I organise my life very much like a military operation. I try to have activities planned and places to go. It helps me to have milestones throughout the day. When things feel very dark, I can get through a period of say, two hours, and I know my babies are going to have a nap. I can then pass out, rest or do some housework. It is incredibly hard work and my husband is still working shifts. I see my GP every 2 months and have a chat about my mental state. Has it changed? Is it worse, better or no change at all? I very much still take it a day at a time. My mood is still erratic but the general mood is definitely still depressed.Thinking that you might be depressed for a really long period of time feels like a death sentence. Its like telling an alcoholic they can't drink ever again.
I often wonder if this is still just post natal depression or a totally independent mental illness that is nothing to do with child birth. The problem is, as I said before, Post Natal Depression can happen up to 18 months after the birth of a child, so unless you are ill for ages, everyone assumes you'll just get better in time, you know like in a year or so. Maybe even sooner. Everyone tries to stay positive but people move on. You aren't news anymore. People find talking to depressed people depressing. I work very hard at appearing happy.
Doing the post natal depression calculations, I have to wait until son number 2 is 18 months old before anyone might actually think I am more mentally ill than first thought. This means I could end up in general practice treatment for two or so years and feel rubbish. I set myself a target of a year to see if things have dramatically improved. You may think this is a long time, but I've already been ill for a while and I think I'm in for the long haul. My children are very young and my circumstances are stressful.One thing I am not is naive.
Its like being half a person. You function, look ok, sound the same, but for the majority of the time you feel like you are a commentator on your own life. You laugh at the right moments, but you aren't actually having fun. You go through the motions, but life just isn't full of depth and flavour. Its all a bit grey. Every now and then you have a sunny day. The Band Elbow sing about, " Pull[ing] my ribs apart and let the sun inside". You want to throw off the concrete tunic, heavy on your chest, that you have to wear every day. You are sluggish and work hard just to keep up. I am permanently tired.
I am also now on very friendly terms with bacon sandwiches and family bags of revels.Food tastes bland and sugary and fatty foods seem to hit the spot. As well as being slightly derranaged I am now getting a bit on the porky side and am no fun at all. I'm sick of myself.
And then suddenly, I start to feel a bit better.