Next week TJ turns 3, and 3 years ago I was still innocent to the effects of mental health and names of different antidepressants, even though I’d had a brush with depression at university I had never discussed it with anyone and so it was still just inside my head.
My pregnancy was not as straight forward as the previous 2, and the birth was definitely not, you can read about it here, but briefly I had always dreaded having a c-section, and not only did I end up with a section I was knocked out with a general aesthetic, and spent the next 24hrs feeling quite out of it. I struggled to bond with TJ and I seemed to spend most of my time crying but I was given help after a very sympathetic midwife at the hospital (I had to have a blood test due to gestational diabetes) listened to how I felt and she relayed her concerns (with my consent) to my health visitor.
I denied that I could have depression, I was adamant that I was just struggling to come to terms with TJ’s birth (who for the first few months I kept calling ‘the baby’), I was given extra support from the health visiting team and I was also referred to a counsellor, but by the time our family holiday came round I realised that I was suffering from PND, it took NJ mentioning it, for me to actually vocalise it.
At the beginning of September 2010 I started taking antidepressants (fluoxetine) within a couple of weeks it was clear things were not good and suddenly I had been referred to the crisis team, a change of meds and things began to settle down. Over the next 2.5 years although my mood and ability has gone up and down, and I’ve had meds changed up and down, I have felt (looking back) that life was bobbing along okay.
Then came March / April 2013 and I find myself in the familiar hands of the crisis team (now called the intensive home based treatment team), they are trying to sort out my medication, which I am not entirely convinced about at the moment, but NJ has convinced me that I have to try what the professionals are suggesting.
I go from feeling calm and happy at times to racked with guilt for being ‘ill’, to full of anxiety and then thoughts of wanting to self harm. I have so far managed 3 or 4 weeks without cutting, but tonight the urges have been incredibly strong, I’m not too sure how I’ve managed to stay safe.
From my point of view I have nothing tangible to be unhappy about, from the outside everything must seem great, big house, nice family, 2 cars, I’m a SAHM, but inside I’m not right and I no longer know why. When I was first ill I could identify with the difficult birth and pregnancy, now there is nothing to identify with. I have spoken to so many people over the last 3 years that all the reasons I thought were why I was / am the way I am, that I have realised none of these are real anymore. I am me, and somehow I have to learn how to live with being me, I have to learn to like me, and possibly love me (although that may be stretching it a bit far!).
I am worried that my current medication is sedating me too much to feel anything, I have been given a lifeline from my daughters preschool and she is going there nearly full time, which gives me the space I need, but more importantly the attention she needs and she is loving it there. I just no longer know how to live properly and I no longer know what it is that I want.
People on the outside will say that I am doing okay as I am functioning, I get dressed everyday and get the kids to school, they are always fed, clean and dressed (okay not so clean at the end of the day, but that’s good right?) and 9 times out of 10 are where they need to be on time. Unfortunately no one can see inside my head, they don’t see the constant thoughts of self harm, the constant thoughts of being unworthy of what I have, the constant thoughts of being an inadequate mother, and I could go on but I think you will probably get the idea.
So that is me, 3 years on, I am now an old hand at reading and hearing about mental health, a conversation that contains talk of suicide and or self harm is often the norm, and I currently seem to be living in a slightly different world to the one I was in 3 years ago.