“One year ago things looked perfect to anyone looking in at my life. Everything was perfect – three beautiful girls, happily married, supportive family. But one year ago I was really struggling to cope. I felt as if I was losing an inner battle. I was fighting against myself and I was the loser. The guilt I was feeling was overcoming me. How could I possibly be feeling so rubbish when I had everything I wanted? I felt so bad about feeling the way I did. I beat myself up so much for being the way I was.
I cried every night in bed. I rarely cried during the day, unless I was on my own and didn’t have to hide it. I never cried in front of the girls. I let it build up all day and then I burst when I could no longer hold it all in.
I cried when someone was nice to me because I wasn’t worthy of being treated like this. I cried when I tried and failed to express how I felt, which was most times I tried to talk! I remember once when I phoned my poor friend and failed miserably to talk. I really wanted to just say how I felt but I couldn’t. Then I came off the phone and cried all day!
I think most people would be surprised to read this as I was able to hide it quite well. I hid it because of the shame and I’m not really the type of person to share things. I’m a private person who probably comes across as quite relaxed and confident. I am not like that in reality! But that’s something else that no one needs to know about.
I found it very hard to talk about, in fact, I still find it hard. It’s hard to say that I was depressed. How could I possibly be? I feel bad even saying that now.
There were many dark days when I wished I could just stop. Surely everyone would be better off without me? But I loved my family so much I knew those days had to disappear. There were days when I hated myself so much, I hated how I looked, talked, thought. My ideas were rubbish, I didn’t deserve to feel anything or be happy. These were horrible days.
But…thankfully these days are over. I have accomplished quite a lot in the last year. Firstly I opened up a little bit. I couldn’t fight the tears one Sunday evening and I had to tell my husband. I felt like a failure. Then I couldn’t stop crying the next morning. I sent my friend a text and she phoned me. I cried. She came over to my house. And she wasn’t scared away when she realised what was going on. This made a big difference.
I went to the doctor, I even went to a therapist. I took anti depressants. And I just kept going!
I have made a small success of my business. It’s going well. I’ve made mistakes but I’ve done some good things too. I like to think that I’m giving children a chance to develop their confidence, which is really important to me.
I’m now off my tablets and I’m standing on my own two feet. I hated taking them. They made me feel like a loser – I know this is stupid. I’m able to live a normal life. I have crap days and I get scared but I’m strong enough to move on.
I have good people in my life. I can rely on them and some day I’ll be good enough for them. I try to be trustworthy and helpful but at times I feel selfish and inconsiderate. But I am trying.
So a year has passed since I admitted my problem and now I can say I’m glad I did it. I couldn’t have done it on my own but thankfully I didn’t have to. Hopefully I won’t ever be on my own again. There’s still some way to go but I’m definitely on the right road.
Then I had a blip:
I feel like a fraud. The last time I wrote something I was saying how far I had come, how well I was doing and thinking about pnd as my past.
As it happens, I was wrong. PND is not in my past. It is still in my present and you have no idea how much it pains me to admit it. I want it to disappear. It’s been part of my life for too long- I allowed it to destroy my confidence, damage relationships and play with my emotions – so more than anything, I wanted it to be gone. I wanted to be able to say, “yeah, I once had pnd but it’s gone now.”
But still it lingers in the background. I try to ignore it but it’s still there. It makes me feel that I am useless. It makes me think that my ideas are rubbish. It makes me feel like I am a bad mum, a hopeless wife, an awful friend. It makes me feel like a bad person.
I keep fighting the feelings. I will always keep fighting them. Things get bad when I can’t focus, can’t believe in myself, feel bad all the time. I start apologising all the time. I over think everything. I doubt myself. I start to hide away. And so, yes, all these things have been happening. So, yes, I have slipped.
But I want to be positive. I have caught it happening. I am a strong person. I can’t stop it from always lingering around but I will fight it. I have to remember to tell myself I’m not a bad person, that there is no need to be sorry,no need to send another text to correct what I originally said!
I will stop myself from hiding away. I will continue to do the best I can for my family and in my work. I will fight harder than before and everything will be okay.
I’m not a bad person and this is not going to define the person that I am.”
Thank you Emma for sharing your journey with us and how you are continuing to recover - keep going! We all understand that it's not a straight road and some days/months are easier than others. Thank you for being brave and helping other mums with your story!