I have discovered that I seem to be surrounded by mothers struggling with mental illness and most can’t even bring themselves to get help.
It saddens me because I too have suffered for a very long time, but I went to get help because I didn’t want to make my nearest and dearest suffer from my depression and anxiety.
I’m not saying that my suffering from these conditions should only be treated because I share a house with others. Not at all! After having my first daughter, the midwife at the time suggested that I treat my depression because if it were a toothache, I would see a dentist. If I were diabetic, I would medicate. I put it off thinking that I would be seen as mad, crazy, just not quite a full picnic basket. I talked myself in and out of it for ages, mostly through exhaustion of having a newborn who didn’t understand what sleep was. And like hell was she going to let anyone in my street sleep either.
I worried about the worrying and at some point, while my daughter was being checked over her measurements and the other questions the health visitor bombards you with; I broke down. How bloody embarrassing, there I was sobbing and trying to hold it together in the doctor’s surgery. Of course, she handled the whole thing like a professional and asked if I would like to wait a moment before going to face all the other mothers, who were waiting to come in, with their bundles of joy. Yes, joy, the thing you “should” experience with your new baby. There I was crying uncontrollably.
What she did next, I cannot thank her enough. When I had calmed down enough to hold a conversation again. She kindly asked me if I had brought this up with the doctor. I shook my head because this was something there was no way I was going to be labelled as a mental case. She left the room and came back in about 5 minutes later. My eldest now was attached to me, what I mean is I was breastfeeding her. The health visitor took this opportunity to say while stood in the doorway loudly. “If I help you move your belongings, would you mind going into the empty treatment room, so you can continue to feed?”
At the time, I missed it but what she was doing was giving a reason why I was in there so long as putting me into another room, so if a doctor was to walk in, to say get something for someone else. Then everyone was waiting wouldn’t know that a thing was wrong.
Help Was There
This is what happened because while I was now in treatment room 2, a doctor walked in and loudly made a point of saying “oh I didn’t realise anyone was in here.”
Walked over to me and as the door closing behind her continued with “what a beautiful baby. How old?”
I began to answer, and she sat down next to me. She then explained that the health visitor had updated her the of situation. And if I was happy to try going on the lowest dose of these antidepressants. Just to see if it makes any difference. That and she wanted me to travel to another town to join a mother-toddler group, and a lot more information; that I can honestly say I didn’t take in.
Within three days of taking the antidepressants, it was like a black cloud had lifted off me. I didn’t feel like I was utterly useless, just not that good. And mostly when my daughter cried; I didn’t feel that dread of I’m going to do it wrong, I’m going to end up making her life terrible. I just picked her up and smiled at her little crying face. Cuddled her into me and went and sat with her to feed. I was at the start point of recovering.
Now, she is coming up to her 8th birthday. I am still having down days, but I am now more positive than ever. Coming from where I have been. Trust when I say, that having any positive thoughts were impossible for me then.
When a group of friends had an excellent idea of booking a table at a large café (more restaurant) for a dinner time get together. Three had recent birthdays, and one had just got a new job. Perfect time to use as an excuse for some cake, coffee and a mummy chin-wag.
Out of the ten that were meant to turn up, there were four. The reasons for them not coming was so upsetting to me because I have been there and all I want to do now is help them.
They couldn’t face dealing with so many people. Felt intimidated by being in such an open area and not feeling safe. In so much depression that they couldn’t face getting dressed and being around happy people. Even more so if they were to ask them any questions. The array of mental torture that each of these ladies was suffering and weren’t ready to get help. Hit me to the core. I even set up another date for everyone to meet again and tried to explain that we are all having difficulties. Another reason we should meet up and help each other. Maybe then the world won’t be such a dark place.
Again, they are dropping out. I don’t take offence to that, but they all message me, apologising that they couldn’t possibly face a group of people. So, I have offered to meet with them one by one. Some say thanks, some say they’ll keep it in mind, but you can already hear the tone of, I can’t cope, but I’m okay.
Remove the Taboo
One day, mental illness will be respected like any other condition. Heck, we even mock and joke about flu. Like how men cope with it and when mum gets it, it might be the same as man flu, but no one cares.
So why is this crippling disorder still seen as taboo?
This post is my coming out! I suffer from depression and anxiety, and I am taking medication every day to help with the effects of my illness. I want everyone to know, that you are not alone! There are plenty of others suffering with you, and it is not your fault! You are not crazy, seek help! Do not tolerate any longer than you have too. There is no quick fix, but you are affected by an illness. Please even if your first step is emailing me.
Your Turning Point
If you feel like you too can speak up about any mental illness, you have experienced. I would love if you shared your story in the comments. You may not think your story is worth it, but you don’t know if someone out there reads that and it clicks for them.