Everyone’s experience is different – but here is mine.
I believe in talking about mental health – and no, not celebrities trying to sell books – everyone, at a person to person level. I have two children, and have had it twice. Not great odds, but shit happens, and sometimes it happens to me.
- It is subtle – it chips away at you, slowly, gradually, the confidence you had in your ability to get a job, get a qualification, buy a house, travel all over the world, all dissipate magically – that confidence that came so easily, didn’t come so easily, but it wasn’t all of a sudden, it was gradual. It was the sense that you were doing nothing right, that you weren’t going to get anything right, that perhaps you weren’t really cut out for this. A screamy, clingy, sleep averse baby didn’t help, neither did the redundancy. My family, friends and gp were amazing though – if you feel as though you aren’t quite the same, talk about it. You’ll never know if you stay in your head.
- People don’t like talking about it – hushed tones are often used, often when combined with a wavy hand motion indicating an understanding but not to continue the line of conversation. But I like talking about it, and the more we talk about it, the easier it gets.
- That so many people have experience of it – once I did start talking about it I was floored by the amount of people who have had it, and who have also recovered from it. This gave me hope at a time when I needed it most, but the mystery remained, if it is so prevalent why was no one talking about it.
- That it can flare up – mine comes and goes, less and less each time, I have trouble sometimes spotting when I am in a flare up, but once I do recognize it, it is easier to manage. I do things that bring me joy, but I have to make a conscious effort to do them as I very often don’t realise that I have stopped doing them. Listening to music, exercising, cooking nice food, once I can get back in my groove I can claw my way out of the low. Progress hasn’t been linear for me, this was unexpected but now that I am aware of it, it makes it easier.
- It doesn’t have a timeline – I first went to my gp my first child was 15 months, I was moritifed to be telling her that I felt the baby blues hadn’t lifted all of those months ago, and that I wasn’t quite feeling myself. Her response was amazing, and I left feeling that this was something that was normal, that I could overcome. And that, I did.
- Get a mantra – I’m a little mantra allergic, you know those pink sparkly pictures all over your Instagram asking you to look after yourself or think positively – they drive me to an eye roll, I’m not gonna lie. What I did come across however, is a quote from Rumi that put it all in context for me -‘ The wound is where the light enters.’
What has been your experience! Tell me!
We need to talk about this!