Things have nose dived recently. I wrote this the night before I return to work after a month being signed off with Depression. I've been back to work 3 weeks today and finally have the guts to press the publish button. This isn't something I openly talk about. Those who know me and read this may have no idea. My friends that know, tell me I hide it well. They say it's the 'quiet ones you have to watch out for'. Sometimes it's the loudest ones that are suffering behind the scenes. Putting on the mother of all fronts.
It started after I experienced stress in the build up and following Stanley's autism diagnosis. On top of that, at the time I was working 4 days a week and felt like I never had any time or money to do anything. I didn't drive and my husband worked stupid hours leaving silly o'clock in the morning arriving home at stupid o'clock at night. Stanley hasn't always been the greatest sleeper and we were shattered and still learning so much about his condition. In a nutshell life was difficult. This stress soon (for me) followed with feelings of absolute hopelessness and turned out to be just the beginning of a very long and very hard journey - which I am still on. Which I will always be on.
I suffered silently with postnatal depression after giving birth to Stanley. With medication, time and counselling life did get easier and I muddled through as you do. In 2009 after yet another 'wobbly' and finally having the courage to return to my doctor I was diagnosed with clinical depression and although it was hard to hear and believe despite everything I was feeling, things suddenly started to make sense. Just having a reason for why I was feeling this way was a massive relief.
The stigma associated with a depressive illness is very evident in our society; I'm 30, have a lovely home, a great husband and 2 healthy boys. So to anyone outside my inner circle it can look like I have "no reason to be depressed". This is my point, depression isn't picky - everyone has potential to suffer; children, adults even the elderly. Depression don't care how much money you have in the bank or how many friends you have. Depression isn't that Monday morning feeling, or getting back from a sun filled holiday to pouring down rain. It's a medical illness. Like a broken leg only the broken bit is in the brain.
It's been said we all know someone with a mental illness. It's one of those taboo subjects and few people talk about it or let on how they really feeling because they don't want to come across as needy or weak. I was one of those people until recently. I'm not weak because I have a history of depression. I'm strong because I've seen it through before and I know the signs. I knew I needed help and asked for it.
I've accepted that I will always have mental health issues, but the most important thing to do is share and be honest with the people who love you. Share your good days, your bad days, your worries and your thoughts. It's tough, it turns your life upside down but in time things will get better - they have to! For me these past few weeks, things have drastically improved and I'm functioning at a level which I thought wasn't possible a month ago. I still have my difficult times, like this morning, where I'm crying my eyes out and feeling completely rubbish and disconnected from everything - but I think that is a completely normal part of recovery.
I can see that light at the end of the tunnel.