A serious blog which wont be often!
This is still such a taboo subject and I am an avocet for anyone who addresses the issues surrounding Anxiety, Depression and Post Natal in a productive way. This may come as a surprise to some people as I would like to think I come across as happy and confident, but I hope some of the struggles I experienced and will mention in my blog hopefully will help someone in some which way, whether this just shows them they are not alone. I have never spoken about this to anyone who wasn’t family or considered to be, but today I am prepared to be an open book (all for the love of a blog).
Having a baby should be the most enjoyable time of your life but when you develop anxiety with a touch of post natal depression it really does kill that feeling and you suddenly are sucked into a feeling of despair, struggle and tainted memories of what should be the happiest. I hate that I am starting this blog tarnishing the best day of my life giving birth to Harry but this is initially when things started to go “wrong”.
I had no apprehensions on motherhood when I became pregnant (which seems to strange seeing as I was young) But I never once thought ‘how would I cope’ ‘how can I afford a baby’ these thought were heavily pushed away by my family, the excitement of a new little baby and mainly so my wonderful mums support and words of encouragement ‘that we can do it together’. Finding out you’re going to be a mum at 19 isn’t the best life choice that was ever made, and I’m sure deep down my parents probably felt very disappointed (which is a feeling I try to forget about and I hope that they are now proud at the mum I am to H) but by far the best decision upon reflection, the person Harry has made me become I truly believe I wouldn’t have been without him. The hunger I have now to succeed and have the best for us is unmeasurable and that is owed to him. Before Harry came along I was a typical teenager forever in the pub, using your parents ‘home as a hotel’, working as an office assistant with no real ambition or thoughts to my future and what I would become.
Looking back on things I believe the start of my Anxiety and PND kicked in when Harry developed Colic around 2months old. This is when I really started to have doubts on what sort of mother I was and would become. Truth is both me and Harrys dad struggled to be parents when we was still mentally kids ourselves, I had a lot of resentment at the time to Harrys dad as I felt like my life changed so much but his didn’t, it was a responsibility I felt wasn’t equally shared, all whilst I am eternally grateful for the hardwork he done to keep a roof over our head and provide for us financially (in which he still does now), I didn’t feel supported enough as a ‘mum’. This ultimately is what led us to split up by Harrys 1st birthday, but I muddled on Harry would start staying the weekends at his dads, while he popped by during the week to see the baby.
I know he won’t be reading this blog as he ‘doesn’t get it’ but the care I have for Harrys dad runs deep and I never would of expected to of had a baby with someone who would turn out to be my best friend.
I was now 21 by this point and depended heavily on my mum for support, to which I will forever be grateful. On top of personal circumstances going to shit, a baby who still didn’t sleep through the night, juggling shift work 2/3 times a week, with an evening at college – I couldn’t cope, not cope in the way I wanted to, or be the mum I wanted to be, this wasn’t the worse (that was still to come) but should have been the point upon reflection I should have seeked help sooner.
I met someone else who I had a turbulent relationship with for what would be the next 6 years of my life (this post isn’t too bad mouth anyone or play the blame game, I loved this person regardless of our differences and loved that they loved my son also, upon reflection now that we are both happy apart, we should have called it a day sooner, but for whatever reasons we stayed together) The first year of us together was happy, exciting, everything I was looking for and they cared for my son as much as he did me. Relationships all have their problems I was never naïve to not think that, but when you suffer with Anxiety or Depression these situations are always worse as you do not necessarily have the tools required to deal with them productively or correctly. Nor does the person on the other end. It adds to the pile of shite that’s already firmly cemented in your brain that you can’t deal with.
One thing I’ve learnt being an adult is time passes really fast, a couple of years passed and I got worse without even knowing until I hit what would be my “rock bottom”. Imagine telling your mum you didn’t want to be here no more or look after the most precious gift you could have. My beautiful mum stepped in and had Harry to sleep at hers minimal of once a week on her own with him or with me staying at our family home 3 nights a week (sometimes more sometimes less). I wouldn’t go home to get ready to go out and party with my friends, I went home and slept solidly until the next day when I would go and collect him. I got by like this for a while and that was enough to ‘tie me over’. My moods were terrible I was forever crying and slowly started to leave the house less often, forever having heart palpitations, dizzy spells and plummeted to a dinky 6 and a half stone. My mum heavily encouraged me to see the doctor and of course they said I had Anxiety and Depression, something I struggle to accept years later, I always thought that I was physically ill not mentally, and it’s hard to associate so many physical symptoms to a mental illness. I was prescribed Antidepressants which I never took, I hated the thought of medically ‘getting happy’ and not taking them has resulted in what’s been a very long battle in getting myself happy- but I done it. I did however do numerous sessions over a long period of time with a therapist which occasionally I did think was of no help, but fundamentally it was these people who lifted my spirits reassured me I wasn’t alone and gave me the tools I use now to cope better. I still use the NHS to do ‘adhoc’ sessions when I feel like I’m ‘struggling’ I don’t believe these feelings ever go away they rear there ugly head from time to time to remind me that this is something you learn to manage but they never truly vanish.
At my worse I would wake in sheer panic ripping the sheets of the bed convinced I had killed my baby in my sleep by leaving him in bed with me, turning up to the house my mum now shared with partner frantically knocking the door at 2am crying feeling in despair – with what was my life. Going to hospital to have numerous tests done because I was losing weight and my heart was erratic, became ‘normal’.
My mums partner once said “I looked like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders and I had everything to look forward to, pretty, a lovely boy a nice home and he was sad to see me live my life and be so unhappy” amazing how someone who doesn’t need to care about you is bothered about the person you are, I am still very sorry for the strain I must have been for my mum and Wayne at that time. But without my mum specifically I wouldn’t know where I’d be. But what he said to my mum that day is something I forever I tell myself now, I do! I do have a wonderful boy, a good job, a nice home and I am a good mum – I deserve to be a mum.
I started to slowly but surely get better, I can’t remember the last time I turned up at my mums house (has to be atleast 2 years plus).
Going back to work fulltime was the best choice I ever made, forcing yourself to do something every day is a great coping mechanism although inside I felt like I couldn’t, but I was doing it. I had routine a good job with good prospects and a career path everything I wanted for me and Harry.
I ended up making a really great friend from it to. And when she had her little boy any ‘mummy’ moment she may of felt she wasn’t coping with I’d like to think she never felt alone, because the calamity that was me had experienced that and more to which she was telling me.
Depression can come and go, yes I get extra tearful at stuff I shouldn’t but the feeling of despair has left me, I feel sad for things that have happened and I feel I could have done better and the burden I know I was.
But what counts is I’m doing the best I can now. Anxiety will forever be the annoying part of me that stops me being the once carefree person I was.
I generally shit my pants at everything, travelling too far and being stuck in traffic jams, Harry becoming unwell with an illness, death, getting on plane, walking down the aisle on my sister’s wedding day and doing my speech, my own shadow, but I challenge these and challenge myself to do them, I still do all of these things. They may come with commotion of me frantically pacing around the airport and the odd crying moment and me saying “I feel like I can’t breathe” a ridiculous amount of times, but I’m doing them nether the less. I have fought these feelings for long enough – they will never stop me not now not ever, why should I have a life like that when I ‘have everything to be happy and live for’.
If you feel like this for a period of time or even temporary, you’re not alone there is billions of ‘us’ like it. A problem shared is a problem halved. This isn’t something I will blog about again, but make sure you surround yourself by people who want the best for you and come only with good intentions.
Lots of laughs and loves Chantel x