About Me

Kent, United Kingdom
I have the perfect family but still struggle to find the light in the darkness of post-natal depression.

Monday, 26 December 2011

End of an era

Merry Christmas to all my lovely readers - I do hope it has been good for you. Although I do know that for some of you it has been entirely the opposite. And it's fair to say it hasn't been one of the best here either.
But a new year is approaching, and I have every hope it will be a positive fresh start filled with love and laughter.
And with that in mind, this post marks the end of an era. I have decided it will be the last one for the foreseeable future here. Real life developments mean it no longer feels appropriate to post here, and many of the issues I have posted/ranted about are no longer relevant.
I will leave the blog up as a resource for those of you who have found it helpful, and for any in the future who may do so, but I don't expect to be posting here again.
I will be writing elsewhere, of course, because that is what I do, so maybe our paths will cross in cyberspace again.
In the meantime, thank you for sharing this journey with me, for your support and for reading my waffle. I have learnt a lot in the years I have been writing here, and I have learnt a lot from your comments, which shone like a beacon through some very dark times.
I wish you all peace and happiness in the future.

Saturday, 29 October 2011


It's a sad fact that there aren't enough resources in real life to help women with PND and their families. It can be a struggle to get the help you need, and sometimes when you are already floundering in the darkness, it feels like a struggle too far.
But thankfully, as so many times, the internet can help fill that void.
It was quite by accident that I discovered the online army of the #PPDchat mums on Twitter. I can't even remember how I first came across them. I know it must have been on one of the darker days. And although I forget the details,I remember clearly the instant support and the warmth of the welcome.
Since then, I've joined the #PPDchat sessions a few times, when things are too much, when I can't see the light, when I just need to talk to someone who 'gets it'. And the response is always the same - immediate, supportive and full of faith that somehow we will all get through.
All the mamas there are fantastic in their own way, not least because they too are there because they know the hell of this experience.
But today is reserved for @signingcharity , who is always ready to give love and today needs a little back.
I don't know you as well as the other mamas, because I'm new and I can't be there every day. But I know the warmth of your words, the strength of your spirit and the generosity of your heart.
I'm amazed that you can give so much to others while dealing with so much yourself - that takes true strength.
It's okay to say you need help too. I hope I can help give it.

Monday, 5 September 2011

A maze of praise

Someone said something nice about me the other day. In public. In fact, on Twitter.
Now, don't get me wrong - although it may sometimes feel like it, I don't in fact spend my days defending myself from verbal brickbats and people are often perfectly pleasant.
But when I read this comment, which was about my supportive nature, my immediate reaction was "That's nice, but they don't know me very well at all."
It's an interesting reaction, for me, at least. Partly because in fact I pride myself on being supportive and kind and on my empathy. It's one of the facets of my personality that I genuinely like. Yet I couldn't accept that someone else could recognise that in me.
It's one of the things I am working on. Like recognising the positives - including the fact that today was tough, workwise, but I'm proud of how I dealt with it.
I am determined to keep working on it, and everything else. I see my lovely therapist on Saturday for the first time in ages, and I'm desperate to make it into a positive session of strategies rather than an update on all the woe.
There is still plenty of woe. There are still those moments where I think I'm going to get swept over by the force of it, where I find myself fighting for breath in the maelstrom of self-loathing. But I haven't given into it for a while. So rather than beating myself up on the times that I have lost balance in the midst of the storm, I'm concentrating on the times I've clung on.
I know I said it in my last post, and I'm reassured by the response, but I'm so ready to move on from this. I don't want any more days when the thought of being at home makes me throat constrict.
I want to get better. I want my life back. And I will get there, one small step at a time.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

September blues

I can't believe it's September. And that in a little over a week, my beautiful little girl will be starting school. Where did the time go?
I'm trying desperately to see this as a positive and to look at all we've achieved. She's a clever, funny, determined little thing and I know she's more than ready for the next step. The school she will attend is lovely, and she will have a great time and I will love seeing her learn new things.
But I'm also finding it hard that she is moving on and growing up. That I have no more time to "get it right".
I know much of this is normal, and I know of course starting school is not the same as moving out, and we will still have plenty of quality time together to enjoy. But I'm still struggling.
It doesn't help that the end of the summer means little baby D is also getting bigger. In a few short months he will be one - the first year of his life gone. I can't even contemplate that milestone at the moment, but its impending arrival prompts mixed feelings; relief that we have got this far and will never have to do those awful newborn days again, and sadness that so much of his first months have been blighted by woe. Actually, it would be more accurate to say my first months with him were blighted. I worry less that he was affected than I did about Miss T.
I feel bad for feeling like this. That's hard for me to say. And it makes me angry, at myself.
I know this is not my fault. I know this is part of the PND. I know I will get over it. I know that knowing other people have heart-breaking things to deal with does not make my own feelings, when on the face of it I seem to have everything I could ever want, any less valid.
But some people find it harder to see that way, and unfortunately I am finding it hard to ignore them as I usually would. I know it's their problem more than mine but when every fibre of my being screams out to try to make them understand it's hard to accept that some people will never understand, no matter how eloquently (or not!) I try to explain it. But their ignorance makes an already difficult time much tougher.
Others, of course, are fantastic. But I find it harder and harder to reach out as time goes on. To answer the question "How's things?" with the truth, and confess that despite the hours and hours we have spent talking - the hours and hours they have given up for me - that "things" are actually no better.
I think part of that is that more and more reminders of things I'd rather forget are popping up. But maybe that's just my wonky brain again. I see others in situations I have been in and I can't help wondering if their life path will mirror mine. In my head I know it is different - they are different people, they will make different choices, but it still fills me with an overwhelming sadness, and regret that I didn't make different choices when I had the chance.
I'm making the choice now to stop wallowing so you are spared more woe. Tomorrow is another day....and here's hoping for a good one.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Some random thoughts....

