I’m going to warn you now, there is nothing funny about this post. You might want to pass over this one if you are the skipping, clappy handy type (not that there is anything wrong with that, gimme some please). And I promise something much more fun than this is coming on Friday.
I’ve had some really interesting messages over the past few weeks. Everything from Trolls telling me I suck, “fan mail” *chortle* to Far Kew and heartfelt messages from friends and complete strangers thanking me for the laughs. I love it. Some of them have been quite personal ones, telling me my rants are the only light part of their week as they are suffering from depression. And those ones hit a bit of a nerve.
Far Kew is fine with life, she gets a bit ranty throughout the week, but stuff just rolls off her. Me? Not so much in tune with the rolling.
I have spent a large portion of my 37 years going up and down but mostly up. I am the “fun one”. The one that is always laughing and smiling and joking and bright.
Then came babies.
Nothing made me feel worse than 6 weeks after my second baby. The first one hit me hard too. I had a thyroid disorder which sent me into a spin for almost a year. But 6 weeks post partum with my second baby, I had turned into someone else entirely. I couldn’t sleep at all even though I was exhausted, I was losing my patience without warning and I would sit on the bed holding the baby just shaking and sobbing. I would fantasise about smashing my hand through a window so I would be able to go to hospital and have someone look after me. I also had panic attacks so severe I would black out and felt like a million angry spiders were running over my head. I was SO SCARED.
Convinced it was my thyroid, I visited a doctor and had all the tests I was so familiar with from last time. I filled in some wordy forms about how I was feeling and waited a few days for the results. Negative. I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression. Oh my god. That’s the “Someone Else” disease feared by every mother.
Humiliated, I burst into tears and cried the ugly cry that is usually reserved for private moments. There was a lot of snot and sobbing and dribbling and hysteria. It wasn’t pretty.
Something about depression makes you feel like the world’s biggest loser. It’s embarrassing to admit “defeat” and say you are simply not coping. It’s hard to ask for help. Especially if you have never been the type to ask before.
The questions I asked myself were. Why do I hate being a mother? Why am I not coping with this? How come everyone else is fine with motherhood and I am not? Am I doing something wrong? Why can’t I get through a basic day without breaking up into a blubbering mess? Am I going to die?
The questions were real, but the answers were even more real.
Why do I hate being a mother?
You don’t, at least not as much as you think. It just feels like that right now as you are not sleeping and things feel impossible.
Why am I not coping with this?
You are. They are not dead. They are fed, dressed, happy and healthy. Every day is a win.
How come everyone else is fine with motherhood and I am not?
It’s an illusion. Nobody has the perfect set-up, stop being so hard on yourself.
Am I doing something wrong?
No. This happens to everyone, even the “perfect” ones. Especially the perfect ones.
Why can’t I get through a basic day without breaking up into a blubbering mess?
You need SLEEP. And help. And less concern for the “little stuff” that seems so important now.
Am I going to die?
Eventually. But not now. You can’t now.
The guilt that also comes along with depression just makes you feel even more shit. You have two healthy kids, a husband who loves you, a fabulous business and a great house. Everything you ever wanted. WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM SUNSHINE? Everyone seems quick to give advice about how grateful and happy you should feel for x y z. When all you feel you can do successfully is wallow in self pity. That is something I am very, very, good at. But it doesn’t turn the light on.
Today I choose the sun. Actually, quite literally, the sun. For me it is an earthy connection to something very powerful and far beyond my messy head. But sometimes the choice is taken away from me.
And to that I say FUCK YOU. I’m ok now. Until the next time.