while for you to notice the difference. Also, if you have side effects, try a different one. They affect people in different ways. I took Prozac with no side effects and great results, but it may work differently for you.

Good Luck!

--fellow Bostonite CA

Elaine said...

As others have said, anti-depressants aren't necessarily a long-term thing. My mother, who opposes this kind of thing strongly and is leery of even talk therapy went on one for several months during my father's terminal illness and then for a few months thereafter. She had no trouble going off them when she and her doctor judged she was ready.

Be glad that you have that option! I live in Japan, and trying to get a doctor to prescribe anti-depressants without a huge song and dance, as well as it being a black mark on your medical records, is close to impossible.

Melissa in TN said...

Isn't it strange how something like the baby with John's eyes can make you so sad? It is just like a wave of grief washing over you.

I am so sorry that you've been having a tough time. I think a lot of it has to do with the holidays. My dad died on Christmas Day and ever since, I've been relieved when it is past.

Also, I think you'd be surprised if you knew how many people are antidepressants. My best friend works for a general practitioner. She estimates at least half his patients take something. There's nothing wrong with it if you need it.

Thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is 3 and has been waking up screaming since she was very little around 6 months. She does it less now but it seems it is a lot more intense when she does. And as horrible as this is going to sound but she doesn't calm down until my husband is yelling at her to go to time-out. I think this pulls her out of her dream or whatever and she's able to calm down.

It is very scary as a parent to have a kid freaking out and not wanting you to touch them, my daughter even hits us to get away from her.

Anonymous said...

I'm very late, but just wanted to weigh in with an affirmation of your awesomeness and strength. If you decide that anti-depressants are something worth trying, go for it. And I'm glad there are so many people who can recognize Maddie's night terror as, well, a night terror. I hope that helps if it happens again.
Anyway, hugs.

django's mommy said...

Oh Snick. What a shitty, shitty night. I'm sorry. You've gotten lots of good advice here. I would definitely talk to your therapist and get a sense of what she thinks re: meds. I figure they see a lot more grieving and/or depressed people than we do on a daily basis and can put our experiences in context.

winecat said...

Snick give yourself a break. Go talk to your doc about antidepressants. They don't take your troubles away or mask your "real" self they deal with the chemical portion of your depression so you can deal with your issues. And let's face it your life is not exactly easy it hasn't been that long since John died and you're raising twins all on your own.

Jane at baby squared does an excellent job of explaining depression and how it effects her on a daily basis. Reading this post may help you decide. babble.com/CS/blogs/babysquared/archive/2008/03/12/killin-the-blues.aspx

I've been on antidepressants for years and recently have been having a REALLY difficult time dealing with the aftermath of breast cancer. My doc finally was able to come up with a combination of 3 drugs that work well. It took about 8 weeks and some tweaking of dosages but I finally made it off suicide watch. That's how bad I felt.

Please give yourself permission to take care of yourself. Please feel free to email me if you would like to talk.

Nancy said...

*hug* Hope you find some better feeling days soon

Anonymous said...

Delurking to say that Maddie's episode sounds exactly like a night terror. My oldest had them frequently as a toddler, mostly when she was getting over an illness or otherwise had reason to be overtired.
They ALWAYS freaked me out, even when I knew what was happening. Taking her outside seemed to make her snap out of it, but there were times when, because of her thrashing it would not have been safe to try to carry her. She outgrew them.
Hang in there.
You amaze me.

Diane said...

Snick, you would not try to set your own broken leg. You would not try to treat diabetes with talk therapy. Go get your brain back in synch with the serotonins it needs. There is no shame or addiction with antidepressants.

I'm sick of the stigma regarding emotional illness. Would you be ashamed of an episode of the flu? Of course not. Do what you need to do to get healthy.

I am bipolar. I would be terminally ill without medication. There are different degrees of mood disorders, but they all need to be treated.

Hope all is smooth sailing in your life very soon.

Kerrie said...

I feel that depression is a physical condition. It's symptoms might be considered "mental" but there are physical reasons for depression. As Diane said, you wouldn't treat diabetes or the flu as a personal failing, would you? The very symptoms of depression can cloud ones judgement and make us resistant to the idea of getting help.

The most important thing is that you talk with your doctor and get a diagnosis. There are so many different treatment options, it will take some time to find the exact one that works for you.

I've been reading your blog for a long time, and what really comes through is your desire to be the best parent you can be. You can only do that by making sure you are taken care of first. In other words, put your oxygen mask on before you help others.

As a fellow mother and someone who has been dealing with clinical depression for 15 years, please get the help you need.

