So, I've done the funeral. I can now try and start work properly. My previous job share partner and I have now reconnected as friends. I invite her to my house just before I go back to work, and apologise for coming up short as a friend and job share partner. She apologises too, for not handling it as well as she hoped. We promise to never job share again and to go shopping in Monsoon very soon (Seeing as I'm all skinny again).
Being armed with experience I now make sure I hand over work properly, stick to what I'm meant to do and accept that I am not super woman.I look shit in golden hot pants and a head band anyway. My priorities are different now, and it will only be as unmanageable as I make it. Being someone with very little self esteem, I'm prone to trying harder than most people, or being a hideous people pleaser. I seek approval in most areas of my life as my deepest belief about myself is that I am rubbish at everything and people really don't like me, They just say that to be polite. For many years "NO" was not a word I would use in my vocabulary. So, I am learning to be crap every now and then and not being a martyr to the local authority cause. If its not done, I won't die and nor will anybody else. Its quite liberating. I even sometimes take longer than I should for lunch. God I'm a saddo!
Anyway, So I'm feeling ok and I talk to my GP about trying to reduce my dose of anti depressants. Although I've had a few family traumas, I've felt ok. I don't want to rely on medication to feel well, not if I can manage without it. I don't know quite what makes people so reluctant to take medicine. Maybe we have an innate sense of self preservation and self will that means we see taking pills as immoral and a weakness of the spirit. I also believe that we hold a deep sense of shame about mental illness. The image of the straight jacketed, foaming mouthed lunatic is one that most people probably see in their minds eye. You know, Nurse Ratchet and co. Electric shock therapy, sedated until you shuffle, or running around naked thinking you are Jesus. Admitting being mentally unstable is a brave step for most. You're never quite sure what kind of reaction you're going to get.
Anyway, we decide to do a "One day on, one day off" pill taking regime to see how we go, and if it feels ok, we'll do a "One in three days" regime. I stay positive and try not to see every mood dip, odd thought or funny tingle as a problem. After a month I feel appalling. I am devastated and go with my head hung low, back to the GP who tells me to go back to 20mg. After another month I still feel bad, and she recommends I take 40mg to try and improve my mood. I begin to feel very "Rushy" and jittery. Its at this time I start to have what is know as "Intrusive thoughts." I know what this is now because I have a psychiatrist. When it was happening, I thought I was really going mad, and that I actually might hurt myself.
"These thoughts – obsessions – are often frightening or distressing, or seem so unacceptable that you can’t share them with others. Contained within the obsession is an underlying belief that you, or other people, may come to harm. However absurd or unrealistic this belief, you can’t dismiss it or reason it away. It creates unbearable anxiety, and makes you feel helpless to do anything except perform the particular ritual which can rid you of the devastating thought." (Mind.org.uk/obsessivecompulsivedisorder)
It happens after dropping the children off at nursery one day. I pull in the drive and a visual thought enters my head. Its like a movie screen playing inside my head. Go and hang yourself from the light fitting in the living room. It takes my breath away and I feel frozen in panic. What the F**k is this????? I begin to cry and don't want to get out of the car. I am so anxious I am rigid in my seat. I have to wait a while for the panic to subside.
The conversation I had with a post natal depression support group comes back into my thought process. Post natal depression can trigger or exacerbate underlying mental health problems. I actually don't want to commit suicide. I want to be alive and well for a very long time, to be a wife and a mother. What the hell is this all about. My fear is that I might actually go and do it even though I don't want to. I don't even know how to tie a noose. Its all completely bonkers. I finally manage to get into the house. It takes almost all day for the feeling of unease to pass. I am praying that this is just a one-off occurrence and that I'm not completely losing my marbles.