Overwhelmed and under-helped!

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Q: Okay this is really hard to go into but I need some direction…I have recently not been feeling so well I have been having a rapid heart beat, a feeling of passing out/fainting, extreme exhaustion, not wanting to leave my house for fear of harm coming to me and my children, an obsession with my biggest fear death, migraines, short temper, lack of interest in life and the things I used to, disorientation, shakiness, easily startled, and not being able to sleep. Now this all has been on and off for years but recently it has gotten really bad. I think it has something to do with the fact we recently moved to a new state under serious misleading information, I was pregnant and we had our 3rd son via emergency c-section 2 months early and he has had major problems and been in and out of the hospital. My three year old disobeys a lot and doesn’t talk very much and my 18 month old bangs his head in frustration. My hubby works 80+ hours a week and we are still having my family pay the cable/internet/phone bill and other things as well. I have been denied for health care through the state because he “makes too much”…I am under extreme stress and physically just feel I can’t take anymore…I am only 24 and this seems a bit too much for me to handle, I want to love my children unconditionally but it seems they can’t be good long enough for me to enjoy them…my hubby and I fornicate once every 2 weeks or so which limits our closeness…and I really just am tired of having my life be such an up-hill battle for happiness…I don’t know if maybe I should seek treatment and if so what kind of diagnosis are my family and I looking at? I went for a start of treatment before but now my financial situation has gotten harder with 3 kids and limited help so even on a sliding scale I am unable to pay…please please any advice would help…if there is something I can do at home I would do it but I don’t really see a light at the end of the tunnel.

A: It sounds to me like life has handed you far too much to handle all at once. Please don’t scold yourself for being so upset. Most people would find your situation overwhelming! My guess is that you are exhausted, scared, anxious, and lonesome. If that were not enough, your body is still recovering from childbirth and you have the responsibility of three children under age 3, one of whom is fragile. Yikes! Of course you’re having trouble. I’m glad you have some family financial help. That’s certainly something to be grateful for. But it’s not enough. Now you need some local support, practical help, and, especially, the friendship of other young families.

Probably the place to start is with your pediatrician or with the social worker at the hospital that treats your baby. Ask for help finding a program where you can meet other parents, get some practical advice for parenting your older two children, and perhaps find a support group with other parents who are dealing with a sick baby. It sounds like you and your husband have been doing the best you can. There is no shame in looking for a little help. I think you would feel much better if you didn’t feel so alone with all this stress.

It would be understandable if even asking for help feels like it would take too much effort. But, please, gather up whatever energy you can find in yourself and make a couple of phone calls. You and your family deserve some caring support during this difficult time.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Aug 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). Overwhelmed and under-helped!. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/08/06/overwhelmed-and-under-helped/