Firstly some good news. I am on the upward climb in my fight against depression. I have been given a discharge date from the hospital and it is soon. I am feeling glimmers of hope creep in. I am starting to care again. The end is in sight. In light of this I am going to be brave again and share some of the moments during this period of illness that I had been afraid to share.
I have really wanted to be true to myself and entirely honest about my experiences with mental illness. I wanted to be the person brave enough to say “here’s how it affected me and my family” hoping other people in the same boat could feel less alone. So that people who don’t understand could try to understand.
There have been times when things have felt really desperate. When my mood was so low I didn’t know what to do with myself. On one of these occasions I was trying really hard to be brave, it was the day of my sons birthday party and I was trying to cope. Around mid morning I couldn’t cope any longer and I grabbed my coat and shoes and left the house. My husband was pleading with me not to, but I couldn’t be there anymore. I walked with no destination in mind, my tummy in knots and my head in a very painful place.
I found myself in a field not far from my house and the fighter in me grabbed my phone and called a friend. My friend told me to stay where I was and came and found me. I was crying, and telling him I couldn’t go home, I couldn’t be a mum or a wife anymore. At the time I really meant it. My friend was amazing. He suggested that we just keep walking. The only decision I needed to make was which way. So we walked and walked (he had called my husband and told him I was safe before coming to me) for around an hour and a half.
After this he took me home, sent me upstairs to pull myself together, and looked after my family. I am so grateful to this friend because he did just what I needed in that moment. Life carried on.
The hardest part about having Pnd a third time has been trying to care for my eldest children when I am feeling so low and anxious. There have been days when I have been unable to even take them to school on my own.
On one of those days I entered the classroom holding Super Kid’s lunchbox. I felt so disoriented I didn’t know what to do with it. So I stood in the middle of the classroom in a daze holding the lunchbox, I’m so embarrassed looking back on it. Super Kid’s teacher came over and took the box and said “it’s ok dear”. In that moment I could not believe that my usually sharp brain was letting me down so badly. I still worry about the terrible impression I have made in Super Kid’s first term at school.
There have been times when my mood has lifted too much (caused by my cyclothymia). As cyclothymia is such a mild form of bipolar you might not notice that I’m high, more that I simply talk a lot and find it hard to listen. During these times I seek out company, and talk and talk and imagine what I’m saying is incredibly interesting. The hardest part is later when I remember and want to hide away with embarrassment at the things I said and the impression I made.
Stability of mood would be wonderful, and I wonder if I will ever achieve it without powerful mood stabilising medication. For now though stability with the help of the drugs feels wonderful. I keep my fingers crossed that it continues and I keep moving forward and that I am discharged as planned and back with my family full time.