While I have been away the husband has been emailing me photos of Beans. She’s grown at least an inch *sob*
Eight days ago I held back my tears while I kissed and tweaked Beans nose before saying goodbye.
Every single second since then I have felt empty without her. The amount that I miss her manifests into a physical ache that I have to carry.
I am absolutely desperate to scoop her up, to squeeze her tight and cover her with kisses while I promise her mummy will never leave again.
But then there’s the dread.
For the last week or so I has felt so ill, my medication effects, total lack of sleep and soaring anxiety have wiped me out.
I can’t do this anymore, I’m just not strong enough.
The truth is I don’t want to go home. I don’t want to carry on how things are, I don’t have it in me anymore to pretend and fake my way through every single day. It takes every last ounce of everything I have and there’s simply nothing left to give.
I don’t know how to be a mummy, I don’t know how to carry on and I don’t know if I want to keep fighting.
I just can’t do this anymore.
She came and sat on the bed with me, handing me things and giggling. When my eyes filled up with hot tears she took over and put things in my bag all by herself.
She leant over and gave me a kiss while I did everything I could to swallow down the lump in my throat.
She pulled at my legs begging to be picked up and once she was in my arms she pushed at the bag over my shoulder as if to say ‘don’t go mummy’.
I kissed her as many times as I could manage, I hugged her as tight as she would let me. I couldn’t look at anyone as I left, as soon as I felt the door close behind me tears poured down my face.
I cried as more and more distance came between us. I felt my heart splinter into hundreds of tiny pieces.
I see her eyes, big and brown, so full of love and confusion every time I close my own.
This is what misinformed care and terrible listening looks like.
Ok, it could be a lot worse but I have about twenty of these things littered across my body and as they’re starting to split and crack and blister they’re starting to hurt. As an added bonus I feel like I’ve been steamrollered by the flu. I haven’t stopped shaking for 48 hours.
Today I finally saw the community mental health team. I had to go over and over the last year, to say things out loud that smash my heart into tiny pieces, to explain again how little care I have had.
Now I have to wait. I’m waiting for my medication to be changed and for my reaction to subside. I’m waiting to take the first step on the long path to being better.
On Sunday night I noticed some red blotches on my skin, pale in the middle and with raised edges my first thought was it must be an allergy. Only there is nothing new that would have provoked such a reaction so I moved onto hives maybe. Google is both a wonderful and a terrible thing.
Yesterday more marks were slowing appearing and early in the evening I suddenly felt so awful that I took myself off to bed. I was boiling hot, shaking and felt sick.
After a few hours I was so freaked out that I called my mum and asked her to make the hours drive to our house. Believe me when I say that I never ask for help unless I’m really scared.
I really wasn’t sure if I was having the mother of all panic attacks or if there was something really wrong. That’s one of the fun things about living with anxiety, you’re never quite sure what is real and what isn’t.
Mum arrived at ours at around 9pm, by which point I was feeling beside myself with guilt for dragging her here. I still felt odd but I calmed myself down enough to go to bed with the plan of making an emergency appointment with a GP as soon as I woke up.
I slept restlessly, spooked by not knowing whether something was wrong or if my mind was just playing tricks. I questioned everything, a strange sort of panic attack, a reaction to my higher dose medication, a random virus, a nervous breakdown?
It played on my mind until I sat in the doctors waiting room next to my mum for the first time in probably a decade.
After an hours wait I was finally called in. I explained briefly what had happened and was ushered over to stand in front of a bright lamp while the doctor looked at the marks on my neck.
“I can tell you what that is’ he said, ‘if you hadn’t mentioned Mirtazipine when you came in then I’d know exactly what that is.”
“I have more on my torso and legs” I said when he told me I could sit back down again. He sighed. “Well I need to see those too then don’t I?.”
He sat at his desk and flicked through the pages of his drugs guide until his finger landed on the appropriate one.
“No, no, I know what that is. Nothing to do with the tablets at all.” I explained again how I had felt yesterday and that if he really thought it was nothing to do with my tablets that I was relieved.
“You put two and two together and got seventeen” he said.
“Mertazipine doesn’t cause anything like that. Hang on, I’ll show you on Google what it is…”
“I know young women will look at themselves in the mirror with this rash and feel low because their appearance is affected. But I can assure you, it’s nothing. It will go away on its own. Don’t worry, it can’t be transmitted to anyone you sleep with, even though it looks like it could be”.
“But my other symptoms…? I felt so bad I…”
“Oh that’s something and nothing isn’t it. Silliness. Tell me, how are things? Is there a reason why you are on this medication?”
I explained about my PND, that no it wasn’t recent, yes I had been coming to the doctors frequently for the last year, that no, no real support has been offered.
“How have the health visitors helped you?”
By this point I was frustrated, exhausted and fed up of having to repeat over and over again how hard things have been.
“You see, the health visiting team are great. If there is a rabbit in the headlights they will rush to help. But sometimes if the little rabbit isn’t receptive of that help then it can be turned away, you see? Is there a reason why you don’t like your health visitor, why you don’t want them to help you?”
Stunned silence flooded the room.
“They have NEVER called me. Another doctor told them about everything and they have made no contact” I spat back.
“Are you sure, because the rabbit…Well, I don’t believe they wouldn’t offer any support”
Neither do I. It got worse.
