The Battle Continues
I’m struggling at the moment. I keep reminding myself that I am happy. And I am happy. I have two wonderful children and a great husband and I know that in many ways I am very lucky. Of course, there are things I would love to change about my life, but in essence, I am happy. I am happy.
I’m not trying to convinve myself of this, although I know it might seem that way. I don’t need to convince myself, but I do need to remind myself from time to time. And I need the reminder because I struggle with the idea that I can be, at the same time, both happy and depressed.
It is perfectly possible of course, and I am living proof, I suppose.
I was diagnosed with depression (this time) about this time last year, although I had been struggling with it for some months by then. I was diagnosed about a week before I found out I was pregnant. So the last year has been a struggle. I spent my pregnancy battling depression, without medication, because my GP was concerned about the effect it would have on my unborn baby. He was concerned she would be born with an addiction and would have to go through withdrawal. He encouraged me to manage without medication for as long as possible. Recognising that I could not continue as I had been, and not wishing to prescribe medication, he removed me from the source of stress. He had diagnosed “work-related depression” and therefore signed me off work, for the whole of my pregnancy. He arranged regular check-ups to ensure that I was still coping without the medication. It was tough, but I got through it. There were lots of ups and downs but I got through it.
And then my daughter was born. My beautiful daughter. I love her more than I can express. I love her like I love my son – more than words can say. When she was ten days old, it became clear that the change in hormones was making things difficult for me and my doctor prescribed medication for me. I made some improvements, but now I can feel things getting worse again and I’m struggling. There are days when I find everything hard work. When being at home, looking after my daughter who is now 3 months old is hard work. Days when I don’t leave the house and don’t get dressed because I just can’t summon the mental energy to do anything beyond care for my baby. And then there are days when I feel like I have loads of energy (relatively speaking – bearing in mind I am sleep deprived, like most parents of new babies!) and I manage to do lots of things.
There’s no point I’m trying to make with this post. I just needed to write it. I needed to get some stuff out of my head. It started writing itself when I was doing the two hour drive home from my parents’ house last night, having taken the kids to see them for the weekend. It started writing itself when I found myself driving along with tears rolling down my face for no apparent reason.
So now what? Well, I know I need to see my doctor again. I went a couple of weeks ago, but couldn’t see my normal doctor. The GP I saw asked if I was feeling suicidal and when I said I wasn’t, decided that I didn’t need any further help. Right then. I know if I see my own GP I will get a more productive response. By that I don’t mean I know he’ll dish out more drugs, but that I won’t be dismissed as not needing help of any kind because I’m not about to end it all. I also know that it’s unlikely I’ll be offered any kind of counselling. My Dr and I have discussed this at length over the last year. He feels it wouldn’t be helpful to me; he believes I have very good insight into my illness and wouldn’t really gain anything from counselling. I can separate out my depression in an objective way – I know which of my feelings are caused by depression and which are not and I can rationalise out the despressive feelings.
I also know that my illness, this depression, does not make me weak. I know it does not make me a bad mother. I know it won’t beat me.
And I know that I am happy.