I’ve been contemplating how to write this post for a while now. A big reveal, in big bold capitals maybe, or perhaps just slipping it in casually as though it’s no big deal. And then I thought; rainbows and MS Paint, obviously.
Pretty awesome, huh?
Since I came off venla in August things have been steadily getting better. Big T hasn’t had to take any time off work (with the exception of a Dominos pizza food poisoning incident – guys, trust me, do NOT order the chicken wings), which feels wonderful, as those regular dollops of guilt were the icing on a spectacularly shitty cake. I no longer feel like I’m enduring my time alone with my son or counting down the hours until Big T’s return, and I now believe without any doubt whatsoever that I am the person best equipped to take care of my precious little bug baby, including his father, a wealth of parenting ‘experts’, and every health visitor in existence (no offence to any of those, particularly the former – mwah, love you). And those fairytale emotions that I never got to feel when Little T was born, well, I have them now, and it’s as wonderful as everyone unhelpfully told me it would be at the time. My days are filled with laughter and exhaustion and discoveries and big sloppy open-mouthed kisses and it’s all I’ve ever dreamed of since I was a little girl.
I’m not celebrating though, and there are two reasons for that:
The first is that I’m angry. I’m absolutely, gut wrenchingly furious that I had PND in the first place. What cruel, messed up world is it where a mother can want and yearn for a child her whole life, be lucky enough to fall pregnant quickly and easily, and then be denied any shred of true happiness when she finally holds her precious baby in her arms. I can’t begin to describe the dark place I was in. What separates PND from any other depression I’ve experienced is the horrifying juxtaposition of vast love and utter devastation. My heart was in pieces. I’m angry for me but mostly for my son because he didn’t have the mother he deserved when the world was its most scary and new. I’ll never get the chance to make that right.
The second reason I’m not dancing on the rooftops is that I’m a realist. I may not have PND any more, but I still live daily with other mental illnesses. My PTSD is manageable at the moment and has been for a while, though it’s a constant undertaking to keep it in check, but the agoraphobia is only marginally better than it was when it was first diagnosed. I’m anxious too, though that could well be an irritating personality quirk, or even a cautious mental response to everything else going on in my head, who knows.
I don’t say these things out of self-pity – I don’t feel sorry for myself at all. I’ve just learned over the last 5 years or so that I need to keep a level head to stay sane (as much as is possible for a bona fide crazy lady). It doesn’t do me any good to become giddy when things improve in one area if it usually results in me taking my eye off the ball in another. It’s great that the PND is better, but there’s no rest for a brain like mine, not with other conditions that have been neglected and need their chance to be cared for. I wish I could break out the champagne and embrace a new phase of my life, a completely joyous one with no worries – only light, buoyant optimism – but there’s too much at stake for me to pretend this is happily ever after.
I am happy though, and I’m proud too, because despite the darkness I lived in for a while I’ve still raised a healthy, bubbly and content child. Nothing can argue with the sheer fact that Little T is a wonderful little boy, so for that perhaps I will celebrate, and this gorgeous autumn weekend with my son and his Daddy is the perfect place to start.
(P.S. It’s my birthday tomorrow, and I’m planning on cuddling my boys and staying in bed until the urge to pee gets the better of me. Woop!)