Feeling low but can’t move forward

I’ve always struggled a bit with my mental health – with short bouts of depression through my university life, and then at stressful times later. It was touched upon in our homestudy but I was able to show how I had previously recognised my depressive times and sought help A Problem Sharedappropriately.

These days it’s different. Without a doubt my mental health has been affected by my children; by adoption. I’m by no means in tune with my children 100% of the time, but I am a lot of the time and I’m down when they are down. However, it doesn’t work the other way – when they are up, I’m still mentally shelving the bad stuff, and preparing myself emotionally for the next angry and anxiety filled moments.

I don’t know what to do now. I can see I’m suffering with my mental health, and I know why.
I have ‘me’ time and I enjoy it, I take pleasure from it and do not feel remotely selfish (as I thought I would). I have mindfulness apps, I try to lift my own mood, I practise yoga, I’ve tried reiki, I eat well, I’m taking anti-depressant medication and have tried speaking with the mental health nurse at my surgery. Where now?

Many thanks to the adoptive mum that wrote this post, I think many of us can identify. If you have advice, please share it below…

6 thoughts on “Feeling low but can’t move forward

  1. Geraldine

    How old are your children? If they are not yet teenagers, prepare and pace yourself! I survived by surrounding myself with good friends who are also adopters and who understand – no matter what time of the day or night. And I can recommend dialectical behaviour therapy if you can access it. If not – “mindfulness” training. Wishing you lots of love and care.

  2. Gem

    I feel for you. Depression is a bedfellow who jumps in and out of bed with me too. I’ve learned not to worry about it or fight it now. Thankfully I function, as I see you do too but the stress of challenging children makes joy a hard emotion to find. You obviously need to communicate with your GP if the medication isn’t working and maybe exam how much the stress in your life is draining you. Getting out in the green areas for walks can help. Maybe not fighting so hard to get well might be beneficial? Just accepting that this feeling is here and asking yourself what it’s message is. What is it teaching you about yourself? It is very hard living with depression. I know I felt so unhappy the second major bout of depression I had because I’d vowed never to get depressed again (like I had a choice in it). Once I’d accepted that this was a part of my identity and who I am I felt differently about it and now don’t hate myself for getting depressed when it strikes. I’m currently back on ADs and thankfully starting to feel calmer again after a few years of crazy stress. I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to see the GP but I’m always hopeful I’ll get over it naturally. I laugh about my depression now if that makes sense and try not to take myself too seriously. I do have days that are a major struggle to get through and I slow down on those days and achieve more on my better days and adjust my expectations of myself. Always here if you want to chat more. Xx

  3. Louise Sullivan

    Thank you for writing a really honest piece about a topic which many adopters struggle to raise, especially with the professionals! It needs to be talked about far more often than it currently is. I read a piece of research the other day which stated that it was believed that stress and anxiety in adoptive parents is far more likely to reach clinical levels (involving the need for medical intervention, medication and talking therapies, etc) in 40-50% of adoptive couples. I can be well believe this from the people I’ve spoken since adopting two years ago. I don’t know if this helps you but it helped me – you are definitely not alone! Also, it sounds very much like you are proactive in seeking help and strategies to move forward which is what many of us struggle to do when feeling so overwhelmed. Mindfulness and yoga in particular are excellent. Two things j would say about them. Firstly, yoga – in my experience- is either just average/mediocre or incredibly powerful. Before I found a rather powerful form of yoga (powerful in terms of the impact it had on my wellbeing) I was doing an old Linda barker yoga DVD. Now I access clips on YouTube, called Yoga with Adriene. She does a great variety of targets yoga videos, eg for stress and anxiety (my favourite) – helps me calm down in 15-20 mins when in a stress induced daze which can last for days. Her 39 day yoga camp is brilliant too. I’ve yet to make it past day 1 – I keep repeating it because it’s so good!
    Secondly, mindfulness. I have a couple of apps which I love. However there are so many different versions /forms of mindfulness though. For avoiding relapses into depression and anxiety it is proving groundbreaking, almost a a effective as medication. Combined with medics it is believed to increase effectiveness of medication and help sufferers come off medication and avoid relapse. I would get into YouTube and search Mark Williams Guided meditation. He is a lovely man who is involved in the Oxford centre for mindfulness. His other videos on YouTube are also great, just for teaching yourself about the theory behind mindfulness. It helps me believe j need to persever with mindfulness. If practicing mindfulness every day in approx 8 weeks it is believed it rewires the brain. New neural connections are formed that help us become calmer and less anxious. But get inking and see the research for yourself. It will work if we persevere on a daily basis. Mark Williams has several teaching videos on YouTube and he talk about the clinical trials going on all over the world showing the power of mindfulness to rewire our brains. You’re brain is amazing and you can change it. In the meantime, “keep on keeping on”. For now it might feel bad and we can accept that it is bad and we will put our heads up, dig deep and push on. When it feels like all is falling apart remember you’re not alone, you are strong and “this too will pass”.

  4. Haven

    Time away from the kids that involves a bit of exercise is my saviour. I am the world’s worst runner, but I try to get out every so often for a wee run and I go walking with a wee group – the chat in that is also very beneficial. I also go swimming from time to time on my own, which is relaxing. If I feel down, I do find the endorphins from running or swimming a massive help.

    Adoption is relentless, and for me, these precious bits of me time make the difference between weeping in a heap and getting on with things!

    I hope you find something that works for you. Take care of yourself.

  5. Hushabyemountainblog

    I’m struggling this morning, so popped over here for a virtual hug, so this is a timely post. All the advice is great. Getting outside and walking, digging the allotment, help me find ways to get on with the rest of the day and tackle the jobs I can’t face (those that are related to dealing with the children’s trauma), and help me accept what I am feeling.

  6. Mary Mills

    I know how you feel. In fact these past few days have been especially hard. Adopting brings up so much in us that we didn’t even know we had. I would like to add another suggestion to the variety above. Pray. I don’t know what you believe, but the God who created you is the one who can most help you. He already knows the truth–your innermost struggle that you don’t share with anyone, so there is nothing to be ashamed of. I have 7 children, 4 bios, and three adopted. Our youngest have only been with us for 11 months. It is hard. The hardest, but probably the best thing we will ever do in life. You are not alone. He is with you. I really do get it. Hold on. Hold on to HIm.


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