Here goes. My first blog post…
I continually read blogs and articles about fellow Post Natal Depression sufferers spreading the word of this mental health illness, encouraging more awareness and bringing comfort to myself and others who suffer both alone and together. I think everyone should tell their story and we should all stand as one against it. But I don’t want to tell mine. So I will. If it helps one person I will tell it.
From the outside I look fine. Friends and family think I’m happy, probably a bit of a bitch but happy. People ask how I am and I smile and say ‘Fine, thank you’, but inwardly I am screaming at the top of my lungs FUCKING SHIT!! HELP ME!!
In order to best describe how it takes a hold of me, I can only talk about the variety of way it pops up and smacks me in the face when I’m least expecting it. Each time it can hang around for a few hours, days, weeks or months – my poor long suffering husband and children.
Sometimes PND feels like giving an overweight adult male a piggy back whilst trying to get on with your normal daily life, when they are squeezing too tightly around your waist – restricting your breathing in every possible sense, they have one hand over your heart – stopping your love going out or coming in, and one over your eyes – so you are unable to see clearly or what life you have right in front of you. The big bastard can cling on for days, weeks or even months making every step heavy, and all emotions blocked.
The way my husband yawns, the way my child drinks, the way I can’t get a brush through my hair easily, the way my clothes feel on my body. Everything. Everything Pisses. Me. Off. Which inevitably turns to
I snap and break things to try and reduce the pent up stress and emotion within. While reading this my husband may now realise why there are so many broken things in the house (sorry). I feel like a constant coiled spring about to explode at any moment. The effort of remaining coiled up and maintaining a smile is exhausting in itself. I get tension headaches and sore muscles. Never mind trying to hold a civilised conversation or trying not to fuck up your child for life with your outbursts at them.
Sometimes the PND monster is like a dark grey mist encircling my head. It clouds my judgement and and renders me unable to make a clear decision. I used to be decisive, clear and confident. Now I can’t even decide what to have to eat, what knickers to wear or what school to send my child to. I constantly feel dissatisfied with my choices but can’t improve, no matter how hard I think about it or how long I take to choose.
I either want absolutely none (most of the time), not wanting to be touched, looked at or kissed. I don’t deserve to be loved and I can’t put myself into the moment emotionally. I’m not attractive so who wants to see this bouncing around? Or occasionally I want loads, in a vain effort to convince myself I am attractive and confident. And let’s face it. Most of the time I’m just too bloody tired.
My kids are my life. But since PND reared its fucking ugly head I can’t seem to be happily with them or without them. They make me so stressed with their whining, when they wipe bogies and food on me when I just got into clean clothes (and that was a fucking effort), constantly wanting held or loved (awful I know) and I can’t give it to them. I want space both physically and emotionally. But when I’m without them I feel so guilty and anxious. I should be with them. I miss them. They are my responsibility. Are they ok? Are they happy? Not to mention the worst case scenario – Will they be happy without me? I certainly don’t want that. It’s a no win situation for all of us.
I buy things. I make home improvements. I fiddle and fix things. I organise things. I’m even conscious while I’m doing it I’m only doing it to give an impression of happiness. It’s a mask for a deep inner sadness, getting that momentary thrill of buying something I ‘need’ but in reality don’t even want. On the plus side I have nice clothes and my house is pretty!
Paranoia is an evil little shit bag that niggles in the back of your brain telling you you aren’t good or capable enough. I worry about what others think (this post is a huge step out of my comfort zone), do they like me / think I’m a bad mum / want to be my friend? In reality, the healthy happy me couldn’t give two shits. I wear what I want, say what I want and do what I want. I only care what my husband, children and handful of close bitches think. I have close friends and I don’t need any more. But when the little fuck wit has hold of me I do care. Way too much. About everything. Ridiculous waste of energy.
Some days or weeks I just feel so utterly sad. A deep inner sadness I have never experienced before. Anything makes me cry whether it’s something nice or horrid. I feel sad for myself, then guilty I am so self centred, then tell myself to ‘snap out of it’, then continue to feel overwhelmingly sad. It’s the most horrible feeling I can ever describe. I avoid situations or nice people in the worry that I will burst into tears, take them down with me and we will all cry. And I can’t be arsed to explain why.
Hopeless and scared.
Suddenly the world around me and further afield seems like such a scary place. Nothing is good, everyone is in danger, the world as we know it and my beautiful babies and loved ones are going to die in a horrible accident. Or I’ll drop one on their head, or kill the cat, or poison everyone with my cooking. It’s scary. And worrying. And terribly dull.
I feel guilt all the time. For my husband and kids having to put up with such a miserable, moany, angry and stressed mother and wife. I refer to my earlier comment that people rarely notice but this is what is happening inside my tiny mind. I feel guilty that I spend money. I feel guilty that I don’t contribute to the household income (I know, raising two children is a vitally important role blah blah). I feel guilty that I don’t want my loved ones enough. I feel guilty that I have a life that many people can only dream of yet I’m not satisfied, I want more.
I’m bored with life. My god, kids can be boring. Soft plays are the place of the devil. Toddler groups are full of righteous wankers. Church groups are full of everyone with their shit together better than you. But what else? Do something else then. Change it. But I don’t know what or how. And I’m tired. So tired. So I’ll go breathe in some more poop and germ filled recycled air and drink nasty coffee in another day light escaping soft play which neither my children or me particularly want to be at.
But there is a tiny glimmer of light. I am getting help with a wonderful counsellor who really gives a shit, and I’m on anti depressants. The past 6 months have shown some improvements so I have hope. Any time I think the PND wank stain has finally left, he (I’m unsure why my metaphoric PND is male…) jumps up and punches me in the face like an angry toddler wanting attention (while writing this my toddler woke up and whilst putting her back to bed she accidentally head butted my nose. Fucking wonderful. A real life metaphor).
I want to be free. I want my children to love me. I want my husband to not look concerned every time I walk into a room unsure whether I am going to cry, have a go or crack a joke. I want to not look for approval from anyone else but myself. And I want to be happy. I don’t know how to achieve this but I will. One day soon I will.
If this post can help one more person reach out for help, or simply know nothing is your fault when you feel like this (or ever, raising kids is HARD, thankless and often shit, but occasionally wonderful), then it was worth the humiliation and embarrassment I feel putting this out for the world to see. We need to help each other. We need to pay attention. And we need to know ‘it’s ok’ – two words which never fail to make me cry. All I want is for PND to fuck off for ever and ever and never return, but it is clinging on with more strength than I feel I have to face it. But I am, and you can too.