We’re just back from our family summer holiday – we went to the Isle of Man. This was a first for me and for us.
No, not the first time we’ve been away together, but the first time we’ve been on holiday and I’ve been well. I feel nervous even saying that, as I am aware that, in so many ways, I am still recovering. But compared to the first 2 years of Reuben’s life, today I am well. I am so much better that I’ve ever been, since becoming a mum, and I am on my way to good health – mentally, physically and emotionally.
Last year, Gavin and I went away on our own for a week – Reuben stayed with my parents. It was a disaster. I cried.
I cried as Gavin (bless him) packed the suitcases; I cried as we dropped Reuben off; I cried as we sat on the airplane (I didn’t even try to hide it); I cried as we lay by the pool; ate lunch and wandered about in the sun. I cried the whole time.
When I wasn’t crying I just wanted to lie on the bed and drift into my own thoughts and fear.
You can read more about that time in our lives here.
This year, their were no tears – except for when I stubbed my toe on the bed. Ouch!
This year, I enjoyed my family and all that being away with them brought. Even better, Gavin’s parents and my parents were able to join us for a couple of days each – and we had so much fun!
Reuben had a ball – we were on planes; trains; trams; toy cars; boats and visited soft play; the beach; a farm show; amusements…you name it. We ate chips and ice cream. We braved the rain with our hoods up and didn’t care what we looked like, as we were on holiday. It was so lovely to see him happy and to love being with us. It was such a great feeling to be with my family and feel like I belonged and that they were better off, just for having me around. We laughed and played together, doing nothing out of the ordinary, just being together. For one of the first times, I realised how great being a family is – how much joy there is, fun there is and love there can be in being a family of three. I am very thankful for our time away together.
Now please don’t get me wrong, I did internally have my ‘moments’. But in understanding the illness I was able to be deal with them. I was also able to be honest with my family about when I was struggling and ask for extra grace and support, if I needed it. I wasn’t stuck inside my own head, afraid of my feelings, feeling alone and ashamed. I acknowledged when I needed time and space and I got it – willingly from my wonderful family. I also got very tired at times, but allowed myself the odd nap and early night – none of which did anyone any harm.
This time last year I would not believe that I’d be a position to write this post. I feared that life would not ever get better, that I was stuck in a hell hole, from which I could not escape – the only way out for me to give up on life altogether. This time last year the future looked dire and my whole life felt like a disaster. I was on the edge of breakdown every day and didn’t dare believe that I would make it to this summer – the idea of another year feeling the way I did would have driven me further into despair.
But things have changed and that is why I want to share this. I could not have brought myself to hope, last year, this would ever be possible. But it was, it is and here I am. I share this, not to boast, but to encourage anyone who is in the darkest depths with PND or any mental health issue.
There is hope, help and health. You can get better. You can find your journey of recovery. You are not a lost cause, you are not alone.
For me the big helps in healing and recovery have been medication, therapy and mental health team support, self-care and understanding of my illness, family and friends and not being afraid to speak out. Again, I’ve shared more about that in this post.
I want you to know there is hope, however difficult your circumstances might be.
I totally get these can feel and sound like ‘just words’, and If I’d be reading them last year I may well have dismissed them. But deep down, I think, I would have longed to reach for the hope in them – please do.
Please reach out and find hope – find the help that you need. You are worth it. You deserve it. You can do it. You can recover.