Okay guys I don’t want to bore you with my life story.. I’ve never been one to tell it because it’s not interesting and personally I find it’s not much different to others out there. Long story short – I’ve been suffering with depression for the last 6/7 years. It’s been a battle for me, I’ve struggled with relationships on every level. I’ve been in situations where my head was so messed up I couldn’t believe this was my life. I’ve been suicidal and self-harmed for a number of years. I wasn’t the person to think that was it for me, I was doomed and couldn’t get out of the rut I was in – I knew I could get better, I knew there just had to be a way to get out of it. And now I can honestly say I feel as though I’ve beaten it since last November. A lot of people say that it never really goes away, it’s just below the surface waiting to crop up but I’d say I’m definitely well clear of it and that it won’t be coming back any time soon. Don’t get me wrong, I have days where I might cry because Isabella’s drawn on the table and I can’t get it off (like the other day) and I know I’m just being silly but that’s because I am passionate about not having pencil marks on my table. It’s kind of the last thing I need to work on – control. If I have no control over a situation, (ie. pencil marks that I can’t get off) I get overwhelmed and slightly infuriated. I don’t for once, think that this is me going back into my old ways because I can fully get out of it – it just make take the whole day. But I’ve come to realise its okay to have bad days, it’s okay to feel crap and not have to have an explanation why but it’s NOT okay to let yourself get a place that is beyond your control, and people need to stop justifying that being depressed is a trend and that its okay to be your worse enemy. Anyway, I knew I would bore you with that, but what I’m actually here for is to explain how I’ve managed to get out of a dark place in the last year, a really dark place I’ve been in for many years.
Isabella was getting older and although it was slightly getting easier being a mother, I honestly felt things I never thought I would. before having a child I was suicidal at times. I;d get goosebumps at the thought of being happy and how was it possible to live like this for the next 50 years. I felt sick at the thought of not having control over how I felt. Having Isabella was the most stressful time of my life because even then, I had suicidal thoughts and knowing I couldn’t do anything about them because I had someone who relied on me – gave me feelings that were so overwhelming. The thought of not wanting to be alive but loving something so deeply, honestly was a fucking whirlwind (Please do excuse my language).
I could tolerate hating my life, getting up, dreading the day just wishing I could go back to sleep so I didn’t have to feel anything. But worrying about a baby that couldn’t survive without me? That killed me. When I fell pregnant it was like all of that just disappeared, I thought I was cured and that this baby just fixed everything for me. Little did I know that 9 months later, I wasn’t cured and that it was about to get a whole lot worse. I didn’t want to write you a story but I need to share with you just how much things changed for me. Okay so I’ve given birth at this point, a few months have passed. I’m debating giving my child to someone more capable, wondering if social services were going to be on my case, wondering if this little girl even loved me. And shit just got real for me. I’ve failed as a mother. I already failed as a person. I didn’t enjoy being a mum, I didn’t feel connected to her and whilst all this was going on, my partner’s telling me how fab I am. Like at this point how is he not worried that I’m gonna walk out on this baby? Can you fully imagine feeling like this. A lot of mothers go through this, I realised I wasn’t the only one – but it doesn’t make it easier. it isn’t so openly spoken about and that’s the problem. I knew this wasn’t just postnatal depression. I’ve suffered with depression 5 years previous to this, so I knew it wasn’t going away. I tried baby groups, I tried counselling and everyone I spoke to just made me feel even more incapable. I didn’t want to talk about breastfeeding, or ‘how I feel today‘. I didn’t want to talk about anything baby related or related to emotions and feelings. I just wanted everyone to leave me alone because I was so embarrassed. The dreaded questions – ‘How are you getting on? Are you enjoying it?‘ No, absolutely not. I would do everything in my power to avoid these people. And that’s when I knew I had to do something for the sake of my poor little girl. Who was so full of life and there was me, so not full of life.
I was never ashamed of medication. I just felt I could get through this without it. I mean, 6 years down the line and I’m still here right. I’m breathing and I haven’t ripped every inch of my hair out, so there must be hope right? (Okay I did rip every inch of my hair out, but I was still alive which was the important thing.) But something clicked. I tried everything to feel better, except antidepressants. It never occurred to me that these might actually work. Who can honestly say – antidepressants have been the answer? Not a lot of people. But I was excited to try. Actual excitement filled my head. So the end of November 2017 – I took my first set of antidepressants – Sertraline. I was so excited but scared to finally feel a different emotion. And did they work? No they didn’t. Everything I pictured them to be, the negative feedback I always received, I was spot on. But I never actually read up on the side effects. I never knew what they were about just that they made you gain weight like crazy and to be honest, deep down this worried me. But Sertaline – You were a whole different kettle of fish. Within 2 days I had the flu. I had a temperature, a migraine, aches, shivers, nosebleeds – you name it. I ‘gurned’ all day and night, my jaw wouldn’t stop. Excessive urinating, being sick. The list goes on! I couldn’t believe what I had done, I kept telling myself I’d rather be suicidal than feel like this. I visited my GP who told me these side effects would go away, but two weeks later I was still being sick and I just couldn’t find a way to stick with them.
