Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Why I Had a Mental Breakdown

R at the Lawrence Hall of Science
I have alluded before to the fact that our trip to the US was mostly disastrous, and ended with me more-or-less having a mental breakdown, that I am only now recovering from. It's still hard for me to pinpoint exactly what happened, but basically I had decided to go off psychiatric medication and try for a second child. One of these, or both, did not agree with me, and I found myself getting more and more unhappy. I decided to go see a therapist.
Dressed as a turtle
Unfortunately, she was highly incompetent. Among other things, I complained to her about B, blaming my unhappiness primarily on him, and using selective examples to bolster my case. I had already started to manifest some BPD-like symptoms, where depending on the day B was either perfect in every way or cause of everything unpleasant in my life. Rather than her noticing that my thinking patterns were distorted, and helping me to unravel them (as one would hope from a mental health professional), she accepted everything I said as the truth and even went farther, encouraging me to perceive B as abusive and mentally unstable (which he isn't). Partly this is my fault, because I wanted her to approve of me (another BPD-like symptom) and thus began to tailor what I said to meet what I perceived as her expectations. After three sessions, she began telling me that I had some serious decisions to make and urging me to divorce B. I did not want to divorce him at all, but felt so confused and mentally fragile that I had a hard time knowing what to do. Instead, B and I began constantly fighting as I quickly oscillated between clinging to him frantically and screaming at him.
On top of the life-size blue whale statue
In the middle of all this, we had to go to the US, to stay with my family for a month. B considered not going (among other reasons, because I had told my family the version of events in which everything was B's fault) but I begged him to come, so he did. However, he didn't want to stay with my family 1. for so long (their house is very small, with very thin walls) and 2. when I had basically turned them against him. I felt this was unacceptable, largely out of fear about what my mother would say/do. We fought about this issue over and over, moving back and forth from B in a hotel and R and me with my parents, to all of us in a hotel, to all of us with my parents, etc. etc. Meanwhile my mother wasn't really speaking to B, I felt caught in the middle and completely confused about what was going on, and B was under a tremendous amount of stress. Eventually things reached a point where I felt I had to choose between B and my family, and I felt that I just couldn't do it. Instead, I became suicidal and extremely depressed (I actually had to go back on medication while in the US). I cried pretty much every day of our visit, sometimes for hours at a time.
At Playland-Not-at-the-Beach
All the drama meant that I did not have a very good time on our visit, though Christmas Day was nice and our trip to Chicago was great (and a welcome reprieve from both fighting and drama in general). I also did almost none of the fun things I had planned on doing. In fact, I only have photos from three outings for the whole month (though we did go on a few more--to Fairyland and a holiday fair with a carousel, for example).
Christmas mini train set
R mostly had a great time--she loved hanging out with her doting relatives--but for me it was extremely traumatic, so much so that I am only able to write about it now, eight months later. We are planning to go back this Christmas, and even thinking of it makes me feel terribly nervous. It is really sad, because I love my family, and miss them so much, and yet being around them caused me so much stress and suffering.


  1. I'm so sorry to hear about your struggles. I'm not even sure what the proper things are to say but I'm rooting for you. From an Internet stranger who has enjoyed reading your posts.

    1. Thanks Lindsay, I really appreciate the kind thoughts/words!