Archive for the ‘motherhood’ Category

Just thought I’d drop a quick post about the abortion limit, which has been kept at 24 weeks, a victory, I think, of common sense and medical understanding over religious belief and emotive arguing.

Here’s the F-Word’s take on it!


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I’m seeing a psychologist. I’ve seen him twice to see if his sort of treatment (psychodynamic psychotherapy) would be appropriate for me. I’m on a really low income and this sort of support is only usually available on private, but he is doing some further training for two years and has said that he can offer me support for a nominal fee for two years while he is training, as a mutually beneficial deal. I have no idea what to offer him, he seems to suggest the amount is not important, but i dont want to be rude and offer him the little we can really afford. I had to see a second psychotherapist (she is in charge of the region) to give it the go ahead, she seemed to think this would be good for me, although she considers me something of a flight risk. Not surprising really, i cant fault that reasoning.

I’m seeing him next Friday for our first proper session and from then on I will apparently be seeing him for two one hour long sessions a week, for two years. Thats a helluva thing. On the basis of our first session he says he thinks it unlikely that I am bipolar, although I do share many symptoms with bipolar people. I’m skeptical at the moment but I guess we’ll see.

Actually I’m really scared right now. I’m scared he’ll think I’m a fraud and kick me off my incapacity benefit. I’m scared he’ll think i’m incurable and get me sectioned. I’m scared it will cause problems in the future with my kids – could it be used against me, could they be taken from me? I am not harming them and I love them dearly but I just don’t trust the authorities to give a shit about this stuff, just mark me down as mental and take them away. I’m scared that i’ll be cured and i won’t be me anymore. I’m scared that my mental issues are all there is to me and if they’re cured i will disappear. I’m scared to find out who is underneath it all. I’m scared that there isn’t anyone there anyway, that I’ll turn out to be just a figment of my own imagination, that i’ll cease to exist once everything has been talked away. That i really did die a long time ago and now i’m just energy hanging around trying to convince myself i’m real.

I’m scared that i really am a fraud and that i’m wasting someone elses needed time.

I talked through my life in a nutshell with these two psychologists and they both noted how out of it I am, how matter of fact, how much I refuse to cry or feel. How I laugh about abuse i’ve been put through, because, I say, “in retrospect it’s quite funny really”, to their nothing-expressions. There is concern I will run away if I feel they care about me, about what I’m saying. Because I can’t deal with people expressing sorrow or care without feeling patronised, feeling I should show manly strength in the face of assumed weakness. People say “i’m sorry for what you have been thorugh” and I respond, why, *you* didnt do it, other people have it worse, i’ll survive, i always do. And then the psychologist says to me, why cant you cry for yourself? Why do you hold it back? Why do you stop yourself from feeling? And I think – because it’s all I have, this pseudo-strength, its what keeps me from dying. And then I don’t want to talk about it anymore, it hurts so much, I just want to die.

Wish me luck, i’ll be posting updates as I can. I’m trying really hard to take this seriously because it’s too easy for me to use humour and skepticism to not take it seriously, and I don’t want to waste my time and money.

And on money – any suggestions on what it is appropriate to offer? £5 a session? I can barely afford that – that’s a tenner a week too much. £1 a session? Seems so rude. I have never been one for haggling and this guy has left it totally up to me – i’m not sure if it’s a test, but i see tests everywhere, all the time.

Anyway – money – how much – help??

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If I thought that just because I was now an adult, working my way into the wider world, my depression would be treated with more severity, I was bitterly disappointed.

Reading what shatterboxx wrote yesterday, I figured out what it’s taken for my depression to be taken seriously: I had kids.

I’ve been a depressed schoolkid. I’ve been a depressed student. I’ve been a depressed young employed, and unemployed, woman. But a depressed pregnant woman, a depressed mother? Whole different kettle of fish.

It’s not that I’m not profoundly glad that midwives, GPs, psychiatrists, CPNs, health visitors, psychotherapists, art therapists and whatever else have taken my problems seriously. And it’s true that, as the mother of two children under four, my usual “coping strategies” of staying in the house, stopping doing anything much and pretending nothing bad was happening haven’t been available to me. If I hadn’t got support, I would not have survived the last four years.

For all that people say postnatal depression is hard to talk about, hard to diagnose, invisible, it’s respectable in a way my earlier miseries haven’t been. Perhaps because it sounds so clean and curable (after all, you’re not postnatal for ever. Well, except you are, of course). Perhaps because it’s connected to something that’s okay for a woman to do; positively applauded, in theory at least (though, whoa, try being a mother who wants respect or a flexible job). There are professionals, pathways and dedicated services for me now. To the extent that, when my PND specialist psychiatrist booted me when my firstborn reached a year, I seriously considered bumping up the schedule for a second kid. (I didn’t do it, okay? That would have been crazy!)

Anyway, as my secondborn approaches a year, what of the fact that I’m still taking Prozac? What of the fact that I’m not yet cured? Who will want me now? I had an illuminating conversation with my GP when I was pregnant with #2. She’d assured me that most women who experience depression during one pregnancy don’t with another. However, it was now a couple of months later, and I was a howling loon again. “You might want to consider not getting pregnant again,” she said. I’d done the socially acceptable thing; I’d chosen two kids. I even have a girl and a boy! But it was made clear to me by various people then that a third pregnancy wasn’t thought appropriate for the likes of me.

There are a number of things that aren’t appropriate for the likes of me, as a nutso mother. I’ll write about more of them another time. But basically: this is the best mental health care I’ve ever had. It’s contingent, I feel, on playing the game; on having the right number of babies and no more; on not presuming that I know what I’m doing more than the professionals do; on getting better on the right schedule and then pissing off and not bothering people any more. But hey, at least it’s there.

(Disclaimer: I’m seeing a therapist at the moment who is a feminist treasure. I don’t mean you, if you should, by some odd circumstance, read this!)

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