The period that follows is one of being overwhelmed, misunderstood, full of internal conflict and moments of complete despair. I cannot get to grips with anything as I'm always trying to please too many people in different places. I'm a part time mother, a part time manager, a resentful wife, a terrible work colleague who keeps disappearing off when the baby gets ill, and a husk of a woman with low self esteem compounded by never being able to finish anything off. All I can say is that I am demoralised and without hope. Its at this time too my husband is offered an alternative post at work. One that involves working 12 hour shifts, days or nights on a rolling monthly program. He'll do it for a year, 18 months perhaps. He says it will improve our prospects as a family as it includes a wage rise, and a step on the promotion ladder. His aim is the magical health care cover and a job upgrade. The reasoning behind this too is that every month he'll have 7 days off in a row. He'll be able to help me. Oh yeah, and we're moving 12 weeks time too. Can anyone spot what the problem might be here? Alpha women with excellent mental health might need a PA under these circumstances.
My routine goes something like this. Up some nights, doing a feed and/or broken sleep due to teething. Its my job to do this as I only work 2 and a half days per week. My husband works 5 days and is the bread winner. Its like a monopoly get out of Jail card Free used at all possible occassions that involve him getting up. Its a constant source of friction. I'm waking early mornings with pregnancy sickness and exhaustion. I Drop baby off at nursery then get into work where several distressed staff members are freaking out about their jobs and the car park space rota. Like I give a ...I actually end up crying in a management meeting because I've had enough of the petty issues. Why is there no water butt? Why can I not park when I have a space on the rota? Who is the phantom crapper on the second floor who keeps leaving a big smelly poo, much to the disgust of the female members of the team? My line manager has also been changed to one that doesn't really understand what my staff team do. She feels it'll be a really good learning experience, for her. She very rarely sees me for supervision and I have noone to go to in my distress. My job share partner, once my friend, now thinks I have been taken over by the demon of an impossibly stupid emotional cripple. I start to get paranoid about her bitching behind my back. Everyone thinks I am a pregnant waste of space, and can't wait for me to go on maternity leave. This whole going back to work thing was a complete mistake.
The thing with Bi-polar is 1) You're not manic/hyper manic the whole time; 2) Diagnosis can take a long time as your mood needs to be monitored over a period of years in some cases, 3) If you don't really know what is happening to you as if its something that has been happening for a period of years, you think its normal and you use coping mechanisms like self will or self medicating, 4) Mostly bi-polar people are either depressed the majority of the time with periods of mania, or reasobably balanced with medication but still some mild depressive symptoms 5) Hyper mania sometimes is very useful - it makes you creative, extremely productive and uplifting to be around, and 6) Its not going to get sorted if people keep saying its post natal depression and is only being treated in the very minimal way in general practice. I'm unravelling very quickly.
One thing that I have experienced with depression is that feeling of being completely invisible. Mental illness is just that- In the mind. Nobody sees it. I've actually looked a photos of me at this time, and I try to look closely to see any signs. There aren't any. Being depressed the whole time is like enduring torture. Its a relentless foe that you have to battle with every day or it might just take you away forever. People also lack sympathy or lose patience. They don't realise how hard you have to work just to get out of bed and do the basic chores. The phrase, "Pull yourself together" is widely used. They can't see it so don't acknowledge it. I feel completely alone. My symptoms are a mixed bag of tearfulness, overeating, nightmares, emotional fatigue, memory loss , clumsiness, anxiety and panic. My focus is trying to be a good mother. Whilst not at work, I prepare decent food, games and baby visits with friends. I love my son so much, but at times I wish I could lend him to someone for a week so I can sleep. My emotions used to be the wallpaper of my every day experience.They didn't control my mood or behviour. I now go from extremes of happiness, Joy and love that makes me ache physically, to wishing I could just drive off and never come back as its all impossible to do, so I should let someone else do it. My feelings hijack me when I least expect it and I feel out of control of my mood. I am inconstant and unpredictable. I'm trying really hard to keep up the happy face, the illusion of wellness and hope that it really will pass soon. I long for a depression free day.