I have had cause to be grateful for some fantastic friends lately, people who interrupt their own lives and put themselves out to stand as footsoldiers in the battle I wrote about last time.
There are others who are perhaps too far away or with too many other commitments to physically assist, but they are always quick to respond when I give in to the turmoil and reveal a wonky moment on Facebook or Twitter.
Those kindnesses mean more than I can say. When I am sitting alone in the house, struggling with my thoughts, the fact that someone has taken the time to send hugs over the internet, or even just to acknowledge that they have read my words and I am in their thoughts, brings a chink of light into the darkness.
Then there are those who do not respond. Perhaps they too have their own struggles – although I would have thought that predisposed them to responding to others – perhaps they are busy, perhaps they don’t know what to say.
I don’t know. But I can’t help wondering if the response would be different if I revealed I was struggling with a broken leg, or some other physical ailment.
Is it the fact that my difficulties are related to my mental health that is putting people off?
Is there a fear that perhaps it is catching? Or is it that people think it should not be discussed so freely? Perhaps people who sometimes find their thinking a little wobbly should go and hide themselves in dark rooms, preferably padded, until the madness passes.
Or maybe they are just bored of it all. I certainly am. I would like nothing more than to be the life and the soul of the party, with not a care in the world and without the cloud that sees to penetrate every moment.
I don’t know. I think I will never know.
But I do know that I am beyond grateful for those who have shown their support, and I will never knowingly ignore any cry for help I hear or see. Sometimes just tapping out a few lines on a keyboard is all it takes to bring someone back from the edge. And if people can’t be bothered to do that, what hope is there for society?

Thursday, 21 July 2011

End of an era

Miss T has had her last day at pre-school. In September, she will join the reception class of the primary school on the same site.
Of course, this is not a surprise to me. It's not like I suddenly woke up and she'd grown up.
But that's what it feels like. It's unbelievable that I have a four-year-old daughter. That the beautiful, funny, clever little girl who skipped along the road in front of me on the way back from school last week is part of me.
It's hard to connect her with the 'mewling and puking' baby I remember from those darkest of days.
But it's also hard to think that more than four years on, in some ways I am still no further forward. I am still searching for that chink of light in the darkness.
Of course, I know that is related to the arrival of baby D, and that before that we had made amazing progress. But the heights we had reached seem a long way off at the moment.
Battling this illness is just that - a battle. It's a constant uphill climb in search of the sun. And if you relax your grip on the cliff face, it's easy to slip back down. Or to find the ground has shifted without you noticing.
I am trying to see the positives; and Miss T is one giant positive. Baby D's radiant grin, so readily given whatever the time of day or night, and whatever else he may be going through, is another one. Both are the ropes I cling to every day.
I'm slowly learning they are what is important. I'm slowly learning from them to find the joy in the moment and the wonder in the world. I'm learning to follow their example and sieze every opportunity for fun.
And I hope, in time, with those lessons will come some peace.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

25 weeks...and the guilt of a working parent...

I was going to call this post "Nothing's right, I'm torn", so you could all sing it Natalie Imbruglia style...
Her lyrics summed things up nicely at the beginning of this week. Nothing was right - at home or at work - and I felt torn.
Thankfully things have improved, perhaps because I'm learning more about juggling things, but it's still difficult to let go of that ideal of being the "perfect" mum, the "perfect" worker and the "perfect" friend.
It doesn't help that poor baby D has been ill ever since my return. And yes, at first I did think there was a causal effect between the two. He was ill because I was being a terrible mother and going out to work. He didn't get better because he needed his mummy to be home taking care of him.
Situations like that bring my need to be in total control right to the fore. I know those who look after him while I work are more than capable. I know he has a great time and cries no more than he would cry if I were there. But they do not do things quite as I would do them, and that's hard for me to deal with. But I'm trying.
It's the same with Miss T. While at times it's been very trying being at home with her full-time for the last six months, it's also been great in many ways. We've built a closer bond and I cherish time with her. And we've built our own routines, our own ways to deal with certain scenarious and we know what we expect of the other.
So it's hard to see her behave in ways that are not as I expect, and to know that this behaviour continues when I'm not there to check it and hand out consequences.
But staying home with them full time is not an option at all. I need to work. Financially, yes, but also for my sanity. I had a check up today with my GP and she was amazed at the difference. I am me again, thanks to my time in the office. I am confident, I have fun, I am worth something.
And more importantly than that, I drive home every day (well, the four days I work) looking forward to seeing the children. And my days with them are precious. And that's a feeling that five months ago I wasn't sure I'd ever find again.