Yesterday was Time To Talk Day, there were some fantastic honest and open conversations with the Time To Talk Mums (#TTTMum) so it seems the perfect time to write a post I’ve been thinking about for a while…
I’m not sure I can express in words what I want to get across, but I want to give it a try.
I am in recovery – I’ve lived with depression on and off since I was 13. It came at different times and the strength varied massively.
I was hospitalised in 2005 for 4 weeks, when I was 29. I’d been seeing a psychiatrist and he’d hoped, as did my family and I, that an inpatient stay would really help me. It was a wonderful place and did help a lot. It was at this point that I started to realise that actually it might be ok that I may need medication.
It had been 16 years and I’d managed to do a lot of damage to myself. I needed some help as my mind just wasn’t able to cope – my emotions/feelings left me floored on a regular basis and affected all aspects of my life. I made bad decisions, was so hard on myself and found living so difficult.
My life continued and was better than it had been before mainly because I was kinder to myself, I was medicated and had regular therapy. However looking back I still don’t think that I’d got to a point of understanding why my life had been the way it was – there was nothing overly significantly to explain it.
I then fell pregnant
My dear friends from school still remember me being one of the first to want a baby. I’d even seriously considered having a baby on my own before I met my husband.
My thinking was that it was the one thing in my life that I was going to be good at (no pressure then?!). Motherhood was going to be the making of me – well if that was the dream, the reality was a nightmare.
My pregnancy wasn’t the easiest but it was ok – I was ok. I got a bit scared when the therapist I’d been seeing went on maternity leave herself but my local hospital got me an appointment with a psychiatrist which helped.
Knowing I was having a boy also helped a lot – I couldn’t bear the thought of having a girl and her turning out like me.
I tapered off my medication, I wanted to give my son the best start and this seemed to be the accepted view of the best thing to do.
The birth was horrific and I think that was when it started – the stream of negative thinking…
“You couldn’t even have a straightforward birth”
“You can’t breastfeed – useless”
“You caused the placental abruption because you had a drink and a cigarette that night”
“You are asking too much from the midwives – that’s why they are being mean”
“He’s having problems feeding because you’ve failed him”
It went on and on and on…
When my husband was home for those first two weeks it was good and I coped well for a few weeks but then it changed.
I had a complete breakdown – I couldn’t function or do anything normal despite being asked to, often.
I felt like I had made the worse decision of my life and wasn’t sure how it was ever going to be ok.
I was scared, well actually terrified all the time, my anxiety spiralled out of control.
It broke my heart and my mind literally collapsed. I didn’t want to be responsible for my son for his wellbeing – I thought he would have a safer future without me.
I was hospitalised with my son in March – we stayed there for just over 5 months and if I didn’t think I could get any lower I was wrong. From day 1 I said it wasn’t the right place for me that the problem was about me not my son.
I walked along roads wondering if I could step out in front of lorries more than once, I researched ways to die on the internet. I took an overdose and was almost sectioned and yet it still felt like I was no closer to any kind of recovery.
Despite dreadful thoughts, I kept my son safe.
I knew that any hope I had was just getting less and less.
When in August the psychiatrist told me to stop being a silly girl and return home to my loving husband and beautiful son I knew something had to change – I had spent 5 months under her care and was no better.
I reached out to two amazing friends at work who helped me to navigate the private medical insurance I had.
I moved hospitals within days. My new psychiatrist was horrified by the treatment I’d received and will never let me return to the NHS, something I find amazing and sad at the same time.
So I had to be completely detoxed from the medication I had been prescribed and restart all over again.
The therapy was intense – full days taking everything I thought about myself and challenging it.
I was assigned a wonderful psychologist who helped me to start processing things. I still see him now.
I still take medication every day – it’s a mixture of types. My brain is an organ and it misfires and the years of damage I did with my thinking patterns have left a lasting imprint.
But I live better than I’ve ever lived before. There is still grief and anger about the time I missed with my son that I can never get back.
I can’t regret what happened – it was an illness and it finally made me see myself properly for the first time since I was 13. It’s meant I have connected with amazing people. That how I am and in fact how I was are all ok.
I live life with my whole heart and I tell people about what happened because there is nothing more important than making the unknown, known. I felt so alone for so many years, that I was odd, that my empathy for others and general sensitivity was something to change. I never learnt that all emotions and feelings are “allowed” – that if you sit, they pass like waves.
I love my son more than I ever knew was possible…
Love and light…