Thursday, 12 February 2015

More about me...

I have thought long and hard about this post for a while. Half of me not wanting to do it, and half of me feeling it necessary. It is a large part of my life, and something that I know affects a huge number of people. I want to start as I mean to go on with this blog, being open and honest about all that is important to me.
I suffer with depression and anxiety. I have done for a few years, not so much the depression as that has come and gone a few times, but the anxiety daily. It is something that I do not speak about, a lot of those closest to me either may not know or they do, but only to some degree. It is something I have no control over, no matter how hard I try. I can't 'snap out of it', which I'm sure Ashley wont mind me saying is something he couldn't understand at first. It is hard to put into words how it affects me. I have tried to ignore and hide it, I haven't wanted to seek help from a doctor simply because I haven't wanted to accept that there is something wrong with me. Though I am currently on medication for both of these issues, due to how I struggled so much when I had my daughter.  Having her has finally made me realise that I cant carry on living my life this way. 
The anxiety is so overwhelming at times, though I have worked hard to stop it affecting me as much as it once did. Something as simple as walking to the shop would have me sweating, my heart would race and I would feel breathless, as if I was sprinting. It was like a giant rubber band was around my chest. I would be paranoid that people could tell and would think I was weird. I would go out of my way to avoid being in situations I wasn't comfortable in.

 I used to live literally a 5 minute walk away from my work, but it meant walking through my estate that was still being built, so would be full of builders and various other people. I would be a sweaty, breathless mess by the time I had gotten to the end of my path, so I started going the long way which meant I avoided walking through my estate, but it took an extra 10 minutes to get to work. 

Meeting new people is something I find particularly difficult, even in relaxed social situations like in the pub or at a party. I have many times cancelled plans and let my friends down at the last minute simply because I just couldn't face whatever was planned. Sometimes there would be no explanation for it. I would be invited for a meal or a night out with friends, all people I knew well, but I would feel sick with apprehension and worry at what was going to happen. I knew I was being silly, but in that moment you lose all rational thought. So I would cancel, and instantly I would feel calmer. Then the guilt and frustration would wash over me.
When Betsy was small and I started going to baby groups, I would feel unable to have conversations with the other mums because I would get worried about not knowing what to say or saying something that will make me look silly, and I would get myself so worked up. It is extremely isolating and I hate it. I feel like it is affecting Betsy, because I am too worried about taking her to baby groups so that she can meet and interact with other children, simply because it will mean I will have to talk to people I don't know.

The depression is not as consistent as the anxiety, but it still affects me just as much as the anxiety when it shows up. It is as though a horrid black cloud is hanging over me, no matter what I am doing or where I am. It is always there. It prevents me from seeing the good in anything, or from appreciating the wonderful things I have in my life. It makes me feel alone, cut off from the world, like I am walking around in a constant bubble. It makes me miserable, moody, emotional and irrational. It tells me that I cannot cope with anything, that I will always feel this worthless and useless, that things will never get better. It makes me feel so desperately sad and frustrated every morning that I wake up, having to face another day. It has tainted many otherwise good memories I have of things I have done.
 It is something that I was so incredibly worried about whilst I was pregnant, I did not want to be a depressed mum. I was told by my midwife that I was at risk of post natal depression because of my history with depression. That hung over my head throughout my pregnancy, poking and prodding me harder the nearer I got to my due date.

When Betsy first came along, I convinced myself that I was ok. As the weeks went by, anytime I felt a bit low I put it down to baby blues. As the months went by, I struggled more and more, determined to 'beat it', to not let Betsy or Ashley down, to not be a failure. When I started to realise how bad things had become I felt like there was nothing I could do to help myself. I was too deep in this pool of darkness, I was never going to be free. I was a crap mother to Betsy. I had no patience, she witnessed me crying on a daily basis because I just couldn't hold it together, I felt like she deserved better than me. Ashley deserved better then me, someone who bombarded him with text messages complaining about everything, things far beyond his control, when he was busy at work. Someone who barely spoke to him, was short tempered with him, would barely even acknowledged him sometimes.

 It wasn't until one day at work when I broke down after simply being asked if I was ok that I finally felt able to admit to how I was feeling and speak to Ashley, who made me make a doctors appointment and came with me. He spoke to his mum, who went out of her way to help me, having Betsy when I was struggling, or coming round to give me a hand. Thanks to the two of them I have pulled myself together enough to finally realise that there is a light at the end of this long dark tunnel, despite not always being able to see it.

One of the reasons I was so hesitant to write this post was because I was afraid of what people may think. People who know me well, who may have no clue of any of this. I worried that people would think I was a liar, that they would have built up this image inside their heads of what someone who suffers with anxiety and/or depression looks like, and that I would not fit that. For the most part, even when I am completely lost in this blackness, I try my hardest to not let it show. When I am around people, I laugh and joke and chat just like everyone else. When I am walking down the street and I feel uncomfortable and breathless as I described above, it isn't obvious to anyone who see's me. I am sure this is the same for so many other people. Mental health is something that is not fully understood or talked about enough, yet it affects so many people. Which is why I have written this post. I'm so grateful that Ashley persuaded me to go to the doctors, because thankfully the medication I am on feels like it is making a difference. I have accepted that there is a part of me that isn't quite right, but I will do everything I can to stop it from ruling my life, and in turn my daughters too.


  1. I relate alot to this. You're very brave and its beautifully written. Lots of hugs xx

  2. I had no history of depression pre baby, but felt so lost when she arrived but I put it down to baby blues until I had a full blown meltdown 6 months later. By then it had gotten so bad i was a gibbering wreck. The effects depression has on the mind are astonishing and turn you into a different person. There is light, you just have to keep following it xx