It’s happened before and it’s happening again.
I thought I’d escaped it this time, but the pricking sensation behind my eyes was back. I wanted to cry, just because. There was no rhyme or reason. The children’s laughter was heard, but not felt. The bread was fresh, but not smelt. The flowers, so pretty brought no aroma to my nose. All senses dulled.
I see it now. The signs are clear. It started with a run; little did I realise then that I wasn’t merely running for health, but running away. The darkness was chasing me and trying to push me down, but this time I am standing strong and fighting back before it beats me.
They call it depression. It has such a bad name, when what it is can be physically explained. Give a woman six month’s of sleep deprivation and a baby to feed, exclusively from her breast, and see how well she is at the end. Her body has been giving for many months. Her baby starts to wean and hormones start to change. The prolactin that brought such an intense mother-baby bond, starts to drop. The mother’s serotonin levels have plummeted, exacerbated by lack of sleep, and yet her physical energy is beginning to return. She needs something to shift the change in mood, the hormones, the energy levels.
In the past, I’m ashamed to say, I took short cuts to cope with the change. I started to drink alcohol, not much, but every day, come 5pm, I was hanging out for a tipple. After Sophie I picked up a cigarette and had secret smokes, feeling totally ashamed. I sought help from the doctor, but I’d already let the rot set in.
This time is so different. I have had barely a drink of alcohol since Alice was born. And smoking is something I never, ever want to return to. I have a clean slate and though depression is tapping on my door I am not going to let it spiral out of control. The running was the beginning of my fight. But it’s not enough. I need a little medical help to keep me balanced day to day. Just a little to restore the chemical balance in my brain so that the colours return and the sweet scent of freshly baked bread is an aroma I can delight in as normal.
So, today I started on a low dose of anti-depressents. I also went for a run. I am extremely grateful to have such a supportive husband. Dan, you are AMAZING. We haven’t been out together in over six months. I have been going to bed when the children go to sleep for months. Baby Alice sleeps with me. But though we haven’t had couple time, we still have such a strong connection and we know that this too shall pass. We hold hands, we smile, we laugh, we hug. We snatch kisses in fleeting moments and exchange meaningful glances. We met so young, when I was just 18, and have had such amazing times together that give us such strength to draw upon when things get tough.
Things are changing and I am positive I shall come out on top, stronger than ever. And I am so thankful to have the most amazing family that understand and support me, as I do for them with all that my heart can give.
Please visit Sleep is for the Weak’s ‘Writing Workshop‘ which is on ‘Change’ this week and please take a couple of minutes to sign the Save the Children petition to ‘Press for change‘, to make the reality of a child under 5 still dying every three seconds in countries like Bangladesh a thing of the past. Thank you x