Earlier this month, during the “great messageboard debacle of 2010,” I was ‘accused’ of being severely depressed because I mentioned feeling unable to handle taking care of my son alone. Sometimes one is not really able to express oneself and words can be misconstrued.  I can take care of Little Man without help, but it’s not easy and I’m glad I have Dude to co-parent.  I’m not depressed—I’ve suffered from depression and know the difference—but I AM feeling overwhelmed by stress.

Neither Dude nor I have high paying jobs.  In fact, Dude took a pay cut (mandatory unpaid furlough days) the week after Little Man was born. It’s 10% of his salary and the loss of income has hurt us badly. My job has been low paying but as it’s a family business, I have extremely flexible hours and can bring Little Man with me to the office.  Since our bills consume most, if not all, of our monthly take home income, it’s a necessity for me to have my son with me.  Daycare is so expensive and if I had to put him there, we’d just be putting it on a credit card and hoping we’d be able to pay it off one day.  So money woes is causing a LOT of stress.

In addition to those issues, I’m not certain my father will be able to keep the company running beyond this year.  And now I’m thinking: what can I do for a job????  I used to work as a desktop publishing editor for a major publishing company. But when I was laid of in 2002, I sat on my ass and let my career slip away. Thank goodness my parents actually needed me and I’ve been there for nearly 8 years. But, in retrospect, that was a mistake and I’m not sure where I can find work when I need to.  And Dude is not happy in his job and I’m not sure it’s entirely secure.  Job security in this day and as is rare.

Then there are my parents. Their health is … eh, they’re not doing so well.  My father is morbidly obese.  He knows he should lose weight but never does.  He’s 67 years old and I’m not sure he even wants to lose weight. But he can’t get a knee or hip replacement unless he does and he hobbles around on a cane that can barely support his weight. I’m worried about him but even more worried about my mother.  She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease last Fall.  She’d been suffering from a rare neurological disorder for years—something called an orthostatic tremor—where only her lower extremities are affected. She cannot stand still without trembling. And then she started to have weakness in her hands and a shake. So she went to a specialist in NYC and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s as well. My mom’s mother died in January. The business she helped my father build is failing. So she is extremely depressed. She feels like she can’t do anything and like a burden.

I have a wonderful brother who would help you out in a pinch. But he’s also very dependent upon my parents. He has chronic migraines and Fibromyalgia. So he’s in constant pain and has no friendships—it’s like whenever he tries, he gets stomped on—and he’s given up on people. He’s very intelligent and very few people share his interests. As he feels he cannot speak to anyone and share with them, I think he’s taken to picking arguments so he can debate and then exercise his intellect. Though he does not do this to prove superiority. He needs the stimulation.  But he’s not capable of caring for my parents and a lot of this will fall on me.

So I’m stressed. I’m very stressed. There’s more to it, but stress does not equal depression. That being said, stress can cause anxiety and I’m feeling a lot of that.