Anonymous said...

One way that some people express depression is through anger. You're definately not the curl up and die sort Snick, so I'm guessing that anger is the way that your depression may bubble up to the surface?
Just a thought.
Love reading your blog- wish that things were better/easier for you.
Rebecca D

Astrogirl426 said...

Oh snick, that post made me cry a little...

I'll chime in with the rest of the crowd here and say that it's definitely worth exploring the option of antidepressants/antianxiety meds. I was the same way - so resistant to taking pills to help, or even to seeing a therapist. A really dark period earlier this year that landed me into a psych hospital for two weeks changed my mind. The pills don't work miracles; but they do keep the despair at bay, and give me room to breathe and deal with underlying issues. And the other posters are right - everyone reacts differently to meds, so it might take come time to find what works for you. I started on Zoloft but it did nothing, so I switched to Effexor and have ha major changes with minimal side effects.

Also, one idea I had was to look into something called DBT - dialectical behavior therapy. It's a great approach that teaches you ways to deal with your reactions to situations in productive ways, and teaches all kinds of easy-to-learn techniques for getting through the cycle of emotions feeding negative thoughts, so you can work through your issues. It's very practical, not new-agey at all, and just has some amazing tools. Worth a Google if nothing else :).

Anonymous said...

Today my son who is 16 mos old woke up from a nap (nanny was here) screaming. He got out of bed, still screaming and proceeded to bag his head on the wall. Our nanny said he was "like another person" "in a daze" "like the exorcist movie" (my personal favorite). He calmed down in about a minute or so but still it sounded scary and it was scary to get the call at work. Can babies have nightmare?

Thanks for writing about this, the timing was perfect for me :)

My husband is a psychiatrist, for what it is worth, he often suggests that people try meds and see how they work out. You do not need to commit to them forever. I hope you feel better and I hope you can give yourself a break, you are pretty hard on yourself (assvice) - you are a single mom of twins, that is HARD and you do SO much. Next to you I am a big old slacker.

cat said...

I think she has a night terror - we went through a patch like this. Lasted about a month and a half and then it was over. It has nothing to do with you. You can try a natural calming remedy like ResQ remedy.

Shandra said...

I'm up feeling anxious and I have less on my plate than you do. I have not read the 85 comments.

For the Maddie thing... my son did this. exact. thing. I honestly believe it is brain chemistry going off at night - the same chemistry that pushes children to rebel, become independent, etc. I think she is and will be fine.

Alison said...

Wow! I don't even know if you'll read all these comments, but to offer my two cents - just TRY anti-depressants. You don't have to stay on them. Like a lot of other people, I wish I had started earlier. I feel like I missed the first nine months of my twins' life because I was so depressed. As someone else said, the medication simply makes me feel like my old self. No more, no less. And don't think that they're absolutely not for you if the first one isn't a fit - sometimes you have to try a few different ones. But it's really, really worth it.

Rachel said...

I don't think anyone has asked this, but I didn't read each comment, so forgive if it was touched upon above...
Did you give Maddie any Benadryl before bed?
Personally, Benedryl makes me have some wicked vivid dreams (even at a half dose), sort of like the ones you might get when you take a sleep-aid, so that may or may not have contributed to her night-terror.

allie o said...

I just read this and wanted to say keep your head up! I find so much inspiration in reading your posts, and I think you sound like a wonderful woman. Hope that helps brighten your day.

Tracy said...

Delurking to say - absolutely, that was a night terror. My son, who is only a bit older than Maddie and Riley, has had them on and off for few months now. I reacted the same way you did at the first one. It scared me so badly that he just couldn't be calmed. And then it passed as quickly as it came on. He went from thrashing about to asleep in the blink of an eye. He seems to have no recollection of them in the morning. So the best you can do is try to comfort her and wait for it to end. But rest assured that her reaction has nothing to do with your mothering abilities! You are a fantastic mom and I should have delurked long ago to say so!

Jane said...

Here's one more voice to add to the chorus: you're a wonderful mother and an amazingly strong person. To lose your husband is devastating enough. To have to raise twins alone on top of that is enormous. You are doing an amazing job. Be gentle with yourself.

As for the antidepressant questions...Definitely talk to your therapist and get his/her perspective. It can be difficult to distinguish clinical depression from understandable sadness and anger, but a pro will hopefully be able to help give you some insights and determine whether medication is right for you. (Oh dear, I sound like a pharmaceutical commercial!)

