Today I sat in the bathroom after the school run and sobbed. I cried about the heavy cloud that lives above my head and the realisation that the cloud is a part of me and it will always be there, weighing me down.
I suffered with postnatal depression. I'm an overthinker. I have anxiety and of course, I suffer from mum-guilt, that horrendous parasite that eats me up from the inside. Talking about postnatal depression isn't easy, it's a taboo subject. I've spent many years trying to hide and run away from it. But now I embrace that heavy cloud, because it has created something pretty special within me, and I can write about those raw emotions, letting other women know that they aren't alone.
Nearly nine years ago I was induced and gave birth to my son. Then he turned three. That's all I remember. I missed three years. I remember parts, but I couldn't tell you what his first words were, when he first rolled over, what his favourite food was, or what we did together. When he asks me questions about himself as a baby I have to lie. I don't have a book of firsts to show him and I don't have pictures. I have a grey and hazy memory which seems like a dream, almost like life hadn't started yet. The recollections of nothing haunt me, they makes my gut ache and my throat tighten.
Postnatal depression feels like you've been plucked out of your warm, comfortable home full of familiar smells and plonked in a foreign country, where the culture is completely different, where no one speaks the same language as you, where there is busy traffic, loud car horns, and crowds of busy people on their morning commute. You want to curl up in the foetal position with your eyes squeezed tightly closed and with your hands over your ears hoping that you'll wake up somewhere else, anywhere else apart from where you are at that exact moment. But the reality of it is that you're not going to wake up anywhere else. You have to work really hard and teach yourself to tread carefully, you need to spend time learning the language and rather than walking against the grain, you need to walk with those busy crowds, because once you land there, in that foreign country, you can't go back home. One day, that country will be your home, you will feel comfortable, you will make friends and build a support network, and you'll be glad you did.
I suffered with PND after a traumatic birth and living within an abusive marriage. Somehow though, with the help of my family I've survived it, and I managed to bring up a clever, inquisitive, confident son with an endearing and charismatic personality. He is loved by many, including myself, although I may not feel it some days. I would kill for him, I know I would. He is my boy, we just have to work a little harder together, which makes our relationship more special. I am no longer on a cocktail of drugs, but I still have the odd flashback, I still have the odd bad day and I still can't function if there is a background noise. Sometimes I am paranoid, delicate and vulnerable, but I just need to remember to take each day at a time, and that's not bad thing. Postnatal depression isn't something to be ashamed of, and it's not something that is ever your fault. But it's important to reach out and find people that speak the same language, because it's ok not to be ok.