For anyone who has not taken antidepressants before, or who hasn’t experienced anxiety – and especially for those grieving mummas out there who are finding that anxiety and depression are adding to their grief, I wanted to share my experience.
Firstly though, I want to stress that feelings and emotions around anxiety and grief are different for everybody. I may know someone who feels similar things to me, but it will still be unique and personal to the individual. That’s why it’s so important to listen to your mind as well as your body and seek help.
Anxiety, however, is a mental illness, grief is not and it can be very hard to tell the difference especially when you are living it day in day out. A big problem for me about why I got to this point, was when I told anyone my story (ie, my daughter’s sudden death) and that I had anxiety they responded with ‘Of course you’re anxious, you’re grieving’ and then the anxiety was ignored because it was put down to grief. This created a build-up of symptoms that led me to the brink of breakdown – I simply couldn’t cope if grief was going to be this horrible to me.
I’ve been sitting here staring at the packet for half an hour.
These little pills, I know, are offering me the chance to numb my mind for a while from the anxiety and depression that’s taken hold of me. I’ve resisted them for so long that it feels strange to finally be here. As I said in this post, I can’t help feel like I’m failing.
I wonder if I’m really depressed enough to take them. After all, I’m generally okay. I’m not walking the streets in my pyjamas. I don’t feel a black cloud above me all the time. I’m still functioning as I always do, albeit with my mood swinging on a pendulum. I can be switched on one day, enough to write posts like this, but the next I can only stare at the screen blankly, my mind a fog.
But is this enough to start these tablets? I’ve spent over two years avoiding using them. I know this is a last resort for me.
I’m sharing this deeply personal post because I know for sure that I’m not alone. That out there are other mothers, in mourning, trying to hold it all together, being strong every second, achieving amazing things just by getting through a day but feeling like a failure throughout it all. I want to reassure those readers that they are not failures, but that the feeling of failure is normal living with what we do.
Failure is a cruel term. How can I possibly have failed at anything?
I am loved.
I am safe.
I am provided for.
I’ve read all the posts, seen all the ‘grief charts’, know the lingo of the phases and stages… but I’ve yet to see the word ‘failure’ mentioned.
As an independent and determined woman, I worked hard to carve out a career and a stable family home. Then death came knocking at my door and decided to pull the rug from under me.
The feeling of failure is huge, but in order to shrink it I’ve tried to consider exactly where and why I feel I’ve failed.
Have you seen the This Girl Can advert? A celebration, if you like, of all the ‘normal’ girls out there making exercise a part of their life. It’s a positive look at real women exercising. It’s inclusive. There’s not a high-cut Lycra thong in sight! It’s great!
I’ve had a slow start to my New Year’s get fit resolution, and have felt a pang of envy as I’ve seen the streets full of runners and people sharing their achievements on social media. Unfortunately I’ve not felt well and it’s set me right back, but the air and the bugs have cleared and I’m feeling ready to get out there.
Last month, I decided to get my six-month-old baby weighed at my local mother and baby clinic. The clinic runs 11-12.30pm every Thursday out of the local community centre. I wasn’t particularly concerned about Monkey 4’s weight, but as he had reflux and hadn’t been weighed for a while I wanted to make sure he was still on track.
Wanting to miss the rush, I arrived at 12pm and there were two health visitors, both dealing with mums and their babies at the two weighing scales. One health visitor was in deep conversation with her mum, so I waited next to the other health visitor who appeared to be finishing with the mum and baby with her.