Mental unwellness

Do I need to see someone? My golden rule in a past life free of children and the dark abyss that (to me) represents the private practice of law was that if ever I asked myself that question the answer ought to be an unequivocal “yes”. 

I mourn things daily. The short list includes:

  •  Sleep. I wake up between 3:45 and 4:00 AM to get some housework and billable work done before I get kids and self ready and off to child care provider and work. I almost never get to sleep before 9:30 and almost always wake up at least 3 times, often for at least an hour. Sleep deprivation has stolen my soul. 
  • Romance. By which I mean thoughtful tenderness as much as any physical intimacy. What the [insert obscenity] is that again? The LP and I barely see each other and he is the most negative human with whom I carry on a relationship. 
  • Kindness. The MT is whiny, shouting or manipulative about 50% of his waking hours. I hate 4 going on 5.  The LP wallows and is negative. Baby A has started hitting and throwing (thankfully the biting is more limited than it was with the MT at this age). Some moments are amazing. The rest kill the amazing. I grieve this deeply and feel like I must be a huge part of what I am calling the problem. 
  • Time. Where did that [insert obscenity] go?
  • Breastfeeding. It used to feel like bonding time. Now it feels like bondage. I am bitter and hateful as much toward the LP for not helping with the night waking and the persistent will of baby A to maintain an all night nurse and nap bar. It is time to wean – in breach of my promise to myself to nurse until 2 or whenever. But the LP is too busy with work to take part in this either so it’s not happening because at some point I cave every night when I can’t imagine the next day with even less sleep. Baby A has my tenacity if nothing else.  
  • Love of the law. Yes I mourn that. I would do anything to leap out of this profession and do anything but. Private practice and firm leveraging, misogyny and lies have broken any spirit I once had for the law. I’m so over firm life. I overcame a significant disability (brain injury) to complete law school and watched my mother diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, get sick, have surgery and lengthy treatment, get sort of better, then sick again and die while I kept my promise to her to finish law school and my two articles. Then she died weeks before I was admitted to the bar. What was the point? More importantly, what *is* the point now? I cannot see it. I feel as though my law firm and practice are the biggest joy thieves in my life. But maybe I’m just making excuses. 
  • My marriage. I don’t even know what to say. I just feel broken and lost. Or that it is lost. And without a soul who cares enough or has had enough sleep or kindness or peace to bother trying to salvage it. 
  • Financial security. And the fear debt brings. I never imagined myself saying this. I’m generally mindful and try to be careful. But I’m not single. And I didn’t see infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss or the costs of cross-border “investments” in the circumstances coming. Gah.

Writing this I suspect I not only need drugs and therapy but a new job. And I’m not the only one. 

On that delightful note, happy [insert obscenity] new year. 

13 thoughts on “Mental unwellness

  1. Oh man, these are all legitimate reasons to be unhappy/unfulfilled/lost.

    I cannot fathom how exhausted you must be, working full time (at a job that drains you) and waking up multiple times per night. If I were you I would do whatever necessary to get more/better sleep (drugs?) And then once you feel better you can decide what to do about the rest.

    It will get better, but somethings gotta give.


  2. Oh dear… this sounds so difficult. Marriage bumps and twists are no stranger to me. Feeling disconnected from your spouse can make everything else in life feel even more disparaging. I think therapy could be extremely helpful during this time. I hope you get it all figured out soon.

  3. Oh my gosh I feel like I wrote this. My hubby is the same, so negative. Breastfeeding is so much work. Sleep/free time/sleep- what are those? I’m sorry for what you’re going through. But I get it.

  4. Thank you for writing this. Not only for you, which I’m sure will help even just a bit finally getting it all out, but for women (including myself) who you have helped just by knowing we’re not alone. You are remarkable. You are strong. You are loved. Thank you for your honesty. Keep talking. Things will get better x

  5. I’m so sorry that you are going thru this. It is highly likely that you are suffering from post partum depression. It can linger for quite some time after giving birth, and given all you went through, it is also likely you are suffering from PTSD. You should definitely find a faith based counselor and start seeing them. This type service was invaluable to me when my wedding was called off and I lost my baby. There is nothing wrong with admitting we need help to get over the hump. You have been through an awful lot of late and it is bound to take its toll. Act now and do something about it ! You are in my prayers and I am just a phone call or text away should you need a shoulder to cry on. Love ya !!!

  6. Anybody would go off the deep end with the schedule and stress level you’re under. Being in a high-stress field, with more than a 40 hour work-week myself, I really understand. I lived what you are living, albeit with only one child to mother. The thing that has to be addressed before anything else is the sleep. Sleep deprivation will destroy you, there’s a reason why it’s used by nefarious government agents as a means of torture. I won’t even begin to suggest “answers” for everything on the list, I only know that you need to face all of it with a clear head, and that’s not something that’s possible on so little sleep. Definitely start a plan to wean.

  7. That sounds like A LOT. I think taking care of yourself is a priority, so if therapy and possibly meds are calling you, do it and don’t look back! Also, DH is a lawyer who quit Big Law for a more fulfilling career (still in the law) and it was the best decision he ever made. Sending you hugs.

  8. dear friend, I’m so sorry to see you struggling like this. Sleep deprivation is used as torture for a reason. We are not whole when we cannot sleep. Please be kind to yourself and keep doing the best you can. Plans change as necessary and it sounds like you’re ready to let go of the expectation that you nurse extensively on demand in order to regain a little sleep, health and perspective. Sending you love.

  9. I’m so sorry to read all this. I hear you. I feel you.
    Felix is also still breastfeeding. For the same reasons. Without a husband who will WAKE up and TAKE him its a lost battle unless you’re prepared to lose 3-6 nights of good sleep. I wasn’t prepared to. With my mum dying I’ve literally just boobed him whenever. And it’s kept me sane because it shuts him up. But obviously it also makes it harder in other respects.
    So. I hear you.
    And I too feel like a terrible mother.
    I shout too much and strive to be perfect.
    Maybe we are just expecting too much of ourselves …
    I’ve had a mum dying from cancer and wanted to be calm and not shouty.
    Now I’m grieving and want to be happy and smiley all the time.
    You’re working so hard and are tired and want to be doing more.
    Same same.
    Maybe the problem is US and that we are too demanding on ourselves
    Maybe it’s time to cut ourselves some slack.

    • God. This message just made me cry. Or more likely your kindness and insight dovetailing with me having to yank my older boy out of a bouncy castle because he wouldn’t share and took a swing at another kid (where did THAT come from?).
      I am always in awe of how amazing a mom you are and it’s a bit unsettling to hear your own sense of things…
      I am going to send you a FB messenger note from my personal account as I’m rarely using the other one these days.

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