Overwhelmed Mom: When I Finally Asked for Help (and Started Taking Meds)

Posted December 1, 2011 by

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I posted a blog several months ago that described how overwhelmed I was. Many people responded ( even people in my real life) and told me to stop beating myself up. To recap without rewriting the whole thing: I have always been very organized. I have to be. It keeps me sane and calm. I have two children, one who is 20 with bipolar disorder and one who is 14 with anxiety, ADHD, depression, insomnia and has also been recently diagnosed with Type I diabetes. Two years ago, my husband’s ex-wife asked us to take in their 9-year-old son, who has some serious behavior issues. She felt we were much better equipped to help him than she was and that our home was a good alternative.

So, here I am , plugging along, working, and taking care of my home and family. Obviously things do not always go smoothly. When you have kids with behavior or medical issues, you get calls from the school more frequently and have more doctor visits and school meetings, plus weekly therapy. We also try very hard to throw in cub scouts or soccer for the boys, which adds more running around, but is good for the children’s social skills. Still, I had a good system in place, a supportive husband, and an understanding workplace. My planner had always been my Bible. I felt I was also taking care of myself- chatting with friends and blogging; reading before bed; taking a relaxing bubble bath  at night. Some suggested lots of alcohol, but that’s just not my thing.

A bunch of things happened in a row. You know how they say things happen in three’s? Well, we were headed into three times two! Within less than six weeks, our basement flooded with sewer water; my son was diagnosed with diabetes and  hospitalized; my job told me I was having my hours cut and would lose all my health benefits as well as sick and vacation time; I was rear-ended and my car totaled; and we were in the midst of a legal battle with my husband’s ex (who decided that although she wanted her son to live with us, she did not want to stick to a regular visitation schedule and refused to pay for any costs associated with her child).

I knew I was on overload. I was forgetting things. I lost motivation. I was nervous while driving. I started to worry about things obsessively. My friends encouraged me to see a psychiatrist and ask for medication to help with the anxiety. Now, all of the children take medication for their various disorders. When they talk about how the fact that they cannot function without it makes them feel, I am always the first one to explain physiology to them. I had even used the example of a diabetic needing insulin as a comparison to mental health issues (even before my son’s diagnosis). If you need it, you need it. Then why was I so hesitant to do this for myself?

I did exactly what everyone was telling me not to do. I was beating myself up for not being able to handle what I had always handled. I felt inadequate. I did not understand why I could not continue to take care of things as I had always done. But one day I finally made the call. I saw a psychiatrist who was actually amazed I had held it together for as long as I had. He told me I was probably more depressed than anxious and that I was coming by this honestly and that I was dealing with stress above and beyond anything I had ever dealt with and all at the same time. He pointed out that I was still going to work, I was moving forward with getting a new car, looking for additional work hours. He said I had amazing coping skills. I had not completely shut down, even though I felt like I had. He felt that medication was a good thing for me to try and that he also felt this was situational and I would feel like myself again soon enough and that this was not permanent.

I must say, I feel a bit hypocritical, encouraging my children to take their medication and stressing how much they need it, yet almost not doing so for myself. As if it was different in my case. I am happy to report that whether it was the medicine or not, which he insisted I do not stop for at least 6 more months, I am feeling almost like myself again. My car has been replaced with a new car, and of course a new car payment. I was working two part-time jobs and have now left the one where they cut my hours to full-time at the other one with benefits. My life is still not stress-free by any stretch of the imagination. My son’s Diabetes suddenly became out of control and even though we are only into week 3 of school, he has missed 5 days of his first year of high school. BUT I am coping much better than I was several months ago.

I attribute it to a combination of the medication and the fact that I accepted that I’m human and needed help.


I am a mom of two boys, ages 16 and 22, both with ADHD, bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression. I have remarried and my husband has 2 boys, ages 13 and 16. The 13 year old lives with us, and has some behavioral problems and attachment issues. There is always something happening at our house!

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  1. Lisa Haley- (Edit) Report

    Im seeing all that you are posting . Having a son well 2 son with it has made are family interesting too . The oldest is now 19yr . I did not know where to get any help. I use Total Transformation it help so much.
    Now with the second son who is 10yr i use it to.

