I knew I was on a downward spiral, I felt empty, dis-engaged, my anxiety had peaked and my partner would say to me at the dinner table that I was somewhere else. My mind was detached, my judgement was clouded, I was spiralling out of control and I couldn’t stop it.
My baby was 6 weeks old and I was overwhelmed at the thought of how I would cope with two children.
I was having catastrophic thoughts, scared to take my eyes off him, that if I did, something bad would happen to him. One day, I even thought someone was going to steal him in Tesco.
I would be driving along in the car thinking that I was going to be in a car crash and hurt the children.
I was also struggling with body dysmorphia, my self- esteem was at an all time low, I had put on so much weight during my pregnancy that I almost didn’t recognise myself anymore, I felt repulsed when I looked in the mirror, all I saw was the negative parts of my body, the stretch marks, and wrinkly saggy skin. I didn’t recognise that my body had done something incredible and created a beautiful healthy baby boy. By the time he was born, I took drastic measures to lose weight and by 8 months postpartum I had lost almost all of my baby weight.
My chronic migraine condition returned as soon as I stopped breast feeding which contributed to the onset of depression. It all became too much.
The critical point arrived several days after my best friend suggested I step down as her bridesmaid for reasons around my PND, since my mind was somewhere else. I was heartbroken. My mother also stopped talking to me for 3 days because we’d had an argument. These extra stresses tilted me over the edge.
It was my partners birthday, we didn’t make any plans on that day, instead we bickered about the housework not being done, argued over something baby related and I just couldn’t handle anymore criticism.
I went to bed early that night, and I couldn’t sleep. One hour became four hours and I was wide awake. My partner then came to bed and I was still awake. I was going berserk in my mind, I was heartbroken, annoyed, unable to communicate to my partner my thoughts.
I literally had these words stuck in my chest, suppressed so deep I couldn’t find a way to let them out. Eating away at me, in silence, crushing my mind, my power and my ability to speak. I couldn’t take the suppression of my destructive thoughts anymore.
In that moment, I got out of bed, left the room, barely dressed, I sat at the bottom of the stairs looking out of the tall window overlooking the Street in hope that somebody would see me.
I cried hysterically, the release came out in a waterfall of tears, rather than words or frustration. I wanted somebody to see me and help me.
In that moment, I decided it was best to leave, get in the car and go somewhere, anywhere alone. I went upstairs to get dressed, I put my clothes on in the dark room still not quite believing what I was about to do, it was a deranged response to a person who felt scared and trapped in her own thoughts.
Then, my partner woke up. He was confused. So was I. He asked me what I was doing? I told him I was leaving. He instantly thought it was him, something he had done, he thought I wanted to leave him, but he was wrong, actually what I meant was that I needed to leave the situation. I just needed to go somewhere alone.
We spent the next three hours sitting on the bed together, trying to piece together what was going on in my mind. Some of that time, I sat in silence desperately clutching a pillow, wondering if words would come out of my mouth to make any sense of this, I knew I needed help immediately.
I won’t go into any more details about what happened, but the most important thing you need to know is that I accepted that I needed help the next day and I got that help. I’ve attended various different forms of counselling and treatment, some of which I am still undergoing to this day. I attended a Postnatal depression group for 3 months ran by the NHS Bucks Healthy Minds Department, with mothers having similar issues to find coping strategies to help us overcome this dark time. It was incredibly supportive having a group of mothers who could relate to what you were experiencing.
I share this with you to show you what depression can do to your mind, how it can distort your thoughts and intentions so drastically. Depression is a mental health illness, it’s scary and it needs to be treated.
If you know anyone that is dealing with this silent illness, it kills, I have almost been there myself, give that person an olive branch, guide them, be there, help them. I have got a number of good friends to thank, but sometimes it’s just that ONE friend you need who UNDERSTANDS.
Understands the dark times you endure, understands the long days and nights with the children, understands that you haven’t got anything in you to face the day ahead. You could be that ONE FRIEND.