A couple of months ago I wrote about how I felt like I wasn’t coping very well since having Shine. Writing the post was actually the catalyst for getting back to my old self. I went to see my GP and as he asked why I was there I started to say I felt like I was kind of losing my way. My throat seized up. I felt like I had a mouthful of sawdust all of a sudden. My eyes were burning with hot tears and I could feel heat radiating from my neck and chest. Why is it so hard to ask for help and admit to having a tough time?
I was lucky enough to see a GP who took the time to let me gather myself before telling me that he thought it sounded more like a postnatal dip rather than postnatal depression. Or rather, my score on the multiple choice test told him it was a dip. A little tzatziki or hummous rather than a great big meze of depression. I’m so grateful that he didn’t try to hand over a load of antidepressants and usher me out the door. Instead he offered to hook me up with some Guided Self Help (GSH) and see me each week for a chat, or call me if it was easier.
I know for some people the depression is so severe that only medication can help but I’m glad that in my case I was offered alternatives to medication to try first.
So I saw a lovely woman who did exactly as it says on the tin really, she guided me through a process to help myself. It was a bit like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for Beginners. Rather than read a self-help book and let it go in one ear and out the other as I nod wisely and mentally highlight important paras, I had a real live person asking me to answer some tough questions. She pushed me to delve into craggy, dark shadowy areas in my mind that I would have otherwise tried to stay away from. She helped me to see that I was casting the shadows, so I could just as easily stand aside, let some light in, and release my fears. All very Oprah of me, I know. Stand and cheer now.
She even set me some homework to do between weekly visits, which of course I did in a blind panic in the carpark in the 5 minutes before each meeting. I think I really needed that third person impartiality that GSH gave me. It was so helpful to be able to ramble away knowing this person was being paid to do this as opposed to boring my friends to tears or burdening my partner.
The other thing that has helped massively is this. Yep, this blog. I haven’t blogged daily about the ups and downs of my mood and the daily consumption of chocolate correlating to said mood. It’s been a bit of a more subtle effect. It has made me want to get back into life and that has made me happier. It has connected me to other people and I’ve read about others having a tough time with adjusting to what life brings up too. I’ve read about others enjoying the little things and celebrating small moments, which has made me want to do the same.
In particular a few blogs have made me laugh practically daily, Mammasaurus & Motherventing spring to mind. ActuallyMummy has made me focus on the things that make me laugh in my life by starting the Wot so Funee? meme. Sticky Fingers‘ meme, The Gallery, has inspired me to get out and take more photographs. I’ve always loved taking pics but I’d forgotton how happy it makes me.
So, little things really, but that have made a huge difference to how I feel at the start and end of each day, so thank you beautiful bloggers. I think I’ll keep up this blog thing, it’s really quite addictive. I think I’m really lucky too that the depression hasn’t been more serious. I know for tens of thousands of women (and men) each year, it’s not as simple as chatting to someone who wears a name badge and blogging in a little corner of t’internet. I’m very lucky.
Oh and sleep. Let’s not forget sleep. I think sleep deprivation makes everything seem worse than it is and Shine sleeping a little better at night has meant I have been able to get a few hours straight a night, making the world a much nicer place to be. Amen to that!