“We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have travelled from the point where they started.” Henry Ward Beecher.
I don’t know about you but as a child I remember journeys lasting so much longer than they do now. I also find that coming home seemed to take less time than going….
Why is this?
My theory is that on the way back the journey is familiar and therefore doesn’t seem so long……..
With all familiar journeys I go on now I mentally tick off landmarks along the way. This is so I vaguely know how far I’ve gone and how much of the journey is left.
I‘d like to think I have a fairly good sense of direction. I’m good at reading maps and can finding my way to pretty much anywhere I need to be.
So when I started off on my journey of recovery with postnatal depression I really struggled to find my way. There was no starting point and no end point in sight.
I was lost.
I started off my journey stumbling around in a fog of extreme tiredness and tablet induced numbness. Months later and well into my Cognitive Behaviour Therapy we found my starting point.
An event in time where I started to slowly spiral into depression without even knowing it.
This point was at 27 weeks when I thought I was losing my baby.
So now I had a solid starting point for this journey the only way was forward. Very slowly forwards with so many sideways steps and steep slips backwards. This journey of recovery was the toughest terrain I’d ever encountered.
Having never been on this path before I had no way of preparing myself for this tough trip I was embarking on.
Physically and mentally it was tough, an endurance race that no amount of training could prepare me for.
A few months down the line I now knew where my final destination is. I wanted to get back to being me. I wasn’t asking much, no miracles. Just getting back to my old self was all I asked.
Then it dawned on me that living with this illness meant I would never ever be the same person I was before. This took me some time to come to terms with, but I hope it will change me for the better.
I think that on some level everyone sets themselves targets, or destinations.
I know I do.
I try to keep them realistic to avoid too much disappointment. So here is where I was hoping to be for Christmas 2015……..
Anyone who has read my previous blogs will know that I am trying to come off of my antidepressants. I have been gradually reducing my dose to avoid any drastic setbacks but it is still been soooooo much tougher than I thought it would be.
In my head, when I started to reduce my dose I was fairly sure I would be drug free for Christmas and enjoying a nice glass of something cold and bubbly on Christmas day.
The reality is that’s not going to happen. I have managed to drop from 60mg to 30mg over the past 9 months and I can honestly say it has been the hardest 9 months of my life. I don’t know what is tougher? The physical or mental side effects of the meds reduction…. One thing I do know is that getting a knock back is tough, but having travelled on this familiar path before I know how to find my way back to the better times.
With most journeys there are points which are easier than others. The scenery may be nicer; the terrain more favourable, no traffic jams. But to appreciate the good bits we must experience the not so nice bits.
Therefore I have a new destination in mind. I will be enjoying that lovely glass of something cold and bubby but not until my birthday in April. At the moment this seems doable, then again I thought that with my last target……
At the beginning of this week I had a major setback and I am slowly started to creep forward again after being side swiped by something totally unexpected.
I looked at some photos of Mr A when he was a few months old. He looked so beautiful in the photos, the most gorgeous little boy I have ever seen. The thing that totally shocked me was how I looked. The hollow vacant eyes, pained expression. I looked so distant. I was right back there in that moment. All the old feelings rose within me and I was a wreck. There were tear, my chest tightened up and I felt physically sick. Since then my anxiety and panic attacks are back in full force and I feel drained from dealing with these feelings.
I now dread waking up the next day even before I’ve gone to bed. I haven’t felt this bad for such a long time that I had actually forgotten that some of these symptoms even existed. All in want to do is crawl into a hole and hibernate for a few weeks until these feelings pass. But apparently this isn’t acceptable during the ‘festive’ season.
So here is what I propose to do…..
I will stick two fingers up to post-natal depression. I will plaster a smile onto my face and go about my business. I will try to attend all social engagements asked of me. I will politely decline your offer of an alcoholic drink. I will eat, drink and be merry to the best of my ability.
So here is what I ask of you…… Patience and understanding above all else. If I am out and about this is a massive step for me. Please don’t judge me if I’m not very chatty. If I look a bit scruffy. If I Ieave earlier than expected without saying goodbye. Please don’t be offended.
But above all I wish for you all to have a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year.
I see 2016 as a year of change for me. The year where I fully recover from post-natal depression.
A year where I reach my destinantion.