Thursday, September 30, 2010

Depression - an insider's view.

Guilt - seems to be the emotion of the week this week.  I have always been a worrier. A fearful kinda person. I don't believe that anything happened to me to make me like that, I just think it's my inherent personality. I come from a long line of worriers.  I'm the kind of person who can't sleep at night thinking about what might go wrong.

Motherhood has unloaded a massive truckload of guilt on me, though. I didnt' want to admit that I had post natal depression when Alex was born, because I didnt' want to have it. I wanted to be a coper. But at the same time, it was waaaaaaaay scary to be his mummy.  I don't think anyone can realise until it happens to them, what a huge responsibility it is to be a parent. Suddenly, the buck stops with you.  And for a worrier like me, the endless variety of things that could go wrong were almost too much to bear.  So I got PND.  And I fought it.  Imagine the emotional and mental equivalent of a broken leg.  You go to a doctor, you go to a psychiatrist.  "Fix my leg!!" you plead with them.  They try. They give you antidepressants.  They give you strategies.  And, if you're unlucky, like me - nothing works.  The broken leg splinters the more you walk on it.  Your flesh is exposed.  You're in unbelievable mental and emotional torment.  But you're told that it will get better.  So you wait.  But the wound wont' heal and becomes more agonising.  You go to a mother and baby unit, and they tell you that you will have to use your strategies until it becomes better because you are on all the medication you can be.  You go home, you try to cope, but every time you talk to someone, you do anything,  all you can think about is the agony you're in.  Try to look for the positive, they tell you. Try to go for a walk.  Ignore the agony.  If you were in this much physical pain, surely you'd have a strong painkiller. Yet, you have to live without anything to numb it.   You try to self medicate and end up in a psych ward.  God has a sense of humour, because no matter what you try, you can't check out of this horror.

In the end, it was as simple as this for me - did I want to live or die? I wasn't going to feel better or like me for a long, long time.  But did I really want to deprive my son of a mother, my husband of a wife, my parents of a daughter, and my sisters of a sister?  I wanted more than anything to end the unbelievable anguish.  I was suicidal for about a year to 18 months.  But, in the end I was stronger than it (with God's help).  I decided that screw you, depression, I am GOING TO LIVE!  So I just got up every day, and did the best I could.  I couldn't sleep, I couldn't laugh, I couldn't read.  I was less a person and more a collection of horrendous mental agonies.  I didn't think I'd ever get better.  I didn't believe the people who told me I would.  I wished that I had a fatal illness because at least I knew it would END.

But do you know what? it did end.  At first, I had a good bit of a day. then a good whole day. Then a couple of good days in a row.  Then, without me noticing it, I had a good week.  And another.  When I fell back into a bad day, it was terrifying, because I thought it would start again and I'd never have a good day.  But I did.  And when I finally "Woke up" from son was 2 and I had to start picking up the pieces of my relationships again.  It was very hard.  I think that I've only really started to feel like myself this year.  My son is 4 now.

So I spoil him sometimes. I'm so guilty that I wasn't "There" for the first two years of his life.  Yes, I always loved him. That was one of the things that kept me alive.  But I couldnt' always be the mummy I wanted to be.  Because I just wasn't able.  So now I want to be the best mummy I can possibly be.  But I don't want to spoil him.  MOtherhood is so hard!! 

Anyway - I will end on this - I know this is a heavy post but I wanted to get it off my chest.  I'm trying not to spoil him, but I love him so much. Without him, I wouldnt' be the survivor I am today. 

Love and peace
Deb xo

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