Here’s the Thing About Admitting You’re Sad

Everyone wants to fix you, and sometimes there isn’t a way to fix it.

I saw my GP today to get started on titrating off of effexor and on to wellbutrin. He also ran some lab work to make sure that the fatigue and exhaustion I’m feeling (slept seven hours last night and then slept again from 9:00 am-noon today) isn’t due to iron, vitamin deficiency, thyroid, blood sugar, etc.

While I was there he talked to me about seeing a therapist. He is not the first. Anytime I talk to someone about my antidepressants (and that’s not a lot of people) it seems there is a pretty good chance someone is going to want me to see a therapist. One of my best friends gently pushed me about it before the holidays. I have seen a therapist in the past and I didn’t feel a lot of result from it. I tried, and I’m not saying there isn’t value in therapy, but I have a lot of reasons for feeling like therapy is not going to fix the reasons that I need help with my depression and anxiety.

On Christmas Day we started at my dad’s house. His new wife, my sister and my BIL were there, of course along me with me, Chief and Charlie. Everything was going okay, though of course with my sister around there is always a chance of something unfortunate happening. After we opened gifts Chief was cooking us breakfast in the kitchen and someone brought up my cousin P, who also happens to be Charlie’s godfather. He is my cousin on my mother’s side. Now, Dad and my sister both really hate P. Dad hates him because of a weird real estate thing that they disagreed over and my sister hates him because P, unlike everyone else, won’t put up with her shit and dishes it right back to her. K is not used to people actually standing up to her, so she makes him into a villain anytime she can.

Chief and I had recently discussed that as Charlie is becoming more of a person as opposed to the baby lump she used to be that we need to be much more careful when discussing people around her. I’ve tried to really tame my own tongue when it comes to discussing my in-laws. I very politely asked them to refrain from discussing P in such negative tones because he is Charlie’s godfather after all. P and his wife S (my cousin by blood) love Charlie so much that they have set up a college fund for her and S is one of the people I actually trust to babysit. Besides the fact that I don’t want Charlie to hear it, I also don’t want to hear it. I love them and they’re good people. Dad understood immediately but of course K had to fight back and be a brat about it.

Later that afternoon we were at my grandmother’s house. After we had opened gifts everyone was getting the food ready. I was really sick over Christmas so I had brought premade stuff so I wouldn’t have to touch all the stuff at my elderly (and therefore prone to illness) grandmother’s house (although it did turn out to just be allergies). K was cutting something with a SHARP knife, not a butter knife, and Charlie toddled past. K chose that moment to swoop her up and try to hold and play with her. My mother and I both objected immediately because K is clumsy under the best of circumstances, and I wouldn’t want ANYONE holding my child with a knife in their hands. I won’t even do that. K immediately fired back at me saying that she was fine and she knew what she was doing. Then mom immediately turned on me despite her own protestations to the situation and said that I shouldn’t try to start fights with my sister over Christmas and that K was fine.

This may seem unrelated to my issue with seeing a therapist, but it’s not. This is the reason why I don’t think therapy will work well for me. My depression and anxiety, in my opinion, are directly rooted to the way I was raised, which was that I was always wrong, and that my abusive and hateful sister was always right. Always. It’s been that way for 28 years. I have horrible dreams involving K screaming at me for hours at a time, and I just sit there, taking it. Sometimes I scream back. On the nights that I scream back, I wake up feeling like I’ve done something terribly wrong.

I don’t want to see a therapist because I would have to tell them all of this, and they would want me to mend this relationship. I don’t want to mend it. I obviously don’t want to hurt anymore, but someday my parents will be gone (please don’t take that as me wishing for that day, because that is far from the truth) and I will have no reason to have contact with her. That is what I want.

And frankly, a lot of my issues also stem from being afraid of something horrible happening to my child, and doesn’t every mother have that fear? How do you fix that in therapy?



