In this previous post I explained what Analytical Depression was and gave examples. In this current post I would like to explain how wives and mothers might be more prone to this type of depression.
Wives and Mothers
I believe that those with analytical depression (and others too for possibly different reasons) are more prone to fall into the depression cycle at life events such as getting married and having children. These unique situations feed into the problem.
When I was pregnant my computer had a virus (virus=fetus) that slowed my computer down even more and overloaded it with pain signals that made coping harder. I had gained extra weight. Like a lot of extra weight. It hurt to walk, to sit, to lay down (I found out later that my back is broke so it makes even more sense now). I couldn’t escape it by sleeping because I would lay in pain as my brain looped and looped.
1. When there are two many unknown variables or too much uncertainty
I think for me this mostly came into play as a new mother. There was so much uncertainty and unknowns. When I was pregnant my mental load was heavy. My brain was overloaded, bogged down by decisions about post pregnancy work and finances and the birth process. Figuring out my fiances and if I would keep on working or not. Figuring out what I needed to do to ensure the best possible outcome for the birth. Indeed it is my opinion that women who are educated (either formally or self-taught) have a harder time with this depression. You know of all the possible things that could happen.
Working at a research institution, a large part of my job was reading research proposals and results of studies. Many of which had to deal with pregnancy and birth complications. Others showed how small things made a big difference in the child’s health down the road but were not standard of care in most places. I knew enough to know that I should know more and that my choices were important. I just didn’t have enough experience to know what I really needed to know. This called for a lot of mental grinding gears as I tried to figure out what I really couldn’t figure out until I had a child.
2. When the best solution is computed but because others have free agency and wills of their own (based off of different preferences and/or information) my predicted best solution cannot be reached
This was most predominate as a new wife. I got married when I was 30. I was living completely on my own at 17 three states away from my family. Due to my personality and enhanced by my education I was very efficient in solving my own problems. When something bothered me, I broke it down to what exactly it was that was causing the problem. Seeking out information to suss out the best options. Then making a decision and committing to it. Then I got married.
Enter a new person with a completely different method for making decisions. A different background, different mother tongue, different preferences and information. Not only do I need to reach a conclusion, a similar final conclusion, with this person but I need to make time for that process. When it was just me I could do this process at any time. Middle of the night. At work. On the bus. Wherever I was…whenever I had the time. I could work on it until I reached a conclusion that was on the timetable that was suitable to me. When it involved my husband often the window frame for the best solution, or any solution at all, would pass by. We couldn’t or didn’t have the time to work through it and I was unable to make a decision unilaterally that would affect us both.
It’s like working for years on your personal computer with shortcuts and preferences fine-tuned to your exact needs. Then trying to use your coworkers computer with their mouse with that weird ball thing. It seems to work for them but you see no way how they can be at all productive working under such barbaric conditions. You yourself can barely function and desire to throw that blasted mouse across the room. Being married at the beginning is like borrowing their computer. The longer you get into it though, it necessitates you to share a computer. I’m hoping that with time and good character we will blend together to make it work for both of us. I’ll get use to moving the ball instead of the whole mouse and he will come to see the wisdom of my eight shortcut buttons on the mouse.
That is the crux of this problem though right there. Being how I am ( I don’t know maybe call it over-analytical or anal, whatever) it is mind boggling and increasingly frustrating when people that have a large stake of my heart take paths that are less efficient, less optimal, less right. That result in (to me) easily foreseeable and forewarned additional problems. I recognize this same problem in my father. I understand that I need to find a different way of dealing with it than just bulldozing those around me who I care about. Clearly it will also be an increasing source of concern for me as I have more children and they grow.
3. When a solution is reached but for one reason or another no immediate or semi-immediate action can be taken
Growing up poor probably has had the greatest affect on my happiness because of this. Not because I didn’t have nice clothes or cool stuff or traveled. It was because in a way it limited my dreams. Or delayed them. Now as a mother and wife this again has resurfaced. I am a stay at home mom. Then because I’m not working there is the additional constraint of money. Always the money thing. I am happy that I am able to give my son the attention that he needs, the patience he needs, and the time that I need to be able to work on my own mental health and happiness. It is just always something there though that adds to the mental load.
This is probably true of many stay at home moms but I have little time for other things other than tending for him. My expectations of this was completely different. I thought I would be able to tend for my child while also working part time, easily cleaning the house, baking, painting, fixing the house, etc. It was not the reality of my future. The hours are filled with getting him to sleep, him to breastfeed, holding him, feeding him, cooking for him, cleaning up after him. I’m trying to make sure he doesn’t kill himself. While at the same time trying to make sure that I don’t accidentally kill him.
As I lay in bed trying to nurse him to sleep I think of all the things I would like to do once I finally get him to sleep and detached from me. I get up walk into the living room and somehow walk aimlessly around for the whole hour he’s sleeping. This stupor of though is omnipresent when I could possibly do something. For when he wakes up immediately all the thoughts of things that I need or want to do once he is slumbering pop into my head once again.
Conclusion about Analytical Depression in New Wives and Mothers
New wives and mothers have it hard. Knowing these things, these triggers can help as it helps to know how to get out of it. In an upcoming post I will talk about the specific things that new mothers and wives can do to cope with this type of depression.