You are spiralling out of control and you can't stop it
You know you are on a downward spiral, you feel empty, dis-engaged, your anxiety has peaked and your partner has said at the dinner table that you are somewhere else. Your mind is detached, your judgement is clouded, you are spiralling out of control and you can't stop it.
Your baby is 6 weeks old and you are overwhelmed at the thought of how you will cope with two children.
You are having catastrophic thoughts, scared to take your eyes off him, that if you do, something bad will happen to him. One day, you'll even think someone is going to steal him in Tesco.
You will be driving along in the car thinking that you are going to be in a car crash and hurt the children.
You are also struggling with body dysmorphia, your self- esteem is at an all time low, you have put on so much weight during your pregnancy that you almost don't recognise yourself anymore, you feel repulsed when you look in the mirror, all you see is the negative parts of your body, the stretch marks, and wrinkly saggy skin. You don't recognise that your body has done something incredible and created a beautiful healthy baby boy. By the time he was born, you took drastic measures to lose weight and by 8 months postpartum you have lost almost all of your baby weight.
Your chronic migraine condition returns as soon as you stop breastfeeding which contributes to the onset of depression. It all becomes too much.
The critical point arrives several days after your best friend suggests you step down as her bridesmaid for reasons around your PND, since your mind is somewhere else. You will be heartbroken. Your mother also stops talking to you for 3 days because you have an argument. These extra stresses tilt you over the edge.
It was your partners birthday, you didn't make any plans on that day, instead you bickered about the housework not being done, argued over something baby related - you just couldn't handle anymore criticism.
You go to bed early that night, and I can't sleep. One hour became four hours and you were wide awake. Your partner then came to bed and you were still awake. You were going berserk in your mind, you were heartbroken, annoyed, unable to communicate to your partner your thoughts.
You literally had these words stuck in your chest, suppressed so deep you couldn't find a way to let them out. Eating away at you, in silence, crushing your mind, your power and your ability to speak. You couldn't take the suppression of your destructive thoughts anymore.
In that moment, you got out of bed, left the room, barely dressed, you sat at the bottom of the stairs looking out of the tall window overlooking the street in hope that somebody would see you.
You cry hysterically, the release comes out in a waterfall of tears, rather than words or frustration. You want somebody to see you and help you.
In that moment, you decide it is best to leave, get in the car and go somewhere, anywhere alone. You go upstairs to get dressed, you put your clothes on in the dark room still not quite believing what you are about to do, it was a deranged response to a person who felt scared and trapped in her own thoughts.
Then, your partner wakes up. He was confused. So were you. He asks you what you are doing? You tell him you're leaving. He instantly thinks it's him, something he has done, he thinks you want to leave him, but he is wrong, actually what you mean is that you need to leave the situation. You just need to go somewhere alone.
You spend the next three hours sitting on the bed together, trying to piece together what is going on in your mind. Some of that time, you sit in silence desperately clutching a pillow, wondering if words will come out of your mouth to make any sense of this, you know you need help immediately.
I won't go into any more details about what happened, but the most important thing you need to know is that you accepted that you needed help the next day and you get that help. You've attended various different forms of counselling and treatment, some of which you still undergo to this day. You attend a postnatal depression group for 3 months ran by the NHS Bucks Healthy Minds Department, with mothers having similar issues to find coping strategies to help us overcome this dark time. It will be incredibly supportive having a group of mothers who could relate to what you are experiencing.
I share this with you to show you what depression can do to your mind, how it can distort your thoughts and intentions so drastically. Depression is a mental health illness, it's scary and it needs to be treated.