12 thoughts on “Here’s the Thing About Admitting You’re Sad

  1. I actually saw a therapist for several years during my divorce. I was fortunate enough to have such a wonderful person and it was such a great, positive experience for me. I know that is not the case for everyone. I was actually surprised at some of her responses to things. Like you, I thought she would push me in a direction that I, foot down, didn’t want to take. She didn’t. Sure, there is a lot to sort through and a lot of talking and just some days of crying but please don’t let what you think she might tell you be the only reason you don’t go. Find someone you jive with and be upfront about this particular thing.
    Unfortunately there isn’t a way to fix family members. I know that all to well. There are times that there are no discussions to be had and what is done is done and I think that is okay. There is nothing wrong with it. But if you don’t try to go how will you know it won’t work out in the long run?

  2. I’m sorry you have to deal with this type of treatment from your family. You absolutely do not deserve to be treated this way.
    Also, I’m not saying all therapists are the same way, but I do want to share that my former therapist really encouraged me to distance my self from people who were repeatedly hurtful to me in my life. At no time did she ever encourage me to mend the relationship. Rather it was always about speaking my truth honestly (which i was almost never able to do) ans accepting the relationship for what it is and deciding what I am able to invest knowing that they are unlikely to change their ways. The biggest thing I can say about going to therapy is that I’m a huge advocate for it, when you find the right therapist that meets your needs and your personality.
    I hope whatever you decide you are comfortable with your decision because in the end that’s all that really matters. ❤

  3. I’m sorry you’re struggling with depression which is compounded by family issues. I have my own and I know how trying it can be. I have to third the above opinions regarding therapists. I was anti-therapy for a long time. I changed my mind after losing Zeke because I realized I was spiraling deeper and deeper into depression and couldn’t see a way forward. Add to it IF issues and I didn’t want to take any medications that could impact my cycles in any way. My MIL said something that really resonated with me. She is a therapist herself and told me, do not settle for the first one you meet. If it doesn’t feel right, find someone else. One session is not a commitment. It’s a trial. Because of the intensely personal nature of therapy, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, and you should never stay with a therapist with whom you disagree. The right therapist is out there, you just have to keep looking.

  4. Now, I am NOT saying that you should go to therapy. It’s a personal choice, and if you don’t feel like it’s right for you, then I support you times infinity. That said, I spent a LOT of time in therapy throughout my early 20s dealing with issues surrounding my emotionally abusive stepmother. Never–not even once–was it suggested that I make amends with her. It would have been less complicated if I had, but it wasn’t the right thing for me, and she recognized that. I wanted nothing to do with that woman, and my therapist was always respectful of that limit. What she did give me was validation–a place to voice my feelings where I wouldn’t be judged or told that I’m wrong for feeling X. So all I’m really saying is that if your experience with a therapist has been that they want to lead you down the path to amends, then you haven’t found the right therapist. As for the fear of something happening to Charlie–yeah. I don’t know how you “fix” that. For me, it was a HUGE issue postpartum–to the point where I really should have sought help and been medicated–but at this stage, I feel like I’ve reached a point where my level of worry over Charlotte is just average. It doesn’t stop me from living my life like it did before, and I think it’s just a permanent fixture now.

  5. Ugh, your sister! Every time you write about her I get so angry for you. I just absolutely don’t understand WHY your parents don’t see how she is, and why they put up with it and defend her???? Honestly to fix all of that, I think you would all have to go to therapy together…and somehow I just don’t see that happening ever. A therapist would probably help give you some ways to try to ignore her or deal with her, so that may help. Maybe you just need to try to find a different therapist, who has methods and techniques that work for you?
    Anyway…I would agree that NOBODY should be holding ANY baby/toddler/child at the same time they are holding a knife. Hell I try not to have C in the kitchen at all when anyone is cooking, because I just don’t feel it’s safe. That should be common sense. They’re too unpredictable in their movements…it has nothing to do with the person cooking, it has to do with the fact that kids are spastic, they could cause an accident themselves at any second.
    I worry about things happening to my C all the time, too. You’re definitely not the only one there!! But a therapist could probably help you deal with that anxiety a bit better. Even if you don’t want to see anyone…talking things over with a friend can sometimes do wonders for your mental state when you get down. They may not be professional, but sometimes just having someone you can trust and who understands will make a world of difference. Hopefully you start feeling better soon. *hugs*

