It’s taken a while for me to pluck up the courage to post this. I didn’t start this blog to talk about my mental health. If it had been, then perhaps I would have been not-quite-sure-of-herself mum, or at worst downright-crazy mum. This blog was really meant as a place for me to natter about my experiences as a parent raising my mixed race children, and a little about me and my hobbies too. After stumbling upon the #groovingmums blog-hop it became about my (re?)discovery of myself as a woman as well. So it feels now as if it’s just about me, all round. A big part of me at the moment is my mental health, so I think I should talk about it. I think more people should talk about mental health.
My mental health at the moment isn’t very good. I spend a lot of my time thinking and worrying about how I’m not coping. Naturally this makes me more unable to cope, but I can’t help worrying about it. I am very sad a lot of the time, and I cry a lot. When I cry, I feel stupid because I don’t really have anything to cry about. I don’t have much money, but I do have a caring partner and three beautiful daughters, and we get by and manage to treat ourselves sometimes. I feel guilty for being so sad all the time, because I know it makes my partner feel like he doesn’t make me happy, which isn’t true. I also tend to snap or shout at him over silly things. Things that aren’t even things.
I find it hard to find my get-up-and-go most days. A lot of the time I don’t know what I want to do with my time. There is plenty of stuff to be getting on with, but I find myself making excuses or just pretending it’s not there waiting for me to do it. When it comes to things that actually need to be done, I just feel very anxious. I dread doing the school run and I don’t really know why. It’s not particularly fun, waiting for the bus in the cold, but really it’s not that bad – so why do I feel so on edge for half an hour before I’m due to leave? Things like that are the worst, I think. I feel like a failure of a person because I find it so hard to do such simple tasks.
Of course, when the simple things seem like mammoth tasks, the things that take a bit more effort barely get a look in. I don’t do nearly enough with my children. My flat is in desperate need of a clear out, especially as we’re supposed to be moving next month. Sometimes I make plans to change this, but they never quite happen. I can’t find the motivation. I see other people just getting on with their lives, and I wish I could do the same. I just end up putting on a show a lot of the time. Other times I just avoid people altogether.
I’ve come to the point now, with the help of my partner, where I can see that I’m not a failure as a person, I’m ILL and I need help. Now it’s just a case of getting it. I went to the doctor but she didn’t seem to take me seriously in the slightest. She was the same doctor I saw three weeks after Baby Turtle was born with my concerns about PND, who tried to put me back on anti-depressants before I loudly informed her that I couldn’t take them while breastfeeding, and who then gave me a therapy referral form but said it was unlikely anybody would see me any time soon because it ‘wasn’t that bad’. She denied saying that this time. She said I must have misunderstood. I think not. That meeting with her before is etched into my brain and it upsets me still now to think about it. I never filled out that referral form. She gave me another this time around, when I was done crying in her office, and this time I filled it out before I left the surgery. I don’t know if or when I’ll hear anything back about it. Until then I just have to cope. Just keep going, keep busy and hope.
Perhaps the worst thing about all of this is that I know I’m not the only one that suffers this way, struggling with life and doubting my own mind. I know I’m far from the only one who can’t get the help they need, which is a sad and scary thought.