Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Stress vs. Depression

Earlier this month, during the "great messageboard debacle of 2010," I was 'accused' of being severely depressed because I mentioned feeling unable to handle taking care of my son alone. Sometimes one is not really able to express oneself and words can be misconstrued.  I can take care of Little Man without help, but it's not easy and I'm glad I have Dude to co-parent.  I'm not depressed—I've suffered from depression and know the difference—but I AM feeling overwhelmed by stress.

Neither Dude nor I have high paying jobs.  In fact, Dude took a pay cut (mandatory unpaid furlough days) the week after Little Man was born. It's 10% of his salary and the loss of income has hurt us badly. My job has been low paying but as it's a family business, I have extremely flexible hours and can bring Little Man with me to the office.  Since our bills consume most, if not all, of our monthly take home income, it's a necessity for me to have my son with me.  Daycare is so expensive and if I had to put him there, we'd just be putting it on a credit card and hoping we'd be able to pay it off one day.  So money woes is causing a LOT of stress.

In addition to those issues, I'm not certain my father will be able to keep the company running beyond this year.  And now I'm thinking: what can I do for a job????  I used to work as a desktop publishing editor for a major publishing company. But when I was laid of in 2002, I sat on my ass and let my career slip away. Thank goodness my parents actually needed me and I've been there for nearly 8 years. But, in retrospect, that was a mistake and I'm not sure where I can find work when I need to.  And Dude is not happy in his job and I'm not sure it's entirely secure.  Job security in this day and as is rare.

Then there are my parents. Their health is ... eh, they're not doing so well.  My father is morbidly obese.  He knows he should lose weight but never does.  He's 67 years old and I'm not sure he even wants to lose weight. But he can't get a knee or hip replacement unless he does and he hobbles around on a cane that can barely support his weight. I'm worried about him but even more worried about my mother.  She was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease last Fall.  She'd been suffering from a rare neurological disorder for years—something called an orthostatic tremor—where only her lower extremities are affected. She cannot stand still without trembling. And then she started to have weakness in her hands and a shake. So she went to a specialist in NYC and was diagnosed with Parkinson's as well. My mom's mother died in January. The business she helped my father build is failing. So she is extremely depressed. She feels like she can't do anything and like a burden.

I have a wonderful brother who would help you out in a pinch. But he's also very dependent upon my parents. He has chronic migraines and Fibromyalgia. So he's in constant pain and has no friendships—it's like whenever he tries, he gets stomped on—and he's given up on people. He's very intelligent and very few people share his interests. As he feels he cannot speak to anyone and share with them, I think he's taken to picking arguments so he can debate and then exercise his intellect. Though he does not do this to prove superiority. He needs the stimulation.  But he's not capable of caring for my parents and a lot of this will fall on me.

So I'm stressed. I'm very stressed. There's more to it, but stress does not equal depression. That being said, stress can cause anxiety and I'm feeling a lot of that.


  1. Everyone is stressed at some point or another and I totally think what happened a few weeks ago to you was such BS. I try not to judge people on their skills (or lack thereof in some cases) when it comes to parenting. I personally do not think I will ever want/have kids, as a personal choice from my life growing up and just my lack of stress management, I get upset too easily and don't think I would cope the best way and would hate to do something I'd regret, so I'll stick to the furry kind. That being said from what I read/see here and FB I think you are a great mom and that you and dude show a lot of strengths required in being parents. The economy is so rough right now I can't even imagine how much worse it is for a family environment, my BF and I make good money and still can't afford the housing/cars/lifestyle we'd like so I can't even fathom the stress of child care costs. I've always thought that daycare costs are above crazy, especially for a good one.

    I'm sorry about your parents :( That is even more stress and heartache because you don't want to see your family struggle. Have you begun to look into what the demand is for what you used to do before going to work for your parents' business? I think it always helps just to get a vibe of what jobs are being offered for anything related to your skill set.

    I hope things get better for you!!!!

  2. I understand what you're going through as we have the same worries, minus the aging parents.

    Stress is different than depression, and just be careful that you don't get depressed because of stress. Sometimes I think I'm headed that way because I'm under A LOT of stress.

  3. I totally hear you!!! I don't have any kids, but I do have aging parents, & a really intelligent & kind brother who isn't, shall we say, good at the practical side of life. So, any care my parents need will fall to me, and honestly I don't know how I'll handle it. But, you do what you have to do...

    And, I also understand the difference between stress & depression, but stress can still definitely wear on you. I say enjoy your baby & your husband, & start keeping an eye out for potential career interests - lay the groundwork now, before you're in need of a job.

    Best wishes to you!!!

  4. I find that people demonstrate their life stress in different ways. Some become judgemental jerks who forget that other people have lives outside of the small snapshots they post on the internet. These people for whatever reason take great satisfaction in judging and condemning others. I consider you a good cyber friend yet I only knew a fraction of the things you've listed here. {{{HUG}}}

    I commend you on your ability to manage numerous worrisome and emotional situations and move forward daily. I know that's not easy. I know this is easier said then done but ignore these women. Until we've walked a mile in their shoes we won't know what kind of challenges they have in their lives that cause them to spout such venom on the internet.

    Hang in there! We're here for you!

  5. I'm late, as always, but just wanted to offer (((hugs))). It sounds like you have a lot on your plate right now, but you seem to be handling it all. That's what really counts. :) Like Mandi said, just have a poke around on the net and see what the market is like in jobs you feel you could move into if needs be. It couldn't hurt.

    All we can control is how we deal with situations that arise. Your parents, unfortunately, must make their own decisions about their health/business. But I think a big part of helping them out is just being there so they know they can depend on their children for assistance if they ask.

    I hope things improve all round in the next few months. And don't worry about the stress/depression thing. People throw the word "depression" around far too much nowadays, and you know better than anyone on the internet how you're feeling. :)