I always thought people with depression were weak. If you were depressed about part of your life you should just work harder and change it. I thought that a strong work ethic would allow people to change any element of their life for the better. I now see how naive that was.
Causes of depression are far and varied and depression as an illness is very common. According to MIND 1 in 4 people will suffer from some sort of mental illness in any given year. Some people are at a greater genetic risk of developing depression but also early life experiences can influence if you are likely to suffer. Depression can also be caused by a specific traumatic situation or event. I believe this is what happened to me after Joseph’s diagnosis and I was thrown off the metaphorical cliff after a pregnancy loss.
It has taken me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I have severe depression. My illness at times can leave me lifeless. I have hit rock bottom and seriously considered suicide. I have felt the world and my loved ones would be better off without me. I have handled knives carefully as I fight the urge to cut myself – I believed I deserved to feel pain. I have walked through the hallways of the Freeman in such a rage of anger and inner turmoil that I wanted to pick a fight with a man, not just any man but a massive, strong burly man – some one who could really hurt me. I may be starting to sound a bit crazy but all of these things are ok….this is my version of depression. If you are feeling anxious, angry, feel a failure, if you feel trapped. My message to you is that you are not alone. There is nothing to feel embarrassed or ashamed about. This is depression and millions of people around the world suffer from this illness. You can get better from this – I am getting better from this.
2015 is a blur of surgeries, intensive care, Scott House, clinics, ECG’s, tube feeding, injections and more. I was so busy caring for Joseph that I did not realise that I was becoming ill. I started to find small things difficult, looking after Joseph became more tiring, leaving the house was now a daunting task, meeting friends filled me with fear. One day I cracked and in floods of tears as my baby slept I called the health visitor. I had put my hand up and shouted that I needed help. She was amazing, she said ‘Well Done – you have admitted you need help. This is the hardest step. I am going to pop up and see you’. Thank you lovely health visitor, this signalled the start of my recovery.
My depression had come in waves and really only came thick and fast when Joseph became stable and out of immediate danger. My body had got so used to being in ‘flight or fight’ mode constantly…I didn’t need to ring 999, I didn’t need to give him life saving drugs – I could relax now. But how do you do that? How do you go from hyper vigilant mum to a slightly less hyper vigilant mum? This is the balance I am trying to find. (all helpful tips accepted gratefully)
My son & brother have proved that you can fight and win the most horrific of illnesses. I am no longer the Debbie I used to know ….I am not the Debbie my friends expect to see…I am different but I am slowly turning into a better version of myself. I am turning into the mother I was always meant to be.