I stood at the top of a multi-storey car park and thought if I jump now, I will be released from all of this. I was seven weeks pregnant and on my way to a crisis meeting with the local mental health team. I had a daughter and partner waiting for me at home. I had a job, friends and family who loved me and no ‘real’ reason to want to dive head first into the abyss.
Except after years of battling intermittent depression and feeling as though I had been through the worse and come out unscathed. I fell pregnant and the combination of hormones and extreme morning sickness made me unrecognisable to many and more so to myself. Because I was witness to the desperation that would slink into my mind like a predator. I kept so much of the details within. Because to utter these thoughts out loud seemed to be almost conjuring them. Giving them power. Giving them a voice. They were so despairing, that I couldn’t bear to hear them ring in my ears, whilst they screamed in my mind.
I could go into the physical details of my difficult pregnancy marred with various ailments and the subsequent traumatic birth of my son. But many women endure much worse and still manage to remain positive. I had both anti-natal and post-natal depression with both my children and the main reason, I choose not to add to my family is that I can’t guarantee I would have enough strength to survive the mental torture that comes with pregnancy for me.
A time that should be celebrated, cherished and remembered fondly. I look back and can’t believe I wanted to kill myself. I think it’s irresponsible as a mother to erase herself from her children’s lives never mind even consider murdering one yet to be born in the process. But I did more than consider, I made plans. I would watch the minutes tick by and congratulate myself on making it past an hour without acting on my urges. My two year old daughter would attempt to console me as I sobbed uncontrollably and all I wanted was to close my eyes and make it all disappear. I truly believed that the world would be better off without me.
After giving birth to my son, I breast fed him because as with my daughter I felt it was the right thing to do. I’ve heard breast feeding mothers talk about the buzz of “feel-good” hormones whilst breast feeding. But for me it was like a black mist drifting from the back of my brain suffocating every pure thought and filling my heart and soul with the macabre depressed thoughts of a disturbed mind. For an example, I was afraid that I may intentionally drown my 8 day old baby in his first bath. I am ashamed to admit I had unwanted thoughts interjecting every precious moment with my brand new baby. But that is what depression does to people and the stigma attached to it makes it even more difficult to gather the courage to speak about it.
I know, I use humour ALOT. But I also used to use drugs and alcohol ALOT as a way to self-medicate (NOT whilst pregnant BTW). So because I’m a Mummy who is thankfully fully recovered and mentally stronger and better than I’ve ever been, comedy is my vice.
And because Mental Health issues and the stigma around it has been featured in the media recently. I thought I’d do my bit and write about it.
So don’t suffer in silence reach out – there are kind people who are willing to help more than you realise. And from someone who’s teetered on the edge of an action that can’t be changed – I thank my lucky stars that I chose to live.