Around Christmas I was given another antidepressant to try – Fluoxetine and on a much lower dose. I was wary of giving these a go, especially so close to Christmas because I didn’t want them to ruin Christmas Day. I plucked up the courage to start taking them a week before Christmas and I can honestly say they were an absolute godsend. They have been an absolute life changer for me. Either that, or it just so happens at that time in my life, something changed in me. I don’t want to sit here and rave about antidepressants because I’m not saying they work for everyone. I’m sitting here saying there is light at the end of the tunnel. I believe antidepressants work for a very few people. And by work I mean, I believe they are a tool to help you, not cure you. You can’t expect these to work if you’re not prepared to try. That’s why sometimes they don’t work because some people are just so stuck in a way there’s no a possible way to get better. And that’s not anyone’s fault. I believe there are some people in this world that need counselling. And some people need antidepressants. You will get side affects with every antidepressant. Brain fog, tiredness, weight gain, emotional numbness etc. I certainly had brain fog and tiredness for the majority of my time on them and believe me, there were days when I said I’d rather feel depressed than take another tablet, but I knew I needed to keep going and I’m glad I did. Brain fog got to me so bad I didn’t know what day it was. I was exhausted – most days by 4pm, I was fast asleep on the sofa – Isabella would be drawing on my face or putting everything she could find down the toilet. But I couldn’t stay awake. I stopped cooking dinner (okay I never started!) – I just didn’t have the energy levels to do so. I went on like this for nearly a year. And I knew that it wasn’t right but it was a whole lot better than how I was feeling. Then 4 days in, after taking Fluoxetine, I was honestly a new woman. I could sit of an evening (after my afternoon nap) and actually just feel blessed. Feel grateful. Look forward to the following day. Look at myself in the mirror without crying. It could’ve all been in my head – whatever it was I didn’t care. I felt like I could do anything I wanted to, I felt so happy and blessed to be alive and I just couldn’t believe this was all waiting for me on the other side (cringe!). I made the effort to get up and get ready. I washed more and I tried more. There wasn’t time to have anxiety and dwell. There was so much I wanted to achieve. I was so excited for the future and I just believed I could achieve anything. And now where here in February (maybe March at this point of posting!) and I’ve finally weaned myself off of them. Like I said, don’t get me wrong I still have my days. I still stare in the mirror a little anxious at my weight (God knows why!) and I still get overwhelmed and stressed like other people but it’s normal, I’ve learnt that. A year later I sat there and thought ‘fucking wow’. How many years it’s taken me to get to a better place, and the last year has just changed my life. I went down to taking 1 every 3 days for a while, and it never made a difference. I don’t think I’ve needed them for a while but I worried that the short time I’ve been taking them, that I’d relapse and have to start taking them again. I’ve been discharged at the sleep clinic to see if there were any underlying problems with my fatigue. Nope, it was just my medication. So I’m full of beans (Okay maybe not so much with a 2-year-old) but I’m definitely in such a good place, physically and mentally. Everyday I wake up knowing what I’ve got. Knowing how lucky and grateful I am. I don’t have time for negative energy in my life. Meditation and yoga have been teaching me that. I’m at such peace with myself and others around me. I’m calm, happy and just content. There’s been a lot of other things helping me along the way and I’m currently writing up a blog post about that in more detail and I cant wait for you to read that! Myself and Isabella have such a loving relationship now. I tell her off when she’s being naughty and she slaps me because she’s doesn’t agree. Normal right? I wouldn’t change a thing, I wouldn’t change my life, I wouldn’t change the last 6/7 years of my life because it’s made me who I am. I’m the strongest person I know and actually my daughter and partner would’ve never made it here if it were different. I’m happy being me. (Well almost!) Don’t get me wrong, there are things I would change about myself but that’s a bigger bum or chest etc. And if one day I need Fluoxetine to help a gal out again I won’t be saying no! It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve been through or where you’ve come from, tomorrow’s a new day, for new beginnings and honestly this shit patch doesn’t last forever – even though you may not think it! Don’t be ashamed to try antidepressants, or try whatever you think works for you, we’re only human at the end of the day – they may have their bad points but they also have the good points and I for one, am so happy I gave them a chance.