A New Routine
So it took me over a year to realise I still had horrendous post-natal depression. I’m a very high capacity girl when my hormones are all in line and I LOVE being busy. I thrive on it. I like order, routine, and going from task to task and ticking it off my lists. Lists about lists. I have watched myself have anxiety attacks, struggle to keep my counselling appointments, and cancelling things that I love doing just because I was hideously overwhelmed.
I saw some people around me go through some awful situations last year, deaths of spouses, children, friends coping with cancer. I witnessed so many people walk through various trials of fire and come out strong that I just couldn’t admit to myself that I had any right to be depressed. I just kept trying to keep going.
I came to a point where I realised something wasn’t right when we lost over a thousand pound (half our holiday cost) cancelling late in the game. We were supposed to go to Thailand and Dubai, staying at Atlantis the Palm and the Laguna area in Phuket. We were so excited for that holiday and we really needed it. I started having full on anxiety attacks and was worried if we left it any later we’d lose the whole amount. So we cancelled our holiday. If I’d been thinking straighter, we may have just tried to cancel some of it. We could’ve maybe done 5 days in Dubai instead of 2 weeks away. I just kept panicking about what may happen, and people kept telling me it was crazy to take two under two year olds on such a long haul holiday. Now this sort of thing would not normally phase me, not at all. We had taken Judah to Butlins with the girls at not quite 3 weeks old on 3 trains and a coach journey each way. Battling London Euston Christmas Eve with throngs of people. I usually am aware most people wouldn’t do it, but know that I don’t usually shy away from things just because most people would find it difficult. I usually enjoy the challenge and love the sense of achievement once the task has been completed. This time was different, I was unable to sleep for anxiety. Still breastfeeding my little girl I didn’t want to take any medication. So I panicked and we cancelled.
I had spent all of Eden’s pregnancy bed bound with hip problems and horribly depressed. I was under the mental health team for suicide watch and was finally induced as soon as was viably possible (a day after her due date anyway in the end). I had hated being pregnant, I knew it was hormonal but my personal choice was to battle it out, the war between my irrational hormones and my rational brain. So I think last year I was trying to do the same. I was just in survival mode.
I went to the doctors recently about this flu/cold that’s been going round. I’d been bed bound again over Christmas, very unwell, like most people and I had got to the point where I thought I may need some antibiotics. Before we left the doctor asked if there was anything else? With my husband standing there I felt enough was enough and it had been unfair on him watching my downward spiral and barely keeping my head above the water. I burst into tears and told the doctor how I feel ALL THE TIME.
She wanted to do a proper assessment with me and didn’t have the time so I needed to make a follow up appointment. Just saying it finally though, admitting to myself and my husband, I have felt so much better. I am still battling but it feels more honest now, it’s not hidden, it’s in the light.
Ok, so all that babble sets me up for what I intended to write about. I am trying to just deal with the things that NEED dealing with and to do it in a positive way. So starting with the simple things, making breakfasts, lunches, dinners (no more excuses and buying takeaways, drive thru’s – way more than was normal) and a bedtime routine for the babies.
My husband was putting the babies to bed when he got home from work. I loved that he took over and I was ‘off duty’ and I thought it was ok as this was the only time he got to spend with them in the day. So why would he not want to? The babies wanted to see him… but I was watching him become more and more tired.
I set about just trying to do the usual things, which may be basic to everyone else but when you’re depressed little tasks can seem huge. I’ve been having a hot home cooked dinner ready for when he’s back from work and a cup of tea (he loves tea). Then when we’ve all eaten together as a family I go and bath the children and I put Judah to bed, and he has been putting Eden to bed with a bottle of milk.
I’ve dropped her nighttime breastfeed and she has a bottle of whole milk to fall asleep with. Judah’s getting to sleep within 5 minutes under this new routine whereas Daddy was battling for sometimes as long as two hours. He was probably too tired to think properly and letting Judah rule the roost. Well, no longer.
I am a long way from being a great wife, and I know it’s hard for James coping with me overcoming post-natal depression, but I know with help from the GP and mainly due to admitting it I’m finally on the road to recovery. I’m not using my depression as an excuse anymore. It is something I want to fight. So I can look back at this season of life and know we did the best we could. We had fun times, it was difficult but it wasn’t just purely about survival. We ‘lived’ and we created beautiful memories.
Another thing I’ve put into our routine is the simple thing of doing something outdoors once a week, whatever the weather. I’ve created a 52 week bucket list of local places to visit and we will try to tick off one a week. We will of course do other things too but I’m excited to show them some of the local treasures I loved as a child and discover some new ones too.