Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Good Ol' Fashioned Nervous Breakdown

Just before people crash and burn they're sitting in an office like mine, relatively, well, trashed. Docs like me code their disorders to the tune of major affective disorder-depression, adjustment disorder with depression, usually some kind of depression, and there are many.

Then we fill out the family-leave or disability papers to stop the crash, if it isn't too late for that.

Telling a person to quit work is like, contrary to everything we usually recommend or will ultimately recommend as soon as depressed people are back on their feet.

We like work. It's healing. It distracts us from our problems, earns money so that we can buy things we need, keeps us off the streets, makes our mommies and daddies proud. We in the mental health biz especially like it when folks can function and go to work, or can function at their stay at home jobs.

Functioning highly. That's where it's at.

Then there are those of us who have children, in which case functioning highly is an oxymoron. Getting help, getting support, is KEY for young parents who are over-whelmed with housework (which can be tough in ant infestation season), marital responsibilites (can be ridiculously emotionally draining), childcare (what are we talking about, that's so easy, right?), their own school-work (what were you thinking, going back to school), or simply getting in a shower.

And we're not even talking about co-dependent care-taking, here. For that, see the link to T.D.'s Anecdotes and Essays. I wrote a lot. In those cases it's about cutting the chaff. Getting a dependent to fend for him or herself.

So how're we doing, gang? Are you starting to worry that you haven't finished something, that there are too many toys on the living room floor, that the washing machine only has another day or two left before it completely stops working and you don't have the money to replace it?

Do you not seem to have much time for anything that remotely has anything to do with YOU? Yet, here you are, reading, not washing the floor (car), cooking dinner (taking the kids for ice cream), studying, or working on your resume. So there's hope.

One of the complaints of stress, prior to the crash of depression is that people don't have enough time to do the things they want to do. The obvious corollary is that if we had more time we'd be less stressed.

Seems we have to make more time, then, right? That's why I fill out the disability forms (assuming people are really disabled). But BEFORE you get sick, people, cut back. Do less and don't care.

Get on line and find some time management skills. There are several good resources. For young moms, for example, there's Sara Zeldman's Solutions for Busy Moms.

There's no time to be proud, get help, pay for it if you have to, get a loan, I don't care. Therapy's expensive, too. Do it before the crash. It makes me sad to see folks this way.

Copyright 2006, Therapy Doc

1 comment:

SolutionDIVA said...

Right on, Doc! Motherhood should not be a solo sport - as it tends to be America! You might be interested in the latest issue of Scientific American Mind which features a huge story on Burnout. As I was reading it, I thought to myself "They really should follow this up with a story about mommy burnout." I mean, you can always take a leave of absence from your job -- but what if your family IS your job -- then it's not so easy to take a break! So, you're right, we need to learn to take "downtime" before we crash & burn!