I needed to find the girl I was before.
I had three months to search amongst the thick fog to find her.
The light from her torch was becoming faint.
I needed to find my strength before I had to return to work.
The first step was to see a psychologist.
At first it was like an outer body experience.
Is this really me?
I was looking down on myself.
A room, a couch, a councillor, her note pad. These words coming out of my mouth.
I did not believe I was depressed. After I had only spoken about five sentences she could already tell.
I would become upset. My head would become too noisy. She would quieten my thoughts.
She would help me reach the bottom of the pile, find that trigger that set it all off.
I would feel good leaving. I would have hope and focus and most importantly positivity.
The positivity would last about two days. The fog would return.
I was advised to exercise. I began walking. I felt good walking. I felt calm.
Then I would walk in the front door to what I felt like was a war zone.
I needed to see my councillor weekly, then we began to stretch it to fortnightly.
I found the time between just too hard. I needed her reassuring words more often.
I saw my GP. He felt I was getting worse. He asked if I would like to go on medication.
I refused. I was afraid. I did not want to give in.
I sent my good friend on the other side of the world a message. I did not want to start taking medication. It scared me, the thought of being on it for potentially a whole year. I was scared of what people might think if they knew I was on anti-depressants. I was scared of becoming like a zombie.
The truth was, I had already become a zombie.
My friend asked me to run with her. She was in Ireland, I was in Australia.
She sent me a running plan. Couch to 5Ks. We downloaded an app. We were supporting each other on this running plan. We sent each other pictures every day to keep us motivated. I loved it.
I was hooked. I have always hated running. However this time I could feel the positive effects. I began running every second day. I was so dedicated. At the weekends I would be out at 6:30am loving the cool morning air before the sun became too hot. I would push myself up those hills and feel like passing out at the top, but I would keep going. My determination was my fuel. Beating post natal depression was my reason to run.
Running became my drug. For a while it seemed like it was working.
My motivation began to return. I was able to catch up on stuff I had let go around the house.
I could take the boys for a walk.
However there was one thing that was not changing. My irritability.
I was still extremely cranky. I had no tolerance for my three year olds tantrums . Or anybody raising their voice. The knot in my tummy would tighten and remind me that I was not there yet.
Although my psychologist had actually begun to see improvement in me, she suggested maybe my mood and patience would improve with time.
I felt that if I was seeing progress with the exercise I wanted to see how far it could take me.
So once again I put off going on medication. I also began seeing a naturopath. She prescribed me some medicines for anxiety and some multivitamins. I naively thought that this was a more socially accepted form of medication.
A medication that did not have such stigma or controversy attached to it.
I noticed my mind began to become more silent, more peaceful. A quietness I had tried so hard to find but it kept running away from me.
By three weeks I was amazing. My partner told me I was like a different person a better one to the one he had been living with for the past year. I was calm. I was organised. I was confident. I was focused. I was completely and utterly in love with my boys. I was savouring their moments. I was hanging on their every word, their every giggle kiss and cuddle.
Every day I am marvelling at how much better life is. I am so grateful for so much. I could have kept going as I was on auto pilot. My relationship could very easily have been lost……..he told me so. I honestly thought what I was going through was not affecting the boys. It must have been.
I have now returned to the be the fun mum I was before. I am talking to my baby all day. I thought that I had been connecting with him. As I had been able to be so affectionate to him. However I was not really present while I held him. Now I am amazed by his gorgeousness.
I am making the most of every second with them. I am answering their questions. I am talking to them all day. They are responding with the most amazing cuddles and declarations of love.
I have had to have my dosage put up, this was hard. I went through a low phase again.
Sad and exhausted for about two weeks.
However now I have landed. I am up for the craic again. I can live in the moment again. I can socialise again. I can play again. I still have to make sure I look after myself. Get enough sleep. Take time out. However these are lessons most mums need to learn.
I could write and write and write about how different, how much better things are.
But I must go live !!!