“Now my wife had PND. TWICE. And I’ll tell you what I told her. You need to get out. You need to speak to other women in your situation, go to baby groups. Understand how others cope. Why don’t you do that?”
His poor, poor wife.
Again I went over how my anxiety has stopped me from attending so far, but that I know that it’s important and it is something I want to do.
“No one likes to sit with a miserable woman all day.”
My mouth opened and closed like a goldfish. This is the point where I wanted to leave, I just had to get out of the stuffy little room and away from his judgement. But I sat silently, needing him to tell me what this bloody rash was before I could leave.
“Women are liars.”
This is just getting better and better.
I choked on a reply that came out as a garbled ‘excuse me?!’
“Women are liars. They all are. I’m sorry but it’s true. You see someone in the street and say ‘oh how’s it going with the kids’ and they just say how marvellous it is.”
My mouth does some more mute open and closing.
There’s a marked difference between prolonged, severe depression and telling an acquaintance in the street that everything’s a-ok.
“I will go to baby groups as soon as I am able. I will” anything just to shut him up and give me a diagnosis.
“But what will you say when everyone there asks you why you have never been before?”
“Erm, the truth”
“Are you comfortable with the truth?”
“Well if for some reason I don’t want to share my personal problems then I will side step the question won’t I. All that matters is that I go, for me and for Beans”
“So say you say you’ve recently moved to the area, as an excuse, the normal question to follow is ‘where from?’, what will you say then?”
“Can you prescribe anything for my skin or…?”
“Yes, I’ll do that now. It’s just a common condition. Nothing at all. Life is the simple cause. You know you are on a very low dose of your meds anyway don’t you?”
I’m on the highest dose, but he persists that it is usually taken at more than three times that amount.
I somehow manage to move my shocked body off the chair and out into the relative sanity of the street outside, where every remark he made clumsily spills out of my mouth to my mum.
“I am not making this shit up, mum” I implore when she stares at me in shock.
The anger subsided and I remembered that I did actually still feel ill and that I am worried. I dug out the information leaflet that’s wedged between the blister packs of tablets that I no longer feel safe taking.
Four hours later, a conversation with NHSDirect, a mental health link worker and finally a duty care officer; I cannot tolerate the dose of medication that I have been given. It was increased too suddenly and has caused this reaction. I am being seen by the team tomorrow and am to go to A&E in the meantime if my temperature rises.
How hard does all of this have to be?
I’ve been feeling so trapped. Trapped in my life, trapped in my body, trapped in my mind. I want to get away but I can’t leave myself behind.
This morning I talked myself into needing a holiday. Yes, a holiday where we can all be together somewhere else, somewhere outside our own lives – that would help. But I can’t take a holiday from my own skin and that became more and more apparent the more I looked at places we could go.
I want a break, I don’t want to strap everything to my back and dump it somewhere else for a long weekend. Somewhere that isn’t home and is likely to cause anxiety and stress because it’s not familiar.
The holidays off.
Then my link worker called, my most recent referral offering from my GP. She told me that I have an appointment on Thursday, just two more days to get through. She asked if I was ok. She told me that it will end, she told me that so many women feel this way I wouldn’t believe.
‘But there is no bond’ I whimpered. ‘I haven’t felt a bond and now Beans is starting to avoid me, always picking her daddy’.
‘It’s ok’ she said. ‘It’s ok, it’s perfectly normal. You will turn this around. It will be ok’.
For five minutes I felt like I’d had a holiday.
She doesn’t need me anymore, doesn’t want me around. She doesn’t run to me like she has done almost with out fail until now.
She doesn’t bring me toys, she doesn’t want cuddles. She’s easily distracted by daddy, she wants the person who has been her parent. She doesn’t know me, I don’t think she’s sure who I am.
She doesn’t put her arms up to me to be lifted, she doesn’t say mama.
She says dada; she runs to him, she wants kisses and cuddles and playtime. She wants comforting if she falls over. She wants lifting up and spinning around, she bursts into peels of uncontrollable giggles, she grins.
I watch. All I can do is be a witness to the life being shared in front of me while I desperately wish I was a part of it too.
Ah Valentines day. Are you a lover or a hater?
Personally I sit on the fence; part of me is all bring on the presents and adoration, the other commercially cynical half thinks you shouldn’t need a reason to show your other half that you love them.
Saying that, I think I would be a bit put out if I didn’t get a card. In the time that the husband and I have been a ‘we’ valentines day celebrations have been toned down somewhat.
I was once a girl who was brought huge, luxurious bouquets of deep red roses. Once upon a time a candlelit bath would be run for me while dinner was cooked.
Yeah, there’s none of that anymore. But it’s nice to get a card and a snog. That’s all I ask. This year we even have a M&S valentines meal deal waiting for us in the fridge. I have dibs on the ‘book of chocolates’.
Last night we slumped on the sofa, surrounded by a sea of Mega Bloks and plastic vegetables after tag teaming to get our teething banshee to sleep.
‘We’ve been together for five years this year. Five years’ I mused.
‘Nah, it was never that long ago’
’2007 right?’ *counts on fingers*
Has it come to this already? My husband is actually apologising for the length of time that we have been together.
To be honest I don’t think he was really listening. I could see that he had that look in his eye, the Mega Bloks were calling. When Beans is in bed we can build really big towers without disruption or destruction.
So we did.
Happy Valentines day. May your love be ever lasting and your Mega Blok towers tall.