Onwards and Upwards (or, Screw You PND)

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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.

18 thoughts on “Onwards and Upwards (or, Screw You PND)

  1. FANTASTIC news. Couldn’t agree more with you about happiness. The key to relationships that work (parental, with children, partners, friends etc) is that happiness is each and every persons own responsibility.

    Go girl!

  2. So happy to read this post and hear that you’re so happy! Looking forward to seeing you this weekend xxx

  3. I’m so happy to read this. I have been wondering how you were with the PND but didn’t feel it was my place to ask. I’m delighted to then read this positive update. xx

  4. “…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.”

    These words are so simply and honest, so true and strong. Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts!

    Liza

  5. What a great, life-affirming post Alice! Glad you’re feeling better again. I get you when you say about being “there 100%,” and “not checking out at the first opportunity”. I feel i’ve been doing that since Freddie was born 2.4 years ago, and whilst not overly unhappy, and love both children, always looking at the clock and hoping it would be bedtime soon, or going out on the lash whenever possible to ‘escape’. I haven’t always ‘been there’. I had a mini epiphany last week (will become a blog post soon i’m sure), and I’m not sure why, but I felt ‘back’ and realised I need to put my family (and myself) first and stop seeing my children as a chore, and enjoy them for the precious little people they are. I will never stop enjoying wine with friends, but something clicked last week and want to spend more time engaged with them, and doing more things together. Not thinking “is 6.30 too early to put them to bed?!” I’ve waffled (again), but I hope you see what I mean?! Really enjoy your posts x

  6. this makes me feel so inspired as a new mum. good for you for finding your feet after such a rough time. how happy you are with your children is what I aspire to have. really enjoyed reading this!

  7. Good for you! I know how difficult a separation can be, it takes a lot of strength & courage to get through the first few months. Good luck on your new journey x

  8. I know you wrote this post a while ago but wanted to say that as someone going through pnd at the moment you describe how it feels perfectly – pls keep the blog up when you can as your writing is on the nail

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