This time of year brings back too many memories.
5 years ago, Alex was 3 months old, and I was in the grip of truly terrible, severe post natal depression. I'd had depression before, but that was the "have a few drinks or a coffee with yer friends and you'll feel better" kind. This was the hardcore, can't eat, sleep or read variety.
It was unfortunate, as I was so excited about having a baby. I had longed for Alex...and thought he was the most adorable thing in the world. I was so proud to be his mum. It was just that I worried. I worried every time he went somewhere, that it was the last time I'd see him. I kept thinking that he was going to die. I kept being afraid that I was going to hurt him. I felt like I was a long way away from everyone else, talking to them from under a weight, and watching myself from the ceiling at the same time.
Christmas 2007 was horrendous. I'd never been suicidal before or truly anxious, but I was all these things. When I look back at home videos of this time, I can see my fear, see that I wasn't there, see that I wanted someone to come and rescue me from the prison of my consciousness. I kept wanting to scream, to scream and never stop.
So, on th 27th of December, I was admitted to a mother and baby unit in Melbourne. I spent a whole month there. Alex wasn't with me at first, so I spent New Years Eve 2007 in a mental institution. I was so horrendously, severely unwell, and I didn't know why someone didn't come and rescue me from it. If I was in that much physical pain, I'd be on the strongest painkillers. How could I pretend, and keep pretending to be normal, when how I felt was as far from normal as I had ever felt?
And it's not just how I felt, it's hearing the stories about how my sister in law drove Alex home all by herself, with him in her car seat. Because I'd been admitted to hospital again, because this illness was so horrendous that I thought everyone would understand if I just checked out of life. The time that my mum and sister looked after him. The fact that everyone loves him, because they all had to pitch in and look after him while I was busy being treated. I am grateful that Alex was shown such love. But I'd be lying if I wasn't deeply grieved for a long time that I couldn't be there for him. Because I loved him, so so so much. The psychs always said that I had a very strong connection with him. ...and how couldn't you?
I found a bit about how I felt at the time, and I enclose it below. To those of you who are suffering - it will end. As long as you keep living, it gets better. Today I have an amazing life.....but I can't help think about what I went through 5 years ago, what we all went through. I feel saddest for Richard...because he loved Alex and I so much...and he was so amazing. He never walked away from me, even when I was angry, horrible, bitter and full of hate. Neither did my mum, sisters, dad, and my amazing in laws. Girls from the youth group wrote me beautiful letters. Thank you, Klasine, Del, Frances and Jossy. Thank you, all who were there. I'm all better now. But I still remember.
16 March07 - I love my husband but I hate him seeing me like this. In fact, I feel like saying to him and the rest of my family "Don't love me!", but I know I don't really want that.
24 April 07 - I am so afraid and so scared that I'll never be all right again. I feel really confused, like I'm stuck in a big black hole. Feel suicidal, like I just want to die....can I go home? I just feel like I want to pass out or die, I can't go on living like this.
18 May 07 - All I want is a good night's sleep, and to be able to sleep again. I miss sleep sooo much and I'm afraid I'll never sleep again. I can't believe that I will ever get better but I have to trust God. I would much rather be the one cheering other people up than the one going through this, wading through so much horrible anxiety and fear. Please God, release me from this horrible prison. Just a tiny little bit, just enough for me to go home and cope at home. I am so weak, Lord, please help me. Lord, this is hell on earth and I would really like to not feel like this for much longer.
A verse I love is Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".
10 July 07.I feel unable to copeI feel scared that I'm going mad, feeling disconnected from everyone around me, I seem to be in a world of my own. I feel a sense of impending madness, s though I would fall over a high cliff at any moment, and this would signify my lost grip on reality.I can't enjoy anything about life anymore. All I think about is this illness and the feelings that I'm having. I keep thinking that I just want to be normal, why has this happened to me?
Psalm 13 is really good....David gives it to God in the first bit, I love it!
About May/June 08 I started to feel better. I started to be able to go out in public with Alex or by myself and not worry. Things have just kept on getting better.
And do you know what? I know that I'm stronger for having gone through this. I feel like I know I can get through stuff. I am woman, hear me roooooooooooooar! :)