I was a 2D stick figure living out my days on a plain white sheet of paper.
There was no colour. I had become numb without realising it.
I am naturally an emotional person. However I did not cry for my Dad when I heard he had a stroke.
I was numb, desensitised. I wondered why I could not cry.
It bothered me, as I knew this was an unusual reaction for me.
I had no idea why.
I was going through the daily motions but I was not really living.
I had a knot in my tummy. It was there all the time. A knot of anxiety that would tighten when things got tough.
The house was beginning to pile up around me. I am currently still working through the paperwork I had let overflow. Overdue bills, missed appointments. The laundry, the cleaning, I could barely keep up. The house was disgusting and it was getting to me.
However I was just too tired.
What I needed to do was escape the house more often. Just even the thought of getting everything organised to go was too much. I would become overwhelmed. I could not organise myself.
I am naturally a very organised person.
We stayed at home a lot.
The tiredness, I cannot explain the tiredness. It is only when you are feeling better and you look back.
You realise how much the lack of energy affected your daily life.
I was angry and irritable. I was taking my moods out on my three year old and it was affecting his behaviour. I had become a very impatient and cranky mother, friend, partner.
I was not myself.
I am known for my patience.
I was stressing out because at nine months the baby still was not sleeping through the night.
I was breastfeeding and too tired to do anything but just put him on the boob several times a night. Then at ten months he started sleeping through………but I was still tired.
While breastfeeding a tidal wave of sadness would wash over me. I loved breastfeeding but throughout the whole 12 months every time I sat down to feed my beautiful boy I would feel sad. I never knew why.
When it came time to introduce him to food. I believed I was doing it all wrong. The knot in my tummy would tighten when he would not eat. I would feel angry and annoyed at myself that I was creating a fussy eater. Then he started to eat incredibly well. He is now a ravenous eater.
I got it right. I was following a baby-led weaning plan. He was just working at his own pace the way it should be.
It was me. I was tired and over-anxious.
When it came time to go to bed every night I would feel sad, low, depressed. I hated night time.
I would check on the boys before going to bed. I thought it was normal to expect to find my baby dead in his cot. Even just writing that sentence makes me feel sick.
I would lie in bed and think of my boys and feel guilty. The guilt would rush up from the tips of my toes, clogging the arteries of my heart. What I felt guilty about? I am not quite sure. That I was not doing enough for my boys?
Then I would try to sleep. Just before sinking into the beautiful land of nod far beyond my mattress. I would suddenly have a vision. A picture that would jolt me back to reality, my baby lying face down in the water or falling down some stairs.
When I eventually did go to sleep I would wake many times. My mind would be on repeat. Playing the same words and worries over and over. Then I would have to feed the baby and try and go back to sleep.
This weekend just gone I had a dream of him being on a moving train, he pressed the buttons to open the door. The doors opened, I could see the tracks, and trees whizzing by. He started to take steps forward. I was trying to run to him but I was stuck. His foot was just hanging over the edge when I woke up screaming.
So yes postnatal depression is anxiety. It is irrational, intrusive thoughts taking over your mind. Adding to the guilt you already feel. I continually saw things happening to my baby. Like his head smashing on the coffee table or a what horrible things the kitchen knife could do. I did not want to do these things to my child it was the anxiety of something horrible happening to him.
Daily I had a sense of dread that surrounded me. I felt like something terrible was going to happen. Of course it was not, everything was fine.
I hated when my partner left to go somewhere. Even to the shed for 5 minutes. I did not want him to leave us. I needed his support his strength to continue through the day. He had no idea and would become frustrated with the guilt he felt when he left us just to go to the shops
Truthfully though. The anxiety really took over when I was actually diagnosed with PND. You see I had been escaping to the internet.
I became obsessed with the internet. I became obsessed with reading the words of others. I was looking for words that would make me feel better. In my real life I was loosing those around me. I was loosing their healing touch and love. My head was stuck in my phone or my laptop. I was placing way too much pressure on myself to blog and to “like” and to “comment” and to record. Record what I was not living !!!
I spent three months trying to shake the PND label off. I could not understand it. I was not the image I knew of a woman with post natal depression. I was not sitting around the house crying. I was not crying at all. I had bonded really well with my baby. I held him close for 10 months until he could crawl. He is my second child and I thought I had it sussed. I felt like I was more relaxed second time round.
I can now identify with my first child there was an unhealthy element of anxiety present. However this time my mood was affected. I became withdrawn from my friends. I did not want to go anywhere or even really speak to anyone.
I trawled the internet for a description of me.
Of course I was chasing my own shadow.
My own unique shadow.
We all deal with things differently.
To get better one must first accept.
The label I was trying so desperately to shake off had to be accepted before I could recover.
Tune in next Tuesday to read my road of acceptance and recovery.
Warning there are words or triggers in this post that may be upsetting.
Today I bare my soul.
Maybe I have a friend that I love.
Maybe you have a friend you love.
Perhaps we all have friends we think may need help.
These words were extremely hard for me to compose.
I have worried over this post.
So here it is, my soul on a plate.
This post is part of a series on my Post Natal Depression Journey
If you believe you are suffering from Post Natal Depression or indeed depression. I beg of you please seek help. There should be no shame only support and understanding.
Please speak to a trusted doctor.