Two weeks ago I finished my last session with the Think Positive service. I left that session with a pile of balled up tissues in my hand, tears on my face and a heart dragging down to the pits of my stomach. I left with a referral for further counselling, CBT this time, and an apology from my lovely counsellor for ‘having missed the signs’ that I needed more help than she could give. The thing is, she didn’t miss the signs. She saw them when I allowed her to, because I’ve become kind of good at that. I can hide how I feel most of the time. Or, at least I used to be able to hide it. The tears flowed harder that day as I finally admitted the truth, and that was that I wasn’t getting better. Time (almost see years!) hasn’t really been a great healer and rather than finding myself stronger, I’m actually finding things are a lot worse now.
My life is being impacted in ways that I could never have predicted.
I am not the person I thought I was. Or that I thought I would be, seven years after the event.
I do not have the answers, but I do know this. Birth trauma cannot be swept under the carpet anymore, not for me.
Honestly, I am exhausted. Exhausted from re-living what happened on the dark cold days, and when triggers are particularly bad. Exhausted from the fear that my heart might literally pound right out of my chest one day. Exhausted from the constant anxiety that seems to be literally destroying me from inside to outside. (more…)
I don’t dream about his birth any more. I dream instead about the feelings his birth have left me with. In my dreams I am scared and I am anxious. In my dreams I am angry and I am frustrated. In my dreams, I am alone.
Almost seven years ago he was ripped from my body and the world came tumbling down.
Nothing was the same any more. Nothing made sense. Nothing was carefree. Instead, everything changed. Everything was wrong. Everything was hard. (more…)
On Saturday I’ll be attending the Women’s Voices Conference in London, to share my story with other mothers, doctors, midwives and campaigners. I’ll be standing up with pride and with determination. Because I have a voice. And you have a voice. And we need to start using those voices. We need to be heard.
In just three weeks, I will have been a mother for twelve years. Twelve years! I cannot believe it has been that long since my first born baby girl was placed into my arms and my world was given a huge shake from within. In those twelve years I have seen a lot. I have learned a lot. And I have gained so much. If I was to tell you what I have brought away from the last twelve years it is this.
I posted recently about finally stepping into the GP’s office and walking away with a label around my neck. Post Natal Depression. It hasn’t sat well. It’s off centre, like a pendant too heavy on a delicate chain. Swinging, useless, lopsided and ugly. The wrong label. A little bit off. I couldn’t really explain it, but my heart was saying no. And then I remembered that I’d been there before. In the early days after my son was born, and they told me I had PND and I argued, and they told me over and over again that I was wrong. Back then I stuck to my guns, and those around me who knew me best agreed. Not depression, something else. Something far too complicated to deal with maybe. And so this time, too, the label doesn’t quite fit, and I’m not the only one to believe it.
With my first Think Positive counselling session behind me, I am more assured and more confident that I have not lost all sight of myself. I don’t know why a professional opinion on the state of my mental health means more than my own, but it does. We’re in agreement: post natal depression doesn’t sit right because it’s not right. I’m not depressed. I’m not.
Post Natal Anxiety is my label now, and its of no great surprise at all. And so I am learning to talk about the things that make me anxious, and the reasons why they do. The hope is that I learn to deal with them in a different way, and re-learn how to think positively and with a clearer, more rational response.
I am at the beginning.
I cannot see the end of this tunnel.
No light, not yet. (more…)