Depression still has such a stigma attached to it. So many people suffer, yet so few will admit to it. Why? It’s an illness, just like the flu or tonsillitis – yet we will admit to those freely, posting updates on Facebook and keeping everyone up to date with medications and recovery. Yet those of us with depression won’t do the same. We hide the fact we are on medication, we keep our doctors visits quiet and we don’t tell anyone how we are coping.
Especially when we are not.
2 weeks ago I sat in front of the kitchen cupboard and cried because I couldn’t decide what to cook for dinner. The week before that I got so anxious about leaving the house and having to meet people that I stopped going to baby sensory, and locked myself away in the house. Last week I was surprised when I had a good day, when I felt happy, when I felt as though everything had gone well.
And that’s the point where I realised that one good day wasn’t really enough.
I don’t expect every day to be a good one. Parenting is bloody hard work – even the good days are tough. But when you realise that you cry and shout much, much more than you laugh, then maybe it is time to ask for help.
And it’s OK if that is medication, or counselling, looking at alternative options from Finest Labs, or whatever it is your body needs to heal. Nowadays, there is a lot of research out there to suggest that alternative remedies such as CBD can play a role in your mental health toolkit so do not be afraid to research terpenes, and other natural cannabis compounds if you are looking for a natural way to combat depression.
Last week I realised that I wasn’t coping. Just getting through the day, caring for the children was too hard. I just wanted to hide away. I didn’t want anyone to see what I was becoming. I knew this wasn’t normal, not healthy, and so I made an appointment to see my doctor. I almost didn’t go – it would have been easier not to, easier to just carry on the way I was and try to convince myself I was OK. That everyone with children feels like this, that everyone struggles.
But they don’t do they? Everyone else is making it look so easy.
Although I do wonder sometimes. I am pretty good at putting on a face. No one in the school playground would know how much I am struggling. I smile, I joke, I chat about the children and I agree when they tell me how lovely my 4 are. Because they are right. But it doesn’t make it any easier.
I wouldn’t change them for the world, but I would change the way being a parent has made me feel, if I could.
So I went off to see the doctor, and she was amazing. As soon as I sat down and told her how anxious and unhappy I was, she knew. She told me that it was OK to feel this way, and actually more normal than I will ever know. That she had been in a similar place herself after she had her son. That she had got through it. That she could see I had been here before and that I had got through it too. And I would again.
She prescribed me anti depressants, and do you know what? I am not going to hide that, I am not going to be ashamed of the fact that I am taking tablets for an illness. Just because that illness is invisible to most people doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
I am seeing my doctor again in a couple of weeks, for a review. As you would for many other illnesses. She has referred me to a local counsellor, and I think that might help too. I am pretty good at bottling things up and pretending I am OK – but that’s obviously not working for me is it? So maybe talking will be an escape, a release. I hope so.
In the meantime I will work with my doctor, I will take my medication and I will trust in my body and the NHS. I will accept the fact that I am unwell, and the fact that I will get better. These things take time.
So I might not be as active on here, I might be quiet on social media while I heal. But writing gives me a release, so I might also be here pouring my heart out.
If you are not coping, open up. I feel better for it. I know there are so many other people out there who are suffering needlessly, afraid to speak out, afraid they will be judged. Anyone who judges you shouldn’t be in your life. The people who matter will stand up and support you.
So next time someone asks me if I am OK, maybe I shouldn’t say I am fine. Maybe I should be more honest. No, I am not coping at the moment. Yes, I am unwell. But I am getting help, and I will beat it. Because underneath all the sadness and anxiety is me, and I will find me again.