  2. ddjj (Edit) Report

    Wow, I am right there with you. Right now I feel like the worst mom for yelling at my son this morning. He is only8 and has adhd. He takes medicine, but it takes awile to kick in. It also makes it hard for him to fall asdleep at night. This results in an overtired little boy who cannot stand still, focus and get dressed. I have to work from home and I start before the kids get up. Usually my husband leaves later, so he can work with my son to get dressed. Yet, it still results in yelling by all. My husband cannot seem to get up early so he is ready first and can just help my son. He acts like he has to get sleep and this is more impt. It is so frustrating! If he would just get up earlier, it would be easier. Instead, there is inevitably a battle and I have to stop work and get involved. Once a week he gets up early to go in for an early meeting and then I have to handle getting ready for school, etc. I get up at 5, make the lunches, get ready and go to work in my office. Usually my son can get dressed if we use the card system. Lately, though he does not want to. Today I just lost it and feel bad. He cannot help himself. I have just had to put in so much time working 10 hrs, then doing dinner/hwk/pick up and take to activities, shop/clean house and it jsut got to me. My husband and i are not doing well. He thinks, the house never needs cleaning or laundry never needs folding and putting away. He thinks I am mean to have 8yr olds and 12 yr olds do chores. I cannot do it all! Supposedly he will help, so he drives once and awhile for the activities, but then he4 lets the kids talk him inot staying out and getting a snack when they should be in bed. Th3en I have to deal with cranky kids. He comes home from work and riles them up even if they are in bed. He says I am obsessive and the kids should be allowed to be kids. They should be able to stay up late some nights and have fun with dad. He does not seem to get the fact that ift affects them the next day. I am at my wits end. I just stopped taking clexa, because I did not want to depend on it. Yet now after reading your post, maybe it is time to approach this as if I had diabetes or something else.The problem is, I don’t think it really helped. Maybe I was wrong
    Sometimes I just feel alone. I always have to be the bad cop and listen to how great dad is.

  3. lori (Edit) Report

    I feel for all of you. I am going through a ton with my son right or should I say for the last five years. He was diagnosed with ADHD when he was in 1st grade. He has a lot of behavioral issues with me but not when he goes to his dads. I feel I have tried everything possible but I am still having issues. He can be so loving to me but then he can be so goss darn mean. The back talk, sassing and name calling are over whelming. He has literally sat in the back seat of the car and pulled out individual hairs from my heard because he wants to aggrivate me. He is very impulsive and hits me all the time even when he is not mad. I suffer from depression/anxiety and have for many years his behaviors have really affected my mental situation and causes me to shut down sometimes. I try to talk to his father but he doesn’t feel it’s his place to discipline him for things he does at my house even if they do consist of physical behavior. So like I said I completely feel for you all. Just not sure what else I can do for him.

  4. Drowning (Edit) Report

    Thank you for sharing. My 13 yearold is bipolar and chronic runaway when she is confronted by doing wrong ( stealing etc.) her running away makes me so anxious I can’t eat sleep or function. I’m considering meds because I’m depressed there is always a charge or a catch to getting help for her. I don’t qualify for state assistance the school says she’s a pleasure to have in class. I just physically and mentally can’t take the stress anymore. I have two other younger children to care for. I honestly want to quit my job homeschool her and hug her all day untill she realizes we love her! I can’t stop feeling sorry for myself that because I don’t make enough money to pay for a residential treatment center and my health ins. Sucks I can’t get the help she needs. Unless of course she does something criminal and gets caught. Oh and with bills I can’t afford two or three easy payments of 100.00 for great advice that will change my life and our family!

  5. maria (Edit) Report

    Hi i am going through something similar. My older son is causing all the trouble though. When reading this i realized that there is a solution for everything you just have to knock on doors. I wish you the best of luck and thanks for sharing your story!

  6. Strongmama (Edit) Report

    Hi Emmie,
    Thank you so much for posting this. I think it is so important to educate people about mental health issues and to try to change the stigma associated with them and medication.
    I have recently been diagnosed with PPD and PTSD and started taking medication. I have found it very difficult to talk about my problems for fear of being judged by people who don’t have a clue.
    The hardest part of our issues is admitting that we have a problem and then seeking out help. We are incredibly strong to have gotten to were we are!
    Good luck on your journey:)

  7. sgyuris (Edit) Report

    I’m impressed at the long time that you tried to hold things together. Thank God that you found support and help. Yes, when we need medication, we have to take it. For our own sake and the sake of the family. Happy Holidays to you and your family. You’re amazing.

  8. bookgirl815 (Edit) Report

    Emmie – thank you for your post. I am feeling a bit underwater myself. I was a single woman up until 18 months ago – I am now married with two teenage stepdaughters at home, both with relationship problems with their mom and one with learning disabilities. My husband has some physical disabilities and much of the family responsibility falls on me. I love him dearly and he is worth all the work but it still feels lonely sometimes. There are days when I think I cannot absorb one more thing and then, somehow, the new day brings new hope.

    I am glad that you are taking care of yourself and if medication is the tool needed now, use it. You are an inspiration! Thank you for sharing.



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