  6. A GOOD therapist will hear you and help you learn to establish and keep boundaries that protect you from your sister’s mental illness. ANY THERAPIST WHO DOESN’T IS NOT A GOOD THERAPIST FOR YOU AND YOU DUMP THEM. good therapists exist. and help. And don’t ask people to stay in relationship with those who are disrespectful, mentally ill, fiction creators, abusive, etc. Good therapists also know how hard it is as an adult to begin to develop personal boundaries when other members of your family are not supportive of you being anything but their scapegoat and victim. A Good therapist will help you with your sister and parents…. and that doesn’t mean letting this abuse continue. A good therapist will help you feel better about having boundaries and enforcing them All Your Life and that will help your daughter. GOOD therapists will not do what you think therapists are going to do. HONEST!!!

  7. I personally have had good results from therapy once I found a therapist that I “clicked” with. However, I applaud you for knowing yourself and being confident in your boundaries and beliefs. I hope you continue to do what you feel is right for you.

  8. You might want to check out the All in the Family board on babycenter…I have learned a lot about coping with toxic family members just from lurking there and, if you do post, you will receive very direct but compassionate support in response. It sounds like you and your sister have a scape goat/golden child dynamic which is not that uncommon on that board.
    Even if you love your parents, if they have encouraged that dynamic all your life, you may be better off without them. It may be sad to lose those relationships but no one that willingly makes your life harder/more painful deserves to be in it. You deserve better.

  9. Picking up a child when you have a knife?! What on earth was she thinking? How stupid can you be? That is just common sense. Put down the knife! How ridiculous. I am so sorry you have had trouble with her again.
    A few people have recommended I go to therapy since the failed transfer in December because they feel that I took it very badly. Some people don’t feel it classified as a loss which is their opinion, but to me I knew the gender, I was thinking names and there was no reason for that transfer to have not worked and so I went through a grieving process. I too do not honestly feel as though therapy would help me apart from letting me talk/bitch about things that apparently others do not want to talk to me about. I have tried therapy before after my Nan died which helped, but I just don’t feel that I would get enough productive value out of the sessions at this point.
    I’m sorry to hear about your dreams. The only thing I would say about therapy for me is that it helped me with my anxiety which was causing nightmares. Perhaps this could help you also for this? Now I use binaural beats sleep music when I struggle and I meditate just before bed. Has made a big difference. I don’t ever let myself try and go to bed if I am feeling anxious now.

  10. You know what, it’s not surprising that you fear hearing a therapist tell you to make amends. It seems to be what you have been told your whole life from people who should have protected you. Hearing it from someone like a therapist (ie an outside ’emotional authority’ figure) would be a total nightmare… hence the fear. I don’t have personal experience with therapy but reading the above, I know I should just do it. Sometimes it is hard to move forward into these uncomfortable new experiences. Scary too. You put up with a lot, Librarian. I hope things get easier soon.

  11. Although I’ve personally never gotten to go to therapy (only dealt with therapists that have helped my foster kiddos), I have to agree with everyone above. Both on the right therapist being able to help you and maybe even helping you give yourself permission to distance yourself. We can tell you all day long that you shouldn’t have to ever put up with that, but through therapy, you might be able to actually feel that yourself and find the strength it would take to put those kinds of boundaries in place. It’s a hard, hard difficult thing and I hate that you have to go through that and put up with it and I really hate that those that should have protected you all along, didn’t. Whatever you decide, know that we are here, supporting you every step of the way!!!

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