I have the worst case of writers block, I’m not necessarily a real writer, but regardless I feel trapped with words in my head and nothing but blank pages. I’ve been suppressing and denying the real reason I feel so uninspired, so I turned inward and really thought about what’s been going on in my life, what is it that I feel needs to be given a voice, turns out it’s the one thing that has been consuming me as a person, the one thing I have been so reluctant to talk about to anyone, and that is my diagnosis and the process of recovery of postnatal anxiety and depression.
It seems this day and age it so is common, whether you have one child, three small children like myself or a multitude of other combinations, postnatal depression doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t matter if you have what seems like the perfect child, the most amazing support, it’s unexpected, its debilitating but most importantly it’s not you. You are not your depression, you are not your anxiety, you are you and with love support, patience and some healing you will slowly find yourself again. I can make this promise because that is my experience, I am still slowly remembering who I was, what it is I love, what I thrive off of, what makes me laugh, feel important, valued and connected.
The thing about having children is it really does change your life, for better or worse it becomes your new reality, and for me like many others adjusting to my new life and its constant demands has been rough. I battled on for 4 years over three children and though I felt tired, and like everything was an effort, though I cried and got angry, even as I retreated into myself withdrawing from everyone and everything. It wasn’t until I contemplated for the one millionth time my demise, the worthiness of my existence and what seemed like my only anecdote to my pain, suicide. The difference was this time I lingered, I lingered a really long time, long enough to sort out the when, where and how’s. I had my plan, my way out, and all I could do was cry in fear and pain. I never thought I would be here in this thought, but the pain was so tangible. I mentioned to someone that when I cry it physically hurts me, sitting in that feeling of loneliness, hopelessness of nothingness it hurt every inch of my body and I couldn’t make it stop. Up until this time I had been using sleep as a sort of non-permanent way to not exist, but the depression and anxiety was becoming so over bearing I couldn’t sleep. Lucky for me, I had the sense and deep love for my children, to shake myself into seeking help, a step that was one of the hardest for me to take. And to be completely honest, every step out of depression feels heavy, difficult, laboured, but one foot in front of the other, still trudging along, I am slowly but surely making progress. My road to recovery has been anything but smooth, but I guess that’s another story.
The main thing I wanted to focus on is where I am at right now, I am functioning, I have good days and bad days, and am relearning and discovering myself, and my interests and how to reconnect with people and let people know how I am really doing. Turns out I really like Yoga, meditation, gratitude journals, people (this one surprise me most lol), Latin music and dancing. Today I went out and got my septum pierced, not for the adrenalin or because I was having a bad day and need a distraction, but simply because I wanted to and have wanted to for a while. I was really proud of myself for having the courage to acknowledge something I wanted, and actually go through with it. Sure I was nervous, and my anxiety was through the roof, but I did it, and I’m happy I did. It’s been so long since I’ve done something challenging or scary, it’s so easy to get caught up in your mind, and completely avoid any and all stressors, but life is full of them, and I think it’s about time I dip my toe back in the water and see what within reason I can handle.
We are all stronger than we think, I know this because if you are here reading this, depression or not, you have strength, this world is not always kind, and society is pushing us to be more and more disconnected, providing the perfect environment for these types of illnesses. I am truly grateful that I am here, and that my children have a mother, what a blessing that is, and what a waste it would be if I didn’t speak up when I did. So I guess again I am speaking up, partly for my recovery, as the more I accept myself and my shortcomings as a part of my story I give myself the opportunity to move passed them and on to better things. I am trying my best to open up, to complete strangers mind you, in the hopes that if I dare catch someone feeling or thinking how I did, that it might help or encourage you to seek help, it sucks less then feeling at your worst I promise.
Be kind to yourself, you ARE an amazing mother, and please seek help if you need it.
image source: Kalle Gustaffson http://www.kallegustafsson.com/