Monday, 26 July 2010

Depression - I am not my mother

I have said before that my mother suffered from depression as I was growing up and she still does and it was her that clouded my view on medication and treatment.

I love my mum dearly, but she was not always the most emotionally invested person, in fact I received more love and attention from my father and grandfather.  Now this is not to say that she wasn't a good mother, but it is to say that when she was depressed she would say some terrible things, which resonate to this day.

"I wish I had never had children", "If I was to do it all again I wouldn't bother", "your father loved you more than he loves me", "I wish you were a boy".  I Could go on, but I think that that will give you an idea.  I went though stages of hating my mother.  I left home at 16 and I really believed her to he a hard and heartless woman.

I never, ever wanted my boys to feel the same way about me.  We had tried every so hard to get them and to be where we were, so I felt that I needed to be the "perfect mother", the complete opposite of my mum.  They were always well dressed, I lavished them with attention, cooked food from scratch, sang to them and read to them.

If they were ill, I blamed myself, if they didn't do as they were told, well again that was me and not them.  I was the one letting the side down, I was the imperfect mother.

It took a lot of self realisation and bloody tears, heart ache and pain to realise that I am not my mother and I don't need to judge myself on her.  

I was looking to her for approval and it was never coming and that was her issue not mine and finally after all those months of counselling I asked her why she never commented on my parenting.  I wish I had asked her before then.  She told me I was the best mum she had ever met, that I did a wonderful job with the boys and she was proud of me.  I also asked her why she had never told me before, to which her response was "well you never asked".

That was an epiphany for me.  I realised that I am not destined to repeat my mothers mistakes nor was I responsible for her happiness.

It was the moment I started mothering for me and I set my own standards and finally realised that perfect is not what children want.  To this day I have a saying on my wall:

There is no one way to be a perfect mother,
but a million  ways to be a good one.


Wednesday, 21 July 2010

My Feelings Now

My Tummy

It is like a coiled snake.
A hollow nothingness.
A deep dark black hole.
The smudge that remains after an eraser has tried to rub out a mistake.
A physical feeling of impending doom.
Anxiety for I know not what.

My head

Lack of motivation
The state of the house
The ironing pile
The inability to make decisions (even the smallest one over what to cook for lunch)
My heath
The lack of jobs in the big bad world
The summer
The boys
My mum

My Heart

It aches
It weeps
It wants to stop beating
It is heavy in my chest
Jumping in to my throat

The tears fall hot and heavy
The anger is subsiding, being replaced by floods of salty water
I can not stop them
They are ever present
For no reason and for every reason

Friday, 16 July 2010

My Secret Shame - Depression

For the last three years the only reason I have managed to get through the day is due to the drugs I have taken.  I suffer with depression you see and I finally feel that I am able to let you all know that I am not superwoman and that I could not and have not managed to get through the trials in my life alone.

You see the thing is, you shouldn't have to get through them alone and  I have been very, very lucky in that the mental health care I have received has been second to none, right from the very start.

So I have decided it is time to "come out" and to share what it has been like for me, the boys and MadDad over the last 3 years.  I also need to say that my mum has always suffered from depression and that has clouded my opinion on it and also has had a huge impact on the treatment I received.
Initially I put my feelings down to tiredness, the sheer exhaustion of caring for a newborn and a 15 month old,  but finally I had to admit it was more.  Well that isn't exactly true.  MadDad couldn't take anymore and fearing for my life, he dragged me kicking and screaming to a prearranged GP appointment when mini was 7 months old.

Would I still be here without this intervention?  No, by this time I was already making plans for the children after my death and planning how I would kill myself.

So over the coming weeks, I am going to share with you my experience of depression, but firstly I want to share with you the fact that it is treatable, like any other illness, you just need to find the correct treatment for you.  I have been through stages where I was no longer on any form of medication.  I have been happy, in fact more than happy.  I am living my life and I am not fearful that I am a bad mum, which I would have thought as impossible when mini was born.

I really do want this first post to show you that there are people out there that can help and I owe it to them, yes I really do because without their hard work and dedication I wouldn't be here today.

So what happened after my initial GP appointment?  What I do need for you to know is that at the very beginning of my journey I made one promise to MadDad, only one and to this day I have never broken it.  He asked me to always tell the truth, not matter how painful I or he for that matter might find it.  To tell the truth not only to him but to the people who were trying to help me too.

So within 24 hours of my GP visit I was assessed by the crisis team at home.  MadDad was there with me and they came for 2 hours the first day and then again for 2 hours the second day and then they went away and arranged for me to see a physiatrist and for a care plan to be put into place.  In the 4 days that this took to arrange they rang me and MadDad daily to ensure that I hadn't made any rash decisions.  Now it was either accept this help at home or be committed, as things were pretty much as bleak as they could get.

MadDad took me for my first appointment with the consultant physiatrist, he was wonderful, he made me feel secure and also enabled me to tell him how I felt and I cam away from that first appointment with prescription for medication, Anti-Depressant and also sleeping pills (for as I tell my story you will see that lack of sleep has major impact on me).

But the thing that really made the biggest difference in the way I live my life was the opportunity I was given to have Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and this was offered immediately, weekly and in my own home at a time when both the boys would be asleep.  This was life changing and I believe this is what has allowed me to go on and deal with the BRCA mutation, the surgeries and the complications with the positivity that I have in my life.

So there you have it.  I suffer from depression, I am not cured.  I thought I was and stopped taking my medication 3 months ago and have had today to admit defeat and start taking the tablets again.

I am starting to understand that I will never be without depression and will always need to keep an eye out for the symptoms,  and hope to get to the point where it is happy to walk in my shadows, rather than by my side.