And, of course, if you ever want to email/talk about depression, please don't hesitate to get in touch. We could do a double-depression-with-twins playdate. ;-)

Shmo said...

The Boy had three consecutive nights of what I considered night terrors a few weeks ago - screaming, thrashing and utterly inconsolable (which, BTW, made me completely inconsolable, as well). My DH and I finally had to take him in our living room and lie him on the floor where he couldn't hurt himself until he suddenly seemed to come out of his fog and was good ol' The Boy again. It was awful. Completely awful. I hope you can feel some smidgeon of all the empathy I'm sending your way. Hang in there. You're doing everything right.

Anonymous said...

Also, remember we're entering the shortest days of the year now. You may not think you have Seasonal Affective Disorder, but if you really don't want to try medication you may want to try a SAD light first. After mid-October I cannot have a civil conversation unless I'm using my light. And apparently they have been useful for regular depression as well. Downsides - you have to find 15-30 minutes nearly first thing in the morning to sit next to it, and they are expensive - you don't want the "just as good as a real SAD light," you want the real thing. Upside - no prescription or withdrawal or side effects. Just my 2 cents, good luck.

JMB said...

I've been in the same boat-I shouldn't need drugs! If I were a better mom/person I could deal with it all!

And then I took prozac. I stopped crying, stopped attempting to tear Husband's head off, and was able to look at my son and realize that he was just being a kid. As another commenter said, life was still there; work/home/kids/relationships, but I didn't have this horrible cloud over me-I COULD handle it. I still strike out sometimes, but I cringe to think of how bad it could have been.

Based on my experience with Son, I started back on it a week after I had BabyA, and don't regret it. You have way more to deal with than I did, and while you have a great network, it still is just you in the middle of the night. It sort of goes with the overused oxygen mask in the plane example-you've got to take care of you before you can take care of anyone else. John would want that for you too.

mames said...

just wanted to comment regarding the medication. iresisted taking anything for my panic disorder for years. years, snick. then i broke and needed help. so i tried and it was an immediate relief from the person i had become to the person i was before. and i only took then for 6 months.

then i got pregnant with twins and i was so afraid of filling back into the panic disorder art. especially with PTL and bedrest and all that crap. during pregnancy i was fine.

let me tell you, i missed the mark. i was so deep into post partum depression i could not see the hills for the trees or whatever that saying is. now i wish i would have asked for something immediately with my history. and if i have another i am leaving the hospital with a prescription for zoloft.

i say this because i know i would not need it forever. something tells me if you decide in favor of meds, you would not need either.

Anonymous said...

I want to second Sarah's comment about the Yaz. My OB had me on it intermittently for infertility (2 months on, 2 months off, finally managed to ovulate and baby is due in March. Yay!)

Anyway, I would be a weepy, emotional, angry mess for the first month on the pill, and then better for the second. You might stop the nuvaring for a bit and see if that helps. Could be the hormones are jacking with you.

Michelle H.

Anonymous said...

There is just no way Maddie is scared of you. I can honestly (and shamefully) admit that I yell a lot more than you do - I'm a loud communicator and my almost-3yr old forgets about it almost immediately. I'm sure Maddie does too. You are doing the best you can, so be patient with yourself.

Kerry Lynn said...

Nothing wrong with taking an antidepressant.
I recommend lexapro. It has helped me a ton!
Why bother struggling when you can just take a pill and be happy.

Jana said...

My daughter is almost the exact same age as Maddie and Riley, and she's been waking up at night crying and afraid the past few nights, too...this after a streak of sleeping completely through the night, no problem. Maybe it's a developmental thing? And she's also had the same reaction to me (or her dad, fyi) coming in. Sometimes she wants comfort and cuddling, other times she seems to confuse us with her nightmares.

I don't know if that helps you at all, but I'm pretty sure that you're not the only mom whose kid rejects your attempts at comforting at night. I KNOW she's not scared of you...you're a great mother, yelling and all. (For the record, I've been known to yell, too.)

Supa D. Fresh said...

I was widowed when my girl was 2.5 so I had many days like that (although only one kid, and no night terrors). I had been on meds for many years but was still so low after 14 months (last summer) that my shrink suggested increasing the dose. That was what enabled me to really engage with the fun things again and remember who I used to be -- and date. I'm still on the higher dose, and I'm still appreciating it.

Going on meds was a big hurdle for me at the beginning but I have a much richer life ever since then -- more control, more happy, more sad too, but stronger and able to learn.

Some days just plain suck though!

STRENGTH to you! And asking for help -- knowing what you can't do -- makes you MUCH stronger.