I recently shared a post about my life at the moment and how I’m living with Post Natal Depression behind closed doors. I was overwhelmed by the messages and comments of support that I received, it has meant so much to me and I now know that opening those doors was the right thing to do.
But, I don’t regret not talking about it sooner, because whilst it was lovely to know that people are there for you. It also feels a bit like the elephant in the room now, I feel like people aren’t sure whether they should bring it up or not. Which of course is all perfectly normal behaviour. Because I don’t openly talk about it, of course people are going to be wary about bringing it up. I would be exactly the same it their position.
One of the reasons that I didn’t open up about it because I worry about what people will think of me, will they be looking at me differently, watching how I am with my girls, looking for signs.
When really there are not always obvious signs to spot, there are a few times where I’ve let my mask drop, but people probably just thought I was having an off day.
I also worry when people see me and I am laughing, being playful with my girls and having what looks like a nice time, that they think I am fake, that I don’t really have PND and anxiety. But what they don’t see or know is that deep sick feeling that I have in the pit of the stomach or that I am using my girls to hide behind, so that I don’t have to face talking to others. They are my safety net. But, they may also have just caught me on a good day, where I do feel able to cope and face the world…
But the main reason I didn’t talk about it, was that for so long I didn’t realise that is what I had. I went 18 months before I asked for help. When I look back now, all the answers where staring me in the face.
I adored Holly from the moment she was born and placed it my arms. There was never any time that I didn’t love her. She was an easy baby, a happy baby, my little ray of sunshine. From the minute she could smile, she never stopped. She wasn’t a great sleeper, but then babies tend not to be and I know I was lucky with Alice.
In fact at times it felt like she knew that mummy was suffering and she made my life as easy as she could. When we would go out for the day and my anxiety levels would be high, she helped me by being a good baby. Just feeding, sleeping and being happy.
But, I was such a mess. I closed myself away from life, I avoided as many social occasions as I could. I hardly contacted people, I would do the bare minimum. Why? Because I was afraid that if they got to close then I wouldn’t be able to hide it, that they would see what a mess I was. That they might question it.
I know that I’ve damaged friendships because of it, I’ve not been there for people when I should have been, I’ve not been a constant in their life. I’ve made no effort…
It’s one of the those catch 22 situations because I know that to get me on the road to recovery, I need to take these steps to see people, to get myself out of the house more. But when you’ve been absent for so long, its not easy and when you suffer with anxiety its harder still.
I feel that I’ve come so far to get me to this stage, it hasn’t been easy, just ask Andy! But I don’t know how to be the person I was once was, I am not sure if she is still in there and I so desperately want to be her again.
I want to be the wife Andy married, the mum that my girls deserve, the daughter that I was and a friend to someone…