One of the things I’ve been most worried about through my desertion of you lovely people is the complete lack of updates I’ve given you on my PND journey. I felt like I shared so much through a time in my life that was probably the hardest for me; the realisation that something was wrong, the awful visit to the GP, the phone calls to the Health Visitor, the Prozac. Looking back on it now I can see what a fucking (sorry mum) rocky road it was. ‘Scuse the M word, but it was mental. I felt mental.
It went on and on and on. From November through to, I dunno, March? I didn’t know who I was or where I was going. I was trying to work my arse off and be a good mum but I did neither of these things well because all I ever wanted to do was go to bed and sleep until it was over. I don’t know what I was waiting for – anything? Nothing? I needed something to happen and in the meantime sleep was the only thing I wanted to do.
Then Will left and I was destroyed. I didn’t know how to carry on. I begged him to come back but he was rightly adamant that we saw out the trial separation we’d decided on.
But a week later, as if by magic, the fog lifted. I literally woke up one morning and found myself looking forward rather than looking backwards for the first day in years. I enjoyed the feeling gingerly, wondering if it was going to go away. But it stayed and I got more empowered: I took the bins out, mowed the lawn. Did DIY, booked and went on a solo holiday to New York. Somewhere above the Atlantic I became the person I was about five years ago and re-discovered that feeling of joy I’d been missing.
New York was obviously amazing and rather than feeling scared or worried about being alone in a strange city on my own I felt excited and confident. I chatted to strangers in parks, went for dinner with interesting new acquaintances, struck up conversations with people in bars. I did things I’ve never done before and I felt like I re-discovered who I was out there. I came back happy, excited for a future as a single person and above all confident that I would be able to handle anything on my own.
And that is how I’ve remained. There have been wobbles, mostly because holy moly I am not a good budgeter, but I’m doing it. The kids are so much happier because the mum they are getting is 100% engaged with life and not looking for the next opportunity to mentally check out. We do fun things each and every day: toddler groups, trips to the park, shopping centre excursions. Daily kitchen dance parties. They get quality time with their dad too, which everyone benefits from, and I have a new found freedom that I use to spend time with friends. We’re all exceedingly content. I don’t get a lot of time for work but that’s OK, I will change the world when they’re at school and I have a bit more time on my hands.
The Prozac got left behind when I went to New York and I haven’t taken it since. I am this happy on my own, in a situation I always hoped and prayed I would never end up in. Isn’t life strange?
I’ve been dating and there has been one person who has helped me feel particularly happy lately, but I think the last few years have taught me a few harsh lessons in taking care of my own mental health. I will never ever take it for granted again and will prioritise it. If I’m not feeling good, something needs to be done. And I will never rely on anyone else for my happiness; that lies with me, and me only.
So that’s where I am. Screw you right in the face, Post-Natal Depression. You’re an arsehole.