Its hard to see clearly when your mind is in a fog
Sometimes I get the feeling that other people are having a way happier and easier life than I am. You know those times, when your kids are screaming, you’ve had to have a whole outfit change because there’s been a nappy leak, you’re either eating too much or not enough and everything seems like it’s just that little bit more difficult than it’s supposed to be. For most of us, that feeling comes in moments, or days. Now imagine feeling that way for a year. Imagine feeling that way your entire life. For some people this is a reality that’s difficult to face. For me, it was a reality I wasn’t expecting, and one that I didn’t know how to deal with.
I’ve spent most of my life as a reasonably happy person. My family and friends would no doubt have referred to me as a little bubble of joy. And it was true that I found it easy being happy. My brother, who has suffered with his mental health for as long as I can remember, once asked me why I’m happy all the time, and I didn’t know how to answer that, I just was happy. And that happiness continued through my work life, through university, into starting my own family and marrying the love of my life. I was truly happy. I thought life can’t get any better than it is right now.
Then my husband and I decided to have a second baby. It had been almost two years since our first, and he was so beautiful, however the thought of going through that exhausting pregnancy and almost life taking birth was just about enough to make me stop at one. My husband persisted, and I soon agreed that it would be nice for Jasper to have a sibling. I thought the worst that could happen would be that I would end up emaciated from morning sickness like I had with Jasper, and my obstetrician suggested a Caesarian to ensure we would have smooth sailing with the birth. I was relieved.
Somehow though my head wasn’t keeping up with everything that was going on. I was crying multiple times a day, I would snap at Jasper, at Tristan, at my mum. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and I felt like I couldn’t control what was going on with my emotions. I was an emotional roller coaster, without the beautiful views. It wasn’t until my midwife did that test on your mental state that we realised something was wrong. I was diagnosed with prenatal depression, a thing I didn’t even know existed.
I spent the next few months in therapy, trying different coping mechanisms, and hoping that I wouldn’t end up developing postnatal depression as well. Huxley was born, and he was the most beautiful baby I had ever laid eyes on, and still is the cutest kid I’ve ever seen, he belongs in a magazine he’s that cute. But I didn’t feel that instant connection with him that I felt with Jasper. I was more than happy to let others hold him. His cries didn’t make me want to cuddle him endlessly, they made me want to throw him out the window. I was diagnosed with postnatal depression and started medication.
Over the next few months, things became easier. I began to have those moments of pure joy watching Huxley sleep, hearing him laugh, playing with him. I started to feel less helpless, and began to feel more like myself. It was about 10 months after he was born that I stopped the anti-depressants, and I felt like I was strong enough to survive without them. It was a battle, and Huxley and I had won.
Today Jasper is 5, Huxley 2 and a half, and I can’t imagine a world without either of them. I still have moments where I consider throwing one of them out a window, but it’s a fleeting thought, with nothing real behind it. My mental health is pretty fantastic, if I get enough sleep I feel like I can get through just about anything. When I have moments where I’m struggling I talk with my friends, or my husband, or I escape the wild for something completely calming. I take my book to the beach, I get a massage, I go to yoga, I go to the cinema. Sometimes all I need is a change of scenery and sometimes I need to something completely filled with self love.
Inevitably we all have bad days, and that’s normal, but when everyday is a bad day, and every thought is negative, something has to be done. It’s important to recognise your own limits, and hopefully find a way through to the other side. If you’re in need of some self healing, please talk to one of the ladies at the Healing Hub. If you’re in need of a good book, ask some friends for a recommendation (mine would be Watership Down). Please don’t let things get to a point where you feel like there is nothing left, because there is always something, it’s just hard to see anything when you’re in a fog.
It is hard to see clearly when your mind is in a fog…sometimes you have to work towards stepping out of that fog and into a happier state of being