I’m going to pick up where I left off.
The week Paul left I functioned fairly well. I took some extra time owed to me from work and had a bit of time at home. After my friend sent me this link and discussed my behaviour changes, I made an appointment to see my GP. If I hadn’t, well, I wasn’t really admitting there was a problem was I? And deep down; I knew something was wrong. I thought I hated my husband; that s**t doesn’t just come out of no where? Does it? He had done nothing! Leaving the odd towel on the floor or forgetting babies nappies surely aren’t sack-able offences? There had been a fundamental shift in the way I was feeling. I should look into that….
Shockingly, I got in to the GP straight away. I remember walking into the office and sitting there not really knowing what to say. I felt really stupid because, let’s be honest, you do not go visiting your GP because you had a row with your spouse! And, PND; not something that you hear of being self diagnosed. I doubted its solidity, gravity and viability. I’d had all of these medical, prenatal, postnatal, antenatal, baby loving, pain-in-the-backside (God love them but really!) Professionals in my life who hadn’t noticed anything. Not one of them had mentioned this could be a thing; a proper, tangible, yank-your-heart-out-of-your chest reality. But it was.
So I just said it. I blurted it out like I had some sort of Tourette’s. She immediately asked me “what makes you say that?” whilst my eyes began to betray my overall quite composed exterior and leak every emotion I’d felt over the last 9 months down my face! My instinct kicked in, which actually made me realise I wasn’t quite as ill as I could have been; my brain immediately retorted “because I thought it might be fun”! (That would be mainly because I am a massively sarcastic person when people ask me what I think of as being a daft question. At least I knew that part of my brain was running fairly on par to my “normal” self.) In reality I said “my friend said…” which made me feel like a three year old telling tales.
Looking back now, this perhaps wasn’t the best example of the current shout out to mental health and treatment. Over the last 2 years or so, mental health awareness has reached the headlines: finally I can’t help but cry! My experience wasn’t the worlds best, nor was it the worst I’m sure. But what it did do was get me off the starter blocks. The doc laid out the options to me, including medication and counselling, and I went away with some leaflets and feeling that little bit lighter; like maybe change was on the horizon. Maybe…
That same day I had received a text from Paul. Before he even knew that I was ill, he was already making an effort to try and fix things. His texts were lovely; pretending we had exchanged numbers in a bar and wanting to take me out on a date. I was so flattered and pleased, but deep down I still felt the same. Visiting the Doctor had not been a miracle cure and suddenly the “old me” was back.
I told him I was busy that week, but would be free at the weekend if he’d like to go for coffee. What I didn’t say at the time was that I needed the rest of the week to just be alone. selfishly, I wanted the days to myself. we had already agreed that MaryBeth would go to stay with him, at his mums house, and I would be completely alone in my house for the first time since we’d moved in. I was looking forward to it. Then I realised that I was looking forward to it; and felt guilty. And then ashamed. I shouldn’t feel like this. It’s not normal. My little girl; my pride and joy and the air I breathe was slowly suffocating me. But to admit it was even bigger to me than feeling it. The shame. The absolute, unbidden shame of it. There aren’t sufficient words……that’s part of the problem though isn’t it.
Image courtesy of metro.co.uk
Parenting is the toughest thing in the world.
The perception is that new Mum’s should feel blessed and happy; be floating around on cloud 9 with the unicorns and fairies. But that’s just it, it’s bullshit! Just like the fairies and unicorns it’s just a fantasy that the media and stereotypes graft into our brain. Like when we learn the times tables at school. A rhythmic recital of information that we don’t really absorb, just learn and accept. No one ever stops to question why that is. We just accept that it is what it is because someone told us as much. Because someone said. How we’re raised to believe in one thing or to put people into stereotype boxes and think that everything should be like that; because someone said so. Saying “Oh my God this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life!” out loud, just isn’t the done thing. And that, my friends, is the start of the problem right there……
Lots of help is available at mind.org.uk and PNI.org.uk