Well can I just say how excited I am about the play starting in 6 days time? Yikes! Last night we had the first rehearsal in the West side centre.....ooh I was nervous. I only forgot one part of my lines, but the thought of forgetting any of it in front of a paying audience makes me quail with fright!
Lots of people I know are coming to see it, and that's exciting too!
On another note, I have been looking at some of our home movies of Alex when he was really little. I wish I could say that I look at them and they bring back good memories. The sad fact is that I hear his crying and it doesn't make me feel anxious....but it makes me remember being terribly anxious and afraid. It makes me sad for me, and sad for Richard and Alex, because I really wanted to be a good wife and mother, fulfilled and happy, but I fell into an enormous pit of depression and stopped living.....I only existed. And what a fraught and tortured existence it was. I know that it's unhealthy to look back and think "if only"...but I do wish that I had more positive memories of that first year. I look back and see the pain in my eyes, I see the worry in Richard's eyes. I see that Alex is a beautiful baby, and that I wanted to be the best mum I could be, but that it was so hard and that I lost myself. I don't ever want to feel like that again. EVER!
And it's not just for me.....the strain and the pain that the lost months of my life put on those around me sometimes makes me want to sit down and weep. I was suicidal for so long, the only thing stopping me from doing anything about it was the thought of my family and my son and what a terrible thing it would be for them to deal with. I had nothing for me. I had ceased to be me. All that existed was pain and desolation and fear. The absence of hope, the absence of light, nothing to hope for, nothing to live for.
Now that I've been back to "me" ....probably since September/October last year.....I had entertained the thought of having another child. Richard and I both wanted more than one when we first discussed it, and so many lovely, thoughtful people have told me "an only child is a lonely child!" (sarcasm alert).....I want Alex to have a sibling......I like the idea of another child.....but I think that the reality of going through what I went through before is just too much for me.
My psych is optimistic. I have BPD, which is why my post natal depression was so horrific...and BPD is one of those rare, cureable mental illnesses. He says not to discount the idea of having another child, properly handled. But I just don't know if I can take that leap of faith. Having a child is not like starting a job, picking a colour for your wallpaper.....it is not reversible....and as a mother, you are pivotal to that child's life. I have never known anything like it in my life. It is a force that is primal, strong......it scares me to death. I don't know that I have another recovery in me. People say....."you'll know the warning signs, you'll have strategies in place, people will help out"......and I think, it's all very well knowing the warning signs and getting people to help...but somewhere in the first months of Alex's life, my Post Natal Depression took on a life of its own and nothing anybody did helped fix anything. I descended into hell and I didn't come out for about 2 years. I don't know that I can take the risk of going back there. Even knowing that it would end wouldn't make the utter hellishness of it any easier. It's not just being tired, it's not just being sad. It's having all the life sucked out of you. It's having no joy, nothing to look forward to, no peace, no rest. Insomnia, anxiety, fear, obsession, insanity, suicidal thoughts. No concentration span, never being able to sit and relax, being a prisoner in your own head. Longing to escape but not being able to justify ending it all. Trying to, and failing. Hating yourself, hating God, hating happy people. Feeling sick when you see a pregnant woman. Wanting people you love to forget you ever existed so you can stop existing. How can I ever risk going back there? I don't think I have enough faith to do it.
Maybe things will change....but I really don't think so. I have come so far that I am now hopeful about life and my future, but not far enough to forget what feeling like I had no life and no future felt like. I think I still grieve the losses of that time. Poor, poor Richard, my poor mother and father......the people I loved hurt as much as I did because I was so lost. I love Alex more and more each day, but I have a defensiveness over my parenting that stems back to that time. I'm afraid that my illness will have somehow damaged him. I'm sure my guilt will subside as I work through my "stuff" and become stronger and more confident in my parenting. This is happening every day. I can now spend a whole day at home with Alex without freaking out or counting the hours til Richard comes home....unheard of in those early months!
Who knows what the future holds? I guess it's in the hands of God. All I can do is take it one day at a time. (There's a good bumper sticker about that. "I try to take each day at a time, but lately, several days have attacked me at once"!)
Thanks for listening, whoever you are! Deb xo