Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Depression Hurts

After two days of radio silence, PrinceCharming calls to tell me he is home.
Home after spending two days in an in-patient psych unit at our local medical center.
After receiving the cryptic texts from him two nights before, I did my own research into the facility.
It's hard core. They don't accept just anyone, and they certainly do not let you check yourself in without good reason.
Good reason, I learn, is defined as I-am-going-to-hurt-myself-if-you-don't-let-me-in.
I make phone calls to the facility to make sure he arrived. They can't tell me. Of course they can't.
There is nothing I can do. This situation is beyond my control, and I realize I must stop trying to control it.
All I can do is focus on that which I can control. My own life. And my kids.
Not knowing how long he will be in, I prepare. His custodial weekend is in four days.
When we spoke, Prince Charming seemed to think he would be out in time to take the kids.
But I decide that even if he is released in time, it's in the kids' best interest that they stay with me.
He will need time to sort things out.
I arrange for weekend child care, as I am scheduled to work.
I silently wish him love and light and go about the business of living my life. Severing the emotional ties that still linger, letting go of the need to be involved and care-take him.
This is his life's path now. Not mine.
I know what depression sounds like. I know what depression looks like.
It hurts. Not just you, but those around you.
It runs in my family. And those long-term readers of my blog may remember my own experience with it years ago.
He needs to figure it out. Needs to learn how to take care of himself for once.
When he did check in with me the morning he was released, PrinceCharming sounded hopeless. Despondent.
He didn't argue when I suggested the kids stay with me for the weekend.
"K," was his only response.
He hasn't seen them in two weeks.
Hansel and Gretel haven't asked where Daddy is. I am grateful for that as I don't know what to tell them. I know it need to be addressed.
I just don't know how.  
And PC isn't in any frame of mind to figure this out with me.

What would you tell them?
How do I stop his depression from hurting our kids?


Marty said...

Please forgive me if the questions were rhetorical. I don't claim to have answers, just support and my own thoughts.

I don't think you can keep it from hurting them, but I do think you can try and help them deal with their feelings.

As for what to tell them? I think (and I can only guess because I've never been there) I would tell them that he is sick and getting treated. I think kids ask questions when they need more information, so if you started with that very basic truth, then they could guide you with their response from there.

You will handle it beautifully. You have come through with such grace already.

Much love to you.

Stories of a Stepmom (2) said...

I am so sorry you are having to deal with this. As far as what to tell the kids, I can tell you from my experience that if you wish to not hurt whatever relationship they may have with their father(and I don't think you do), I would completely downplay this. Do not make a big deal about it. Just tell them that their dad loves them very much but has some very important things to tend to. That they have nothing to worry about in the slightest and to take it as a blessing that they get extra time with mommy. I would also not bring it up unless they ask or if you sense they are having issues with it. Like I said, this comes from very similar experience and the kids were about the same age when it happened to us. The reassurance this gave them far outweighed them 'knowing the truth' about what was really going on with their mother.

Amy said...

I agree with Stories of a Stepmom. Downplay it as much as you can. Tell them that Daddy misses them but that he's really busy right now and they just can't stay the night with him. Maybe PC can pull it together enough to see them at a mcdonalds or something some time soon.

Best wishes!

Sue said...

you poor thing. (((((Hugs)))). I do like Marty's suggestion to tell them that he isn't well and is being treated. A vague he's busy may make them feel unwanted, which I'm sure isn't the case. Letting them know he isn't 100% will help them to understand if they have to be gentle with him and if his demeanour has changed significantly when they see him next, without making them feel as though it is their fault at all. Also, make sure you are taking the best possible care you can of you. It will get better. xxx

Stories of a Stepmom (2) said...

IMO, telling them he has an illness may spark more worry than relief. Telling them he is ill and then not being able to speak with him may cause them to think something is seriously wrong with their father(like he's dying). And with the possible eating disorder, that would add more worry to an already worried child.

FairieMoonChild said...

Honest, age appropriate answers that are as stress free as possible are always best. "Daddy hasn't been feeling well and is taking time to take care of himself. He misses you and loves you, but sometimes we adults have to take care of our adult size brains so we can give more love to our special babies, like you!"

For you, the release and taking care of you, not him is a big thing. You are your job. He is his job. This next year will bring challenges, that with internal love you will both walk through, slowly.

You'll get through this, little wicked, and so will PC. I have faith in both of you.

Through self love comes the ability to accept flawed love while balance is growing.

Patience while you and the life around you is growing. (and extra vitamin C, please.) xoxo

~Your Fairie God Mother

mommynurse said...

I am so sorry for what you are going through. I have just begun following your blog and want you to know that I relate to your posts on such a personal level. Some of your experiences mirror many of my own in so many ways.You have inspired me to share my stories with others as well! I admire your strength and determination and am sure that your choices for how to help your kids deal with this will be good ones. Even if they don't seem like it at the time, I can only tell you that based on my own experiences, you will look back and know you did the right thing for them.

A Not So Wicked said...

I think a balanced mix of the advice you have received so far will work well. Children aren't stupid, so not being honest with them will only sow the seeds of distrust. Age appropriate honesty is a win/win for everyone.

However, I'm sure you know already that neglecting to mention that he loves them would be in poor form. Parents who are depressed still love and care for their children. Knowing you've reiterated to the children that they are loved by him will only make the future flow more smoothly and lessen the chances of hurt and heartache for all.

Keep your chin up and know if you need anything, we're here for you :)

Anonymous said...

Turn to God (Jesus) there is nothing he cant change I am living proof