By M Walker
I think for most of my post-natal depression I felt as if I was permanently constrained by chains and that someone else had control of my life. It was as if even though I desperately wanted to break free, I just didn’t know how to.
The funny thing is too, I love writing and I love to keep a diary on my children when I remember, but in the throws of my depression I just didn’t know how to even pick up a pen, let alone describe what I was going through. How could I tell others what I was experiencing when I didn’t even know myself? How could I tell people that I wasn’t enjoying motherhood? Needless to say my diary during my thickest bout of depression was quite slim and in fact only 2 lines were taken up to discuss months of torment and anguish and the confusion that I felt at that time in my life.
How could I write when I could barely sit still for longer than 2 minutes? I was way too agitated to sit down, to type at a computer, analyse me thoughts and put them to paper in a logical fashion. Infact I was way too agitated to barely do anything. For me, everything at this time was a real struggle.
Infact it was at least 12 months later that I was able to write about my experiences with post-natal depression and start telling more people about my time back then. I was so ashamed that I had failed in my parenting duties, that I just didn’t want anyone to know the truth. So emotionally I guess it took quite some time before I could accept the illness as a part of me, without me having to have been the cause of it. In time I eventually learnt to come to terms with what went on at that time in my life and how to move forward.
I remember telling everyone I was exhausted and that the exhaustion and anxiety only lasted 2-3 weeks, but the reality is that it lasted for 2-3 months, if not longer. There were still times in January when I fretted if I was left alone or around too many people-but I think by the time we got into mid February I was almost back to normal. I know 2-3 months is not very long at all compared to what some women have been through, but for me it was still a very frightening and uncertain time in my life.
I tell everyone now that that was when I had my little breakdown-trying to make light of it-and you know what, I feel like I did. I was at the lowest point that I had been since I had Abbey and I guess from there the only way was up-mind you it took me a long time to figure out which way was up.
In my diary I say Christmas came and went without too much hassle-what a lie that was. I was at a Christmas party over the road and had to leave early as I started freaking out with so many people around-I made a very quick exit and a feeble excuse about a bad headache. Christmas day with my family was okay, but I hated every minute with Paul’s family-there were so many adults and kids there and I felt so claustrophobic that I just needed to run and scream. None of Paul’s family knew so I had to continue on as best as I could-god I hated that day and quite possibly myself for having to pretend.
We then went to Adelaide for a 2 week holiday and I also started freaking out-I desperately wanted to be left alone but just couldn’t stand to be on my own-it was such a weird time. I think for Paul (my husband), he felt like he couldn’t ever do or say the right thing. We also had Paul’s 10 year old son (Taylor) on holiday with us for the first time-so it was even extra trying than it would normally have been. I remember thinking I just want to go home and see Mum. Eventually I was able to settle down a bit and we moved onto a beautiful spot in the country where we had our own house and plenty of room to move. There I felt at peace, at least for a little while anyway.
From M.Walker. For more information on post-natal depression and where you can go to get help, please visit my website at www.mothersinneed.com
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